tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC September 4, 2014 11:00pm-12:01am PDT
there can be significant blow back. >> thank you very much for joining us tonight. >> you're welcome. >> chris hayes is up next. a devastating verdict. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. in a devastating rebuke to politicians today, those that this abuse power, a jury in richmond, virginia, today found a former virginia governor and his wife guilty of a series of felonies that could keep the couple in prison for the rest of their lives. both bob and maureen mcdonnell wept openly in court. the jury found him guilty on all 11 counts of conspiracy, she on nine counts leaving their stunned families in tears.
this is what it means to face the american people in the year 2014, a time when the people look upon politicians as fails at best, abusers of their offices at worst. guilty today means guilty before the people. guilty at a time just one in 15 americans believes the united states congress deserves respect. in the program tonight we'll get to two other staggering stories. one the deep nationalistic reaction to the beheadings by the islamic state and the cases of americans who join the other side. finally we devote time to the first female comic to bring a sharp nightclub edge to her humor. we begin with the guilty verdicts for bob and maureen mcdonnells. pete williams is the nbc news justice correspondent. thank you very much for joining us. how much time are we talking about if they get the book thrown at them here? >> the maximum is 20 years. there are sentencing guidelines that will modify that.
they won't serve anywhere near 20 years. if the sentence stands let's remember that it's a certainty that the lawyers will appeal. they had strenuous objections, chris, to the judge's instructions to the jury. they thought the judge was too weighted to the prosecution on a couple of questions. one is what's an official act? the mcdonnells said they never did any. the judge said it's anything a governor does basically whether it's in the law or not. anything in the performance of oh their duties. the second is what the definition is of a bribery agreement. what the judge said is you don't have to get anything in return. you just have to have an agreement to do something to help someone. on those counts, the defense lawyers thought the judge was wrong. they will certainly appeal. but if this guilty verdict survives appeal they will definitely be doing prison time. >> where do you think they will go? a place with tennis courts or face medium security? both of them.
>> these aren't violent crimes. these are white collar crimes. this is a former governor. those would be taken into account. undoubtedly they will serve time in a minimum security prison. they won't be going to super max. there is no question about their dangerousness. back to the intro, one of the things that's interesting about the verdict is that going into the trial the general feeling was robert mcdonnell was in good standing. he was considered to be sort of a boy scout as governor. he was well respected. i think that's one thing that makes the verdict all that much more surprising. he was well liked in virginia. so the jury had to get past that. one other thing, the judge did say to the jurors and it was a pro defense thing at the end. he said, look, they have to have known what they were doing was wrong. if you, the jury, think they acted in good faith, that they were taking roughly $177,000 in cash and loans and gifts from this man, if you thought they
really thought he was just a friend and not somebody looking for state business you should acquit. obviously the jury didn't buy that defense at all. >> thank you, pete williams. michelle bernard is president and ceo from the bernard center for women, politics and public policy. reports from people in the courtroom tonight depict a highly dramatic scene. the former governor was sobbing with his head back. his family howling with their own tears. his wife maureen crying, too. we'll get a report from someone inside the courtroom. here is mcdonnell composed leaving the courtroom this afternoon. let's listen. >> all i can say is my trust remains in the lord. thank you. >> he put his trust in the jury. this guy could have walked away with a minimal admission, a minimal plea. you're the attorney. >> absolutely. >> his wife would have been off scot-free. he chose to face a jury. pete has his assessment of the law. my assessment is american politics. >> yes.
>> i don't think you want to face an american jury today if you are accused of misbehavior. i think they will hit you with everything as they here. 20 years they are facing. >> going into it, i expected the exact opposite. never expected a jury to find them guilty on all conspiracy charges. we have a congress that doesn't work. we have a lot of state governments that don't work. the federal government shuts down. they pass a budget. this was a case of the jury looking at broad jury instructions and saying to themselves, are politicians today filling their pockets as the american people suffer? >> looking out for special friends who give them gifts. >> absolutely. >> 11 of 13 counts, guilty. for the wife, maureen, not even a public officer. she's a companion. 9 of 13. pete said the judge made the decision. the jury made the final decision. >> they clearly didn't buy the defense at all. 14 counts all together.
