Friday, January 15, 2010

Transcript of The Rachel Maddow Show for January 14, 2010

Guests include Brian Williams, Kerry Sanders, John Irvine, Tracy Kidder, Michelle Wucker, Tom Vilsack, Tony Aiello

RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: Good evening, Keith. Thank you.

We do begin tonight with some signs of growing unrest and anger inside of Haiti, to go with the abject desperation there. Within the last few hours, the “Reuters” news organization did receive a disturbing report from a “Time” magazine photographer on the ground in Haiti. According to the photographer, in some places in Port-au-Prince, in at least two places, survivors of the earthquake have set up roadblocks using corpses to protest the lack of aid actually getting to the people.

It‘s now been about 52 hours since that country was devastated by a massive earthquake, and tonight, search and rescue missions continue. And the Red Cross estimates that between 45,000 and 50,000 people may have lost their lives. Haiti‘s president, Rene Preval, announced today that 7,000 earthquake victims have already been buried.

And tonight, the first American victim of the earthquake has been identified by name. She is 57-year-old Victoria DeLong of California. She‘s a 27-year veteran of the U.S. State Department.

Ms. Delong was stationed at the U.S. embassy in Port-au-Prince. She was apparently killed during the quake when her home collapsed.

The grim reality of the situation on the ground in Haiti is evident in some of the incredible reporting that‘s coming out of there right now.

Today, NBC‘s Tom Llamas made his way into Haiti from the neighboring Dominican Republic. Here‘s what he found when he got there.


TOM LLAMAS, NBC NEWS: Once we got into Haiti, it is truly an unbelievable sight. There are bodies on the streets, children, people are actually using their cars as ambulances to transport people to and from the border or to any hospitals, but the problem is there are no hospitals at this moment. People are living outside churches. It‘s just a really unbelievable and unimaginable sight.

The one thing that stuck out is that people are still being civil in Haiti. People are walking around. There‘s at least 2 million people just walking the streets. They‘re trying to walk out of the country but they‘re acting civil.


MADDOW: According to one report tonight, that civility may be beginning to break down at least in some places.

The main problem at this point is a problem of logistics, getting the tide of rescue and relief aid that has been directed toward Haiti actually to the people who so desperately need it. The chief obstacle right now is most of those supplies are being flown into Haiti from every corner of the globe, flown into an airport that has one runway, has one road in, and one road out.

United States Southern Command has taken control of the airport, but the sheer volume of supplies coming into Haiti has nearly paralyzed that air space.

The other main entryway into Haiti‘s capital is through its port. That option is also presenting problems tonight. This is what the port looked like before the earthquake. Here‘s what it looks like today.

As you can tell from this image the port is non-operational essentially at this point. Three working cranes that have all been destroyed; a main dock that is now partially submerged under water.

But the Haitian government essentially is unable to respond to the needs of its people. It has largely been left to the international community to at least try to help.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: After suffering so much for so long, to face this new horror must cause some to look up and ask, “Have we somehow been forsaken?” To the people of Haiti, we say, clearly, and with conviction: you will not be forsaken, you will not be forgotten. In this, your hour of greatest need, America stands with you. The world stands with you.

We know that you are a strong and resilient people. You have endured a history of slavery and struggle of natural disaster and recovery, and through it all, your spirit has been unbroken and your faith unwavering. So, today, you must know that help is arriving. Much, much more help is on the way.


MADDOW: Today some of that help began to arrive. In addition to aid supplies that managed to get in to Port-au-Prince airport, more than 100 U.S. soldiers from Fort Bragg‘s 82nd Airborne Division landed in Haiti. Their mission is to help distribute aid and provide security in what is now an essentially ungoverned capital.

Joining us now from Port-au-Prince, Haiti, is the anchor and managing editor of “NBC Nightly News,” Brian Williams, and NBC News correspondent Kerry Sanders.

Kerry and Brian, thank you both so much for joining us again tonight.

Bring us up to speed.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS ANCHOR: Well, first of all, Rachel, a bit of activity here on the airstrip. We have a U.S. C-17. They‘re waiting for at least 100 onboard guests tonight, people who were attached to the U.S. embassy here in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

This is very common, so many aircraft all day and all night. It‘s already impossible to track them. They come in with pallets of material and if it works correctly, they leave with people onboard.

Before handing it off to Kerry, I‘ll tell you, our on-air team today, all of us fanned out to different locations in Port-au-Prince, and it is—it is almost impossible to describe what we saw. On our part, the most banal and insulting sight of what appeared to be a child‘s body on a plywood gurney wrapped in a blanket on a hot day, dead and abandoned. And if you try to count up and care for all of the bodies that are outside tonight in this city, it is an impossible task.

And it‘s beyond sad and wrenching and tragic and shocking. And you run out of ways to describe it.

Kerry Sanders was out in it and saw an entirely different view.

KERRY SANDERS, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Brian, there‘s not enough space in the graveyards here for all of the dead. I went to a graveyard today where some folks gathered with their loved ones to say good-bye. They got between two graves that were existing graves, space about that wide, they dug the grave and they placed the bodies of four family members, including a small child in there and began putting the earth back over.

As Brian noted, there are roads that are roads of the dead, body after body after body. It‘s very hot here. We—we‘re sun-burned because it‘s 80-plus degrees here. This is the tropical Caribbean island, and that heat is beginning to take an affect on the bodies that are just left there and people have masks on because there are areas where the stench is beginning to become overwhelming.

And, of course, medical authorities are concerned that people who are exhausted, people who have not been fed properly, people who have not had water, who have their immunities down, are now possibly going to be exposed to diseases that can develop with a body or in this case hundreds and thousands of bodies rotting on the streets.

Because there‘s no government, there is nobody really in charge to say, “Let‘s pick those bodies up,” Brian. Some family members are doing it out of respect for the dead. But others are just too stunned and dazed.

And my greatest fear is we began to see some of the anxiety today turn to anger as people were fighting over water. There are some fresh water supplies available. Prices have doubled. People are getting testy and pushing and screaming. And my fear is that if what is arriving here doesn‘t get to folks in the coming days, and I mean quickly, that anger is going to begin to boil over.

WILLIAMS: Yes, you‘ve taken people with very little and taken it down to nothing—Rachel, as we discussed last night, this won‘t take long to convert itself and that‘s our fear here.

MADDOW: We are amid reports of many people trying to maintain civil behavior, maintain order as best they can, and as you describe it, an essentially ungoverned, destroyed space right now. We are seeing some scenes and hearing those reports as you say of anger boiling over, the frustration boiling over, and some growing disorder.

In terms of the ability to alleviate, that we know that U.S. troops are arriving, we know also that the main task is to get that relief out of the airport and into the streets—what can you tell us about either of those plans?

WILLIAMS: Well, first of all, let‘s start with the airport, the hub. It‘s under U.S. control. Not surrounded by troops but the airstrip, when you call in here to make a landing or a takeoff, you talk to an American air traffic controller. There is no tower.

But second, the streets. Only now here is there starting to be a U.S. military presence. Their stance and their posture is going to be critical. Remember in Katrina, it was General Russell Honore who told them to put their muzzles down. They were here to help. And that is crucial part of this when they get here and start to fan out—I‘m sorry we‘re fighting the jet engines as this cargo plane starts up.

SANDERS: I‘ll throw in there—look, the U.N. has been in here for a long time. And they have armored personnel carriers on the road, but, you know, the military speak would be rules of engagement. Their rules of engagement are to stand back. They are not to mix it up.

If there is violence on the street, they are not to get involved in it. And so, if there is violence on the street, they will come by, but they will not get out of their armored personnel carriers. Yes, they have weapons. Yes, they are armed. But they‘re not going to do that.

And I don‘t even know whether the rules of engagement have been set for the U.S. military when they come here. When the military came here, when this country was falling apart, and Bill Clinton sent in the Marines, the rules of engagement were: do not get involved. It‘s a good decision probably because you don‘t want people turning on the military, but by the same token, they don‘t bring the law and order. They bring the supplies which hopefully calm people down.

MADDOW: Brian and Kerry, people have survived a long time inside collapsed buildings in other disasters. But at 52 hours and counting now, there‘s worry that the window of opportunity to save people who are buried is closing.

Are these elite search and rescue teams from all over the globe—are they actually getting out into the streets to do their work?

SANDERS: I know that the folks from Miami Metro-Dade are here. I know the folks from Fairfax County, Virginia, are here. I know that the Chinese sent in a team with a fair amount of experience from their own earthquakes there.

I have not personally seen them out removing any rubble. I did go to some collapse locations today and just the residents who had been removing the rubble and the rocks, looking for those who might still be alive, they‘ve given up. And they don‘t have the expertise, but they‘ve given up.

I‘ve seen—I‘ve seen the dogs that are here to sniff, but I personally have not seen anybody out there doing the digging.

WILLIAMS: There is a French team here, Rachel, and they‘ve been here at the airport all day. They don‘t have their marching orders yet.

But I have to say, we saw L.A. County outside in one of the neighborhoods today. When they arrived today, it was just an unbelievable experience. About a half dozen of the firefighters I had last seen in the fight for Mount Wilson, the station fire in California, wearing the boots that I burned that day, and here they are in another corner of the world, but they‘re also among the best in the world, and I think they are now deployed tonight.

MADDOW: Brian, when I hear you say that the French team was at the airport waiting for marching orders, what I‘m wondering is who those marching orders would come from. The president‘s spokesman today had pains to say that the Haitian government is still in charge of the nation of Haiti. The U.N. is expressing their desire and their intention to be coordinating efforts.

When you‘re there, who does it seem like is in charge?

WILLIAMS: Well, you know what? You see the blue helmets. You see the armored personnel carriers Kerry was talking about, and you see U.N. blue vests and people with clip boards. You see the USAID officials when it‘s an American search and rescue team.

There are overarching organizational bodies, but there is really no secretary of the interior here. There is—there‘s no infrastructure, a white board, a command post, a communication structure. Making a cell phone call, taking down someone‘s number, sending an e-mail—a lot of it is for naught.

SANDERS: Project Medishare, it‘s based out of South Florida, doctors and nurses who have been coming to this country for quite sometime. When they landed here today, I just in chatting with them and said, “It seems to me, the most logical thing for you to do with the expertise that you have is take your supplies, go to one of these parks where people are, and begin treating them right there. There are people in triage right in those locations.”

They told me it doesn‘t work that way. “We will fly in. We will go to a location that we have set up that has security, that has protection. We will work on the people that we can work on there.”

And then they will come back to the airport. They‘ll fly back to Miami, and then they‘ll come back again tomorrow, and it will go like that.

