Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 05/15/15

Mike Bello, Kendall Coffey, Matthew Weiner, Ivy Ziedrich, Sabrina Siddiqui

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Crime and punishment.

Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.

Tonight, we have a special guest on the program that created an
American saga that has offered so many of us a slice of this country`s life
at mid-20th century, “Mad Men,” the final episode of which comes this
Sunday night.

We begin, of course, tonight with the culmination of a real-life
horror, the jury`s condemnation of the Boston Marathon bomber to death.
Last today, in a Massachusetts federal court, a jury sentenced Boston
Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death.

The same jury last month found Tsarnaev guilty on 30 counts for his
role in the bombings. The jury today found that Tsarnaev showed no remorse
for his actions. It rejected the defense`s narrative that hid older
brother brainwashed him into committing his acts of terrorism. The 2013
Boston bombings killed three people. More than 240 others suffered serious
injuries, including loss of limb.

Well, those in the courtroom described Tsarnaev`s reaction when the
jury read their decision as stone-faced.

Mike Bello is “The Boston Globe`s” assistant metro editor and Kendall
Coffey`s a former U.S. attorney.

Mike, what were the issues that kept them thinking most of the 15
hours of deliberation on the sentencing?


most part, the real issue was, did Dzhokhar Tsarnaev – was involved in
using weapons of mass destructions (sic) – did – was his intent to really
maim, inflict maximum damage?

And the jury concluded that. The jury felt that he was responsible
for the deaths of Martin Richard and also Lindsey Liu (ph). And there was
tremendous testimony from the prosecution during the death penalty phase
and during the regular trial, the agony of the victim`s families, autopsy
photos, overwhelming evidence that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev planned and helped
execute the people involved in this terror bombing, along with his brother,
Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

MATTHEWS: Kendall, is this – it read to me, the little I know about
the law here, that this was the federal intent. This is what the lawmakers
and their legislative history mainly intended, that there be a capital case
here, that it would involve capital punishment in this kind of situation.

KENDALL COFFEY, FMR. U.S. ATTORNEY: Well, this is exactly the kind of
case that the federal death penalty was intended for, in the sense that it
was a weapon of mass destruction, but it had so many other very, very
heart-breaking, anger-inspiring elements, the sheer magnitude of the
horror, the detailed, cold-blooded premeditation and the utter lack of

The jury decided unanimously beyond a reasonable doubt that there was
no remorse. So all that could be said about family, about his youth, about
lack of prior complications – when something this horrible happens by
somebody who reflects no compunction, no remorse, then that`s a death
penalty case.

MATTHEWS: Mike, what about the Sister Prejean testimony, the
character witness saying that he was truly sorry for what he`d done? Was
that just dismissed as the good intentions of someone who`s the death

BELLO: Yes, I think the jury didn`t buy it. You know, I think, as
the other gentleman said, you know, there was no remorse demonstrated in
court. The nurse`s – the nun`s testimony was the only evidence that he
actually showed any feeling. I mean, he never cried during the trial.
During the testimony of Martin Richard`s dad, during other victims`
testimony, showed absolutely no emotion.

I mean, Martin Richard`s dad was describing how his son was blown up.
There was testimony that Tsarnaev stood there for a number of minutes,
waiting to inflict the maximum amount of damage. There were tears from the
jurors, nothing from Tsarnaev in court. The only time he showed any
emotion was when his aunt was on the stand, and she started crying about
his upbringing and what he`d gone through as a child.

So I think the jury didn`t buy it. They also didn`t buy that Tsarnaev
was a – enslaved by his brother, that he was manipulated by his brother.
They felt he was a participant in this terrorist act.

MATTHEWS: Well, here`s how a few of the survivors reacted to the
news. Sydney Corcoran, who suffered severe leg injuries, said, quote, “My
mother and I think that now we can go away and we will be able to move on.
Justice. In our own words, an eye for an eye.”

Adrianne Haslet Davis lost her left leg below the knee. She wrote,
“My heart is with our entire survivor community. I am thrilled with the
verdict.” And Rebekah Gregory DiMartino had her left leg amputated after
17 operations – she wrote, “Completely numb and waiting anxiously for the
day this is really over. My heart and prayers are with my Boylston Street
family.” That`s of course, the people who suffered along with her.


Anyway, let me go back to Kendall for a thought. How long is this
appeal process likely to go?

COFFEY: Well, many times, they take years and years, but I don`t
think this one will. The evidence of guilt was so overwhelming. Remember,
the defense lawyer didn`t even seriously contest it in so many findings in
this death penalty verdict that I think we`re looking at three to five

But this is not going be a double-digit forever in the appeals court,
in the trial court, and back to the Supreme Court kind of case, in my

MATTHEWS: Thank you so much. Mike Bello, great reporting there,
great color (ph), in fact. And thank you, Kendall, as always, for your

Coming up: here`s something I`ve been waiting to show you. “Mad Men”
ends its run this Sunday night. We`re going to talk to the man behind this
cultural phenomenon.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (SINGING): Do you remember the laughter and the
tears, the shadows of misty yesteryears, the good times and the bad you
see, and all the others in between? Remember? Do you remember?


MATTHEWS: Say what you will, it`s gotten to me. Matthew Weiner knows
how it all ends because he wrote it. And he`s coming here next live.

Plus, Jeb Bush and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week.
He`s being slammed by his own party for a very messy response to questions
about his brother`s war in Iraq. He should have been ready for this one.