five weeks of testimony. two hours of jury instructions. that's how long just the jury instructions took. it only took this jury a little more than two days of deliberations in order to reach this. they clearly thought he and she were deceiving them. they didn't buy any of it. i think the poor reputation offal politicians generally certainly helped them -- helped the prosecution. excuse me. >> this isn't illinois. this isn't a state with five governors that went to prison. virginia has been clean. >> they have never had -- >> accused of a crime. >> or former governor -- >> this is going to hurt the state. >> and the prosecution said it repeatedly in the closing statements. bob mcdonnell filled the shoes once held by patrick henry and thomas jefferson. there was a feeling on behalf of the prosecution in this case
that hay besmirched the reputation of the commonwealth. >> give me the rolex or forget it. >> he threw his wife under the ferrari she arranged for him to drive. the jury absolutely found a conspiracy between the governor and his wife in this crazy wife defense. i think they thought they colluded and this was a smart way to get off the mcdonnells were always holding hands, the picture of marital bliss. then in trial, i hate my wife and my wife hates me, we don't speak. members of the jury had to have known the wife went to the prosecutor a year ago and said, i feel guilty about this. it's my fault. is there anything we can do to save my husband? >> the whole defense backfired. >> absolutely. >> it was so clearly made up. >> yes. >> awkward and concocted that it
hurt their credibility. >> let me remind everybody we are talking about felony counts here. almost a dozen. two dozen all together. pete talks about they will probably get time off. won't go the full 20 years but they are middle-aged people. you don't know if they will be around. if i were them i would think, am i going to get out of prison snn when i do, i'll be old. >> in their 70s, 80s. >> i will get out with little life left if any. these decisions don't seem that important. pete williams pointed out they had to be proven guilty of having known what they were doing was evil, wrong. how do you prove that? but the jury is willing to believe it. >> the jury instructions were also are very broad. one of the jury instructions that might be a problem on appeal, for example, is the judge said it didn't -- you didn't have to focus on what bob mcdonnell thought he was doing. focus on what johnny williams thought he was getting. >> i don't believe a judge will over turn this case. >> i don't.
>> this was a long, well run trial. the jury has spoken. it's a trial that's been done. the guilty judgment was made. the verdict is in. they're going to do this all over again? >> no, no. >> so many guilty verdicts, on so many counts it will be hard for anybody to overturn this. >> imagine them saying to the state of virginia, do this all over again. >> assume it even happened. for bob mcdonnell who two years ago people were discussing running on the vice presidential ticket with mitt romney. what an incredible fall from grace. his political career is over. the american public loves redemption. it is over. >> blagojevich is in the can now watching this. what a message this sends to politicians. you are not going to grab the silverware like before. getting away with extras, trips. want to go on a golf trip? come on, i'll take care of you.
that guy will go, wait a minute. i better not end up like bob mcdonnell. i get on this plane and i'm taking a versus from you. if i do anything for you, i'm guilty of the same charge this guy is swinging for. >> this is sending a message to prosecutors. if you are an ambitious federal prosecutor you really want to go after anything. >> public corruption. >> because you think -- >> the big guy in trenton. we have scott walker in madison. a lot of governors now facing juries potentially down the road. >> yes. >> they're thinking if they get offered a plea -- >> they're going to take it. >> take the plea. >> it's dangerous. they opened the flood gates in politics. >> anybody who wants to face a jury in a political case is a taking a chance. thank you michelle, robert carney, washington post, a real reporter. coming up, a blaring warning about what americans think of politicians in this year of 2014.
this jury saying we don't expect business as usual from the politicians. that will have a chilling effect on public office today. they are talking to their spouses about that and what they have taken. plus joe biden said yesterday we'll follow isis to the gates of hell. a sharp contrast from what we heard from the president. it squares with the nationalism we feel at the beheadings of fellow americans. and why do some in this country want to join a group against america? why would they sign on with that -- with the behead ers? finally we pay tribute to an early trail blazer for women comics. joan rivers brought a real nightclub bite to her humor. this is "hardball," the place for politics.
people who buy health insurance on the federal exchange. earlier ruling by the court in july was made by a panel of the court. the justice department urged the full court to hear the case which it will do. the full court is thought to be more sympathetic to obamacare. we'll be right back after this.
