Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 06/01/15
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Rand Paul and Bernie Sanders – are they bomb
throwers or bellwethers?
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.
And Rand Paul, the libertarian on guard against NSA surveillance, and
proud socialist Bernie Sanders in attack mode on billionaires and Wall
Street. Well, guess what? These are the boys getting the attention toward
2016, the only pair getting out its message. And if you know these guys,
you know where they stand.
Can you say that about the front runners? Can you say that about
Hillary Clinton or Jeb Bush? Well, the key question now is whether Rand
Paul stands for bigger notions about America than the old frontier fear of
government. Does Bernie Sanders have a politically doable plan to pay for
all he`s offering, all he`s promising? Are they just bomb throwers or
bellwethers of the future?
Howard Fineman is the global editorial director of the HuffingtonPost,
and Anne Gearan is the national politics correspondent with “The Washington
Well, first, Rand Paul is out there exploiting the hell out of his
moment in the sun on the issue of government surveillance. Yesterday, he
singlehandedly brought the Republican Senate to a halt, forcing the
expiration of key elements of the Patriot Act. Here`s Paul making his
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The people who argue
that the world will end we will be overrun by jihadists tonight are trying
to use fear. They want to take just a little bit of your liberty, but they
get it by making you afraid. They want you to fear and give up your
People here in town think I`m making a huge mistake. Some of them, I
think, secretly want there to be an attack on the United States so they can
blame it on me. They`ll be the first to point fingers and say, Oh, yes,
it`s all your fault. We never should have given up on this great program.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, the Republican freakout was then palpable. John
McCain, who has a long history with Paul, vented to the press by telling
reporters, quote, “I think it`s very clear this is to some degree a fund-
raising exercise. He obviously has a higher priority for his fund-raising
and political ambitions than for the security of the nation.”
Well, McCain also said this. “I`ve said on many occasions that I
believe he would be the worst candidate we could put forward.” Well,
Jeb Bush warned that Paul – quote, “I know what will happen if there
is an attack on our country. A lot of people will say, Where were you?”
And Marco Rubio attacked Paul`s tack – he says a case of political
posturing. Well, that`s not new.
Anyway, Howard, let`s start with you, and I`ll get to Anne. Paul is
probably despised most for ruining their weekend.
MATTHEWS: I mean, he made them come back on a Sunday! I was driving
up on the Hill last night to go to dinner with a friend of mine, and I
looked up, and there`s Capitol light on the Capitol up on the dome there.
And I go, Oh, that`s right! They got them back (INAUDIBLE)
HOWARD FINEMAN, HUFFINGTON POST GLOBAL EDITORIAL DIR., MSNBC POLITICAL
ANALYST: That`s a light that no member wants to see on a weekend, or on a
Sunday for sure.
I`ll say this about Rand Paul…
MATTHEWS: Seriously, folks.
FINEMAN: Yes. I`ll say this about Rand Paul. As you say, people
know where he stands on this issue. And like Bernie Sanders, he has one
thing going for him that`s going to take him some distance – who knows how
far – in all of this. He is authentic. That`s an overused word in
politics, especially today, but I think it`s true. Any guy who goes so far
to say, If there`s an attack, people are going to blame me…
FINEMAN: … that`s beyond authentic. To me, that`s going a little
bit toward personal psychodrama that I don`t think will…
MATTHEWS: Unless he was feeling that vibe from the other senators.
FINEMAN: Well, he was definitely feeling the vibe from the other
senators, and the most damming comments came from Mitch McConnell. They`ve
been spending a year trying to become semi-friends, or at least not, you
know, cutthroat enemies. McConnell let him have it. He said, This is
disingenuous. This political grandstanding. And McConnell had lost
MATTHEWS: I went out to interview him on Friday down there in
Charlotte. Then we went across the border into Rock Hill, North – South
Carolina. And it`s an area. It`s sort of – not a rural, but a semi-rural
area, and all the Republicans members were there from (INAUDIBLE) And I sat
in there and watched Rand Paul talk to those guys.
Talk about authenticity. This is the old-time religion about
government being the enemy. It`s about the attacks on not just the 2nd
Amendment, your right to carry a firearm, but the attacks on the 1st
Amendment, on the 4th Amendment, about confiscation issues.
