Budget backlash. Town hall attendees target Ryan’s budget.

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CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Republicans trying to kill Medicare.

Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews down in Washington. Leading off tonight:

The revenge of the people. Remember all those videos of angry town halls

where voters attacked Democrats over health care? Well, now Democrats

are hoping for a new round of that fighting, this time over Paul Ryan`s push

to kill Medicare, the Republicans` push to kill Medicare. Democrats have even

released a video on the issue. Well, the Republican demolition of Medicare

tops our show tonight.

Plus, the Republican protection racket for the rich. Why do Republicans fight

so hard to defend the rich from paying their fair share of taxes? You tell me.

Also, Donald Trump`s new right-wing buddy and the New York mayor who

says he`s birther mad.

F-16s, by the way, from Norway, of all places, try to kill Gadhafi. No way.

Finally, Haley Barbour`s not running for president — just found out today. So

who is?

We start with the backlash against the Republican Medicare kill. Howard

Fineman is political editor for the HuffingtonPost and David Corn is

Washington bureau chief for “Mother Jones” magazine. Both are MSNBC

political analysts.

Let me take a look — I want you both to see the latest footage. If you hold a

town meeting today, you can be sure someone will have a cell phone…


MATTHEWS: … someone will have a way of showing it to the world.

Everything now goes viral. Here`s Republican congressman Lou Barletta. He

was the anti-immigrant guy who got elected in Hazleton, Pennsylvania. Here

he is facing angry constituents not over illegal immigrants, but by the

Republican effort to kill Medicare. Let`s watch.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What you`re doing with this Ryan budget is you`re

taking Medicare and you`re changing it from a guaranteed health care system

to one that is a voucher system, where you throw seniors — I`m 64. You

throw seniors on the mercy of for-profit insurance companies.

The reason we have Medicare in the first place is because seniors couldn`t

get health insurance. People won`t cover seniors for this lousy $15,000. You

said nothing in the campaign about, I`m going to change Medicare. Now you

voted for a plan that will destroy Medicare.


MATTHEWS: Boy, she is good because she`s totally informed. And by the

way, that little pirouette she did when she turned around and starts…


MATTHEWS: … Look, I own this room! And she`s basically saying, Lou

Barletta, you ran against illegal immigrants. Fair enough. We elected you

because we didn`t like illegal immigrants. Next thing you know, you`re voting

with the Republicans like a lemming to kill our Medicare.

These are — look, Pennsylvanians up in that part of the country are not rich

people. They`re working class, middle class people, but they`re not going to

head off to Florida to live in some big houses somewhere. They got to make it

up there through the winter and all, and they need the Medicare.


Yes. Well, you know, that…

MATTHEWS: Why is this guy voting with the party like a lemming?

FINEMAN: That`s Joe Biden`s ancestral homeland up there…


FINEMAN: … in the Scranton — you know, eastern Pennsylvania area. It`s an

older demographic. And the Democrats are going to target anybody at or


MATTHEWS: Looks like those people are targeting the Republicans!

FINEMAN: Yes, they definitely are. They definitely are. I think you`re going to

see much more…


FINEMAN: … of that all around the country.

MATTHEWS: Howard, you and I have been in this business a long time.

FINEMAN: Yes. Yes.

MATTHEWS: What moonshine did Barletta drink that got him to vote with the

Republican vote to kill Medicare? One of the — they`re not going to kill Social

Security. Nobody`s that nuts.


MATTHEWS: But you`re pretty close to being nuts when you mess with



MATTHEWS: … the one program I`ve discovered everybody likes once they

turn 65.

FINEMAN: Yes. And I can`t answer it other than to say that ideology trumps

political common sense in this case because they are fixated on the idea that

the route to salvation for the country and for them politically is to cut

government spending.


FINEMAN: But that`s not the popular…

MATTHEWS: The average person doesn`t think…

FINEMAN: … or even necessarily the right way…

MATTHEWS: … it`s government spending. They pay…

FINEMAN: They don`t. They don`t.

MATTHEWS: Let me ask you this. They all have dodges now. We`re going to

get to Pat Meehan…


MATTHEWS: … the former U.S. attorney, who wishes he was still a U.S.

attorney, by the way, I think, defending himself by saying, This is just

blueprint. Well, now the big dodge the Republicans have is, yes, I voted for it,

but that only affects people 55 or 54 and younger. And that woman

apparently in that same exchanged turned around and said, yes — when he

tried to defend himself, she said, yes, but I care about my nieces and

nephews. I don`t want them screwed out of Medicare.


important than that, I mean, in that demographic, I worry. But also, people

have parents and people who are 30 and 40 are looking at the parents who

may be 55 or 60…


CORN: … and heading in that direction, they don`t want to worry about

for-profit insurance taking care of their parents in the next five, ten years. So

there`s — it`s not just 64 or…

MATTHEWS: Yes, here`s your Starbucks gift card. Go buy some insurance.