It might seem that it makes sense to go straight there as I thought, but when you hear them explain from their experiences, that doesn‘t make sense. By the same token, you can‘t just take a truck here, load it up with water, and drive out the street and say, “Hey, I‘ve got water,” because the next thing you know, you‘re going to have 1,000 people surrounding the truck fighting, and the last thing they want to do is create a situation that leads to violence.

So, it‘s a very delicate situation. But they all recognize they‘re under pressure. It has to be done soon.

WILLIAMS: Sixty more seconds, Rachel, if you will. There is an air crew on this C-17 that were—the engine noise we‘re fighting. They came in tonight from Jersey. They are—there is sweat dripping off.

MADDOW: And as you can tell, we‘ve just lost the signal from Brian Williams and Kerry Sanders. They‘re joining us live from the airport, Port-au-Prince. We‘ll bring them back up for Brian‘s closing thoughts if we can, but I have a feeling that we cannot. Obviously, the technical challenges of bringing people on live from this disaster zone are incredible.

Brian doing a significant part of his newscast for “NBC Nightly News” tonight with a satellite phone to his ear because that was the way that they could get audio out of the country. Our NBC News team there, Brian Williams, the anchor and managing editor of “NBC Nightly News” and Kerry Sanders, NBC News correspondent, have been there along with Al Roker and Ann Curry from the “Today Show” and we‘ve been all the better for having their—access to their reporting here in MSNBC.

The need for medical care in Haiti is, of course, dire tonight. Partners in Health is an organization that‘s been providing medical care—advanced medical care in Haiti for 25 years.

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tracy Kidder works with and wrote the definitive book about that organization. It was a bestseller. It‘s called “Mountains Beyond Mountains.” Tracy Kidder joins us next to talk about the current crisis and how medical care can be provided well in Haiti.

Later, the Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack joins us with an update from the Obama administration about America‘s response.

Stay with us. We will be right back.


MADDOW: An update on the status of medical care in Haiti. Some of the heroic things being done and some of the amazing technology being use today do it—coming up next.

Stay with us.


MADDOW: Even as aid agencies and foreign governments are working to rush badly needed medical supplies and personnel to Haiti, much of the help has not gotten to the people who need it. Medical care in Port-au-Prince is in crisis right now.

ITN reporter John Irvine filed this report from the capital today. Warning: this includes some disturbing images, but also some on-the-ground reporting. We are otherwise not seeing about the on-the-ground consequences of the bottleneck in getting aid into the streets of Port-au-Prince.


JOHN IRVINE, ITN REPORTER (voice-over): This is a hospital

overflowing with patients desperate for treatment it can‘t provide. The

casualty unit stretches from the corridors inside to the car park out front

where patients have to endure the daytime heat as well as their crush injuries. So basic are the facilities here that many won‘t get to walk away.

The few doctors and nurses we saw are overwhelmed and under-resourced. No help has arrived and such is the mortality rate, there are bodies all over the place.

The drip sustaining this man has run dry. His family tried to comfort him as his life ebbs away.

(on camera): To me, it‘s ironic that Haiti is within a relative stone‘s throw of other Caribbean islands that are among the great playgrounds of the western world, and yet, the situation here is about as bad as you can get. If you want to know what the expression they desperately need help looks like, look no further than here.


MADDOW: The medical need in Haiti right now is obviously acute. We talked on this show last night with Sophie Delaunay of Doctors Without Borders—that organization‘s multiple existing facilities in Port-au-Prince were so badly damaged in the earthquake that the facilities themselves are no longer functional. Doctors Without Borders had hundreds of staff operating in Haiti even before the quake. Thus far, they‘ve been administering post-earthquake medical care primarily from tents.

As of today, Doctors Without Borders says it has treated more than 1,500 patients, but as Ms. Delaunay told us on the show last night, they believe that at least 500 people they‘ve been in contact with already are in need of immediate major surgery, something that cannot really be done safely from the tents they‘ve been operating out of.

The next step for Doctors Without Borders is to bring in something I did not even know existed before now. They‘re bringing in an inflatable hospital. Not kidding. They‘re expecting an inflatable hospital to arrive in Haiti by tomorrow.

We googled “inflatable hospital” today. This is part of what we found. It turns out that, first, the military and then Doctors Without Borders have been using inflatable hospital facilities for years.

Here‘s one.

We‘ve also got footage that Doctors Without Borders used in Pakistan after that—the earthquake in that country in 2005.

As the name suggests, it is inflatable but it‘s substantially more than a tent or a bouncy castle. Its modular rooms can be sterilized and even decontaminated. It includes portable operating theaters, beds, rolling trays, respirators, everything medical teams on the ground need to perform surgery.

Here‘s a graphic that was published by “The Plain Dealer” in Cleveland that it shows how these things work.

Each inflatable hospital is about 1,000 square feet when it gets blown up. But it gets stored and transported—get this—in a bundle about the size of a desk. It‘s then spread out and inflated with a pump. Its support beams are made of very thick fabric. They apparently feel as solid as concrete when they are inflated.

Doctors Without Borders has one of those things—one of those inflatable hospitals headed to Haiti right now. We believe it‘s due to arrive by tomorrow.

Another remarkable medical agency with a long experience—long, successful experience working in Haiti is an agency called Partners in Health. Partners in Health works together with the Haitian Ministry of Health in the countryside. They have long been the largest medical care provider in rural Haiti.

And because its 10 facilities are away from the capital city of Port-au-Prince, they were not damaged by the earthquake. They are up and running.

Tracy Kidder‘s bestselling 2003 book, “Mountains Beyond Mountains” was about Partners in Health and about one of its founders, Dr. Paul Farmer.

Joining us now is Tracy Kidder, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, who also serves on the development committee for Partners in Health.

Mr. Kidder, thanks very much for coming on the show. Appreciate your time.

TRACY KIDDER, AUTHOR, “MOUNTAINS BEYOND MOUNTAINS”: Thank you. It‘s a pleasure, I guess.


KIDDER: I mean, nice to—nice to be on your show but, yes.

MADDOW: In the circumstances, everything is difficult at this point. I do want to ask you about the status of Partners in Health right now. Am I right to say that their facilities in Haiti were not harmed in the earthquake, that they‘re up and running?

KIDDER: That‘s correct. Not only that, Partners in Health is, you know, almost entirely a Haitian operation, though it gets, it is supported by the United States—by people in America and mostly. And—but only a handful of the people working in Haiti are Americans. All the rest of the staff are Haitian.

There are about a hundred Haitian doctors working for Partners in Health. Many of them live in Port-au-Prince and commute out to the various sites of Partners in Health. So, many of those doctors are in Port-au-Prince now, working out of their homes, receiving patients in their homes.

Partners in Health is now establishing a field hospital sites in Port-au-Prince. They, of course, need more supplies, but they are well-supplied at the moment. And their central hospital, which is in Cange, a town that‘s not that far from Port-au-Prince, but a three-hour drive, has been receiving enormous numbers of patients, I was just told this this evening. And, of course, they‘re not turning anyone away. They‘ve taken the school that‘s within the complex and the church and turned them into hospitals essentially.

I was told—this is horrifying—that people, you know, there are some amputations being performed there, necessary ones, and people who have come all the way from Port-au-Prince for amputations, just imagine that.

So this is—Partners in Health, and I know I‘m biased, but Partners in Health is really one of the truly effective organizations working in Haiti and has been there for a long time. And, of course, they have tremendously strong partnerships with organizations like Doctors Without Borders.

But, of course, they are too small to do all of this, but they could desperately use contributions. And if people want to help them, go to I think it‘s a—for my money, Rachel, it‘s the best organization I know about, and it set a model for how—it seems to me, how Haiti might have a better future after this catastrophe is dealt with.

MADDOW: Tracy, people around the world, not just governments but individual people everywhere, are really eager to help out, millions of dollars of donations being raised for a lot of different charities already.


MADDOW: In your op-ed for “The New York Times” yesterday, you described a real problem with international aid in Haiti. You wrote that there are something like 10,000 private humanitarian groups that have been providing services and relief in Haiti even before the earthquake, and there‘s a real question as to whether donations to them and support for them end up being right for Haiti and end up getting anything done on the ground.

Why is that? What are the issues there?

KIDDER: Well, not all aid organizations are created equal. There are some very good ones and I didn‘t mean to slam all of them, you know, in one fell swoop. All I meant to say is that there are 10,000 aid organizations in Haiti, and Haiti is still one of the poorest countries in the world then something‘s wrong with the way things are—the aid is being administered.

It seems to me that the real problem is that—that many organizations are not willing to work together or they don‘t know how to, or, you know, the mechanisms for doing that haven‘t been established. But even more than that, that they have not really endeavored to make their projects, to make their work indigenous. And what I mean by that is they have not done what Partners in Health has really striven to do, which is—which is to work as closely as possible with the government and the particularly that agencies, in their case, with the Ministry of Health. There is no other way, finally, to improve the state of a place like Haiti.

And, you know, Rachel, I just have to say this: given your—I know your good friend Rush Limbaugh—good friends Rush Limbaugh and Pat Robertson have been weighing in on how Haiti has been cursed by God once again, but, you know, the truth of the matter is that this is—this is a manmade disaster in the sense that the extreme vulnerability to earthquakes is manmade. And that has a long history and that‘s a history of—you know, that begins way back with the slave colony that the French established in Haiti, the hideous slave colony, and the fact that the Haitians, the only people on earth who—only slaves on earth who freed themselves and created their own republic and then got punished for it ever since.

And, you know, we need to fix this. We need to fix this problem right now. We need to get as much materiel and doctors and everything in there as we possibly can and do this in a concerted way, but afterward, we need to continue to care about Haiti. It is one of the most beautiful and important cultures ever born under the face of this earth and it is in danger. It seems to me, long-term danger.

We need a concerted effort, one that—one that is not self-serving, but one that attempts to serve the poor of Haiti, the vast majority of Haiti. And to do that through strengthening Haitian institutions instead of doing what the United States has done all too often there, which is to weaken them.

MADDOW: Tracy Kidder.

KIDDER: Sorry.

MADDOW: No, don‘t apologize. That‘s why I asked you on the show, Mr.


Tracy Kidder is author of the book, “Mountains Beyond Mountains,” which is about in part Partners in Health and one of their founders, Paul Farmer. Mr. Kidder‘s most recent book is called “Strength and What Remains.”

Thank you very much for joining us tonight, Tracy. I really appreciate your time.

KIDDER: Thank you, Rachel. Let‘s hope for Haiti.

MADDOW: Indeed.

KIDDER: Thank you.

