Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 04/13/15
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Hillary crosses the Hudson.
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in San Francisco.
She left New York state yesterday, heading west to Iowa. Like Simon
and Garfunkel, she`s gone off to look for America, to listen to the people
who will next year pick a new president for our country.
For Hillary Rodham Clinton, her future is now. Will the people
embrace her and decide she`s one of us, or will they wait for the great
battle to come, watching to see who prevails when she contests a Republican
nominee in November 2016?
This promises to be a match-up of economic philosophy, with Hillary
Clinton carrying the old banner of populism, of gender, with the GOP
candidate most probably a male, and perhaps, given the entry of young
Senator Marco Rubio today, one of generation, as well.
And how much of this fight for 2016 will focus on foreign policy, with
the fight already launched over President Obama`s hope to strike a deal
with Iran on its nuclear program? Tonight, we talk with the top Republican
challenger on that front, Senate Foreign Relations chairman Bob Corker of
But we start tonight with Hillary Clinton`s two-day road trip, heading
to Iowa from her home in Chappaqua, New York. She`s been meeting with
people all along the way and tweeting photos. She was even spotted
ordering from a Chipotle.
Yesterday, her declaration video featured a diverse array of people.
There was a gay couple planning a wedding, another young couple getting
ready for a new baby and a new job. Hillary`s message – she wants to be a
champion for everyday Americans.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), FMR. SECRETARY OF STATE, PRESIDENTIAL
CANDIDATE: Americans have fought their way back from tough economic times,
but the deck is still stacked in favor of those at the top. Every day,
Americans need a champion, and I want to be that champion so you can do
more than just get by, you can get ahead and stay ahead because when
families are strong, America is strong.
So I`m hitting the road to earn your vote because it`s your time, and
I hope you`ll join me on this journey.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, you can sure tell from that ad, everybody watching
the show right now, that it`s a Democratic candidate running for president.
I don`t have to be specific, but every picture you saw said Democrat.
I`m joined right now by Robert Gibbs, former press secretary for
President Obama, and Eugene Robinson, a columnist for “The Washington
Post.” Both are MSNBC political analysts.
What I meant by that, Robert and Gene, is if you go to a Democratic
convention and look out into the crowd, it`s a different looking-crowd than
a Republican convention. It just is.
And that ad, I thought, Robert, said that, I`m one of you. Your
thoughts about that ad.
ROBERT GIBBS, FMR. OBAMA PRESS SECRETARY, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:
Well, I think absolutely, there`s a broad diversity in that ad. And
obviously, there is a pretty sharp economic rhetoric from her in that ad,
probably the economic rhetoric that not many people are used to hearing
from her, that I think sets the tone for where she wants to stake out her
rationale in this race.
MATTHEWS: Is she Elizabeth II here?
GIBBS: I don`t know if she`s Elizabeth II, but she is demonstrating
the pull of the Democratic Party from progressives, and I think probably
also underscoring what role income inequality is going to play in this
election and in the proposals that she and others come up with.
MATTHEWS: Gene, I thought there was more of that than – I agree with
Robert. I think there was much more of that than we`ve heard before from
Hillary. I thought I heard, They win, we lose, rather than, All boats rise
with the tide. It wasn`t the more familiar centrist voice of the Clintons
than we`ve heard before. It was much more like Elizabeth Warren.
EUGENE ROBINSON, “WASHINGTON POST,” MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: No, it
was less Democratic Leadership Council than it was Moveon.org, but – but
it was a new tone from Hillary Clinton. It reflects, I think, the luxury
she has, frankly, of being able to run essentially unopposed for the
She can go anywhere she wants. One of the places she needs to go is
to secure not just the grudging votes, but in fact, some passion and some
loyalty and some enthusiasm from the left of the party because those people
are going to go out and they`re going to work and they`re going to motivate
people to come out and vote. Those people have to come out and vote if
she`s going to be president.
MATTHEWS: And I think there`s a millennial aspect to that. People
that don`t have a good job yet, if they`re going to get a good job, people
are still struggling in their 20s and maybe early 30s economically. A lot
of them out there now don`t have even families yet. They`re still
struggling to get a place in society. I think she`s also talking to them.
Anyway, today president – president – there`s a mistake – not
intended at all. Senator Marco Rubio announced he`s running for president,
and he called the election, quote, “a generational choice” about what kind
of country we will be.
Let`s watch him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Just yesterday, a
leader from yesterday…
(BOOS AND APPLAUSE)
RUBIO: … began a campaign for president by promising to take us
back to yesterday.
(BOOS AND APPLAUSE)
RUBIO: Yesterday is over.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
RUBIO: Before us now is the opportunity to author the greatest
chapter yet in the amazing story of America. But we can`t do that by going
back to the leaders and ideas of the past. We must change the decisions we
are making by changing the people who are making them.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, that`s tough. Let`s bring in Senator Debbie Stabenow
Boy, he was – he looks young and good-looking and all the good things
and nice and fresh, and yet there he was the ugly stick going right after
SEN. DEBBIE STABENOW (D), MICHIGAN: Right.