CORN: I mean, that…

MATTHEWS: Take a look at the map. Here`s what`s going on. The Democrats

aren`t so stupid. Look, they got a map now. They`re looking around the

country, where they lost the seats just last November. This isn`t a Hundred

Years War. This is a few months ago. They got blown away in those races.

Now they`re already targeting those to get back, Howard.

FINEMAN: Well, one of the keys is five of those on the map — I don`t know if it

shows that, but five of them in Florida. Five of the districts are in Florida. Duh.

Not surprisingly.

MATTHEWS: Because?

FINEMAN: Well, because of the senior demographic.

MATTHEWS: But they got — they`re the people with money.

FINEMAN: They`re the people with money, but they care about this. They

believe in it philosophically. You`ve got Arizona. You`ve got Iowa. You`ve got

Pennsylvania. That`s what they`re going after. And by the way, by trying to

exempt the younger people, also, it doesn`t necessarily help the Republicans

make their case because what they`re saying to the younger voters is,

We`re going to screw you. We`re going to screw you. So if you look at who

supports what across the board…


CORN: There are 13 congressional districts where people — where they

elected Republicans in last November, but in 2008 and 2004, they voted for

Barack Obama and John Kerry. That`s half of the 25 they`re going after.

Barletta is in one of those districts. These are the people who should be

running scared. These are Democratic-leaning or Democratic high registration

districts where the people like Medicare, like Medicaid, as well. And they

don`t like tax cuts for the rich. So they all should be worried what`s going to


MATTHEWS: OK, well, this splits both ways. Let`s try to balance this out, this

discussion. (INAUDIBLE) You look at your cash situation, most Americans,

and most people in the country don`t live in cities, they drive cars. So a lot of

your cash is going right into that pump right now, you know, whether you`re

doing the card or you`re paying the cash, 78 bucks a pop…

CORN: Oh, yes.

MATTHEWS: … paying supreme, you`re paying regular, a little less. Twice a

week, you`re getting killed over 100 bucks in cash. So you`re cash poor.

Then you look at the value of your house. You thought it was worth 100K.

You`re getting close to retirement. That`s your nest egg. That`s only worth

$70,000. So what`s happening today is people are facing cash poverty and

wealth poverty. What I thought I owned in the back pocket — I could go watch

television (ph), I think — at least I own the house. I`m going to sell that to retire

with — it ain`t what it was. You`re going to have a lot less money to go buy

an apartment somewhere, a condo in the — wherever…

CORN: Hey, and their kids…


MATTHEWS: … on top of that, your Medicare is getting screwed. It isn`t going

to cover you for your health…

CORN: And their kids are not getting good jobs. I mean, that`s the other thing.

MATTHEWS: So who do you blame?

CORN: So you know, the whole feeling…

MATTHEWS: Let`s watch…

CORN: … of security is gone.

MATTHEWS: Let`s watch this guy. Here`s a guy who got elected in Joe

Sestak`s districts. You know this district.

FINEMAN: Yes, I do.

MATTHEWS: It`s right — Delaware County. It`s regular people. They`re not a

lot of right-wing country folk. They`re suburban people, inner, outer suburb.

Here they are realizing the guy they elected because he`s a clean U.S.

prosecutor has been voting the Republican lemming line. Here he is trying to

defend his vote. And here he is — wait until you hear his defense. It`s very

interesting, a little too interesting. Here he is, Pat Meehan, defending his vote

to cut Medicare.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you voted to abolish Medicare, how will you explain

that to people who are in their 50s who are out of work, that they will have

not the Medicare that I have?

REP. PAT MEEHAN (R), PENNSYLVANIA: You said in your comment that I

voted to abolish Medicare, and that`s factually wrong.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, how is that wrong?

MEEHAN: Let me answer the question…


MEEHAN: … and then I`ll talk to you. Thank you. I voted for the Ryan plan.

What Paul Ryan has put out is a blueprint, a sense of what we would like to

do, a direction that we`d like to go in.



MATTHEWS: Do you think it helped he was wearing a regular work shirt



MATTHEWS: … he explains killing Medicare?

CORN: It doesn`t help.

FINEMAN: And to say it`s a blueprint doesn`t help, either, because he — what

does that mean? He doesn`t explain what that means. And the more he tries

to explain actually what he voted for, the deeper trouble he`s in because

there`s no way that the mathematics of the Ryan plan would result in

anything other than the average retired person paying at least $5,000 or

$6,000 more…

CORN: These are not…

FINEMAN: … a year in the end. These are not numbers made up…


CORN: These are not suggested guidelines. You know, for years — the last

year, we`ve heard that Paul Ryan has an integral, coherent plan to save the

country. This is part of that. This is not sort of, Well, let`s have a committee

and study whether we should do this. The Republicans are on record of

ending Medicare and Medicaid as…


MATTHEWS: It`s just like saying I voted to authorize to war not to go to war.