He talked to them about how the drug dealer has his parents taken
away, home taken away from his parents. It was reaching into that part of
America which fears the revenuers are coming to take back the stills.
They`re coming to get your gun. The black helicopters – a little more
modified than that.
So he`s clearly fearful not of the jihadists, but of Washington. And
the question is, will that sell?
ANNE GEARAN, “WASHINGTON POST”: I think it sells to – to a point. I
mean, he really is…
MATTHEWS: The 20 percent of the Republican Party?
GEARAN: … tapping in – it speaks to the time we are in the cycle.
What Rand Paul is appealing to is the libertarian marrow (ph), exactly as
you identify, which is strong and constant but fairly small. What he`s
going to – what he would need to be able to do is expand that beyond the
MATTHEWS: … maybe it`s too much of an opinion question. Do you
think most Americans are scared of their government, they think they`re
coming to get them?
GEARAN: I don`t think most American are scared of their government…
MATTHEWS: … wasting their money!
GEARAN: Most Americans…
MATTHEWS: I think that`s what they`re angry about most of the time.
GEARAN: Yes, but they also feel at least part of what Rand Paul is
expressing on this surveillance and security stuff. He`s gone further,
certainly further than the rest of his party, as we were just talking
about. They`re mad at him. But sort of the fundamental…
MATTHEWS: Are you so young – are you so young, Anne, because I know
you`re younger than us. Are you so young that you appreciate the concerns
of young men and women in their 20s that the cell phone they own is their
life? They don`t own a car. They may not be married. They don`t have a
house. But by have this means of communication in which is all their soul!
They put everything on it, and they`re afraid somebody`s going to get at
GEARAN: Yes, I mean…
MATTHEWS: You understand that.
GEARAN: … that`s part of it. That`s – I mean, that`s…
MATTHEWS: I don`t quite get that.
GEARAN: It`s – they don`t see it as an object. It`s an extension of
their life. It`s just – and – and…
MATTHEWS: It`s where they live.
GEARAN: You know, it`s a really interest point you raise because
those voters are going to be voting in large…
MATTHEWS: They like him!
GEARAN: They do like him. And really for the first time. The 2008
electorate – not everybody had a smartphone at that point. Now they do.
MATTHEWS: So the new technology…
MATTHEWS: … therefore something new to fear.
FINEMAN: Here`s the problem, Chris. It was the issue of
surveillance, the NSA and so forth…
FINEMAN: … yes, that – yes, metadata – that made Rand Paul. It
was the original 13-hour speech on the floor about this…
FINEMAN: … that made him a national figure and a national hero,
including to a lot of young people.
MATTHEWS: I`m sorry, Howard. Who – do you care – can you imagine
people caring who were the last 20 people you talked to, not what you
talked about, but who were the last 20 people you talked to? That is
concerning to young people. They don`t want anybody in the government…
MATTHEWS: Who were the last 20 people you talked to, no matter what
you talked about.
FINEMAN: And yet – and yet it is the youngest voters who are most –
almost promiscuous about telling details of their lives themselves to the
FINEMAN: But they want to control it. They want to be in control of
their own brand, their own narrative, their own digital being. They don`t
want the government manipulating it.
So Rand Paul got to them with that – when he gave that big speech.
His challenge now I think is to get beyond this. I don`t think this is
politically, in terms of pure politics – this isn`t – making this his
only issue isn`t helping him enough. The Bill of Rights is going to be
great in the mountains of the Carolinas.
FINEMAN: It`s going to be great in New Hampshire. This in many ways
is tailor-made message…
MATTHEWS: “Live free or die.”
FINEMAN: The “Live free or die” state. And he`s got – if he can`t
really score big in New Hampshire, then he`s not…
MATTHEWS: Well, that`s going to be the battle royale when he goes up
FINEMAN: I think so.
FINEMAN: … groups called the Gun Owners of New Hampshire. I`ve
been to the meetings of…
MATTHEWS: Hey, guess who…
FINEMAN: That looks like the mountain men.
MATTHEWS: Guess who carried it not too many years ago? Pat Buchanan.
FINEMAN: Pat Buchanan. Exactly.
MATTHEWS: I was up there when the guys with the long-neck (ph) beards
were talking about their live – of – who were they in love with?
Mussolini, one guy – Patton – not Patton, the other guy, the “desert fox”
on the other side.