And tonight, we have the college student, by the way, whose
confrontation with Jeb Bush over ISIS has gone viral.


And then Hillary Clinton follows a cardinal rule in politics – don`t
commit to a decision before you have to. She`s doing that, but that isn`t
pleasing everyone. “”Washington Post” columnist David Ignatius is calling
for Clinton to, quote, “put away the waffle iron” – stop waffling.

And “Let Me Finish” tonight with a strong pull – with these strong
pull of a particular television program.

I`ll be right back.


MATTHEWS: The young midshipman who lost his life in the Amtrak train
crash Wednesday was laid to rest today. Twenty-year-old Justin Zemser was
accorded full military honors during his funeral in Hewlett, New York.
Zemser was one of eight passengers who were killed in the devastating train
derailment, which the NTSB is continuing to investigate. Zemser was on
leave from the Naval Academy at Annapolis, on his way home to his family`s
home in Rockaway Beach, New York, when the train derailed.

We`ll be right back.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. The final episode of “Mad Men”
airs this Sunday, and over the course of seven seasons, the show spanned a
decade in the history of this country.

When it began, Dwight Eisenhower was president, Richard Nixon was
challenging a young politician named John F. Kennedy. And after 92
episodes, the characters have gone through Martin Luther King`s “I have a
dream” speech, JFK`s assassination, women`s liberation, the escalation of
the Vietnam war and the moon landing.

Matthew Weiner, the show`s creator and executive producer, joins me
right now.

Matthew, you have carried us through our time. I was in high school
during a lot of that. You brought it all back. Let`s – let`s take a look
at a clip here right now…



MATTHEWS: … of (INAUDIBLE) let`s take a look – it`s one of the
most powerful scenes from this season is when Joan complains to the head of
the agency, Jim, about a colleague who`s been making a pass at her, a gross
pass. Let`s watch.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Other people always say you`re the kind of gal who
doesn`t take no for an answer. But no, you`re not telling me how to run my
business. No, find a way to get along, or you can expect a letter from our

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I wonder how many women around here would like
to speak to a lawyer. I think the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
has one.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Women love it here. You want to threaten us,
you`ll be all alone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. I think the second I file a complaint, I`ll
have the ACLU in my office and Betty Friedan in the lobby with half the
women who marched down 5th Avenue.


MATTHEWS: Matt, this is an amazing scene because it reminds me of,
like, Custer`s last stand. The Indians are still winning the battle
against the white men, but sooner or later, the white guy will win.

But right now, the old guys, the old farts, if you will, are still
running the show, and the women haven`t gotten their place yet at all.

WEINER: No. No they haven`t. And I don`t know that – from what I
can tell of the reaction to the episode, I think it kind of hit a nerve
that a lot of this hasn`t changed. And the interesting part about that
scene to me is she never really mentions exactly what`s going on, but sort
of goes in there as a business equal, and he holds all the cards.


MATTHEWS: Yes, and the guy was going after her (ph). He said, Let`s
go spend the weekend together down south and obviously wanted to have sex
with her. It was clear as hell. And she didn`t really even (ph) say that.


MATTHEWS: Anyway, one character who left the show after the third
season was closeted art director Sal. And Don Draper was one of the few
people who knew about his orientation.

Let`s watch this very tricky business about a gay guy not quite coming
out but being exposed.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was drunk, and he cornered me in the editing


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. And I backed him off. I told him I was
married, and he was embarrassed and he left.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You must have been really shocked.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was. Believe me!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But nothing happened because nothing could have
happened because you`re married.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don, I swear on my mother`s life!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You sure you want to do that?


MATTHEWS: Isn`t that something? He – you thought for a while on the
show that he would be sympathetic to the guy`s orientation, but there he
seems to be rock solid suspicious…


MATTHEWS: He assumes the guy`s promiscuous.

WEINER: Yes. Exactly. Exactly. He`s a product of his time, Don. I
mean, he is tolerant of a lot of things and I think he would never see
himself as a racist or a sexist, and certainly tries to take people as
individuals. But I think in this moment, all the stereotypes come down,
you know, the way they are, and he assumes that he`s promiscuous and
assumes that that`s the – that`s one of the traits of being gay.

MATTHEWS: You know, I don`t think – in watching Sal`s character all
the way going up (ph) – I`ve been watching reruns, of course, like
everybody else, of this – this surging period of more and more reruns.

But I don`t know if I picked him as gay or he was portrayed as gay.
But when you look at it in retrospect, you see how he`s pretended to be a
macho guy. He`s saying, Va-va-voom whenever he sees a girl. He`s always
reacting, overreacting to women.

WEINER: Yes, overreacting.

MATTHEWS: Yes, I think so.


Anyway, let`s watch another scene from this season…


MATTHEWS: … this season – the protagonist, Don Draper, and his
soon to be ex-wife, Megan.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You`re going to write me a check?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want you to have the life you deserve.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you kidding me?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A million dollars. Why are you doing this to
me? It`s not funny!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t want to fight anymore.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I know it`s not real. Nothing about you


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is real. Please take it.


MATTHEWS: Well, Matt, can you tell us, is Don Draper a good guy?
Because he certainly looks like a good guy there, a guy with a conscience,
a guy with a heart who wants to set things right with his ex-wife.