we are very disappointed but aren't deterred. the fight is a long way from over. >> we're back. more on the fallout from former virginia governor bob mcdonnell's conviction today on corruption. what effect will the fall from grace have an other gov authors, their wives or husbands also facing inquiries into their activities. there are three republican governors and one democrat facing various investigations. all are said to be considering
2016 presidential bids. texas governor rick perry was indicted on two felony counts. chris christie and his office face two criminal investigations over last year's lane closures on the george washington bridge and related affairs. scott walker is being investigated by a special prosecutor for possible illegal fund raising. and andrew cuomo is under investigation for interference with an anti-corruption commission. a word of caution. after the verdict today you don't want to face a jury headed into 2016. howard fineman, editorial director of the huffington post heed i can't group and msnbc political analyst. clarence page is a columnist with the chicago tribune who holds a pulitzer prize. dave coulter joins us. what did it look like? give us a picture of the scene when the verdict came down. >> you think of governor bob mcdonnell as confident, easy going as he was coming into the courtroom throughout the trial. what wh i saw there about two hours ago now was a man who, as i have described was broken.
as soon as the first of the guilty counts came out i saw the former gover nor put his hands into his face and break down in sobs. he had three of the five children sitting behind him in the benches. they were all holding onto each other. a daughter, one son. they were praying initially. as the verdicts were read, about eight minutes long, they were sobbinging in histerics. i have never seen bob mcdonnell like i saw him inside the courtroom. maureen mcdonnell wiped away a few tears. she was more in shock than anything else. the tears, sobbing, that was the former governor bob mcdonnell we saw this the courtroom. >> thank you. howard, i have known you a long time. when you look at this guy he was
calm, debonair governor. looked like he had it made. his wife and he are going into the can for 20 years each. >> i covered him because he came out of the pat robertson school, literally. attended regent university. yet he was able to have main stream appeal. he seemed the perfect, almost created in the laboratory modern republican southern candidate. i know for a fact barack obama and his political advisers were keeping an eye on him from the beginning. obama said there is a guy we've got to watch. then it turned into this. it's one of the most amazing rises and falls i have seen in a short period of time. >> it's shocking but the law matters. they broke the law according to the judge and jury. >> it does. also you mentioned earlier the context of politics here. a jury is being impatient now with politicians accused of misbehavior. i think governor mcdonnell
himself was a victim in a way of the national spotlight. when you get into the national spotlight like chris christie in new jersey and others you mentioned, scott walker. suddenly you look very interesting to prosecutors, too. you become subject to extra scrutiny and decide whether to try to plead not guilty or take the deal. in this case mcdonnell made the wrong choice. >> all of us grew up in big cities. you get used to ethnic groups voting the ethnic way. that's the way it was. they would say, well, of course he's crooked but he looks out for us. they bring the turkey at christmas time or whatever. i'm not sure that attitude is there anymore. this attitude of he's our guy. >> that's -- >> we have had it with the crooks. we don't care if he's our guy. >> that's interesting, chris. you're right. voters don't have the personal neighborhood relationships, if
you will, with these candidates. the candidates present themselves through television. they hype their credentials, talk about their whole someness. that's the thing with mcdonnell. regent university, pat robertson, picture perfect marriage. one of the things the jury didn't believe was the sudden fact that they were all going in the other direction. the other thing that's going on here legally is that the definition that the judge accepted in this case of what is an official act that somebody receiving money or favors is doing is so broad that if i were a politician anywhere in america i would be worried a federal grand jury could go after me, even if i did nothing official, nothing legal, no administrative change, no legal change. if i set up a meeting with a guy, i could be cooked. that's what happened to bob mcdonnell here. >> if the governor comes to your wife's birthday party, wow. he showed up with a state trooper. that's public business.
right? by the way, we live in a city where ambassadorships go to bundlers, people who raise money in elections. who gets invited to state dinners when the president of france arrives. you look at the list. it's bundlers. >> a lot of people say is that unethical? it's been done for so long. >> what would the judge say? >> that's interesting. i compare virginia with illinois or new jersey or louisiana. >> i never did before. >> we are accustomed to occasions like this where you've got states more accustomed to this kind of scandal. i was amazed after the first four governors were convicted let alone the fifth one back in illinois that more didn't say, hey, maybe i should behave better.