MATTHEWS: I mean, that shot was directed at her. There`s no doubt
MATTHEWS: Your thoughts, Senator.
STABENOW: Right. Absolutely. Well, Chris, first of all, let me say
it sounded like it was a nice speech. But two weeks ago, Marco Rubio and
every single Republican in the Senate voted for a budget that dramatically
cuts Medicare and Medicaid, does away with health care, cuts education in
favor of the wealthy and the well-connected one more time – you know, not
closing loopholes that send jobs overseas, and at the same time, keeping
the big Bush tax cuts going.
You know, by the way, Hillary voted against those tax cuts when she
was a senator. And every Republican including, Marco Rubio, would like to
see more of them, that would do nothing but increase the – the – what`s
happening in terms of the gap, in terms of wages, and so on.
So speeches are nice, but I`m focused on working with folks every day
on the Republican side that are voting against working people, and they
don`t seem to be worried at all about it.
MATTHEWS: If you had to calibrate for Senator Clinton, Secretary
Clinton, former first lady Clinton – if you had to calibrate for her
somewhere between the center point and all the way to the left, say Bernie
Sanders – I don`t think he`d mind me saying that – over there…
MATTHEWS: … maybe de Blasio, the mayor of New York. I think he`d
like me to say that – where would you put her, somewhere center-left or a
little bit further left or where – would you put her closer to Sanders
than you would to the middle, closer to de Blasio?
MATTHEWS: Because she sounded a bit like – I kidded, Elizabeth II,
but your other colleague, Elizabeth Warren.
STABENOW: Well, you know, Chris, I think that she`s always been a
progressive. This somebody who uses a lot of common sense, willing to
negotiate to be able to move forward, but is progressive.
You know, I actually met her 30 years ago on a national panel in
Detroit when she was an attorney was fighting for children who had been
abused. And then I remember being in 1995 in Beijing when she made that
speech. And I`ll tell you what. That was not easy to make. The Chinese
were going crazy when she made that speech about “Women`s rights are human
So I have seen Hillary for a long time. I`ve worked with her in the
Senate. This is somebody who really embodies the heart and soul of where
the majority of Americans are in terms of wanting to, you know, have a fair
shot to get ahead.
MATTHEWS: You`re the only woman in the panel so far so, Senator, so
you`ve got to respond to this. I`m going to hear from the guys on this.
How will Hillary Clinton navigate the question of the role her gender`s
going to play this time around? And how are Republicans going to handle
One indication – here was Republican strategist Ana Navarro this
weekend arguing that Clinton could overplay the gender card. Now, this is
going to be very partisan. I want to warn viewers with tender ears. Here
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANA NAVARRO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Hillary Clinton on this women`s
think I think is lacking subtlety. I don`t need her to drown me in
estrogen every time she opens her mouth. I don`t need…
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t think that`s going to happen.
NAVARRO: Every time she opens her mouth, it`s about the granddaughter
and Chelsea`s wedding and the yoga routines. You know, Hillary Clinton
needs to stop being focused-grouped to death and be Hillary Clinton. She
doesn`t need to have a sign that says, “I am woman, hear me roar.”
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Drowning in estrogen. I have to tell you, I warned the
viewers about that graphic. Your thoughts, Senator. I haven`t heard that
kind of talk before.
STABENOW: Well, you know…
MATTHEWS: Go ahead.
STABENOW: Chris, I have to say, fact – Hillary Clinton is a woman.
Fact, Hillary Clinton is a mom and she`s a grandma. She also was an
incredible secretary of state who, unlike her Republican opponents, knows
every world leader, has talked to the world leaders, has negotiated on the
This is somebody who has the experience, the toughness, the savvy, the
intelligence, and hey, great, extra points, she brings an experience we
haven`t had in the White House. And I think a little estrogen might be a
MATTHEWS: Well said. Thank you very much, Senator Debbie Stabenow of
Let`s go back to the guys, Robert Gibbs and Eugene Robinson. This is
an odd thing to see somebody like Navarro come out and just make a –
really, a graphic comment about someone`s gender. Let`s be blunt. She`s
GIBBS: Well, look, I think that Hillary Clinton is much more
comfortable running the way she is now, accentuating her gender, than she
was eight years ago, when, basically, she minimized it. So I think if
you`re looking for who the authentic Hillary Clinton is, I think it`s
somebody much more out front as being a mom, in talking about things like
pay equity and gender discrimination, and as Senator Stabenow said,
standing up on the international stage for women`s rights being human
So I think she`s much more comfortable where this is. Obviously,
there`s going to be a line every time you talk about any issue, but I don`t
think Senator Clinton is anywhere near that line.
MATTHEWS: You know, Gene, years ago, remember Jack Germond, one of
the old sages – he said that no woman over 65`s going to vote for a woman
for public office years ago. I think it`s the direct opposite right now.