WEINER: I think that he – I mean, he`s a guy with a guilty
conscience, for sure. And he – I mean, a million dollars is a definitely
a unilaterally large reaction to whatever he`s done.

But I think one of the great things about doing this show is that
we`ve been able to talk about human beings as they are. You know, people
ask me how I feel about different characters, and so forth, and I don`t
really judge them. It`s part of being a writer, and myself and the writing
team, we get inside their head and we try and give everybody a reason for
why they do what they do.

I think that Don deserves some credit for trying to be better and for
trying to do the right thing, but a lot of times, his impulses get the
worst of him. And part of the story of this last, you know, 14 episodes,
you know, starting with him working his way up in his own company, has been
him trying to get – you know, take stock of things.

And by the time we start this chunk that we`re in right now, which is
the last seven episodes, you see that he is alone, but he is on – sort of
on top of the world. He`s kind of that bachelor character that we always
hoped he`d be after he got divorced. And yet, you know, that`s why we
started with the song, “Is That All There Is?”

MATTHEWS: When he comes in the office in the morning with his wingtip
shoes and his butt – his coat buttoned and his tie closed – close – and
asks for a cup of coffee, whether he`s hung over or not, I get the feeling
he`s coming back to home base.

He`s coming back to the one part of his life that holds together,
including – and this is true of a lot of people. It`s true of me. Coming
to work is a good thing in the morning. I mean, I just think it`s great –
those of us lucky enough to love our jobs. His coming to work seems to
(INAUDIBLE) he`s coming to home base, to me. What`s that about?

WEINER: You know, you have a workplace story here, and I definitely
think – you know, I agree with, I think, Freud who said that that`s the –
those are the two goals, to love and to work. And I think he is happy at
his job. I think he feels some sense of control.

We`ve shown over and over in the show, like, you know, during the
Kennedy assassination and different times when things are desperate, Don
goes back to work. And I think America is like that. You know, when
Kennedy was shot, we didn`t have a two-week, you know, mourning period and
have the body laying in state or anything. They had one day, and they
brought everybody back to work on Tuesday.


And I thought that was so strange when I looked back at it, and then I
thought, No, that`s who we are, those of us who are lucky enough to have
jobs and to love our jobs, absolutely. But for Don, that`s an expression,
I think, of control, of his imagination. And I think it`s the thing he
aspired to his whole life, so he gets to live there. Yes, I think it`s a
very – and I think we`ve sort of shown also that the people that are there
he can be closer to, too…


WEINER: … which happens to some of us.

MATTHEWS: You know, it`s interesting. You and Tom Wolfe – you and
Tom Wolfe are fascinating because Tom Wolfe says – even if you`re Jewish,
you`re in the police department in New York, you have to talk a certain
way, like the Irish guys do.


MATTHEWS: You got to use bad English. And what you`ve done – you
know, the old expression of “dress British, think Yiddish,” and…


MATTHEWS: You`ve made a point where everybody begins – the women
even, not just the – the Jewish kid, the young guy and the creative
writer, but everybody begins to try to act like Don Draper. They all try
to get in – tell us about that, why we all get into that uniform of not
WASP, exactly, but certainly – certainly Manhattan professional.

WEINER: I think it is WASP. I think it`s the white power elite. And
without being – you know, it`s not a political statement, it`s an
observation that Don, you know, like a lot of the successful men, in
particular, of the 20th century, yearn to be a white Anglo-Saxon
Protestant. And no matter – because they – a lot of them had – you
know, came from rural poverty and sort of hid their backgrounds and put on
that uniform.


WEINER: That is the person who runs this country. And whether it`s -
- you know, it`s jut the form that it takes. And – and I love that in a
way, there is a sort of uniform to it, but it also – it`s very limiting.
And I think people get there, and you can never shake off who you are. And
even people, you know, like John D. Rockefeller spent their life sort of,
you know, trying to hide where they came from.


MATTHEWS: Yes. Did you watch – how many times did you watch “North
by Northwest” to get your head into this?


MATTHEWS: Because I am convinced that Roger Thornhill (ph), the Cary
Grant character, walking down 5th Avenue to the Oak (ph) Bar was the
beginning of this series. Just your thought about that. Did you see the

WEINER: Oh, I`ve seen the movie plenty, and I studied it in film
school. I was much more influenced by “The Apartment,” which is…


WEINER: … you know, obviously an amazing movie, the same year,
basically, or the year after…

MATTHEWS: John Lemmon, Shirley McLaine…


WEINER: That`s 1960 and “North by Northwest” is 1959. But I saw
“North by Northwest” quite a bit. I love the movie. It – I love
(INAUDIBLE) ad executive and his name was Roger. I don`t know how that all
fits in your brain. You know, you can sit down…


WEINER: You can sit down and tell me your life story, and I might
walk away saying that it`s mine. That`s part of being a writer.



MATTHEWS: You know what? I love what you`ve created here. I
absolutely – I`m going to pay tribute to your show at the end of this show


MATTHEWS: I just thank you. I thank you.

WEINER: Chris, I have to thank you, because I actually remember very
clearly that you were one of the first people, at least in the public eye,
to watch the show and to talk about it.

And it was a surreal moment that exceeded all of my expectations when
I heard you mention that he sounds like – I don`t remember who it was, but
you said he sounds like one of those guys on “Mad Men.”

And I`m like, oh, my God, Chris Matthews is watching the show.