MATTHEWS: Rommel. Yes, some of these guy shave some – not Pat,
necessarily, but some of these…
FINEMAN: They admired his guns.
MATTHEWS: But anyway…
FINEMAN: They admired his guns anyway.
MATTHEWS: They liked his direction.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, Bernie Sanders, the other side of the coin here,
continues his attempt to make some waves on the left in the David versus
Goliath battle against Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Here`s Sanders yesterday on “MEET THE PRESS” talking – his word –
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I
think we need a political revolution in this country. I think we need to
take on the greed of the billionaire class, our disastrous campaign finance
I know where I have been on trade agreements. I know where I`ve been
on Wall Street. I know where I`ve been on the Keystone pipeline. And
Secretary Clinton will, obviously, explain her position to the American
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Wasn`t that gentlemanly? And Hillary Rodham Clinton will
get to her side because I`ve told you mine.
Anyway, as “The New York Times” noted, Bernie Sanders is gaining
momentum in Iowa. A new poll from “The Des Moines Register” has Bernie
moving into second place. Key here – 16 points now. That`s more than 10
points higher than he was in January. Clinton, of course, dominates the
field with 57 percent.
This reminds me of Gary Hart against Mondale. All you have to do is
get in a position to be a slingshot. If you`re number two in Iowa, you can
win New Hampshire.
FINEMAN: Yes, but…
MATTHEWS: Because he`s the alternative to Hillary for those who don`t
MATTHEWS: … left enough or whatever.
FINEMAN: That`s right. And Iowa is Bernie Sanders territory on the
FINEMAN: There always is a strong base of very liberal…
MATTHEWS: Don`t they need a translator?
FINEMAN: No. Very liberal people. Look, this – there are no
military installations in Iowa. It`s a city…
MATTHEWS: It`s also historically isolationist.
FINEMAN: It`s historical almost pacifist isolationist, et cetera.
But they also like government programs when they help, like farm programs
and so forth. They`re liberals out there in the Democratic caucuses, and
they like to organize. Bernie knows how to organize. Hillary`s going to
have – spend a lot of money, but I bet Bernie`s going to match her
FINEMAN: … in Iowa.
MATTHEWS: We did some homework, Anne, before your time. In 1968 –
GEARAN: I was alive!
MATTHEWS: … my hero, Gene McCarthy, was also Hillary Clinton`s hero
– and this is a picture with Hillary with Bill 40 years ago. In her
youth, Hillary Clinton might have been Bernie Sanders`s hero. He would
have been proud of her when she campaigned for the anti-war candidate Gene
McCarthy up in 1968, New Hampshire.
In her memoir, “Living History,” Hillary writes, “By the time I was a
college junior, I had gone from being a Goldwater Girl to supporting the
anti-war campaign of Eugene McCarthy. Along with some of my friends, I
would drive up from Wellesley to Manchester, New Hampshire, on Friday or
Saturday to stuff envelopes and walk precincts.”
So – Anne, she was out there. She would be with Bernie today, you
might say. That`s a leap, but…
GEARAN: Yes, well, it`s actually not that big a leap. I mean – and
that`s exactly what she would like you to think, right, is that at this
point, she would be that same – and speak to that same kind of energy and
youthful enthusiasm that certainly she had then and that Bernie Sanders is
tapping into a bit now.
I think it`s very interesting on the point about Iowa, that Bernie
Sanders could very easily come in second and a very strong second to her.
He looks best positioned among the very few Democrats who are…
MATTHEWS: Can he match Gene`s number in New Hampshire? Can he get
GEARAN: You know, I think – I mean, New Hampshire is a much harder
climb for him. It`s Rand Paul territory, not Bernie Sanders`s territory.
But in Iowa, he will probably do well unless – I mean, it`s a very long
time until the election…
GEARAN: And her campaign is already trying to lower expectations
about her – how large she`s going to win in Iowa. They keep saying,
several times over the last week, nobody other than a sitting president,
vice president or Tom Harkin has gotten more than 50 percent in Iowa.
FINEMAN: And Bernie…
FINEMAN: And Bernie`s been such a mini-sensation in the last week…
FINEMAN: … that now they`re lowering it. Now his people are
MATTHEWS: OK, Bernie – Bernie actually has to…
MATTHEWS: Bernie has to get clean for Gene and get 42 percent to make
This has been fun. It`s a little bit of history, too, but there is a
little cycle of history here, where you see the – New Hampshire remains
the place where you make your mark and you blow away a front-runner. It
happened with Ed Muskie. It happened with a lot of people.