there is a culture rises from the streets. >> remember the deal for the city to one of his kids? he said, who am i supposed to give it to, a stranger? >> there is mistle toe on my coat tails for thib who frowns on it. >> i agree. think giving ambassadorships to bundlers is hiding in plain sight here. that's an obvious quid pro quo of official action for a bunch of money to your campaign. >> keep watching, ladies and gentlemen. a lot of governors and their wives or husbands are saying, what have we taken? what have we done? could this be us? talk about a quiet conversation. even the kids aren't listening. howard fineman and clarence page, this is serious business -- 20 year this is prison. up next, joe biden's rhetorical response to isis may have upstaged the president. it certainly did, i think. that's ahead.
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action against the terror group. it was the vice president who connected with the american people. >> the american people are so much stronger, so much more resolved than any enemy can fully understand. as a nation, we are united. and when people harm americans, we don't retreat. we don't forget. we take care of those who are grieving and when that's finished, they should know we will follow them to the gates of hell until they are brought to justice. [ applause ] >> because hell is where they will reside. >> was that what the american people want to hear? i think so. how far is this country willing to go? here in washington there is a
drum beat for action coming from democrats and republicans alike. does the president himself hear the drum beat? mike barnacle is an msnbc contributor and michael steele is former chair of the republican national committee and an msnbc political analyst. i watch you every morning, michael. i do remember one really good thing w. did. he went into the war he had to go into after afghanistan following them back to their cage. he said, we are going after the people who knocked down the building. it was a moment of almost -- it was fabulous. henry v stuff coming out of the president. this president doesn't want to give us a henry v. moment. why not? >> well, i think he's a little protective of himself, chris. i think he's clearly a thoughtful guy. he is a methodical guy. joe biden is thoughtful but not methodical. that clip you just showed of joe in portsmouth, new hampshire. you have to realize he's within a 45-minute drive of the parents of jim foley who was executeded two weeks ago.
joe was unafraid to express out loud the horror most americans feel about these executions and about what might be on the horizon. everybody uses the phrase war-weary. you used war-wary and we ought to remember, all of us, ought to remember with all of the talk, all of the op-eds, all of the radio conservative right wing talk, all of the tweets that 50 years ago this summer, chris, the gulf of tonkin resolution was passed. 11, 12 years later there were 58,000 names on a wall in washington, d.c. we are going to get isis. we're going to clean their clock. but let's pump the brakes and do it the correct way with a bunch of other nations in a coalition. >> here is the question i brought to you about the visceral reaction i felt during the hostage crisis. i hated every day. i loved the job.
i'd go to a bar and people were mad at me. our guys were being trooped around. they weren't beheaded. i don't think any president can take every two weeks another beheading or whatever the sequence will be. the president can talk as mike did well about how we'll get them, put an alliance together, a coalition, get them eventually. eventually? that could be 60 beheadings from now. >> right. i think that's part of the problem, the paradox this administration finds itself in. you've got joe biden saying we'll follow them to the kbaets of h ell. some of us say, is that boots on the ground? does that mean a military engagement? coalition forces? the definitional aspect bothers people more than anything else. whether you are war-weary or war-wary, what are you going to do given the crisis in front of the administration? it's boxed in a corner. we have talked about it before. on earlier efforts to get out of
iraq. now it finds itself having to circle back in through another door, if you will. that's a problem. rhetorically and otherwise for the president. >> michael, the road to the gates of hell, the road leadses through damascus, syria. we do not need ten years after we invaded iraq another crusade. in rihad they know isis is coming for the crown. in cairo they know isis is coming for them. they know it in the middle east. there is a shot clock on this attack against isis, i agree. it's not forever. it won't be months. i think it will be within a couple of weeks. from the reporting i have done, it will be a couple of weeks. >> what will it look like, michael? >> well, i think you have people on the ground, american soldiers, special ops on the
ground in syria now. you have them in iraq. it will be very reminiscent of the bush attack against afghanistan with people on the ground rooting out and getting the taliban in the initial stages of that where it will be like that scenario with the with express support, the express support of the saudis, the jordanians, turks. it's got to be. >> i can't wait. we have been giving arms to the arab countries for years. jordan, egypt, saudis. we give them a lot of fire power from the air. why are we the only fire power in fr are the air? i'm hopeful you have reporting behind you. >> i want to make it clear mike barnicle and joe biden expressed with more clarity about what this should look like and how it should proceed than the president has. that's the frustration people feel. >> i agree completely. i do think there is a visceral
reaction americans feel in their guts. they want the leader to have that reaction. we are patriots. we love this country. it is an attack on america. this is an attack on our country, us. >> us. >> i want to hear that from the president. he's the president and he's different from michael barnicle and michael steele and definitely different from joe biden. thanks for staying up late tonight, mike. the scary stuff, guys who join the other side and fight against us. those joining the islamic state. what's driving them? you're watching "hardball," the place for politics.