MATTHEWS: Well, that`s true.


WEINER: So, I loved that. And…

MATTHEWS: Everybody here, all the producers, I told you off the air
we meet here on Monday morning, the first meeting Monday morning – don`t
tell our bosses – is to talk about “Mad Men.”



MATTHEWS: And we always do. We want to keep up with everybody. And
we are going to miss those people terribly.

Thank you, Matthew Weiner, again.

WEINER: I appreciate it. Thank you, Chris.

MATTHEWS: Thank you for everybody here at HARDBALL.

Up next: the 19-year-old college student who took on Jeb Bush in that
viral video. She has gone from college activist to the front page of “The
Washington Post.” And she joins us next.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

A 19-year-old college student from Nevada has set off a small
earthquake for the Republican Party`s top contender for the White House.
Earlier this week, Jeb Bush was confronted by Ivy Ziedrich – Ziedrich – a
student at the University of Nevada in Reno and a member of the Young
Democrats chapter, over his brother`s war in Iraq. And their interaction
has now gone viral. Here is the confrontation.



IVY ZIEDRICH, UNIVERSITY OF NEVADA: Your brother created ISIS through
the Iraqi Coalition Authority.

BUSH: Is that a question?

ZIEDRICH: You don`t need to be pedantic to me, sir.

BUSH: Pedantic? Wow.

ZIEDRICH: You could just answer my question.

BUSH: So what is the question?

ZIEDRICH: My question is, why are you saying that ISIS was created by
us not having a presence in the Middle East, when it`s countless pointless
wars, when we sent young men to die for the idea of American

It`s this idea – like, why are you spouting nationalistic rhetoric to
get us involved in more wars?

BUSH: We respectfully disagree. We have a disagreement.

We had an agreement that the president could have signed. It would
have kept 10,000 troops, which is less than what we have in Korea. It
could have created the stability that would have allow for Iraq to

And so, look, we can rewrite history all you want, but the simple fact
is that we`re in a much more unstable place because America pulled back.



BUSH: Thank you.


MATTHEWS: Well, Ivy Ziedrich is a student at the University of Nevada
in Reno, as I said.

Ivy, I have the sense that you know more about the history of our Iraq
engagement than the former governor of Florida. You talked about something
– I want you to expand on it – your knowledge of how de-Baathification,
kicking out the entire – Paul Bremer is responsible for that, the guy who
wore the fancy suits and the work boots.

He`s the guy that dumped the entire Iraqi army into the arms of ISIS.
And it seemed like Governor Bush didn`t know what you were talking about,
when everybody who watches this show knows exactly what you`re talking


I would have to have more of a dialogue with him to really be sure if
that is an accurate assessment. I don`t want to be too disparaging. But,
yes, my problem was certainly that, throughout his speech, he was placing
the blame of the creation of ISIS, he was placing that blame upon President

And that`s what I really wanted to address, was the influence of the
de-Baathification and the role that the Bush administration played in the
creation of ISIS, because if we are going blame a president, I am pretty
sure that it should not be Obama.

MATTHEWS: What`s your sense – I`m now going to lay some
responsibility on you.

Is Hillary Clinton, the recent secretary of state, do you think she`s
a dove or a hawk when it comes to issues like Iran, Iraq, the whole
question of the Middle East?


ZIEDRICH: I mean, I`m not – I`m not quite sure how I feel about
Hillary Clinton as the Democratic front-runner quite yet.

I think that there are definitely points to criticize in her history,
as well as pretty much everybody who is running for president at this
point. So I think that it`s important that, when we have the opportunity
to speak to any individual who is running for president, Hillary Clinton
included, that we ask these questions and that we try to correct…


MATTHEWS: Well, let`s – let`s try it again. Let me try it again.
Would you have – if you asked her, do you regret having supported the Iraq
War, what do you think her answer would be?

ZIEDRICH: Yes, I would absolutely ask – I am sure that her answer
would be that, yes, she regrets supporting the Iraq War.

I think that that is pretty much everybody`s answer at this point.
I`m not sure why it wasn`t an easier answer for Jeb Bush.

MATTHEWS: Well, I have a theory.

ZIEDRICH: What is your theory?

MATTHEWS: And my theory is pretty much that – my theory is the WMD
had nothing to do with that war. It was a sales piece.


MATTHEWS: The whole idea of WMD, even the phrase WMD, was to conflate
a lot of things. It was to suggest nuclear without having to prove it, and
therefore that made it easier for them to make the threshold argument that
that they even had a weapon. There was no – there was no intelligence
they had a weapon. Never was.



MATTHEWS: It was completely made up by Cheney and the rest of the
neocons. They wanted us in that war in the worst way. They used WMD, that
phrase, to get us in there.

That`s why I don`t let people off the hook who say, I got bad intel.
No, you didn`t. You had a bad attitude. You were a hawk. You wanted to
go to war.


MATTHEWS: And you supported a war because it was the easiest
political position to take at the time, whether you were a Democrat or
Republican. That`s all going to become an issue for Hillary Clinton as

You`re a gutsy lady. Thank you for coming on HARDBALL. You played a
little bit HARDBALL with me. And thanks for coming on.

Jeb`s confrontation with a…

ZIEDRICH: Thank you very much for having me. Have a great day.

MATTHEWS: Hey, thank you. You, too.