MATTHEWS: I think people our age are going to vote for her if the
other guy isn`t better than her. I mean, I think they`ll want to vote for
her, want her to be the best candidate. They`re going to want this
ROBINSON: Yes, look, there – this a historic opportunity, and I
think a lot of voters will respond to that. And I think not – not just
women voters, but male voters, as well, will respond to the chance to make
history, as some voters did in 2008 with Barack Obama.
I mean, let`s face it, this hasn`t happened before, and it`s, frankly,
high time that it – that it happened. And if Republicans are stupid
enough to go after Hillary Clinton on the basis…
MATTHEWS: I love the way you (INAUDIBLE)
ROBINSON: … of her being a woman, then she`s just got to say, Bring
it on. I mean, that would be…
ROBINSON: That would be as close to suicidal as I can imagine.
MATTHEWS: I would peel off some of those $2.5 billion she`s raising
and I`d give it to anybody willing to throw those stink bombs – just keep
knocking me for being a woman because every woman hears it and says, You`re
talking about me.
Anyway, guys, thank you. It takes us a while to learn these lessons.
Thank you so much, Robert Gibbs, knows what he`s talking about.
GIBBS: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: Gene, you`re always right.
ROBINSON: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: Much – almost always right. Much more on the two top
presidential campaign announcements from Hillary Clinton and Marco Rubio
ahead in this hour.
But up next, the Obama administration is now pushing very hard to keep
Congress from tanking this deal with Iran – ruining the thing, derailing
it. And the number one target in the administration`s charm offensive is
the guy coming up next, Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign
Relations committee, who wants Congress to have the final say over the
deal. Senator Corker will join us – very important interview coming up.
Plus, Marco Rubio is making a big issue out of President Obama`s
policy on Cuba. But just look at where he made his announcement today.
It`s an all-out play for that most critical of swing votes, Florida.
And with Hillary off and running now off to Iowa tomorrow, get used to
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KATE MCKINNON, ACTOR: I am running because I want to be a voice for
DARRELL HAMMOND, ACTOR: Did someone say women everywhere?
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
MCKINNON: Bill. Hello, Bill!
HAMMOND: Hillary would make a great president.
MCKINNON: Thank you.
HAMMOND: And I would make an even greater first dude.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: There is nobody like Darrell Hammond (ph) (INAUDIBLE) Even
the president`s not as good as he is playing the president. Anyway,
Darrell Hammond there, back playing Bill Clinton this past “Saturday Night
But that role will – what will the actual role that Bill Clinton`s
going to play? What`s the real guy going to do? We`re going to talk about
that coming up in the show. This is going to be fun.
Finally, “Let Me Finish” with Hillary`s listening trip to Iowa and why
it`s going to do her some great good.
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: In presidential politics, age matters. Since 1992, the
younger candidate has won the popular vote in every presidential election.
In `92, it was Clinton over Bush, Sr. In `96, it was Clinton – he
defeated Bob dole. In the year 2000, Al Gore actually won the popular vote
– we all remember that – but George W., thanks to the Supreme Court, two
years older, won the election.
In 2004, Bush beat John Kerry, who was two years older. And in 2008,
Barack Obama beat John McCain, and then beat Mitt Romney four years later.
We`ll see if that trend holds true in 2016.
And we`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Well, the fight over the Iranian
nuclear deal is nearing a breaking point. The U.S. Senate`s Foreign
Relations Committee will begin work on legislation tomorrow to allow
Congress to review, even reject a final deal.
The White House is warning that the legislation could derail the talks
before we even get to a final deal. Meanwhile, Senator John McCain is
calling Secretary of State John Kerry “delusional.” Iran`s supreme leader
recently declared that all economic sanctions must be lifted immediately if
a final deal is reached, a position that goes against the White House`s
core principles on a deal.
But here`s John McCain on Hugh Hewitt`s radio show.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: John Kerry must have known what was in
it and yet chose to interpret it in another – in another way. It`s
probably in black and white that the ayatollah is probably right.
John Kerry is delusional. And he came back, in my view – I think
you`re going to find out, that they had never agreed to the things that
John Kerry claimed that they had.
I think John Kerry tried to come back and sell a bill of goods, hoping
maybe that the Iranians wouldn`t say much about it. But look, it`s
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, President Obama fired back at that this weekend.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When I hear some, like
Senator McCain recently, suggest that our secretary of state, John Kerry,
who served in the United States Senate, a Vietnam veteran, who`s provided
exemplary service to this nation, is somehow less trustworthy in the
interpretation of what`s in a political agreement than the supreme leader
of Iran, that`s an indication of the degree to which partisanship has
crossed all boundaries.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, joining me right now, Senator Bob Corker of
Tennessee. He`s chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
You have one of the most prestigious positions ever in the United
States Congress. I think of Fulbright, I think of the great chairs of that
Are we getting too partisan when a member of the Senate calling the
other – the secretary of state “delusional” and seeming to be siding with
the ayatollah on the facts?
SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: You know, Chris, I – look, each –
there are a lot of things that are happening right now. I know tensions
are high. My only focus is passing strongly in a bipartisan way a bill to
give Congress the ability to, on behalf of the American people, know what`s
in this agreement and to be able to say grace on it by having the right to
pass a resolution of approval or disapproval, if we feel like that`s where
it needs to go.
So that is 100 percent my focus, the substance of what is in this
deal. We won`t know until the end of June, likely, what the substance is.
But I think the American people, because of all of these things that
they`re hearing from differing – differing areas – they want someone –
they want Congress to understand what is in this deal and to ensure that
it`s going to stand the test of time.
MATTHEWS: OK, let`s get to the procedure.
It gives you 60 days after a deal is signed by the president, agreed
to with the Iranians to review it. At the end of that, if you do pass this
and it gives the Congress that authority to do that, wouldn`t the
Republican majority in the Senate use that opportunity to reject the deal?
Just reject it. Here`s your chance – you`re giving them the chance. And
wouldn`t your colleagues in the Republican Party who are a majority in the
Senate just say OK, we`re going to reject the deal? We have the
opportunity, and we`re going to use it.
CORKER: No, I think people understand that the best thing for our
country is a strongly negotiated agreement. Everyone understands that.
And I think that we believe – people on both sides of the aisle – believe
that by Congress being that backstop, there`s much more likely to be a deal
that has a substance in it that can pass muster.
But look, certainly there`s partisanship. We have some folks on our
side of the aisle, Chris, no matter what the president says, they`re going
to be against it. We have some folks on the Democratic side that no matter
what he says they`re for it. So I would say the large, mass majority of
senators in the United States Senate want to look at this in a sober and
thoughtful manner on behalf of their constituents. And ensure again that
if we relieve these sanctions that have taken years to put in place – and
by the way, these are the congressionally mandated sanctions that got them
to the table – we just want to say grace over that before they are
MATTHEWS: OK. But if this deal goes down because the Congress uses
its prerogative under this legislation to bring it down to reject it. Do
you have confidence that the other powers in the world – China, Russia,
the Europeans – would back stronger sanctions, which would somehow stop
the Iranians from going nuclear in terms of weaponization?
Do you think there`s some third option out there? The president says
there really isn`t a third option. He says it`s either this deal or we`ll
end of having to bomb them. Do you believe there`s another option?
CORKER: Oh, sure. I`ve said it multiple times.
We have a JPOA in place right now, the interim agreement. It`s
serving us well. If in fact –
MATTHEWS: Will it hold? Will it hold?
CORKER: Well, I don`t know, Chris. But I mean, at the end of the
day, you`re sort of fast-forwarding beyond where we are. First of all, we
don`t have any idea if there will be a final agreement. All we`re saying
is if there is one, we want the other P-5 plus one – certainly the
president and others who are negotiating – we want them to know that
Congress is going to play its rightful role on the congressionally mandated
sanctions. That`s it.
And I can`t play this out – I don`t even know if there`s going to be
a final agreement. But one position would be to keep the interim agreement
in place as we are right now.
MATTHEWS: Let`s suppose you succeed in getting – maybe not a veto-
proof, maybe 67 senators to support the idea that you, as the Senate, has
the prerogative to vote up or down on whatever the agreement is. OK. What
if that brings down the deal? What happens if the people in Iran say you
know what? That`s not the way we saw this process. This is a different
process than we agreed to. We`re going home.
Who would be blamed then? Who do you think history would blame: the
Republican leadership led by you in the Senate Foreign Relations committee,
or the president?
CORKER: Believe me, this is strongly bipartisan. Ben Cardin, Bob
Menendez, Chuck Schumer – this is not some Republican effort. This is
strongly bipartisan. And Chris, I could say back to you, what if the P-5
plus 1 doesn`t reach an agreement? What if some of these things that are
being said about the disagreement over what was even discussed in a verbal
I mean, again, I don`t want to speculate those things. What I do
want, and I know the American people want, they want someone to go through
these details, the classified annexes, all the things that someone like you
who`s served up here knows exists and can ensure, again, this is something
that stands the test of time.
And by the way, that everyone is on the same page as to what the
MATTHEWS: Well, I hope you can get through this process without
derailing it. I think that`s – what I think you want and I think some
people in the middle do want. I`m not sure everybody on the right wants
this to be smooth sailing all the way to a deal and then have an up-or-down
But that`s what you`d like to have: a deal, and then you decide
whether it`s right or not.
CORKER: That`s right. And Chris, in Switzerland, we know for a fact
that the negotiators believe that Congress was going to play a role. We
know for a fact that it was beneficial to our negotiators while we were
there. We were the backstop that was necessary to keep this deal from
going in another direction.
So we`re going to play that constructive role, I hope, and I
appreciate you having me on today.
MATTHEWS: And I appreciate that you didn`t sign that letter of 47
senators. I think that went too far. But I appreciate what you`re doing
here as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, sir. Thank you, Bob
Corker of Tennessee.
CORKER: Thank you, thank you, sir.