>> welcome back to "hardball." yesterday pentagon chief chuck hagel said there are over a hundred u.s. citizens fighting with isis and for them. in his words there may be more, we don't know. pentagon officials walked back comments of the secretary saying there are a dozen americans believed to be fighting alongside the radical terrorist group. whether a hundred or a dozen you would think they would get close to that. the question remains why did these people join against us? what's driving americans to join up with the most extreme, blood thirsty terrorist group of all time, a group that engages in beheadings of u.s. citizens and brags about it on twitter?
bobby gaush is here from quartz and we have the editor of the iz many miracle monthly. i want to begin with the report are which found an interview of an american who pledged alliance to isis and traveled to the mideast to join up. he was joined by turkish officials and arrested on a weapons charge. if you are looking for a portrait of an american traitor this is not what you expect. dan morgan is 44, grew up if in north carolina. was educated at a military academy, served as a deputy sheriff. wanteded to be part of the united states special forces. he was raised roman catholic n. a stunning and haunting transformation his allegiance went from serving his country to opposing it. richard engel secured the interview with morgan through a freelance journalist while morgan was in the middle east this the summer. >> someone has to defend islam. somebody has to defend innocent
muslims. i purchased a ticket with the intent of entering the syria either joining up with the islamic state. >> reporter: colleagues and law enforcement describe an angry man struggling to fit in and finding a cause in radical islam. >> this is it. this is the path. this is the way you're going to go. a push came from being mistreated by people around me who didn't share the views i had. i think there is a strong possibility that they will charge me with supporting terrorist organizations and participating in terrorist activities. >> bobby, what do you make of the explanation? is it illiteracy on his part? doesn't understand the terrorist purposeses of the islamic state or is he of sound mind and body
and knows what he's doing? >> the americans who went to syria three years ago and didn't foe much about isis, many were with going there to fight what they saw as the good fight. the fight of ordinary syrians being oppressed by a dictator killing tens of thousands of them. at that time the distinctions between isis and other groups wasn't clear. if you've gone to syria in the past year when we have had a very full, clear view of who isis are and what they are doing you're somewhere in the spectrum between stupid and psychotic. i suspect mr. morgan is closer to the stupid part than psychotic. >> your view of this? all we have is the interview. the guy's background, roman catholic, the carolinas. you could call him a misfit but i don't want to get into the soviet technique of every time you disagree you call them a mental case. a will the of people are uninformed. what do you make of it? >> well, chris, he fit it is profile of what experts in the last few years have are come to call the new jihadi cool which is a global street gang that tries to recruit disenfranchised
people. normally in their younger years in their 20s to 30s. don morgan is an outlier at 44. people who are lone wolfs, on the internet via social media. then on their own without any sort of connection to central terrorist organizations. go abroad. try to fight, as bobby said, what they feel to be the good fight. now we obviously know in the last few weeks isis is a lot more global in its reach with the execution of american journalist james foley and steven sotloff. i knew steven. we have been facebook friends. his death hit home. it's part of the trend of the jihadi cool which a lot of disenfranchised young men tend
to associate with. >> i have to tell you that his behavior when he was being kpe cuted and that of james foley was the strongest character i have seen. the ability to sit there in the desert knowing what's coming, facing it with amazing ability. anyway, nbc's robert windrom reports at least seven americans, now eight including morgan, have been arrested this the last 15 months as they sought to travel to the region to join isis. many were aimless young men without hope before being radicalized. sixer were grabbed at airports, one at a bus station, another at a canadian border crossing. bobby, when you heard arselan, they sound like the profile without deciding on legal guilt like those in the boston marathon bombing. everybody has experienced loneliness. bobby, when you heard arselan, they sound like the profile without deciding on legal guilt like those in the boston marathon bombing. everybody has experienced loneliness. every has at different times. a sense you don't fit in at certain times.