MADDOW: Our coverage of the catastrophe in Haiti continues right after this.


MADDOW: Today as aid began to flow into Haiti from around the world, help also came from right next door, from the Dominican Republic. Haiti and the Dominican Republic are two countries that share the island of Hispaniola. There is not much else they share, not language, not ethnicity and their mutual history has often been antagonistic.

But right now. The two countries appear to have put any differences in the face of Haiti‘s need. Today, the Dominican Republic‘s president became the first head of state to travel into Haiti leading a delegation of military and rescue personnel.

He confirmed for reporters for the first time that 7,000 quake victims had been buried. He also announced that his country is helping restore power and is providing hundreds of troops, food, aid, and water for the relief effort in Haiti.

The president also said that the Dominican Republic is not even tabulating the costs of its actions at this point. The Dominican government also confirmed for us tonight that some 2,000 Haitians have been allowed across the border into the Dominican Republic already for medical treatment although the country says it is not opening its border as of now to Haitians who do not have immediate medical needs.

Joining us now is Michelle Wucker. She is the director of the World Policy Institute. She has written extensively about Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Michelle, thanks very much for coming in.


MADDOW: First, let me give you the chance to correct anything I just said that was wrong. I probably got something wrong.

WUCKER: You even pronounced my name right. The name of the book is “Why The Cocks Fight: Dominicans, Haitians and the Struggle for Hispaniola,” which really goes into this very, very long history going back to the Dominican Republic of ups and some pretty dramatic downs between the two countries.

MADDOW: Well, I mean, in terms of just the national history of the two countries, we think of the French as having set up the colony on the western side of the island and the Spanish having done so on the eastern side of the island and lots of fighting therein. But are they two countries that we should really think of as both, not only distinct, but antagonistic?

WUCKER: “Antagonistic” isn‘t quite the right word. They‘ve got a lot of things that they share. They‘ve both been occupied by the United States. They‘ve both got a long history with dictatorship. They‘ve both got a long history of being used as sort of proxies between France and Spain.

Dominicans will tell you that they celebrate their independence from Haiti in 1844 after a brutal and corrupt occupation. They won‘t always tell you that Haiti helped to get their independence from Spain.

Haitians will tell you that in 1937 there was a horrendous ethnic cleansing massacre on the border of Haitians by the Dominican dictator. And of course the Dominican dictator, Trujillo, also did terrible, terrible things to Dominicans as well. So there‘s a lot of shared tragedy between the two countries.

MADDOW: This is a crisis that is confined not only to Haiti right now, but to Haiti‘s capital city. What special role is the Dominican Republic going to have - going to have to have - in the effort to save the people of Port-au-Prince?

WUCKER: Well, I think, logistically, it is going to be incredibly important, getting some of the supplies through the Dominican Republic into Haiti, getting many, many people through the Dominican Republic into Haiti. And I should mention, most people don‘t realize this, but actually the quake was felt in the Dominican Republic.

It was more of a thing that caused a lot of motion sickness but earthquakes are very common in both places. The Dominican Republic is going to be actually very, very crucial in getting food into Haiti, in ongoing medical care, as you mentioned, with the Haitians who have come to the Dominican Republic for medical care.

There is going to be a lot of ongoing cooperation, engineers. Dominicans are going to have to be involved in some of the rebuilding as well. So they‘re absolutely crucial to support for Haiti.

MADDOW: What about the issue of refugees? Obviously, right now, when the president today was asked by NBC - the president of the Dominican Republic - was asked about whether he was worried about a large tide of Haitian refugees coming to the Dominican Republic, he essentially said, “Listen, the earthquake was in Port-au-Prince. And it is a really long walk. It‘s really far. There‘s a geographical problem there.”

That isn‘t always going to be true. People are going to want to leave Haiti. That is going to be the easiest place for them to get to or at least the first place they will think of. What‘s the background - how concerned will the Dominican Republic be about that issue? How will they handle it?

WUCKER: Well, I think it was really striking that he expressed that he wasn‘t quite so concerned about that because in the past, whenever there have been political problems in Haiti - coups, instability, whenever there have been other natural disasters - there‘s been a lot of concern about that in the Dominican Republic.

But I think it is something we should think about in the United States that we shouldn‘t count on the Dominican Republic to necessarily take up the slack. There are a lot of Haitians in the United States who need some sort of legal status, a temporary protected status, that‘s something that‘s often been offered to countries, particularly central American, who‘ve had natural disasters.

And I think it‘s something that would be very appropriate to offer to Haitians right now, not just to help them help Haitians back in Haiti, but also to ease some of the potential pressure on the Dominican Republic.

MADDOW: The United States government may be taking an initial step in that direction already by stopping deportations of people, of Haitians back to that country right now, even people for whom those proceedings had already started.

Michelle Wucker, director of the World Policy Institute, remind us again of the name of your book about the Dominican Republic and Haiti?

WUCKER: “Why The Cocks Fight: Dominicans and Haitians and the Struggle for Hispaniola.”

MADDOW: Thank you very much.

WUCKER: Thank you.

MADDOW: It‘s a pleasure to have you here. Thank you. Since Hurricane Katrina in our country, the American government‘s response to natural disasters has understandably come under some extra scrutiny.

Just ahead, a member of the president‘s cabinet, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, will be here to talk about the crisis in Haiti and the official American response. Stay with us.


MADDOW: Joining us now here in the studio is our nation‘s Agriculture Secretary, Tom Vilsack. He is coordinating with the rest of the Obama administration on relief efforts in Haiti. He has also just returned from meeting with leaders and with farmers in Afghanistan on U.S. efforts to rebuild their agriculture sector. Mr. Secretary, thank you for being here. It‘s good to have you here.


MADDOW: Give me a sense of the urgency with which this issue, the issue of Haiti, is being handled within the administration. We keep hearing about a whole of government response. But what does that really mean?

VILSACK: Well, it means that the president has been very clear to all of us that he wants a coordinated, quick reaction. That means that we have to get emergency food to Haiti. It means we have to get emergency medical supplies to Haiti. We have to get equipment, security - all of that has to be done simultaneously and has to be done in a coordinated fashion.

Fortunately, we have got a good person at the point, Raj Shah, the USAID administrator. He knows what he‘s doing. He has put a good team together and we are responding quickly. You‘re going to see substantial amount of progress, I think, in the next 24 hours as supplies arrive, as personnel arrives, as security arrives, food arrives. Over 14,000 metric tons of food is on its way.

So you‘re going to see a significant step in the right direction. Then, you‘re going to have to take a look at the long term. And this is going to be a commitment that the administration is prepared to make as the president said today for the long term.

Not only do you have to search and rescue and recover, but you also have to reconstruct. And that‘s going to take weeks, months, and years.

MADDOW: We are in a situation right now where it sounds like - when people describe what the response is, it sounds like a comprehensive, almost overwhelming response. And then, we see the footage of what‘s happening on Port-au-Prince and it‘s clear that there is a bottleneck, that things are not getting to the people who need them and what it seems from - We‘re able to talk to people in the airport and in the streets, people able to get some close-up view of what‘s happening, is that it‘s a coordination issue as much as it is a logistics issue.

Yes, the roads are difficult to pass, but who is in charge? There isn‘t much of a Haitian government in operation at this point. The U.N. says they‘re in charge. They‘ve got their own challenges. How does America navigate that?

VILSACK: Well, essentially America takes the position that we need to get equipment in place. Let me give you an example. We‘re going to see helicopters. We‘re going to see air transportation provided. That‘s going to make a big difference in terms of being able to move in and around the city and deliver resources.

We‘re going to see heavy equipment. That‘s going to make a difference in terms of moving concrete blocks that might be in the way. It does take a little time to get this organized and get the items in place and the personnel in place to make sure that there‘s adequate security.

But there is no question the president has made it very clear to all of us he wants us to focus on this and he wants to get it done. He wants to get it done right and he wants to get it done now.

MADDOW: We know about the 82nd airborne, the Marines, the USS Carl Vincent on the way. We know USAID, as you say, is in a coordinating role as part of the State Department. What is the role, say, of your agency? What are other aspects of the government doing that Americans should know in terms of our response?

VILSACK: Well, we‘re reaching out to food companies to determine what surplus food they might be able to provide over the course of the longer haul. We‘ve made discussions with Bunge, Cargill, ADM, Wal-Mart stores that might be able to provide assistance and help.

We‘re taking a look at our own surplus commodities to determine whether they match up or not with what is needed. We‘re making sure we have used our Forest Service personnel who are very much involved in incident command. We have five people at the D.C. Incident Command working on logistics.

We will, over the long haul, no doubt be engaged in helping farmers plant their crops later in the year. Our forest people will probably be there reconstructing roads and building dams and irrigation systems that may have been destroyed by the earthquake.

We may also be using satellite imagery to determine the extent of damage beyond the capital area. So there are a multitude of tasks that the USDA will be engaged in and will be engaged in. And that is true, frankly, of virtually every aspect of the federal government.

MADDOW: And hearing you describe those tasks and honestly reflecting on what Tracy Kidder was saying about trying to build capacity, trying to build indigenous capacity, I am struck by some of the strategic parallels here with our mission in Afghanistan.

I know you‘re just back from Afghanistan but it is that same issue of both trying to help directly but also trying to build up local government capacity, trying not to do harm by the way that we are intervening. Obviously, this is not a military operation the way that that is but are there some of the same challenges?

VILSACK There are, absolutely, and perhaps even more complicated in Haiti because there isn‘t a functioning central government as there is in Afghanistan. There isn‘t a minister of agriculture who has enough resources to actually make something happen as is the case in Afghanistan.

So that is going to be a problem. And it‘s going to be a problem to make sure that we work in concert with Haitians, to make sure that they understand that we are helping them. We‘re not trying to direct them. We‘re not trying to dictate to them.

But at the end of the day, the farmers have to put the crops in the ground. People have to be fed. Water has to be obtained. Systems have to be replaced and repaired. Roads have to be constructed. All of that has to be done.

And I honestly believe that this is a tragic circumstance. The loss of life is horrendous. The key challenge for all of us is whether or not we can make something out of this, whether we can put Haiti back in the right direction.

I think the president believes we can. I think he thinks we have the capacity and the heart and the compassion to do it. And I think it‘s up to every single one of us to contribute. And certainly, I think all of the cabinet members are anxious to do that. And we‘ve instructed our staffs to be fully engaged in this.

MADDOW: To hear you express the desire and the president‘s will and this government‘s will to make it a long-term commitment, could make all the difference. But obviously, right now, the immediate need is to get things moving and fast.

VILSACK: That‘s right.