MATTHEWS: Thanks for coming on.
CORKER: Thank you, sir. Thank you.
MATTHEWS: Up next, the power of simple curiosity.
Brian Grazer, the Hollywood producer behind movies and TV shows like
“24,” “Apollo 13,” “Frost/Nixon,” says you can change your life just by
asking questions. And that`s true for politics, too, I`m telling you. And
he is coming here in just a minute to teach us something.
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “FROST/NIXON”)
FRANK LANGELLA, ACTOR: Look, when you`re in office, you have got to
do a lot of things sometimes that are not always in the strictest sense of
the law legal. But you will do them because they`re in the greater
interests of the nation.
MICHAEL SHEEN, ACTOR: Wait. Just so I understand correctly, are you
really saying that, in certain situations, the president can decide whether
it is in the best interests of the nation and then do something illegal?
LANGELLA: I`m saying that when the president does it, that means it
is not illegal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
The man who produced that movie is here with us now, Brian Grazer. He
is responsible for some of Hollywood`s most iconic films, like
“Frost/Nixon” and “A Beautiful Mind,” as well as hit TV shows, even, well,
lots of things like Bill Clinton like to watch, like “24” and “Arrested
Development,” along with Ron Howard, his business partner of 35 years.
His work has been nominated for 43 Academy Awards, 149 Emmys. And yet
he says the secret of his success can be summed up in one word – and this
is the greatest of all graduation speeches – curiosity. Since the 1970s,
Grazer has spoken with thousands of accomplished people in fields all over
the world in what he calls curiosity conversations.
As part of a deliberate effort of his, he`s made to expose himself to
new ideas and different perspectives. Now Brian Grazer is out with this
book, a fabulous read. It`s called “A Curious Mind.” You can zip through
this baby in two or three sittings, a secret to a bigger life.
It is about how the influence conversation in your life can change
He joins me right now.
Brian, this book…
BRIAN GRAZER, AUTHOR, “A CURIOUS MIND”: Yes.
MATTHEWS: I have read a few books in my life that have one central
thought. One is Gavin de Becker`s “The Gift of Fear,” about…
MATTHEWS: … about the instinct you have. If somebody is following
you, damn it, act like they`re following you. Don`t go open that door to
your house thinking they`re not right behind you. This book is much more
It`s about basic curiosity about the people you live with all your
life and the big shots you meet. But everybody – it is why people like
Tip O`Neill succeed in politics. It is why Bill Clinton is liked by so
many people. When he meets you…
MATTHEWS: … he wants to know about you.
Tell me about this book and why you got into it.
GRAZER: Well, first of all, what got me into it was my grandmother.
I had a tiny little grandmother that at – and when I was like 5 years
old, I asked her the simple question of what goes faster, a car or a bee?
She turned that into a real question and didn`t ignore it. And she said,
with your questioning, Brian, curiosity will have the greatest role in your
life. It will be a superpower in your life.
And at 5 years old, I started to realize that that would be a thing
that would be powerful for me. And I have used that my entire life, and
then have created a discipline where I go every two weeks to meet somebody
that is expert or renowned in anything other than show business, the world
in which I live, which would be science, medicine, politics, technology,
all art forms, from clothing to (INAUDIBLE) to painting, and so I have just
– architecture – I have just done this for now 35 years religiously for
every two weeks.
MATTHEWS: You know, Brian, back when I was dating and drinking a bit,
back in my 20s, I thought the best way to date somebody was to tell them
how great I was.
MATTHEWS: This won`t surprise anybody.
Then I discovered what Bill Clinton discovered and a lot of guys. The
best dating principle is to listen.
GRAZER: It`s so interesting, because the process of curiosity, when
you really do it, when you really use it as a tool, it creates intimacy.
So, as you just said, your very best date was the one where all of the
questions were coming so naturally.
And what emerged out of that was chemistry and that became probably,
I`m sure, I bet, your very best date.
MATTHEWS: No, actually, I learned it by default. I didn`t get it
MATTHEWS: Some of the other guys do it better. But Clinton – I`m
going to get to this at the end of the show.
But talk about your principle here. Bill Clinton is a listener. I
mean, every – you have met him a number of times. He gives that you two
minutes, at least, right, the blue eyes right in your face, totally
attentive to you.
Well, it is brilliant. You have to be a great listener, because it is
– all of the breakthroughs, all of the good ideas, all the creation comes
between the question and the answer. It is that gray area that lives in
the middle, which all that stuff that is building between question and the
answer becomes almost molecular.
And, as I was saying, that`s what – your very best date comes that
way, or if you think – I think of a lot of the greatest people I have met.
They all axis on curiosity, whether it`s Steve Jobs or Michael Jackson or
Princess Di or President Bill Clinton.
GRAZER: It is – it`s the – all the stuff that is in the middle of
the first question and the first answer. It is that building, that sort of
biochemistry that happens where it really…
MATTHEWS: Well, let`s talk about – let`s talk about Hillary Clinton.