Jeb`s confrontation with Ivy wasn`t the only hiccup on the campaign
trail this week for the former Florida governor. He was dogged all week
long about his evolving – there`s a nice word – answers over whether or
not he would have invaded Iraq knowing what we now know. Let`s watch him.



QUESTION: Knowing what we know now, would you have authorized the

BUSH: I would have.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST, “HANNITY”: So, in other words, if – in 20/20
hindsight, you would make a different decision?

BUSH: Yes, I don`t know what that decision would have been. That`s a
hypothetical, but the simple fact is, mistakes were made.

I respect the question, but if we`re going get back into
hypotheticals, I think it does a disservice to a lot of people that
sacrificed a lot.

I would have not engaged. I would not have gone into Iraq.


MATTHEWS: And this morning on “The Today Show,” Karl Rove, known as
the architect and the brain of W., Jeb`s brother, declined to back Jeb`s
2016 campaign. Here he is doing the non-thing.


QUESTION: People probably assume you will be supporting Jeb Bush in
the election, given your relationship with his brother, but are you? Are
you planning to endorse him?

no, I`m not planning to endorse anybody. I have a long friendship with the
family and a long friendship with Jeb, but I`m, like a lot of people,
sitting on the sidelines watching and waiting.



MATTHEWS: Eugene Robinson is a Pulitzer Prize-winning opinion writer
– you have an opinion, at least – with “The Washington Post”

He doesn`t have an opinion.


MATTHEWS: Maybe he does.

ROBINSON: Here is a solid opinion. Really bad week for Jeb Bush.
Not a good week.


ROBINSON: Look, how could – when you talk about his evolving view on
the Iraq War, his evolving view of that history, how could this evolution
take place? How could he not have had the talking points memorized,
practiced in front of a mirror? How could he not have anticipated that
this would be the first question out of the box that somebody was going to
ask him?

And who is responsible for letting him go out there without an answer,
without a solid answer that would stand up?

MATTHEWS: Let me be more primitive. What is his attitude about the
war in Iraq? Forget what the talking points are. What does he personally
think? I thought, giving him the benefit of the doubt all these years,
that he was sitting, saying, what a numbnut, what an idiot. My brother`s a
fool. He`s listening to these neocons that talked him into this war. Dad
would have never done this.

ROBINSON: Apparently, that`s wrong.


MATTHEWS: I thought that is what he was thinking. I was wrong.

ROBINSON: Apparently, that`s wrong.

MATTHEWS: That`s wrong.

ROBINSON: Because his final, evolved position is that, well, he would
not have gone into Iraq knowing now – knowing then what he knows now.
However, he says the world is significantly safer now that his brother did
go into Iraq.


ROBINSON: Therefore, how does that make sense, that – so was it some
sort of lucky accident that George W. Bush went into Iraq?

MATTHEWS: OK. Why has he packed his team with so many of the people
who brought us Iraq?

ROBINSON: Well, that`s a very good question.

And Paul Wolfowitz is one of…


MATTHEWS: Yes, why has he brought – he`s been probably one of the
most notorious supporters of the war.


ROBINSON: Exactly.

MATTHEWS: My question – I go back to a more – again, a more basic
argument. I never believed their WMD argument. I never believed that was
their motive, because people like Cheney and Wolfowitz from day one, the
minute we got attacked 9/11, said, here`s our chance to go to Iraq.

ROBINSON: Well, yes.

And you raise an interesting point about the word WMD or the phrase

MATTHEWS: There`s a phrase. Isn`t that cute?

ROBINSON: It`s supposed to conflate chemical, biological, nuclear.

MATTHEWS: Anthrax.

ROBINSON: Anthrax, whatever.


ROBINSON: Without actually specifying that there is like a bomb,
right, or a weapon, something that can actually hurt people, but a program
to develop bad stuff, essentially.



MATTHEWS: Yes. Like Condi saying a mushroom cloud and Cheney saying
they have got the weapon system.

ROBINSON: Exactly. Exactly.


MATTHEWS: They have got it done.


MATTHEWS: And the dishonesty. When are they going to admit they


MATTHEWS: When are they going to admit they lied, they didn`t have
the facts?

ROBINSON: Never. Never. Never.

MATTHEWS: And then the question gets back, when are they going to
admit why they went in? I think a lot it was the theology, that the road
to Jerusalem runs through Baghdad, that somehow if we broke apart the
rejectionist states, like Iraq, then the whole Middle East would
reconfigure itself into a more favorable environment for democracy and
Israel and us.



ROBINSON: Right, and we were going to implant this Athenian democracy
at the heart of the Middle East and it was going to spread goodness and

MATTHEWS: I still think a reasonable question is, would we be better
off with Gadhafi and Bashar al-Assad still in there and Mubarak still there
and Saddam there than the crap we have got looking at us now?

ROBINSON: We could be worse off.

MATTHEWS: With ISIS and all – I think it`s still – I begin to get a
tad of nostalgia.

Anyway, thank you, Eugene Robinson.

Up next, while Jeb Bush finds himself mired in the muck of an
intramural fight in his own party over his remarks about the Iraq War,
Hillary Clinton is sticking to the low-key strategy, and it looks like it`s
working. Talked about all the knocks she`s taking, and she seems to be
smart. Keep the powder dry, Secretary Clinton.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.


breaking news.