MADDOW: Tom Vilsack, our nation‘s agriculture secretary, I‘ve had a number of chances to interview you over the years in a number of - well, you‘ve had a number of different jobs and I always really find it a pleasure to talk to you. Thank you.

VILSACK: Thanks, Rachel.

MADDOW: Good to see you. We‘ll be right back with more of our continuing coverage on the catastrophe on Haiti.


MADDOW: Many of you have already donated money to help the millions of people affected by the earthquake in Haiti. Many more of you will donate in days and weeks ahead. If you donate by credit card, American Express and Visa and Mastercard have all announced that they will waive the few percentage points those companies would normally skim for themselves off of your payment. And good on them for that.

Some of you, however, will end run around the credit card companies altogether to donate money in a completely novel way. It‘s one of the ways that I personally gave today. I gave by text message. After the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004, Americans donated about $200,000 to charity through text messaging.

After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Americans donated about twice that, about $400,000 through text messaging. Last year, for all of 2009, for all causes, fundraising via cell phone hit the $2 million mark nationwide. That was all very good, very philanthropic.

But this time, for this disaster, the charitable donation numbers we are seeing dwarf those totals. A bunch of organizations are raising money this way for Haiti. But to just give you a ballpark idea of donate-by-texting‘s success, the American Red Cross alone has raised almost $6 million through text message donations in two days.

And the icing is that wireless carriers, AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile have agreed to waive their standard text messaging fees for those texted donations. Excellent.

Except for Sprint. Sprint not so much with the excellent. They told MSNBC today that standard text messaging charges will apply. They did say that their customers are free to buy text messaging plans from Sprint to cover the cost of that one text. Helpful. Thanks, Sprint.

Joining us now is Tony Aiello. He‘s the CEO and co-founder of M-Give one of the companies making it possible to donate by phone. M-Give is a for-profit company. They‘ve waived their start-up in transaction fees for the charities raising money for the crisis in Haiti in this sway. Mr. Aiello, thanks very much for joining us.

TONY AIELLO, CEO AND CO-FOUNDER, M-GIVE: Thanks for having me this evening, Rachel.

MADDOW: I know that you‘re waiving all your fees for donations to this disaster. Thank you. Before this quake, tell me how this service worked, how it would be set up. I know the donation amount would show up on a customer‘s phone bill.

AIELLO: Yes. That‘s exactly correct, as using this example as perfect because it works for day-to-day fundraising just like it does for disaster relief. So, in effect, the mobile user would, in this case, text the word Haiti to the number 90999 and receive a text message back asking them to confirm by replying with “yes.”

At that point, their mobile phone bill is tagged with a $10 donation. So that donor then actually pays that to their wireless carrier the next time they pay their bill. And the funds are then funneled to a 501 C3 called M-Give Foundation and then distributed to the appropriate charities. In this case - this campaign - all the funds are going to the Red Cross.

MADDOW: I would also say that if you‘re worried about getting spam on your cell phone because you‘ve done this, I did this today, and after you get sent the “yes” and you get the confirmation, you then get a note that says, “Do you keep getting texts from the American Red Cross?” You can write back and say “no” if you don‘t want to. So it‘s sort of a “whew” if you‘re worried about that.

One of the things that I am worried about this, although I think

it‘s cool to donate at the spur of the moment -


MADDOW: I‘m worried it‘s a quick way to donate but it takes too long this way for the money to actually arrive at the charity that I just donated to. Can you explain that?

AIELLO: Well, sure. As I mentioned a moment ago, when the - if you and I both give today, we might be paying our mobile bill on a different cycle or a different monthly billing cycle.

So the carriers have to collect all of that money and then distribute it to the 501-C3 clearing house and then distribute it to the charity. So everyone in the chain wants to get the money to the Red Cross as fast as possible.

And all parties involved - they‘re working to try to streamline that effort. And right now, in traditional day-to-day fundraising, it‘s about a 90-day - 90 days between the time that the mobile user presses the buttons on the phone and the dollars arrive at the charity.

We hope to streamline that for this disaster based on the size and scope of this situation. The tragedy boggles the mind, so everybody wants to get the money to the charity as fast as possible.

That said, because this is such a major disaster, I think people are going to be needing dollars for quite some time. So you know, clearly your point is well taken. The goal is to get the money to the charity as quickly as possible.

MADDOW: Mr. Aiello, I think it‘s an incredibly successful way to raise money. If that window does get shorter than the time it is now and you talk about these details on your Web site, let us know and we‘ll tell people. We‘ll help get the word out.

Tony Aiello is the CEO and the co-founder of M-Give, a company that allows you to text donations to nonprofits. As Mr. Aiello Said, if you‘d like to text a donation for relief to Haiti, we have a list of charities that accept text donations posted on our Web site, which is Mr. Aiello, thank you. And we will be right back.


MADDOW: We‘re back live at 11:00 p.m. Eastern. “COUNTDOWN” with Keith Olbermann starts right now.


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Transcript of Hardball with Chris Matthews for January 5, 2010

Guests: Matt Nesto, Pat Buchanan, David Rivkin, Alejandro Beutel, Susan Page, Mark McKinnon, Drew Westen, Michael Steele

Transcript of program:

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Obama cracks the whip. Let‘s play HARDBALL. Good evening. I‘m Chris Matthews in Washington. Leading off tonight:

Too slow? President Obama just cracked the whip on the Christmas bombing intelligence failures, but is he going too slow, President Obama‘s big problem? That‘s when something happens, or should happen, it takes him a long time to get on it. Health care waddles its way through Congress, and he watches. There‘s a horrid (ph) terrorist incident at Ft. Hood, and he shows up days later and a bit too cool.

And he‘s only (ph) late today calling a meeting of his security people to find out why a guy nearly blew up an airplane over Detroit on Christmas Day. Is this slowness to act, this tendency to narrate events, rather than control them, the reason President Obama is being hit so hard these days from right, as well as left? Republicans are out to destroy him, obviously, but where are his supporters on the Democratic side? Are they slow to defend him because he, the president, has been slow to lead?

The head of the Republican National Committee, Michael Steele, who‘s coming here, has made his plans clear. His new book is called “Right Now:

A 12-Step Program for Defeating the Obama Agenda.” Could it be that the Republicans poll lower than any point in history because all they do—all they do—is say no? Michael Steele joins us later.

Plus, the increased check on airline passengers from 14 countries. Is this a reasonable thing for us to do, given that the 9/11 killers came from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Lebanon and the Emirates? What are we supposed to do? Let‘s debate it.

And can we talk? How is it possible the underwear bomber makes it onto the plane but Joan Rivers can‘t? That‘s in the “Sideshow,” where it belongs.

And finally, is the tea party movement the answer to a Republican comeback or a sign of its demise?

Let‘s start with President Obama‘s meeting, just held this afternoon, with his national security team. Did he deliver a tough enough call to action in the wake of the failed Christmas Day bombing plot? Pat Buchanan‘s an MSNBC political analyst and Drew Westen is a professor of psychology at Emory University and author of “The Political Brain.”

You‘re a smart guy, Drew. What‘s the president‘s problem? Why does he seem to be taking a lot of heat from all directions, especially right now?

DREW WESTEN, AUTHOR, “THE POLITICAL BRAIN”: Well, I think, in general, what we‘ve seen from the president is just what you describe, which is often too late, too soon—I mean, coming on too—whatever the word—whatever that phrase is! He‘s a little too slow to react and typically waits until the damage has been done.

In this case, I‘m not sure he was—that was the case. I thought he delivered a pretty strong—strong speech today. But the problem was, the conflicting message between him today and his homeland security chief, Janet Napolitano, when this first struck, where her tone was very reassuring, Don‘t worry, the system worked, and now today his tone is very different. But I thought he took a much better tone today.

MATTHEWS: Yes, they‘re still paying for her comment, that the system works, when it‘s like a chicken in every basket. It sounded like something from the Hoover administration.

Here‘s President Obama after the meeting today.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The bottom line is this. The U.S. government had sufficient information to have uncovered this plot and potentially disrupt the Christmas Day attack, but our intelligence community failed to connect those dots which would have placed the suspect on the no-fly list. In other words, this was not a failure to collect intelligence, it was a failure to integrate and understand the intelligence that we already had. The information was there. Agencies and analysts who needed it had access to it, and our professionals were trained to look for it and to bring it all together.

Now, I will accept that intelligence by its nature is imperfect. But it is increasingly clear that intelligence was not fully analyzed or fully leveraged. That‘s not acceptable. And I will not tolerate it.


MATTHEWS: Would that have been a better statement on St. Stephen‘s Day, the day after Christmas, 10 days ago?

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Oh, it sure would. That is tough. He‘s—there‘s some anger in that, Chris. There‘s a sense of, Look, let‘s get to the bottom of this. Somebody dropped the ball here. This is a grave situation. Three hundred people could have been scattered across Detroit area. And I‘m going to find some answers. Somebody didn‘t connect the dots, and I‘m going to find out whether the information didn‘t get to DNI, the director of national intelligence, or whether the dots were not connected there.

I think out of this, you‘re going to see possibly...

MATTHEWS: Didn‘t you know, Pat—as an observer and reporter, didn‘t you know that everything that he just said...


MATTHEWS: ... a couple days right after Christmas?

BUCHANAN: As soon as you heard...

MATTHEWS: You didn‘t have to wait until the 5th of January.

BUCHANAN: No, as soon as you heard the guy had this manufactured bomb sewn into his underwear, he‘s a 23-year-old Nigerian, somebody...

MATTHEWS: You know all these facts.

BUCHANAN: Well, you can...

MATTHEWS: You knew that we had picked up information in Yemen...


MATTHEWS: ... just a few days after. You knew the kid‘s father had warned us...

BUCHANAN: Exactly.

MATTHEWS: ... more than a week ago. Why did he give the speech today?

BUCHANAN: Well, that‘s his problem. As Drew was saying, he is late. He is too little, too late. I think this is a good move. I think he is on top of it now, Chris. But he‘s been damaged by these 10 days. And I know Cheney‘s been hit, but I‘ll tell you, Cheney has stung him, and if he stung him to this action, that‘s a good thing.

MATTHEWS: Well, a broken clock is right twice a day. That would include Dick Cheney. Drew, your thoughts about this timing issue. Is this endemic? Is this, to use the term all over the place right now, systemic, this slowness and rather coolness with regard to Ft. Hood? The president arrived several days later and was part of that service down there, appropriately so. Many people thought he was a bit too detached, he didn‘t really feel emotionally connected to the event. It was about our service people getting killed in the line of duty. He didn‘t seem to act emotional, as most presidents would in those circumstances. Is it timing? Is it emotion? Detachment? Size it up.