CORN: It`s even worse than that.

FINEMAN: Well, the problem is, there are numbers attached to it now because

the Congressional Budget Office and other sort of neutral umpires of this

thing are saying there`s no way that the vouchers that Paul Ryan would

hand out would cover all the costs, and so people are going to have to

absorb more of it themselves.


FINEMAN: Wait. The Republicans aren`t really arguing with those numbers.

MATTHEWS: Let`s take a look at this ad campaign. It was put together by a

progressive group called Americans United for Change. It`s launched an ad

campaign, as I said, this week in four congressional districts at about

$35,000 a pop. By the way, it`s going after, in this case, Sean Duffy of

Wisconsin. Let`s watch the ad nailing the Republicans. Let`s listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sean Duffy looks like a nice young man, but on April

15th, he voted to end Medicare and its guaranteed health care benefits.

Instead, he wants seniors to get coverage from private insurance

companies. Under Duffy`s plan, seniors` costs will go up over $6,000. Duffy

wants to use that money to give millionaires a $200,000 tax break. Ending

Medicare so millionaires can get another tax break? Really? Call

Congressman Duffy and ask, What were…



FINEMAN: … the voice of that person, and she sounds like Betty White.

MATTHEWS: It is Betty White.


MATTHEWS: No, I`m just kidding.


FINEMAN: That`s a granny — that`s Betty White or Granny or Aunt Flabby or

somebody saying, How dare that nice young man try to deny me Medicare?

MATTHEWS: In other words, I liked his looks, but he`s hurting me.

CORN: But guess what? The Republicans are acting like Republicans!

They`re squeezing the elderly and the poor to make room for tax cuts for the

rich. I mean, this is a gift to the Democrats. And if they can`t do ads like that

across the country, they should…


MATTHEWS: We got two Republicans on the run, one saying it was just a

blueprint. What was the other one saying? Oh, it`s only for 55 and younger.

So Howard, the fact that they`re already on the run, that they`re playing

dodgeball here, does that tell…


MATTHEWS: What`s that tell the top Republicans in the House?

FINEMAN: You asked initially, Why did they do it? I think there was a sort of

group frenzy, a sort of group mentality, We got to do something for the Tea

Party initially, we got to be with the Tea Party. And so they did it. This was

the one thing that they felt they had to do…

MATTHEWS: Are they dead?

FINEMAN: … after the election.

MATTHEWS: Are they dead?

FINEMAN: Well, they`re going to run as fast as they can unless they can

change the subject between now and (INAUDIBLE)

MATTHEWS: Well, how do they change the fact they voted for this thing, they

voted for it?

CORN: They can`t change the fact. And this is an albatross around their

neck. They have a year-and-a-half now to try to…

MATTHEWS: Well, it`s a millstone around your neck…


CORN: No. The Ancient Mariner wore the albatross.


CORN: But this is — this is a heavy burden for them to carry for the next

year-and-a-half because any time they talk about deficit — and they thought

they had an advantage on Obama on the budget and the deficit and tax

issues and all this stuff. Now he has a counterargument. Yes, but this is

what they want to do. And it`s not going to go away.

FINEMAN: Well, they have to — they have to change the argument back to the

fact that the government`s broke, and I don`t know if they can do it. They`re

going to try.

CORN: And the economy`s…

MATTHEWS: Isn`t it like Hollywood? This is high concept.

CORN: Yes.

FINEMAN: That part`s high concept. Losing the Medicare money is not high

concept. That`s the problem for the Republicans.

MATTHEWS: That`s right. Thank you. It`s easier to understand the Democrat

argument — the Democratic argument. Howard Fineman, David Corn, jumping

on the Republican carcass — objectively.

About William Brighenti

William Brighenti is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, and Certified Business Valuation Analyst. Bill began his career in public accounting in 1979. Since then he has worked at various public accounting firms throughout Connecticut. Bill received a Master of Science in Professional Accounting degree from the University of Hartford, after attending the University of Connecticut and Central Connecticut State University for his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees. He subsequently attended Purdue University for doctoral studies in Accounting and Quantitative Methods in Business. Bill has instructed graduate and undergraduate courses in Accounting, Auditing, and other subjects at the University of Hartford, Central Connecticut State University, Hartford State Technical College, and Purdue University. He also taught GMAT and CPA Exam Review Classes at the Stanley H. Kaplan Educational Center and at Person-Wolinsky, and is certified to teach trade-related subjects at Connecticut Vocational Technical Schools. His articles on tax and accounting have been published in several professional journals throughout the country as well as on several accounting websites. William was born and raised in New Britain, Connecticut, and served on the City's Board of Finance and Taxation as well as its City Plan Commission. In addition to the blog, Accounting and Taxes Simplified, Bill writes a blog, "The Barefoot Accountant", for the Accounting Web, a Sift Media publication.
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