some is ethnic, personality, bad experiences. is that what this is about when you join the other side? >> with some people, i'm sure that's what it's about, chris. look at mr. morgan. he's not some angry young man. he's a middle-aged man who had quite a lot of life experience. he's been in law enforcement. he was a deputy sheriff. he's not some hothead who got on a plane to go somewhere. he had plenty of opportunity. if you're going to sign up if for a group and give your life to a cause, surely you will have done research. if you did any research at all there is an abundance of material that tells you exactly what isis is about. if you've gone there to join up despite the knowledge then, as i said, you're either dumb or deadly. this poor man, i use that expression sort of carefully. this guy sounds like he's not sort of fully there. >> may have been the only
college that would accept him. what do you think? >> you know, chris, it's important for the viewers to keep in mind that the islamic state is about as muslim as the lord's resistant army or the westborough baptist church is christian. just because you put a religious moniker on something doesn't mean it's in line with the teachings. given morgan in jail, going through a divorce. when you talk about people with no sense of self, don mar gan fit that is. he's just on the higher end of the spectrum. people with broken lives. these aren't religious experts or vanguards of the faith. the vast majority of muslim s including the organization of the islamic conference, the grand mufdi of turkey, organizations in the united states have all condemned isis as being public enemy number one for muslims. the most people they killed are fellow muslims. it's important for us to sort of
push back on this narrative that it's not cool to join these jihadi groups. not only criminal but against all civilized religious teaching this is the world. >> thank you so much. amen to that. thank you for joining us. i couldn't be prouder to sit here and listen to your explanations. up next, a tribute to a pioneer for women in comedy, joan rivers. try to remember her in the early days. she was really something back with carson and as carson's rival. this is "hardball," the place for politics.
here's a taste of the first senate debate in north carolina last night between kay haguen and republican challenger thom tillis. >> that's reality and math and something kay has to accept. kay's answer leads me to think she hasn't been in north carolina lately. kay's math doesn't add up. >> i'm insulted. i was vice president at a bank. i wrote billion dollar state budgets in north carolina the. i understand math. even when i was a teenager i worked at my dad's tire store and did lay away for people buying tires. i understand math. >> i would say that was condescending there. we'll be right back after this.
comedy icon joan rivers passed away this afternoon after complications following throat surgery in new york last week. she was a comedic institution in the public eye for 48 years. she pushed the envelope certainly in an era when female comedy was tame, if you like. she developed a unique brand of humor early in her career. look at her 1966 appearance on the sammy davis, jr., show with carson hosting. here's what she says a man supposedly looks for in a wife.
>> when it comes to marriage a man wants a woman that will cook, sew, the mother of his children, right. >> right. >> when it comes to marriage a man doesn't want to come home and find some wild-looking sexy wife loo lying on the carpet saying, hi, tiger. yes, he does. >> he does. >> do you know who made up the lies? >> no. >> ugly girls' mothers. >> it was during that time in the mid '60s when carson spotted her talent. she soon became a frequent guest on "the tonight show" appearing regularly over the next 20 years. comedy icon joan rivers passed away just this afternoon spotted her talent. she soon became a frequent guest on the "tonight show" appearing regularly over the next 20 year. they reflected on their long relationship in 1986 after rivers published her autobiography. >> i can only take credit for putting you on the show, but i did say one thing that night which i have seldom said on this
show over the years. you finished your routine, and you were devastating and the audience was falling apart and you walked over and sat down, i said, you're going to be a big star. that's something you don't say. >> i looked behind me. i couldn't believe you were talking to me. >> anyway, her friendship with her mentor, johnny carson there, soured soon after that interview when rivers landed her own competing late night show against him. through those many ups and downs, her star continued to rise. and that sense of humor which has become so familiar to so many of us over the years will be missed by many. joining me the host of "access hollywood," great teddy bush. i watch you every day. when i come in the studio, there you are on television every day. this is not a sad day, but a day for reverence to a certain kind of woman who has the guts to go out there on the stage at a very young age and be really, really funny. i mean, not charming, funny. >> funny and scathing and, i mean, you know, her zingers were stingers, chris. i mean, people got hit, but joan was an equal opportunity offender. she made fun of herself more than anyone else.