WESTEN: I think—I think you‘re right on the money on...

MATTHEWS: No, I‘m asking you. You‘ll notice there‘s an interrogate.


MATTHEWS: I‘m asking you because I know what you think and I‘m asking you to define it.

WESTEN: Well, I think it‘s both timing and emotion. And I‘m really with Pat on this. I think this is—that this is a—I think this is, as the president would use the word, a systemic problem. We saw this on health care, where there was no passion in anything that he did until it got to be October and the plan was almost run into the ground. There wasn‘t a coherent story that he told on health care, really, until October, when he decided to say, OK, I guess there are some problems here, let me tell you about what they are. It took him a long time to get there. And I think that, you know, he‘s a—he‘s a guy who comes across as—he can be phenomenally passionate. That‘s what won him the election. But he‘s preferred to run...


BUCHANAN: Let me tell you his problem...

WESTEN: ... the government much more like a—much more like Dukakis.

BUCHANAN: His problem is he is not a natural executive at all. He is not engaged. He is diffident. He is—quite frankly, he is academic. He is professorial. He is aloof. And even on health care, the thing—the tea party people almost dynamited that thing during the summer. Then he did come back and give his speech...


BUCHANAN: ... but then he says, OK, Harry Reid‘s got it. He just doesn‘t seem to be terribly...

MATTHEWS: OK, let‘s talk about...

BUCHANAN: ... engaged...

MATTHEWS: ... that executive role. And I want you to jump in here, Drew, because I think we‘re on to something very narrow and very particular and pointed here. Something like the White House security and those grifters broke in—a small matter, you could argue, because nothing really went wrong, but they did break in. They had no right to be there. It took him the longest time.

Now, Sally Quinn, who writes about things in Washington, said today in “The Washington Post” on the op-ed page, he should have fired somebody. It should have been Mark Sullivan out of Secret—somebody, Desiree Rogers, in charge of social life. That was a case. Then the other thing with this thing with the airplane almost being blown up—nobody seems to be—you don‘t get a sense he‘s the boss.

BUCHANAN: Look, I...

MATTHEWS: He‘s got some people like Rahm Emanuel enforcing them. And nobody gets sledgehammered.

BUCHANAN: Well, let me tell you—this is—now, I know you might...


MATTHEWS: ... what Sally said...

BUCHANAN: You might not like the...

MATTHEWS: ... the president explained (ph) every time.

BUCHANAN: You might not like this comparison, but Nixon would have called in Haldeman, if those two people had walked in there. What went on, Bob? What happened? You get to the bottom of this. Heads roll. And Haldeman would have been right on top of this. I know they ran into a lot of trouble, but I‘ll tell you, that was the best-run White House I have ever been in, first term of Nixon. I mean, when Nixon demanded this kind of action—and he would not have been satisfied...

MATTHEWS: Well, Watergate, was first term, though.

BUCHANAN: Well, Watergate was first term. There‘s no doubt about it.

OK. You can laugh about it, what I‘m saying...

MATTHEWS: I‘m not. I‘m just bringing it up.

BUCHANAN: ... is Bob Haldeman was an executive.

WESTEN: He was decisive.

BUCHANAN: And I don‘t know that—and Rahm Emanuel is a congressman and a guy that runs around getting money from Wall Street.

MATTHEWS: OK, let me get a little dispassionate from you there, Drew, and that is this question. Executive ability—this president was not a governor. He was not a mayor. He‘s not used to cashing the checks or signing them. He‘s not used to being there when there‘s a four-alarm fire downtown.

My idea of a president, my idea of a mayor, a police chief is exactly the same. In fact, the job I‘ve always wanted was police commissioner of Philly, OK? I want to be the guy standing on the curb when there‘s a big fire. I want to be there when the reporters come by and says, What happened here? Have you got things under control? How many engines you got here? Are you going to put it out in an hour or what? I want to see a president on the job. I love that stuff.

I thought Bush was out to lunch during Katrina. I think that really killed his presidency and his role in history because he wasn‘t there. He was somewhere in Crawford with his feet up, drinking near beers. I don‘t know what he was doing, but he wasn‘t on the job.

This president was in Hawaii getting some sun. Fair enough. But it looked terrible. It looked terrible. When there‘s a big fire, the mayor ought to be there.

WESTEN: Well, you‘re absolutely right, and...

MATTHEWS: That‘s my thought. What are your—what‘s your thought...

WESTEN: ... your example of...

MATTHEWS: I mean, you‘re the brain here. You wrote about “The Political Brain.”


MATTHEWS: Give me some brain, will you?

WESTEN: I just write about brains.

MATTHEWS: Well, tell me what his brain should have been doing.

WESTEN: He—well, you know, what his brain should have been thinking back to was the other Bush, who came out on September 12th with that foghorn because that‘s the Bush who actually captivated the American people...

MATTHEWS: I liked that guy.

WESTEN: ... because he showed the passion. You know, he was right there, and every American stood by him. And the president we saw today...

MATTHEWS: Then he let Cheney eat him up like a Pacman. Cheney and the neocons grabbed that little hero that we loved with the firefighter and turned him into a little agent of their causes.

WESTEN: Let me give you another example...

WESTEN: Absolutely.


MATTHEWS: We all know that now.

BUCHANAN: Let me give you another example, Chris, Robert Kennedy. If something had gone wrong and Jack Kennedy calls up and said, Find out, he would have been...

MATTHEWS: He would have kneecapped the guy.

BUCHANAN: ... all over—he would have been all over it. Lyndon Johnson—What happened here? And he would have been right on top of it immediately. But you know, to be out there snorkeling...

MATTHEWS: I think—OK, here‘s the problem. Can a president who‘s naturally dispassionate—I‘ve been accused of being yesterday by saying he‘s Ray Milland because he‘s so calm, he never gets ruffled, he never sweats, like Pat and I do. He never shows the passion of leadership. Can he lead without passion?

WESTEN: No, I mean, you can‘t lead without passion. The reality is that you can‘t be motivated without passion. Passion is what gets us to move. And if he can‘t get that passion, if he can‘t get worked up, he‘s not going to be able to lead and he‘s not going to be able to motivate.


MATTHEWS: People don‘t change, though, Drew.

BUCHANAN: Passion...

MATTHEWS: All my life, I keep asking people, women who want their husbands to change, wives—husbands who want their wives—I always say to people, Have you ever met anybody, Drew, who‘s changed?

BUCHANAN: Chris? Chris?

MATTHEWS: I mean, that‘s my question.

BUCHANAN: Passion is a reflection of conviction and belief.


BUCHANAN: I mean, you get passionate because you really care about it. You can‘t keep faking it if you don‘t have it.

MATTHEWS: OK. Ronald Reagan did not lose his temper often, but people knew where he stood.

BUCHANAN: But he was passionate.

MATTHEWS: Right. Well, what‘s the difference?

WESTEN: Well, this is where...

BUCHANAN: When you‘d go into a meeting with Ronald Reagan...

WESTEN: This is where...

BUCHANAN: ... and he‘d start—go ahead. Go ahead, Drew.


WESTEN: I was going to say, Pat, I fully agree with you. This is where I think the real crux of the issue is, which is that no one really knows where Obama stands on virtually anything because he doesn‘t express his passion on anything.

MATTHEWS: Well, let me—let me...

WESTEN: We don‘t know where he stands on...

MATTHEWS: Let me stop you. Let me stop the music here. I know where he stands. He wants national health insurance. I know where he stands, he‘s a Keynesian economic with the cojones to put out a real fiscal and monetary policy to stop the hell that was breaking loose at the end of the Bush administration. I know those things.

I know—I disagree with him about Afghanistan. He‘s somewhere in the middle of Afghanistan. He‘s with me on Iraq.

BUCHANAN: But Chris, let me ask you...

MATTHEWS: It was a mistake. So I do know where he stands.

BUCHANAN: Well, you know, I agree. I know where he stands.

MATTHEWS: And Pat knows all those things.

BUCHANAN: I know where he stands. But again, about his belief. Do you think this is really a war president? We‘re going to go in and take them out the way Petraeus...


BUCHANAN: McChrystal and Petraeus believe in the war. I‘m not sure he believes in the war.

MATTHEWS: On the war against al Qaeda, he‘s been clear about from the beginning.

BUCHANAN: OK, he‘s also—we know his position on health care. Does he care deeply enough...

MATTHEWS: OK, Pat, let me tell you a problem. We had—we had Mr. Magoo running us for eight years, by the way. They went over to get al Qaeda. They ended up fighting with Iraq. I mean, they got—they were so off-base. So passion ain‘t enough. Vision, smarts, brains.

BUCHANAN: All right...

MATTHEWS: We should have gone after the guy. I‘m with Michael Smerconish on that, from Philly. We went after to get al Qaeda, we still haven‘t gotten them. We went after to get bin Laden and we went after to get Mullah Omar and the whole rest of them. We still haven‘t gotten them. So we say, Well, we can‘t get them, so let‘s go to war with Saddam Hussein.

BUCHANAN: But look...

MATTHEWS: That‘s what we did do. That was passion.

BUCHANAN: But George W. Bush had passion.

WESTEN: It was idiocy.

BUCHANAN: That‘s why he rolled the Democratic Senate...


BUCHANAN: ... with Daschle and Hillary...


BUCHANAN: ... and Biden and all of them voting for war.

MATTHEWS: OK, a great pollster once said to me—to end up here, Drew—every great leader needs three things—motive—Reagan had it, Thatcher had it, I think this president has it. You know where he‘s going. Big picture, you know where he‘s going. He needs passion and he needs, or she needs, spontaneity, to react quickly to events. The lights are on and somebody‘s home. I think the Obama problem is not passion. It‘s not motive. I know both are there. It‘s spontaneity, the ability to move quick and say, You‘re right, I don‘t like it, let‘s go. You say executive ability. That‘s what I think is missing.

BUCHANAN: Scotty Reston said every journalist needs three things—drive, drive, drive.


BUCHANAN: And that‘s what‘s missing.

MATTHEWS: OK, we all have our list. Pat Buchanan, Drew Westen...


MATTHEWS: ... “The Political Brain.”

WESTEN: Good to see you again.

MATTHEWS: Coming up: The chairman of the Republican National Committee, Michael Steele, takes aim at, well, his own party, saying they‘ve screwed up after Ronald Reagan. Well, we‘ll get to that. He‘s much tougher on the Dems. But can Republicans right their ship by standing against everything? Can the no party get a yes from the American people? Michael Steele coming right here to sell his book on HARDBALL next.

You‘re watching it, only on MSNBC.