The NTSB says an assistant conductor on the train that derailed on
Tuesday thinks she heard the engineer say an object struck the train before
that accident. The FBI is now being called back to look at damage to a
windshield to see if the train was in fact hit prior to the derailment.

Meanwhile, investigators who spoke with the engineer say he did not
report feeling tired or sick that night. He was said to be cooperative,
but insists he does not remember the crash – back to HARDBALL.



ALAN CUMMING, ACTOR: Don`t tell moneymen like Redmayne anything but
what they want to hear.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: Even if it`s a lie?

CUMMING: Yes, because it won`t be a lie when you tell it. Absence of
yes times time equals no. That`s the law. If you`re in doubt, you don`t
say no. You say, thank you for your advice. All options are open to me.
I plan to decide in the next 48 hours.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: Well, what happens in 48 hours?

CUMMING: You do whatever you like or you delay again, but you never,
ever say no, because anything could happen.


MATTHEWS: I love that advice. That`s a HARDBALL question.

And we`re back to HARDBALL. That was campaign manager Eli Gold played
by Alan Cumming on “The Good Wife” describing an old maxim in politics,
don`t commit to a decision before you have to.

And that rule appears to have worked brilliantly for Democratic
candidate front-runner Hillary Clinton, who has avoided taking a position
on the president`s trade agenda and has remained out of the ugly public
spat with the progressive wing of her party. She has also not taken a
position on the Iranian – on the talks.

So, that strategy for Clinton seems to be working. In her column –
his column today, however, David Ignatius of “The Washington Post” is the
wet blanket. He criticized Hillary for – quote – “staying out of the
political fray.”


Hollywood writes: “She has been a study in reticence, a trimmer
checking the political winds, rather than a leader. Avoiding the issues
will only reinforce the sense that she is a hollow candidate. She should
be taking credit for the good provisions in the TPP, not hedging her bets.
She may be ready to run, but is she ready to lead?”

Although, in light of Jeb Bush`s recent fumbles on Iraq this week,
maybe the Clinton campaign is making the smart move here by not saying.

We are joined right now by the roundtable, Ryan Grim of The Huffington
Post, Sabrina Siddiqui of “The Guardian,” and MSNBC expert David Corn of –
a policy expert.

What was that thing about police expert, “Mother Jones”?

Thank you.

Corn, I think that – let`s just break it down politics-wise. Has she
been smart to keep her powder dry on these top hot issues of trade and of
course Iran?

DAVID CORN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: She may not have a competitive
election for a year-and-a-half if she goes through the primary easily. So
I think anything that she does now, first of all, won`t have any impact…


MATTHEWS: Nobody is going remember it.

CORN: No one is going remember.

And there`s no – I think there is no political reason for her to
engage day in and day out with whatever is in the news cycle. Now, I would
– I don`t disagree with David Ignatius. I wouldn`t mind hearing what she
had to say, but strictly as a political matter, there is no reason to do
this. She is not losing a single vote because someone is reading David



MATTHEWS: Sabrina, Bill Clinton supports the trade deal. I heard him
do it. I heard him do it. Hillary Clinton was for it in principle, with
some concerns about the sovereignty issue, but she is keeping her powder


Look, the same way that the Iraq War was hanging over Jeb Bush`s head
because of his brother, you have the trade agreement that is hanging over
Hillary Clinton`s head because of her husband and because of the trade deal
that he enacted, of course, in his administration.

And I think that they are being smart. They don`t want to have a
fumble the way that Jeb Bush did. And the same way that David said, they
know that voters simply are not paying that much attention to this. We`re
all talking about how she`s not taking questions from the media. I don`t
know many Americans who are sitting at home really following when the last
time was that Hillary Clinton took a question from the press.

MATTHEWS: But doesn`t she want to be a profile in courage and stick
her neck out?


MATTHEWS: No, I see what were…


MATTHEWS: Let me go.




MATTHEWS: Go ahead.

SIDDIQUI: I think she feels plenty of time to articulate where she
stands in these issues, and, you know, she`ll have that moment up on a
debate stage with Bernie Sanders –

MATTHEWS: OK, I`ve got to show this Brooklyn video.

Go ahead, your view – is she smart to stay quiet? Not take any
leadership – lead from behind, if you will?

RYAN GRIM, HUFFINGTON POST: It depends on what she wants out of her
life and out of her presidency. If she wants to back into the White House,
then sure, she can do it like this, like in 1991, `92, the Clintons had
decided, well, where are we going to be in spectrum in order to be
president. But if she wants to be build up some mandate for an agenda, and
actually going to accomplish that agenda, she would actually be smart to
start building support for her now.

MATTHEWS: Now that I`ve got you out on a limb here, out on a limb,
should she go left or center left?

GRIM: Depends on what she wants.

MATTHEWS: What is she, center left or left?

GRIM: I don`t know yet.

MATTHEWS: Does anybody know?


DAVID CORN, MOTHER JONES: A dessert and a floor wax, as they used to
say in “Saturday Night Live”.

She – you know, in some ways, she has shown instincts in both
directions. When she was in the Clinton White House as first lady, the
left – the right accused her of being wide eyed radical lesbian feminist
and in some issues, like welfare reform, she pushed back against the new .
But then again, you know, she at times has been very close to Wall Street.
So, she goes both ways and I think Ryan is right, but she doesn`t have to
make the decision until the general election.


CORN: What she really wants to do.