you talk about that moment with johnny carson, he reflected and told her, you're going to be a big star. that happened on the very set. our set is the same one where johnny did the "tonight show" and joan filled in so many times. her pictures are all over the hallway. she was, and boy, this came out of nowhere. 81 years old, chris, but she was flying back and forth from new york twice a week. she just taped a show on tuesday. she's writing jokes constantly. this is not a woman who was slowing down in any way. >> ted, you know what, when bob hope got older and people got used to the older bob hope, they didn't think he was that great. they thought he was a little too establishment. the early bob hope was unbelievable in the great movies, "the lemon drop kid" and all that stuff. he was fantastic. i think what i'm trying to remember is how much the early 20 years, most of her career, when s was young, she was sharp, she was extremely likable, long before she became this icon. that's what i'm trying to get back into my head into.
>> what's really remarkable, you reflected on this, she came of age at a time when it was really only the male comics that could have this brand of biting humor. and -- >> females -- >> exactly. females were expected to be like lucille ball. it was comedy of pratt falls. very physical comedy. it could be like phyllis diller where it was all about self-deprecation but the type of really biting humor that she specialized in really was new, especially in the '60s and '70s to the point where sometimes some of these talk shows didn't quite know what to do with her. >> you know, it's interesting, billy, that male comedians don't have to be good looking but women comedians tend to be pretty good looking. i was thinking of sarah silverman, certainly joan when she first started. that was a lot of her appeal. she was damned attractive. >> she was beautiful and what flew out of her mouth made men
love her more. talk about relevance. you talk about some of these comedians what go on. joan was 81. she was the queen of the "e!" network, sorry, kardashians, along with the kardashians. because she made fun of celebrities and took pot shots at them. chris, we're in a politically correct world run amok here, and joan could make fun of anyone because she was joan. she's grandmothered in. you say i don't know, can there be another joan rivers? i don't know if there can be in the world we live in right now. joan always got a pass. no matter what. >> ted, when did she become a gay icon? i was in a restaurant over on the west side of new york, i think it's the west side cafe and all the young guys in there, i think it was a gay group, were thrilled with her. >> it really started at the beginning of the aids crisis when she was really out front in supporting a lot of organizations. >> that's right. >> way back in 1984.
nothing was too small for her to actually go out and attend and support and raise money for. a lot of people reflecting on that today, especially out here in los angeles. >> three weeks ago she officiated a gay wedding in new york city. she invited us to bring a camera crew with her. we went. she married a couple right there in new york three weeks ago. >> i was a big lover of her in the beginning and hated to see the fight between her and carson, the other guy i looked up to. they're at the top of their field. both of them. thank you, billy bush i'm glad to have you on the show. thank you, ted johnson. i love "variety." we'll be right back after this.
let me finish tonight with this staggering verdict out of richmond. there's not a politician in the country tonight without this frightening jury decision resting on his shoulders. the message, irrefutable, is to only hold public office, don't abuse it. and what will grab the politician is the breadth of today's verdict. it declares that anything a public officeholder does for someone constitutes an official act. use your office or your name in any way, it's official. the mcdonnells have, in the words of the law, being stunningly enforced here, denied the citizens of virginia their right to honest services. this will have a chilling effect on people even thinking of running for office. it will keep some bad people,
hopefully, out of office. it will certainly say to the undecided, if you want anything out of the job, but the job, stay away. this is for the service. not the perks you can grab. that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. "all in with chris hayes" starts right now. tonight, we are "all in." >> we want wages! >> supersized! >> day of action across the nation. fast food workers fighting for a higher wage take to the streets in 159 cities and over 400 arrests. and we were there as mcdonald's workers from ferguson, missouri, were arrested. a bunch of protesters sat down blocking this intersection. then the former governor of virginia and the wife he trashed on the stand found guilty of corruption. >> all i can say is my trust remains in the lord. >> rachel maddow on today's epic finish to the bob mcdonnell trial. plus, another major twist in kansas that could short circuit the democratic plan to keep nt