SEAN HANNITY, HOST, “HANNITY”: Do you think you can take over the House? Do you think Republicans...

MICHAEL STEELE, RNC CHAIRMAN: Not this year. And Sean, I‘ll say honestly...

HANNITY: You don‘t think so.

STEELE: Well—well, I don‘t know yet because we don‘t have all the candidates. We still have vacancies that need to get filled.


MATTHEWS: Wow. Welcome back to HARDBALL. That was Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele with Sean Hannity last night. A spokesman for the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee, the NRCC, said, quote, “Independent political analysts and even liberal columnists have stated that Republicans have a very real shot at taking back the majority in 2010. Make no mistake about it, we‘re playing to win.”

Well, Chairman Steele has a new book called “Right Now: A 12-Step Program for Defeating the Obama Agenda.” He joins us tonight from New York. Do you stick with what you said the other night on Sean, that you don‘t think your party can win back the House this time?

STEELE: Well, Chris, let me—let me just start by saying I gave, I think, an honest analysis of the situation. I‘m not a pundit there. I want to play to win. What—the point I was making, if you go through the rest of that interview, was we‘re in the process of now putting our players on the table. We‘re still building that farm team in some races. We‘ve got primaries that are going to be competitive. We want to see how that turns out. So there are a lot of things to take into consideration.

I agree with the NRCC and the NRSC and others around in the party who believe that we have real shots this November. And I‘m playing to win, as well. But I‘m not going to sit here in January, not knowing where all of my pieces are on this playground, or this chess board, and tell you, Oh, we‘re going to do it absolutely this way or that way.


STEELE: So what I was trying to say is, we‘re now beginning to put a good team in place. Coming off the wins in New Jersey and Virginia, I feel very good about next fall and I‘m excited and ready to rock and roll.

MATTHEWS: Let me restate the question...


MATTHEWS: ... that Sean put to you. Can you—it isn‘t “Will you,” he said, Can you win the House this year?


MATTHEWS: Can you...

STEELE: Yes, we can.

MATTHEWS: ... Mr. Chairman, win the House?

STEELE: I think we can.

MATTHEWS: OK, so you have a different answer. Let me ask you...

STEELE: Yes, we can.

MATTHEWS: Let me—let me—the question—you know, I get the feeling, reading your book—well, not having read it, but looking at the cover and checking my name in it, like everybody else—and thank you for the mention.

STEELE: Hey, look, if you...

MATTHEWS: A lot of...

STEELE: Can I just say real quick...

MATTHEWS: Well, by the way, I‘ve got to ask—sir, go ahead.

STEELE: No, I was just going to say, you know what I appreciate and why I put that in there? Because the one thing I‘ve always appreciated about you is that you don‘t try to hide or color what your perspectives or your views are.

MATTHEWS: Well, thank you. Well...


STEELE: You wear that passion...


STEELE: We know you‘re an unabashed liberal...

MATTHEWS: ... this president, by the way—no, no. I‘ll accept all of that, except I don‘t think unabashed is right, but liberal on a lot of things. But let me tell you this. I‘m also a critic every day of when things go wrong. And I made that comment—I‘ll say it again—I wished him well, like I wished Bush well in the beginning, I wished Clinton well in the beginning. I wish all these presidents well in the beginning. And I have been—I have been rooting for him and I will continue to root for his success because I think I want him to succeed. That‘s clear.


MATTHEWS: But I‘m a critic every day.

Here‘s a question for you book—for your book, which I found fascinating. I‘m looking, like all Washingtonians do, at your book, and I look in the back of it under P‘s. And I look at these names, Pacino, Al. We know who he is.


MATTHEWS: Party of Lincoln, great for a Republican like yourself.


MATTHEWS: Paterson, David, the under-attack governor of New York.


MATTHEWS: Pawlenty, Tim, from Minnesota. PBS, that‘s an odd thing for a Republican to quote.


MATTHEWS: Daniel Pearl, of course, the man, the great heroic journalist who was killed over there.


MATTHEWS: Pelosi, Nancy. Prejean, the beautiful woman from California who was Miss California.


MATTHEWS: And public option.

But there‘s a big P. missing here.


MATTHEWS: Where is the big P. from Alaska? What—no mention of her?


MATTHEWS: She‘s the most admired woman in the country, next to—alongside Hillary Clinton, and you don‘t even give her the respect of a mention in your book as chairman of the Republican Party?

STEELE: Hey, look, she just wrote a book.

MATTHEWS: Here‘s the book. Sarah, you‘re not even in here.


STEELE: She just wrote a book.

MATTHEWS: You‘re not even in here.

What do we make of that?

STEELE: Well, you know, there‘s nothing to make of that.

MATTHEWS: Nothing to make of it? She notices it, I‘m sure.

STEELE: Well, no, no, no. Look, first off, the governor and I are good buddies. And I have an enormous amount of respect and gratitude for her run last year and what she‘s done as governor of the state.

MATTHEWS: Well, why are you afraid to speak her name?


STEELE: Oh, come on, Chris. Afraid to speak—Palin, OK? I‘m not afraid to speak her name.

MATTHEWS: Well, what do you go to say about her, since you won‘t write about her?


STEELE: The emphasis of the book—look, the emphasis of the book, the emphasis of the book—and I invite everyone, starting with you, to actually read it cover to cover. And you will understand that this is not about singling out one individual and focusing on one personality.

MATTHEWS: All right. OK.

STEELE: This is about a party that‘s in recovery, a party that‘s about to enter into a renaissance, in which we can begin connecting to the American people on—I think on some foundational principles, whether you‘re talking health care or the war in Iraq or whatever it happens to be. That‘s the focus here. This is the blueprint and the pathway to do that.

MATTHEWS: Can I use some common language? I want to use some street language with you, if you don‘t mind...


MATTHEWS: ... because I think we speak the language of the people of both parties.

STEELE: Absolutely. You hear me. I‘m street.

MATTHEWS: It seems to me that the Democrats have a problem. The economy is terrible, 10 percent unemployment. The president came in with hell on wheels and he‘s done, I think, a good job. But, clearly, there‘s nothing to hand—no roses to hand out yet, no rewards yet politically.

But the Republican Party keeps in all the polling by “The Wall Street Journal” and NBC keeps coming up as a bad brand.

STEELE: Sure, yes.

MATTHEWS: About one in five Americans call themselves Republicans. Even if you‘re a conservative, people aren‘t willing to say, I‘m a Republican.


MATTHEWS: If your brand sucks, how can you rebuild the product?

STEELE: Well, that‘s exactly what this blueprint is about.

That‘s what this—this book really focuses on, starting with the mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa, which you and I are familiar with, as good little Catholic boys.


STEELE: And the reality of it is, you can‘t begin to make a step forward unless you understand what you‘re stepping away from, or, more importantly, what you have stepped into.


MATTHEWS: What, Iraq?


MATTHEWS: Was Iraq...


MATTHEWS: What were the big mistakes? Was it Katrina? Because you are getting honest here, and I know you‘re going to pull back, because you‘re almost getting honest.


STEELE: No, I‘m not going to pull back.


MATTHEWS: Not paying attention to Katrina, was that a mistake by the president?

STEELE: It was Katrina. It was the government buildup. It was spending.


MATTHEWS: Going into Iraq, when we should have been fighting al Qaeda, was that a mistake?


STEELE: No, I don‘t think that was a mistake, because...


MATTHEWS: Going into Iraq wasn‘t a mistake? The American people think so.

STEELE: Well, look, you have to—you have to look at the—the totality of what the president saw and what the president knew, the information, along with the Democrats, as you noted in the last segment, who stood with the president on the war in Iraq. And, when it became politically expedient for them, they flipped like a jailbird on the issue.


STEELE: But, having said that, the broader point here, more importantly, is that, as a party...


STEELE: ... we stepped away from principle. And this, I think, is a pathway back to regaining that ground.


MATTHEWS: OK. You know when you stepped away from principle? When President Bush wouldn‘t veto a single overspending bill the entire time your party ran the Congress, not one.

STEELE: Duly noted in the book. Duly noted in the book.

MATTHEWS: Not one.

Let me ask you a tricky question.


MATTHEWS: You know, I get—there‘s a lot of fight. And I may take the Republican side on this fight, whether we should be taking these people, like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, up to New York and having them a big trial at the cost of $200 million in a year in New York City. And I would say that just exposes us to all kinds of trouble, including crazy jurors, potentially, who just have all kinds of theories.


MATTHEWS: Let me ask you this.

Is it a reasonable debate or is there a right side and a wrong side to this? Is the right side we have to have military tribunals for these kind of people, and the wrong side we have criminal cases? Is it as simple as that?

STEELE: I think, to a large extent, it is, Chris, because, at the end of the day, you have got to call it what it is. Who are you dealing with here? Who are the—who are the jury of Khalid Mohammed‘s peers? Who are his peers?

I mean, what American or what New York citizen is his peer that can sit in judgment of him?

MATTHEWS: So, that‘s the wrong side of this issue.

STEELE: It‘s the wrong side. And the reason it is...

MATTHEWS: So, then, why did your president, our president at the time, George W. Bush, try the shoe bomber under criminal court in the United States? You said it was the wrong way to go. Well, then why did your president and our president at the time do that?

STEELE: You know, look, again, I wasn‘t in that meeting.

MATTHEWS: Have I tricked you? I have tricked you.


STEELE: You have not tricked me.

MATTHEWS: I have let you give a policy position here which I have now explained to you ran contrary to what the Republican president did.


MATTHEWS: You‘re laughing. But you just took a principled position and said it‘s wrong to have a criminal trial.


STEELE: Wait a minute.

MATTHEWS: And I have just reminded you that the shoe bomber got a criminal trial...


MATTHEWS: ... and was convicted of life imprisonment.


STEELE: You haven‘t let me tell answer the question, bro. Let me tell you what the deal is.


MATTHEWS: You did answer it. I caught you.

STEELE: No, you didn‘t catch me, because you started...

MATTHEWS: I nailed you.

STEELE: I started to tell you that...

MATTHEWS: The tape will show it.


STEELE: Let‘s go to the videotape.

MATTHEWS: The tape will show, sir, that you said the right position was military tribunals and the wrong position was criminal. And the president of the last instance, George W. Bush, went the criminal route with the shoe bomber. And you cannot explain the contradiction in your thinking.


STEELE: No, I‘m not. OK. Well, you clearly have answered my question for me. So, I guess I will just leave that as the answer...

MATTHEWS: No, I have judged it. I have judged your answer.

STEELE: ... because all I said—my start was, I wasn‘t in the room on that.