Hillary Clinton is in a van now heading west to Iowa listen.
MATTHEWS: And instead of coming out with a big speech – she has a
bit of a speech yesterday in that tape – she is listening, just like she
did when she got elected senator from New York. People seem to like it.
And I guess, if you truly listen, it`s because you`re curious. You`re
GRAZER: Yes. It has to be a genuine thing. And I think – I have
met Hillary Clinton a few times. And it feels like a very genuine thing.
She feels like she`s – her spirit is in the right place and she does
– she really does listen.
GRAZER: I had an interesting moment, very quickly, with Hillary
Clinton. We both were given an award. Mine was at the very beginning of
the night. Hers was at the end, because she was the more important person.
And she actually integrated in this tiny little sentence I said into
her acceptance speech. And I thought, wow, that was listening.
GRAZER: It was a demonstration of exactly what you just said.
MATTHEWS: Yes. What about – I think McCain – I don`t think, what`s
his name, W., I don`t think he is much of a curious guy. And I think that
was his problem with the whole neocon, crazy, going to war. I don`t think
he asked enough questions. I don`t think he was curious enough.
And I think that`s what got us into that disaster.
GRAZER: Well, that`s why I watch HARDBALL, to find that stuff out, as
far as politics goes.
MATTHEWS: OK. I`m going to sell your book, but thanks for selling
The book is called “A Curious Mind.” It is not a heavy lift. It`s
about 200-some pages. I`m telling you, you`re going to start reading this.
You`re going to go to the bookstore and you`re going to start reading it,
and then you`re going to realize, I`m going to buy this book, because this
is going to be the best graduation speech you ever heard in your life.
This is about life. It is called curiosity. And if you don`t have
that, you have really given up, haven`t you?
Anyway, thank you. Hey, Brian Grazer, I have heard your name all my
life. Now I met you. Thank you so much.
GRAZER: Thank you, Chris. Really appreciate it.
MATTHEWS: And I love it. I love those movies like “The Paper.” What
a great movie.
MATTHEWS: And “Parenthood,” I love that movie, and “Friday Night
Lights.” You have got some – what a track record.
Up next: Marco Rubio is off and running. He`s making President
Obama`s normalization with Cuba an issue, a negative issue.
That`s ahead. You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
RICHARD LUI, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Hi. I`m Richard Lui in the MSNBC
Convicted murderer Jodi Arias has been sentenced to life in prison
without the possibility of parole. She was found guilty of killing her ex-
boyfriend in 2013.
Police are searching for the gunman who opened fire at Wayne Community
College in North Carolina, killing a school employee. That suspect is a
And bad weather forcing SpaceX to delay the launch of a cargo capsule
to the International Space Station. Another attempt is set for tomorrow.
The ship is expected to deliver the first zero-g espresso machine to the
space station – now back to HARDBALL.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: This election is not just about what
laws we`re going to pass. This election is a generational choice about
what kind of country we will be. Yesterday is over.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
RUBIO: And we`re never going back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Actually, former Senator Marco Rubio has been playing some hardball
today. He announced that he is running for president just a few moments
ago. Rubio, the son of Cuban immigrants to this country, made the
announcement at Miami`s iconic Freedom Tower, which some – says is that
city`s Ellis Island because of the thousands of Cuban immigrants who passed
through there as they escaped the Castro regime.
Rubio, one term Florida senator, is the second Cuban-American to enter
the GOP race for the White House. Texas Senator Ted Cruz is also the son
of parents, at least one parent who fled Cuba. Their campaigns come in a
unique time in American politics, of course, when the debate over relations
with Cuba is certainly heating up and perking up.
Rubio`s announcement comes on the heels of President Obama`s historic
meeting with Cuban President Raul Castro this past week down in Panama, the
first formal meeting of the two country`s leaders in a half century.
Rubio and Cruz have been fierce critics of the president`s policy
toward Cuba. When the president announced the deal to ease the Cuban
embargo last December, Rubio accused Obama of betraying the Cuban people.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: Did they agree to freedom of the
press? No. Did they agree to free and unfettered access to the Internet?
No. Did they agree to elections? Absolutely not. Did they agree to
independent political parties? No. Did they agree to freedom of assembly?
What democratic opening are we getting here? None whatsoever. And so
that`s why I`ve said this president has to be the worst negotiator we`ve
ever had. And he has betrayed, betrayed those Cubans that have worked so
hard and have sacrificed so much for the freedom and liberty of the island.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: And Cruz – Senator Cruz blasted Obama for believing in –
there is a favorite word of theirs – appeasement. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Cuba is an ally of North Korea, it is an
ally of Iran, it is an ally of Venezuela. It is an avowed enemy of this
This president believes appeasement works. So, when it comes to
dealing with tyrants and bullies, whether it is Putin, whether it is
Khamenei in Iran, or whether it is the Castros in Cuba, he believes that a
position of weakness is how we should negotiate. And that doesn`t work.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: That`s Ted Cruz speaking the old Joe McCarthy line again.