FINEMAN: They`re both bellwethers because they indicate public
disaffection with the establishment. That`s what`s…
MATTHEWS: And also…
FINEMAN: … the link between the two of these guys.
MATTHEWS: And it`s a very purple state, New Hampshire. It`s a state
that makes sense even, after all these years, as a place to test out your
Anyway, thank you, Howard Fineman. Thank you, Anne Gearan. You two
were pretty good together.
Coming up – inside look at a family that`s had its share of
tragedies, of course, the Bidens, the loss the vice president just had over
the weekend, and his whole family and the country, the loss of Beau Biden.
Plus, an ISIS – as ISIS continues its rampage across Iraq, we`re
going to meet the American just back from Iraq who`s been training Iraqi
Christians to fight back against ISIS.
And Dick Cheney wants to make sure the Republican Party doesn`t move
on without him, leaning forward with Darth Vader.
Finally, the debut today of Caitlyn Jenner. The one-time Olympic hero
graces the cover of “Vanity Fair” as a trailblazer for the country`s LGBT
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Well, Scott Walker remains the top dog in Iowa. Check out
the new “Des Moines Register” poll. Walker`s getting 17 percent of the
vote out there, well ahead of Rand Paul and Ben Carson, each of whom are at
10. Jeb Bush is at 9 percent right now, and so is Huckabee, who won the
Iowa caucuses back in 2008.
And we`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BEAU BIDEN, JOE BIDEN`S SON: Please join me in welcoming my friend,
my father, my hero, the next vice president of the United States, Joe
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Beau Biden, the eldest son of
Vice President Joe Biden, died over the weekend after a battle with brain
cancer – there he is – age 46. As an Iraq war veteran and Delaware`s
attorney general for eight years, Beau Biden charted his own path, of
course, but his admiration and affection for his dad ran, obviously, deep.
And their bond was solidified, of course, by the family tragedy they
both endured over 40 years ago when Joe Biden`s wife and daughter were
killed in a horrible car accident while they were bringing home a Christmas
tree in 1972. Beau and his brother barely survived that accident.
Well, later when, it came time for Biden to take his oath office in
Washington for Senate, he refused to leave the hospital and was instead
sworn in as a senator at Beau`s bedside. And here`s what he said that day
in January, 1973, about his responsibilities as a father.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If in six months
or so, there`s a conflict between my being a good father and being a good
senator, which I hope will not occur – I thought (ph) would, but I hope it
won`t – we can always get another senator, but they can`t get another
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, that`s Beau right there in bed there.
For years following that accident, Biden would travel home from
Washington every single night to be part of his children`s lives. In fact,
last month, the vice president spoke about that habit and how it forged
such a bond between he and his two sons.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
J. BIDEN: The incredible bond I have with my children is a gift I`m
not sure I would have had had I not been through what I went through.
Well, looking back on it, the truth be told, the real reason I went
home every night was that I needed my children more than they needed me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, in the words of the Biden family, Beau Biden was
simply the finest man any of us have ever known. That was the family.
I`m joined right now by Governor Jack Markell of Delaware. Governor,
tell me about this because my experience with the family is meeting, of
course, Beau here in places like the make-up room when he was getting ready
to do a show and chatting with him, perhaps up in Nantucket. They always
went up there for Thanksgiving.
I`d see them up there, and of course, meeting Joe during town meetings
for him. I went to one for him and I realized that Joe Biden in Delaware
and that Biden family is a different picture than his picture nationally,
that he is simply part of that state.
GOV. JACK MARKELL (D), DELAWARE: Well, certainly, Joe Biden has been,
but the whole family has been. And I can tell you that people throughout
Delaware today are really grieving. It`s just an unspeakable loss,
certainly for the family, but I know that people from all political
persuasions and people from all parts of our state are just so sad today.
MATTHEWS: Did you know it was that serious? I mean, he had the
stroke a while ago, and then it looked like he was OK. And then he had the
test (ph) of this cancer before, and then it looked like he was OK after a
procedure. And then how long has this really dangerous situation been
going before he died?