But, then, if you let me finish it, I would have gone on to say that I do not think that we should subject our courts, whether it‘s under a Republican administration or a Democrat administration, to—to terrorists who are not about our Constitution. To wrap our Constitution around these imbeciles is not smart. It‘s not smart politics and it‘s not smart national security policy.

And the reality of it is, again, whether you‘re talking then or now, to be consistent, in review...

MATTHEWS: I agree. By the way, that‘s a reasonable position.

STEELE: ... that this—our criminal justice system tries crooks, common criminals. It doesn‘t try terrorists.


MATTHEWS: And, by the way, we can disagree, because I could argue that terrorist behavior is criminal.

But let me ask you this. Can you still be a liberal Republican, like the ones we grew up with like Rockefeller, and Henry Cabot Lodge, and Jack Javits, and Bill Scranton? Is it still OK to be a liberal Republican?


MATTHEWS: Or there‘s no—there‘s not—a liberal Republican, not a moderate, a liberal?

STEELE: Well, I don‘t know what a liberal Republican is, I mean, because I—what I do know, I know Republicans who adhere to certain core principles like, you know, taxes and the amount that we pay, the role of government, free markets and free enterprise, you know, looking at communities and appreciating the ability to create reinvestment and opportunities for people who are trying to move up the ladder of success, if you‘re standing with us on those core principles, if you value, you know, the livelihoods and the lives of individuals to achieve the American dream, then I think this is a party you can stand with.

MATTHEWS: OK. OK. OK. Thank you very much, Michael Steele.

The name of your book is “Right Now: A 12-Step Program For Defeating the Obama Administration.” It sounds like something to do with Alcoholics Anonymous here, a 12-step program.


MATTHEWS: Anyway, we will talk about that the next time.

STEELE: It‘s all about recovery, my friend.


MATTHEWS: Oh, God, you‘re open-minded about it.

Up next: How did the underwear bomber get onto an airplane, but comedian Joan Rivers couldn‘t? That‘s coming up next in the “Sideshow.”

There she is.


MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL. Time for the “Sideshow.”

Well, comedians take vacations, too, but they were back last night working the weird side of that attempted Christmas airline bombing.

Let‘s start with our pal Jay.


JAY LENO, HOST, “THE JAY LENO SHOW”: You know, it is good to be back. We were off for Christmas. And, apparently, so was the Department of Homeland Security.


LENO: Yes.



DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, “THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN”: He wants to blow the plane up. He sets his underpants on fire.


LETTERMAN: And thank God the passengers on the plane subdue the guy.

They secure him. They tie him up, and they move him to first class.

And I was...


LETTERMAN: Wow. Are we sending the right message there, really?






TOWNSEND: It was a one-way ticket.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Paid nearly $3,000 in cash for his plane ticket and checked no bags.



STEWART: It‘s December. He‘s going from Nigeria to Amsterdam to Detroit without a coat?


STEWART: With a one-way ticket? Oh, do you think he‘s going to Detroit to start a better life?




MATTHEWS: I didn‘t know he didn‘t have a coat. It‘s cold in Detroit.

It was cold everywhere here this Christmas.

Anyway, meanwhile, another comic, Joan Rivers herself, got into this thing firsthand. She was bumped from a U.S.-bound flight out of Costa Rica because of her passport, which, according to “The New York Daily News,” reads Joan Rosenberg, AKA Joan Rivers. Doesn‘t anybody in Costa Rica know who Joan Rivers is? Apparently, nobody there at the security line. She was stranded overnight.

Finally, on “LARRY KING” last night, Republican Congressman Ron Paul, the libertarian, who is a hero to many, including a lot of young people out there, took on Dick Cheney‘s constant criticism of President Obama.


LARRY KING, HOST, “LARRY KING LIVE”: What about Dick Cheney‘s complaints?


REP. RON PAUL ®, TEXAS: Well, I think he had his eight years and he‘s caused a lot of trouble for our country, and he perpetuated a war in Iraq that was unnecessary and wrongheaded. So, I would say that it best he not be so critical right now.


MATTHEWS: Wow. Well said.

I would add that a vice president whose chief of staff got nailed with four felony convictions shouldn‘t be advising us on how to run things properly.

Up next: The Obama administration orders pat-down searches of all U.S.-bound passengers coming in from 14 countries, and now some groups are crying foul. But when the people who try to attack us come from these countries, isn‘t it better to be safe than worry about hurt feelings? That debate straight ahead.

You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.


MATT NESTO, CNBC CORRESPONDENT: I‘m Matt Nesto with your CNBC “Market Wrap.”

Stocks ended the day mixed. A blockbuster sales report from Ford helped lift the S&P. The Dow industrials were down 12 points, the S&P up just about 3 ½, and Nasdaq with a tiny little gain of its own.

Ford shares were up 6.5 percent after reporting a 23 percent jump in December sales. That‘s almost three times what analysts were expecting. The other big U.S. automakers not faring as well—GM sales down almost 13 percent. Chrysler saw a 10.5 percent drop, capping the automaker‘s worst year since 1962.

Kraft Foods at the top of the Dow industrials today, up almost 5 percent, after top shareholder Warren Buffett opposed the company‘s plan to issue millions of new shares to buy British candy-maker Cadbury.

And Continental Airlines up 13 percent, after the new CEO said he will forgo his annual salary and bonus until his airline is back in the black.

That‘s it from CNBC. We‘re first in business worldwide—now back to



In an effort to increase security, obviously, the Transportation—the Transportation Security Administration—that‘s the TSA—the people that check us at the airports, has increased screening measures for airline passengers coming from 14 countries. Look at them around the world there. They‘re all highlighted there.

Alejandro Beutel is with the Muslim Public Affairs Council. He says this is the wrong way to go about safety. David Rivkin, a former Reagan and Justice Department official who has been with us, disagrees.

Let me start with you, David.

Why is it smart to go to these 14 countries, Afghanistan, Algeria—it includes Cuba, by the way, Iran, some on the state terrorism list, all these countries, mostly Islamic countries, except for Cuba, I guess. Why do we have to—and what they are doing in these case is have extra pat-downs, basically extra check of your carry-on luggage. It‘s sort of what they do—I travel all the time, gentlemen—it‘s what they do when you get on that SSS list, when they pull you aside and they say, OK, we‘re going to check out everything. We‘re going to wand you. We‘re going to check your luggage by hand.

They do that to you if you break one of the rules or your—the buzzer goes off too many times.


MATTHEWS: Is that a right or a wrong way to go?

RIVKIN: It‘s a reasonable way to go. Let‘s agree that profiling—let‘s leave aside political correctness—is a way of marshaling scare resources to manage a large threat.

The real question, is this the right way to profile? Let‘s agree that these countries, coming from these countries is a reasonable proxy for the probability, enhanced probability, that you might be a terrorist. I, frankly, think we need to look at other factors. We need to look at age. We need to look at gender. We need to do...


MATTHEWS: What does that tell you? What are you talking for?

RIVKIN: Well, young males are dis—but, again, we shouldn‘t be blinded by it. We have women terrorist bombers. But, by and large...


MATTHEWS: OK, let me ask you the bluntest question.

The people that attacked us on 9/11, hard, horrific evidence, they were checked. They were called back out of line again because they—they set off the metal detectors. They‘re carrying box-cutters. They were still allowed to get on the plane. They still killed the 3,000 people.

RIVKIN: Chris, we need to do two things.

MATTHEWS: So, what good does it do to pull a person out of line and do one of these pat-downs...

RIVKIN: Nothing.

MATTHEWS: ... if all it‘s going to do is slow somebody down for 10 minutes?

RIVKIN: Nothing if it‘s ineffective, by itself. But if you combine it with other measures—you have to work the process from beginning to end. Selecting people, checking people and making sure they don‘t get through, if they are carrying something suspicious objects. You need to do all of them. It‘s not either/or.

MATTHEWS: Your thoughts? What do we do? These are countries, not ethnic groups, being identified. These are countries. By the way, just to remind everybody, 9/11, 15 Saudis, one Egyptian, one Lebanese and two from the union—from the Emirates countries, the UAE. So they come from certain countries so far. They could be coming from Denmark tomorrow, we don‘t know. But their countries of origin correspond to the countries on this list. Your thoughts?

ALEJANDRO BEUTEL, MUSLIM PUBLIC AFFAIRS COUNCIL: Exactly. My colleague mentioned we need a layered effect, and that‘s correct. But the sort of ethnic and religious profiling—

MATTHEWS: Where is that taking place right now?

BEUTEL: Right now with the USA standards, by selecting these 14 countries, that‘s just basically telegraphing our strategy. If we decide to profile from these countries, then terrorists are just going to recruit elsewhere. Profiling is not going to help against Richard Reid. It‘s not going to help against Jose Padilla. It‘s not going to help against any of the UK bombers in the 2006 plot.

MATTHEWS: Why not?

BEUTEL: because these are people who don‘t fit profiles. A 2005 study by the Library of Congress found that there is no such thing as a reliable terrorist profile, especially based on ethnic background. But this has been—

MATTHEWS: Country of origin.

BEUTEL: I understand that. Again, even based on country of origin -


MATTHEWS: If you only check certain people, because you can‘t check everybody, who should you check?

BEUTEL: Well, again—

MATTHEWS: If you have to—since everybody—have you ever been at the LA airport, LAX, in the morning, 6:00, when there‘s a billion people there? Or out here at Reagan, when there‘s a billion people on a Saturday morning? You can‘t check everybody through exhaustive checks or people will never get on a plane. How do you single out the people you check? That‘s a question I want answered.

BEUTEL: Let‘s go back to what President Obama was saying earlier in his statement about the review. What we need to do is make sure our intelligence actually connects the dots.

MATTHEWS: No, in terms of checking people when they get on airplanes, which people should be checked most thoroughly?

BEUTEL: Actually, what you need to do, in terms of a smart defense, is make sure that in the layers themselves, you need to check people beforehand, by having the proper intelligence.

MATTHEWS: No, how do you check people when you get on an airplane?

I‘m asking a simple question.

BEUTEL: I‘m getting to it. It‘s a nuanced issue. You have stage one beforehand. Then, once you get to the airport itself, then afterwards what you do is you look at certain perhaps behaviors that they‘re doing, behavioral profiling. If they‘re doing something that‘s strange, if you‘re asking basic questions about, you know, where are you going to be going --

MATTHEWS: Who asks these questions? I go to the airport and they don‘t ask any questions.