MATTHEWS: I don`t think lesbian feminist is an ideology. I may be

CORN: Well, the conservatives think it is.

MATTHEWS: It`s not funny, but it is impossible to explain what you
meant, though, in that case.

Anyway, the Clinton campaign is trying to bypass the media part by
releasing videos directly to its supporters to Twitter. And here is what
is posted last after visiting her Brooklyn campaign office.

For the first time, here`s Secretary Clinton meeting the Brooklynites.




Brooklyn, USA, how can you beat that? Hi. How are you? Nice to see

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nice to meet you.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I tell everybody in my car to vote for Hillary

CLINTON: Well, you`re my kind of man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I support you all the time.

CLINTON: Thank you.

Enjoy this beautiful day.



MATTHEWS: Oh God, what do you make of that?

CORN: You know, it`s pretty corny and I don`t think it`s going make a
big impact one way or the other, but maybe she will say hey, want to talk
about the TPP?

MATTHEWS: I don`t know what to make of that. What do you make that,

SIDDIQUI: I mean, her campaign has made a concerted effort to use
social media to engage voters.

MATTHEWS: But that? What was the message?

SIDDIQUI: Look, I have no idea what the message is there. But I do
want to make this point –

MATTHEWS: I bet you one thing, Jeb wished he had done that this week.

SIDDIQUI: On the waiting from behind issue, I think where her
campaign has been smart is they have cherry picked the issues she could get
out ahead of. She made big news on immigration. She has been talking
about criminal justice reform. You know, they have picked the issues where
same sex marriage, of course, along with the Supreme Court decision. We
saw that evolution. So, where they know the public sentiment is and an
overwhelming majority, they have come out ahead of those issues and she has
articulated the position.

On trade, the jury is still out and I think that`s what –

GRIM: It was particularly tough for her because it`s a live issue.

MATTHEWS: Yes, it should be balance.


GRIM: To stand different from the president.

MATHEWS: If she came out for trade right now, it would pretty much
lock in the president`s chances of not only getting it done, but not
looking that bad about it.

GRIM: Right. And if she didn`t, it would cause a lot of problems
between her and the Obama camp.

MATTHEWS: I think she – well, it`s just my politics. I`m center
left, but I think – most things, left on some, center on some, right on
very few. But I do think that she risks looking like she`s imitating
Elizabeth Warren when she starts doing it. She`ll look like Elizabeth the
second. And nobody is electing anybody a second of anything.

Your thoughts?

GRIM: Nobody is paying attention.

CORN: Yes.


GRIM: It would look that way to us –

MATTHEWS: I think a hard left, people are paying attention to
politics every day of their lives.

GRIM: Yes.


CORN: I think that`s right, too. But I think she has a lot of lee
way to go, either direction, and to probably most likely try to fudge it
and get both parts of the party into talking points.

GRIM: She needs it. I think win the election big, if she can win it,
I`d like to see her 54, 55 percent because I want her to rule the country.
I think she`s got to bring the House in. If she doesn`t bring the House –

CORN: That`s not going to happen.

MATTHEWS: Well, somebody`s got to do it. Are we going to have
divided government again?

CORN: It`s so gerrymandered, so rigged –


SIDDIQUI: I think we`re looking down the barrel of another divided

MATTHEWS: Here we go again.

The round table is staying with us.

Up next, it`s graduation season. We have got some highlights of this
year`s commencement addresses. I was lucky enough to give last year`s
commencement address at Ohio State University. It was quite an honor
before a crowd of 60,000 people.

This is HARDBALL, a place for politics.



MATTHEWS: It`s a hardball world out there you`re walking into and
you`ve got to start thinking hardball.




MATTHEWS: Well, that`s blues legend B.B. King performing his biggest
hit, “The Thrill is Gone”. The musical icon died in his sleep Thursday at
his home in Las Vegas. B.B., which stood for “Blues Boy”, was a recipient
of 15 Grammy Awards, as well as the Kennedy Center honors in 1995 and the
Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2006.

King will be remembered for his impressive skills on the guitar, that
King defined the blue genre. B.B. King was 89.



MATTHEWS: When lightning strikes you want to be there, right there in
the room. You, not everybody`s going to say yes to you. Just don`t ever
say no to yourself, ever.



MATTHEWS: Last year`s commencement ceremony at the Ohio State
University. The Buckeyes!

Anyway, it`s that time of year, when politicians and celebrities offer
their pearls to have wisdom to graduates. Here`s President Obama last week
in South Dakota.


than the chance to blaze our own trail, and yet each of us is only here
because somebody, somewhere, helped us find our path. That`s part of what
makes America exceptional. We are family and we`ll do anything to help
each other along the way.


MATTHEWS: And potential 2016 GOP candidate, Ohio Governor John
Kasich. Here`s John Kasich.


GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO: Somebody tells me no, they`re not going
to keep telling me no, because I`m going to bother them to the point where
it`s a lot easier for them to say yes than keep saying no.


MATTHEWS: My kind of guy. My theme, too.

We`re back with the roundtable, Ryan, Sabrina, and David.


Your thoughts, your memories of your graduation speech, when you

GRIM: Zilch.

MATTHEWS: No memories?


GRIM: I actually wrote down the name of the guy who spoke, it was
Clinton`s education secretary.


GRIM: Richard Riley.

MATTHEWS: Oh, Clinton, from South Carolina.

GRIM: South Carolina, I don`t remember a single word that he said.