Anyway, joining our roundtable tonight: Howard Fineman is global
editor of “The Huffington Post”, Michelle Bernard is president of the
Bernard Center for Women, Steve McMahon is a Democratic strategist.
I`ll start with you, Howard.
There`s something old and tired about this debate. We all grew up
with it. I sense now that the people of the Cuban-American community down
in Miami, Little Havana, are very much mixed to the point, to the point
where I think it`s probably a wash in that community.
HOWARD FINEMAN, THE HUFFINGTON POST: Well, Chris, all of us who cover
politics spend a lot of time in Florida and always look at the Cuban
community, and I trust the Hispanic pollsters that I know there who are
telling me and telling me the country that there is a generational shift
going on in the Cuban community as well.
The old generation – the older generation is very hard line and Marco
Rubio is espousing their line. But the younger you get and the farther
away from Little Havana you get, not just in Florida but certainly around
the country with other Hispanics, the less this is a driving motivation
The interesting thing to me is going to be to watch Jeb Bush who is
also very hard line on this, join with Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz and seeing
who can out-Cubano the other in the Republican primary, and that`s` going
to drive them not closer to the Hispanic community in the rest of America
but I think farther away.
MATTHEWS: You know, Michelle, I`m not so sure that this is a matter
of how much do you hate the communist Castro regime. I hate it. I mean, I
remember it. I always thought if this Cold War had gone the other way,
Castro in his fatigues would be standing there in Central Park where they
shot all of us. He would have loved to have won on that side.
But he lost. It`s over. The Cold War is over. The communists lost.
They`re dead meat.
And so, the question is, what can we do to improve relations for us
and improve the life of the people in Cuba by opening the door or not?
That`s to me the question. Your thoughts?
MICHELLE BERNARD, BERNARD CENTER FOR WOMEN: You know, it is such a
deeply emotional issue for so many Cubans. You know, I read something
earlier today that said, particularly for anyone who emigrated from Cuba to
the United States before 1980 or was born in the United States before –
was born in Cuba before 1980, this is deeply emotional. People remember
fleeing the country. They remember all the human rights abuses, and they
feel like they`ve been betrayed by the country.
That being said though, you know, one of the things President Obama
has said is we followed the same Cold War strategy for the last 40 years
and it has got us absolutely nowhere. And when you see so many people, so
many Cubans, Cuban-Americans today coming forward saying we agree the
president on this issue, we believe in the normalization of relations with
Cuba so that we can be closer to our family members that are still there,
the tied has turned.
MATTHEWS: Well, according to that poll we just got from Cuba, I know
there`s a problem with that, Steve. And you know about polls more than I
How do you conduct a poll in a communist country? But the people that
were willing to participate were all out for opening relations.
STEVE MCMAHON, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: That`s right. The ones willing
to participate wanted to open the relations. And the ones who are here and
have been here for some period of time, as Howard points out, are the only
ones who want to hold to the hard line and, frankly, there is a notion in
polling called cohort replacement. And as older generations die, they`re
replaced by younger generations. You can see with it marriage equality in
this country. How young people don`t see any problem with gays and
lesbians getting married and older people still in many cases object.
Those cohorts are being replaced on that subject, just as they are
here in Cuba too on this subject. You can see it. It`s moving. It`s
The president is on the right side of this one. It`s not going to
cost him many votes. And it`s not frankly going to get Marco Rubio any
votes in the general election, although it could help in the primary
distinguish himself – a young man without very much experience talking
about foreign policy. He is actually – he`s actually hitting with the big
boys now on this one.
BERNARD: Can I also ask –
MATTHEWS: Yes, go ahead.
BERNARD: I think that what`s important for Marco Rubio on this is
that he realizes what the polls are saying. And one of the things that
allows him to stand out from other Republicans, whether it`s 2016 or people
who have run in the past. He`s come out and said, I don`t care if 99
percent of the American public disagrees with me on this issue.
I believe it`s wrong and here`s the reason why I believe it`s wrong.
And I think it is important for a politician to show that he`s going to
stand by his guns and actually stand for something.
MATTHEWS: I like the Peggy Noonan argument. She wants to see Castro
on his dying breath look out the window of his room and see a young kid an
iPhone and saying, I think I lost.
Anyway, the roundtable is staying with us.
And up next, what`s Bill Clinton`s role in the Hillary Clinton
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Amid the flurry of presidential announcements over the past
24 hours, we learned today of another one on the horizon. Dr. Ben Carson,
the retired neurosurgeon, says he`ll announce his presidential campaign
early next month. That would be early May. Carson will make the
announcement on May 4th in his home town of Detroit.
We`ll be right back after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am running because I want to be a voice for
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did someone say women everywhere?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, Bill. Hello, Bill.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hillary would make a great president.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I would make an even greater first dude.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: We`re back.
Of course, that was Darrell Hammond.
Hillary Clinton is now out there campaigning for the presidency. So,
what should her husband`s role be this time around?