BEUTEL: Behavioral profiling. For instance, at Logan Airport in Boston, they‘re doing something right now where they have a pilot program, where as a part of airport security itself, as one of the last rings of defense, is that they do this thing where they look for things that are possible suspicious behaviors. It doesn‘t look at ethnicity or race or religion, but looks at the actual behaviors themselves, things that might be dead giveaways --

MATTHEWS: Like what?

BEUTEL: -- to someone who might have something suspicious. For instance, if someone‘s going to be doing something where they‘re going to be a little bit fidgety, or if they‘re not answering questions straight.

MATTHEWS: But there are no questions put to you.

BEUTEL: In some cases, though, there will be questions put to individuals.

MATTHEWS: I‘m all for that. But how do you decide who to ask the questions of?

BEUTEL: It‘s not just about questions either, though. It‘s also making sure to read the body language.

MATTHEWS: Give me a procedure to defend America, quickly. What would be your procedure to defend this country? His procedure is to at least start with this country of origin—

RIVKIN: I‘m not suggesting against --

MATTHEWS: What would be your approach?

BEUTEL: My approach would be a layered defense, starting with smart intelligence, making sure that we share the information. Then from there, making sure that once we get closer to the airport, we have behavioral assessments that don‘t rely on certain profiles that are not going to be—

MATTHEWS: Like country of origin.

BEUTEL: Like country of origin, ethnicity or—

MATTHEWS: OK. I just don‘t know how you would—you said ask questions. They don‘t ask any questions right now.

RIVKIN: We need this kind of profiling. I‘m not against nuanced We don‘t have the resources for behavioral profiling. Let me tell you, if we push al Qaeda to stop recruiting the people they‘ve been recruiting and start looking for Scandinavians—

MATTHEWS: They will.

RIVKIN: They will, but they would trickle down. This is what you do in warfare. You push your enemy to operate in less than optimal ways. I would bet you they‘re not going to be able to recruit enough Scandinavians.

Profiling is just a starting point. You‘re supposed to look at other things. It‘s not a panacea. To deny that it‘s useful as a foundational stone is just silly.

BEUTEL: It only displaces the problem. All it takes is one or two people to do these things. That‘s all it takes.

MATTHEWS: Let‘s get away from race and ethnicity to the simple question. Let‘s get to nationality. If you are looking for IRA, provisional IRA people, back 10 years ago, right, 20 Years ago, wouldn‘t you start with the Irish?

RIVKIN: Of course.

MATTHEWS: Is that unreasonable? Is that prejudicial? I‘m asking, is that prejudicial—no—to look for the IRA among the Irish. Is it prejudicial?


MATTHEWS: Because they recruit among the Irish.

BEUTEL: But the thing is it‘s very specific. There‘s a difference between the IRA, which was an ethnic-based group—

MATTHEWS: Don‘t you recruit Islamic terrorists among Islamic people?

BEUTEL: How can you tell who is a Muslim?

MATTHEWS: No, I‘m asking you—


MATTHEWS: They are starting by nation states. Like you would start with Ireland. If the guy‘s got a passport from Northern Ireland—

BEUTEL: Chris, how can you tell.

MATTHEWS: You can‘t tell.

BEUTEL: Exactly.


MATTHEWS: A thousand people get on the plane. And you can only check ten. Which ten do you check? That‘s what we‘re talking about.

RIVKIN: Not the elderly grandmother. That‘s for sure.

MATTHEWS: Do you check Joan Rivers?


MATTHEWS: She got bumped off a flight the other day. I get a little heated on this, because I think everybody likes to push aside the issue. You have limited resources. I don‘t think we pay the TSA people enough. I think we need some New York cops, retired cops, with street instinct standing around those airports, who have the sense of these questions. By the way, you can‘t interrogate passengers. You can‘t ask them all these questions right now. We would need—

RIVKIN: My colleague doesn‘t want profiling, let‘s be candid, because you are afraid it would lead to broad stigmatization of the community. This is not what this country is about.


RIVKIN: All we‘re talking about is allocation of scarce resources.

MATTHEWS: Everybody from those countries knows why this is going on. And it‘s not done by prejudiced people. It‘s done because common sense tells you—by the way, if Americans kept attacking Arab countries, we would be checked.

RIVKIN: Of course. Profiling—

MATTHEWS: I can tell you. If everybody that bombed these countries were from America, we‘d be checked. Please come back. I hate to say it, but this conversation is going to get more heated as time goes on. If we get hit again, this won‘t be a calm conversation.

Up next, is there room in the Republican party for anyone other than these protesters? They seem to be running the party right now, even though they say they‘re not Republicans. They‘re all Republicans. The politics fix is next. This is HARDBALL. They don‘t just have the party label right now. This is HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.


MATTHEWS: Back with the politics fix, with “The Daily Beast‘s” Mark McKinnon and “USA Today‘s” Susan Page. What do we think about this fact, Mark—and I go with you—here‘s your “Daily Beast” quote, “tea is the new Kool-Aid for Republicans and a lot of candidates and office holders on the right are drinking from it like a fire hose. The Tea Party crowd is unlikely to become a third party, but their ability to leverage energy behind candidates and policies could be very similar to what has accomplished on the left. Movements are often identified by a clear leader. The question is who will lead?”

So who will lead the Tea Baggers? Will it be Rick Perry down in Texas? Will it be Michele Bachmann out in Minnesota? Will it be Sarah Palin? You first, Mark. It is your idea. The Tea Baggers are an interesting group to watch. They‘re not far right. They‘re probably center right, in fact some centrists. But they‘re generally Republican voters, right? Is that fair to say? They vote Republican?

MARK MCKINNON, “THE DAILY BEAST”: Yeah, they‘re conservative voters, unquestionably. What‘s happened is the GOP brand is so damaged that when you ask overall voters right now their favorable impressions of the parties, they have a more favorable impression of the Tea Party than they do of the Republican party. And you ask that among the independent voters, and they have a more favorable opinion of the Tea Party than either the Democratic party or the Republican party.

MATTHEWS: That‘s true. Does that mean they end up voting—when they go to the voting booth, there is no Tea Party candidate. So I would argue that‘s good for Republicans, because they will end up voting for a Chris Christie or a McDonnough (ph) or a Tom Coburn from Pennsylvania this year. They will find a Republican that‘s not offensive to them and vote for them. Even if it is Pat Toomey, they‘ll just vote for any Republican because they are steamed up.

MCKINNON: They are the movement—movements are about people that are angry at the institution and the establishment. So, yes, they‘re Republicans. They‘re people who are out of power. They‘re unhappy. And the Tea Party‘s become the vessel through which they‘re fueling their anger.

MATTHEWS: They‘re monochromatic, right?

MCKINNON: I don‘t know that they‘re monochromatic.

MATTHEWS: They‘re not? Every picture I see shows them to be.

MCKINNON: There‘s a lot of people out there that cuts across a lot of demographics who feel disenfranchised.

MATTHEWS: But not that other demographic?

MCKINNON: The other demographic?

MATTHEWS: Meaning they‘re all white, all of them. Every single one of them is white.

MCKINNON: I think that‘s a fair characterization, predominantly.

MATTHEWS: What‘s that about? Let me ask Susan. What‘s that about?

SUSAN PAGE, “THE USA TODAY”: I don‘t think these are really Republican voters. These are the kind of populist—

MATTHEWS: Who do they vote for? McCain or Obama?

PAGE: Well, they vote for McCain over Obama.

MATTHEWS: OK, well, that‘s how we keep score.

PAGE: They vote for Palin over McCain.

MATTHEWS: They‘re both Republicans.

PAGE: They are both Republicans.

MATTHEWS: Why are you resisting this? Tea Baggers are Republicans.

PAGE: I don‘t think that‘s true. I think these are voters who don‘t like either party, and who went for Pat Buchanan and went for Ross Perot.

MATTHEWS: In almost all state elections for governor, senator, congress-people, there is a Republican candidate, Democratic candidate. And this coming election, coming in November, they‘ll vote Republican.

PAGE: The risk for republicans is not so much in the general election but will they be a real force for—in primaries to get Republican candidates who will not fare well.

MATTHEWS: When we come back, Mark and Susan, we are going to have a real full-mooner for you to watch. He is from Minnesota and he thinks the real danger to America are the—what he calls the radicals—wait until you hear his words. It is not the terrorists. It is the Democrats. Wait until you hear this guy. He‘s ready to fight, this guy. We‘ll be right back with Susan and Mark. You‘re watching HARDBALL.


MATTHEWS: We‘re back with Mark McKinnon and Susan Page for more of the fix. Let‘s watch this right now. Here‘s Republican Congressional Candidate Allen Quist, who is running out in Minnesota. Let‘s listen to him.


ALLEN QUIST ®, MINNESOTA CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: I, like you, have seen that our country is being destroyed. I mean this is—every generation has had to fight the fight for freedom. This is our fight, and this is our time.

This is it. Terrorism, yes. But that‘s not the big battle. The big battle is in DC with the radicals. They aren‘t liberals. They‘re radicals. Obama, Pelosi, they‘re not liberals. They‘re radicals. They are destroying our country.


MATTHEWS: Wow. You know, I think liberal is an OK word. This guy says liberal‘s not bad enough for Obama. What do you think, Mark McKinnon?

MCKINNON: I think he ought to be running for the border instead of the Republican party nomination.

MATTHEWS: Well, he obviously thinks this will sell, this hard-right

Democrats are all a bunch of radicals and they‘re worse than terrorists.

What a statement.

MCKINNON: That‘s the problem. I think we‘re pushing the extremes to the utter extreme, and we keep lowering the bar. I think a lot of this is about just being as outrageous as you can, to get attention from the media. And here we are providing it. But hopefully, over the long haul, they‘ll pay the penalty at the place that it really counts, in the voting booth.

MATTHEWS: I‘m comfortable with suburban Republicans in the northeast. My whole family fits that category. They‘re nice people. They‘re reasonable. They may and bit more conservative than me. But I have to tell you, they are reasonable people. They must think this guy‘s a barn burner.

PAGE: Welcome to Youtube, Mr. Quist. He may not have thought that this little affair he was talking to in Minnesota was going to get this kind of attention. Good news for Tim Waltz, who is a Democratic congressman from that district. It is pretty liberal for this—

MATTHEWS: He calls him a radical.

PAGE: You can do worse with an opponent.

MATTHEWS: This is the kind of crazy stuff that goes on in the Middle East, where every enemy is evil and the demon and everybody has to go crazy. It‘s tribalism. It‘s run amok.

Anyway, thank you, Mark McKinnon. Thank you. Mark McKinnon is a smart guy, Susan, and so are you.

Join us again tomorrow night at 5:00 and 7:00 Eastern for more HARDBALL. Right now it is time for “THE ED SHOW” with Ed Schultz.