MATTHEWS: Was that his fault or yours?



GRIM: My fault. I think he takes some of it.

MATTHEWS: Sabrina, we`re talking about – your experience?

SIDDIQUI: OK, I`ll preface this by saying that leading up to our
commencement, because I`ll say I`m grateful, we had John McCain –

MATTHEWS: You went to Northwestern.

SIDDIQUI: I went to Northwestern. There was John McCain, Barack
Obama, Julia Louis-Dreyfus. There was a lot of hyper around my
commencement, because it was the 150th for the school. We end up with
Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, at the time, Chicago mayor, and it`s because
one of the Northwestern board of trustees members was chairing the Chicago
Olympics committee and a friend of the mayor`s.

So, it was clearly very political. And in the end, we didn`t even get
the Olympics anyway. And the only headline that came out of the speech
was, Daley tells students to make the world a better place.

MATTHEWS: Have you been doing that?

SIDDIQUI: I don`t know, am I?

CORN: Yes, she has!

SIDDIQUI: I`m being here.



MATTHEWS: Some sarcasm here.

Your thoughts?

CORN: I wasn`t at my commencement. So I don`t even remember who the
speaker was. One of my favorite commencements –

MATHEWS: Were you off (INAUDIBLE) somewhere causing trouble?

CORN: I was already working. I started working.

But one of my favorite speeches, it was 2010 at Harvard, a guy named
Jimmy Tingle, a comedian who went to the John Kennedy School, was asked to
give one of the commencement speeches. It`s hysterical, because he grew up
in Cambridge, the son of a taxi cab driver and talks about the time he
stole bicycles from the Harvard students.

MATTHEWS: So you went to Harvard?

CORN: No, I didn`t go to Harvard, but it`s one of my favorite –

MATTHEWS: You were implying that, though.

CORN: No, I wasn`t –

MATTHEWS: You`re trying to get to something –



MATTHEWS: By the way, on that point, maybe it should be left to the
press, like Denzel Washington. Let`s watch him. This was at Penn for my
daughter`s graduation, Caroline`s graduation. I was there.


DENZEL WASHINGTON, ACTOR: In fact, if you really want to know the
truth, I had to come exactly because – I had to come exactly because I
might make a fool of myself. What am I talking about? Here it is. I
found that nothing in life is worthwhile unless you take risks – nothing.


MATTHEWS: That was his theme. Just come in there and stand before a
live crowd, thousands of people at an Ivy League School, you know, like
Eleanor Roosevelt said, always do what you`re afraid to do.

CORN: Well, I think that`s right. The question I have is out of all
these commencement speeches that are happening, what`s the really
worthwhile advice that a 21, 22 year old person will walk away from the
speech and say, I can apply this maybe five years, 10 years later. How
many speeches actually push the button like that, other than yours?

MATTHEWS: I tried to talk about – in all seriousness, I tried to
talk to the graduates who haven`t figured what they`re going to do next.
The kids who are heading in medical school or law school, they`ve got
pretty much figured where they`re headed in life.

But there are so many kids out there, that are just going, they`re
still kids. They`ve always been promoted from grade to grade.
Everything`s automatic until they get to the last year of college, and all
of a sudden, they`ve got to be existential. They`ve got to figure out who
they are, where they`re going in life, and they`re the ones you`ve got to
give a couple of cues to, you know? And that`s when I started talking
about some methods of dealing with people.

CORN: Well, that sounds like good advice, although I wonder how many
really walk away and feel empowered. What do you tell them?

MATTHEWS: Well, at Temple years ago, I gave them a little plastic
cards with all the rules I gave them on. I said, it`s not biodegradable.
It`s going to outlive you, so don`t lose it.


Anyway, I`ll be giving the commencement addresses coming up for the
graduates up at Merrimack College up in Massachusetts this weekend, then in
St. Mary`s College out in California next week, and later in the month,
Peirce College in Philadelphia.

Anyway, thank you, Ryan Grim, thank you, Sabrina Siddiqui, and David
Corn, my pal.

When we return, let me finish with a strong poll of a particular
television program.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with a strong poll of a particular
television program. It`s called “Mad Men”. OK.

I`ll make it official. I care about Don Draper and what happens to
him and I`m not the only one who does.

I care about Roger Sterling, one of the most subtle and amazing
characters in dramatic history. This guys who knows precisely who he is,
yet leaves us time after time hoping desperately for him to finally grab
control of his life and some responsibility for those around him.

I care about the impressive, but vulnerable Joan, who only needs one
name, and Pete Campbell and Peggy Olson and young Sally Draper, who just
might be this shows future of the life here on earth.

It`s all incredibly true. I want all those Americans the of the
midcentury to not only get through the changes pounding them every week,
not merely to endure, as William Faulkner put it in his Nobel acceptance
speech of that era but to prevail.

I want Don to find his place in the world, his true, gutsy, successful
position of honor that he deserves, for Roger to get off his butt and grab
the reins that life provides him, only if he would reach for them. I want
Joan to get the status in this world she`s earned. For Peggy, to face down
the chauvinists and win her place in the commercial throne room. For young
Sally to savor family and make love work for them.


I want this world that has intrigued me, grabbed me, haunted me, to
discover the route to its final deliverance, and for each character who we
have come to love, a chance to look us in our souls and say good-bye.

And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.

“ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES” starts right now.


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