Well, President Clinton caused some gaps in 2008 that warranted damage
control. But some strategists argue that Hillary Clinton didn`t deploy
Bill enough in 2008. It`s a long way to 2016, of course, and with Hillary
Clinton having circumnavigated the globe as secretary of state, the worry
that Bill could overshadow his wife does not seem as plausible today,
Former First Lady Laura Bush was recently asked what role our
president should assume as president if his wife won the White House.
Here`s her advice.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
INTERVIEWER: What`s your advice for the first gentleman? For the
first first gentleman?
LAURA BUSH, FORMER FIRST LADY: Stay in the back and be quiet.
I don`t know. It will be interesting when it finally happens what the
first gentleman will do. I hope they`ll take on men`s health, perhaps.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, that`s turning the tables. Take on the men`s health
Howard Fineman, they`re back, Michelle and Steve.
This is something I know we`re going to be talking about for the next
year-and-a-half. We might as well have another run at it.
I start with you, Michelle. This Bill Clinton thing. Notice that she
started off Hillary Clinton, her campaign, her road show, if you will,
yesterday. And is going to go through – she`s moving west to Iowa by
tomorrow with her campaign events.
He`s staying back in New York. He isn`t running, holding her hand,
that sort of thing that spouses always do.
What`s that say? Is that just obvious at this point in their
marriage? They`ve been married a long time. There`s no reason for them to
be, you know, doing everything together.
BERNARD: Well, I think what it says is that Hillary Clinton is her
own woman. And if she`s going to win the White House in 2016, she`s going
to do it on her own terms. I think it would be an enormous mistake for her
to try to have her husband this early in the primary season.
She – Bill Clinton is so gregarious, he is so charismatic. I don`t
care that she was secretary of state and she`s been all over the world and
she`s done so many wonderful things. The difference in their personality
and the warmth that they exude is so different that I think it could take
away from her.
But when she`s out on the campaign trail now and she`s on her
listening tour, and we see her in various roles as the prospective first
female president of the United States, it will allow people to see her in a
different light. And quite frankly, remember – sort of distance herself
from the parts of Bill Clinton that people don`t want to remember. For
example, what we just saw in the “SNL” clip that was just played.
MATTHEWS: But, Howard, I think – I mean, just try this on you as a
concept. I think people want them both back if they want them back. I
think they see Bill as part of the picture. I`m not saying two for the
price of one.
But I do think they want him as part of the picture. Maybe as a
lifeline, if they have a critical situation, it wouldn`t hurt to have him
around. I don`t know. It`s always tricky to talk about it.
But I don`t think people want him gone from the picture if they`re
voting for Hillary.
FINEMAN: No, I don`t think they want him gone. But I think they want
her front and center. And she certainly wants herself front and center.
In that video that you saw, the launched with yesterday, it was all about
family and all about young working families and so on, and the notion of
family, which she is stressing. You didn`t see Bill Clinton anywhere
And also, as much as Bill Clinton is beloved by many people,
especially in the Democratic Party, he`s the `90s. She wants to be the
candidate of the 21st century, whatever Marco Rubio is saying about her,
she wants to be about tomorrow. And Bill Clinton is not a tomorrow figure.
MATTHEWS: OK. We`ll be back on that one.
Howard, you`ll be well-quoted on that baby.
Thank you, Howard Fineman, Michelle Bernard, and Steve McMahon.
By the way, I think the great moment will come as he stays upstairs
when he says to Hillary Clinton in the Oval Office, he wants to come down
and help with this. And she says what? I love that moment. I love that
When we return, let me finish with Hillary`s listening trip to Iowa
and why it would do her a lot of good.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish with Hillary`s listening trip to Iowa and why
it will do her good.
The fact is, great politicians are great listeners. Or is it the
other way around?
When Bill Clinton was at Oxford on his Rhodes Scholarship, a classmate
was having a hard time getting to first base with his girlfriend. She just
wasn`t that much into him.
So, the guy went to Bill Clinton for advice.
And Bill certainly came through.
“Did you ever try listening? People like it when you to listen to
Well, it worked, apparently.
And this is what you call political retail – the ability to win over
to your side one person at a time.
I remember when my Aunt Eleanor, now in her 90s, up at St. Joseph
Villa outside Philadelphia, came to see my boss Speaker Tip O`Neill back in
the 1980s. She was with some other sisters of St. Joseph who were lobbying
Congress for social programs for poor people.
“How long you been out of the habit, dear?” Tip roared when he came in
and saw her. This woman had been in the convent since she was a teenager
back in the 1940s.
Tip was showing an interest in that life-changing moment when
religious sisters converted from their traditional habit to dressing like
And the more Hillary Clinton goes out there and listens, the more she
will learn not just what people care about – but how they say it.
The more she sounds like those “everyday” people she calls them she
wants to champion, the more they are going to cheer for her.
And that`s HARDBALL for now. Listen up. Thanks for being with us.
“ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES” starts right now.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
Copyright 2015 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by
United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed,
transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written
permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark,
copyright or other notice from copies of the content.>