MARKELL: I did not know. And obviously, I knew he was in the
hospital recently because it had been reported that way. But I talked to
Beau most recently in February. I invited him to Washington to meet with
the other Democratic governors because we all expected that Beau would be
running for governor next year. And we all expected that he would win.
And we all expected he would be a very effective governor as well. And
that was the last time I spoke to him, but just such a tragic loss for the
Biden family and for Delaware.
MATTHEWS: Yes, I think that squares with the intel we have here, that
he was ready to run. And he was probably going to win. But his father was
– if there were – well, Hillary Clinton obviously is one factor, but,
apparently, Joe Biden didn`t want to run for president on the same year
that his son ran for governor. He thought it would get in the way.
I have heard that. Have you heard that?
MARKELL: I had not heard that.
But certainly there were a lot of people here who were very
enthusiastic about a Beau Biden candidacy. And I think that`s true for two
main reasons. One, he was a very effective attorney general. He had a –
really leaves a great legacy, especially around protecting children, which
was what he wanted to do with every fiber of his being and he did, but also
because he was just a great guy.
And I think in a day and an age when people are so cynical about so
many elected officials, Beau was the real deal. He was genuine. He was
kind and respectful to everybody. There is a reason he was the most
popular elected official in Delaware, and it really had to do with just the
kind of person that he is.
MATTHEWS: Thanks so much for coming on, Governor Jack Markell of
MARKELL: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, in a speech to the families of fallen soldiers back
in 2012, Vice President Biden spoke about what it is like to lose a child.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I was down in
Washington hiring my staff. And I got a phone call saying that my family
had been in an accident.
And just like you guys know by the tone of the phone call, you just
knew, didn`t you? For the first time in my life, I understood how someone
could consciously decide to commit suicide, not because they were deranged,
not because they were nuts, because they had been to the top of the
mountain, and they just knew in their heart they would never get there
again. No parent should be predeceased by their son or daughter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: I`m joined now by Claire DeMatteis, who`s a former senior
counsel to Senator Joe Biden and close family friend.
Claire, thanks very much for joining us.
We all look at these things from the outside. And you were on the
inside of that political family that politics was sprinkled throughout the
tragedies. But the tragedies were the bookmarks of the Biden family.
CLAIRE DEMATTEIS, FORMER SENIOR COUNSEL TO VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN:
The tragedies were the bookmarks, Chris, but the core of the Bidens was
And Beau learned that at a very young age. There`s a reason that
people like myself and Governor Markell and thousands of others, when they
remember Beau, talk about family. It was everything to him, not just his
father and mother, of course, and brother and sister, his wife, Hallie, and
his two young children. His cousins were like siblings to him, his aunts
And family also included friends. He treated us, he treated our
parents and our siblings when he would see them out, he treated them with
the same kindness and respect that he treated friends he had known his
And the third thing, again to echo the governor, is, he gave politics
a good name. He was in politics for the right reason. And that`s what I
hope people remember about Beau the most.
MATTHEWS: How can he project a public political personality by being
so low-key? His father is not low-key. His father is out there. He`s an
extrovert. And Beau seemed like an introvert. How was he able to connect
with voters so successfully as an introvert?
DEMATTEIS: It is the same eye contact that you see now in those
heartbreaking pictures between he and his father, the way they locked eyes,
and that twinkle in his eye. That`s how he connected with people.
He was a tremendous speaker in his own right. But when he was out at
public events, when he was campaigning, when he was at Sears and run into
my mom, it is that eye contact and smile and the twinkle in the eye that
grabbed you. And then his accomplishments in office, protecting children,
prosecuting and helping families who have victims of crime, that was
genuine. And he was in it for the right reasons.
MATTHEWS: And he wanted his dad to be president. I knew that.
Anyway, back in 2012, Beau Biden spoke on “MORNING JOE” about how
tragedy had made his family stronger. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “MORNING JOE”)
BEAU BIDEN, FORMER DELAWARE ATTORNEY GENERAL: The reality is every
one of us here and everyone in this room has had some tragedy in their
life, some tragedy. And we – either tragedies make you stronger or they
break families apart.
And I have been a blessed, blessed son. I had my aunt move in with
me. My grandmother helped raised me. I had a new mom five years later. I
have had a family that enveloped my brother and I with love. And so I have
been a very, very lucky, lucky man.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: And there you saw him.
Claire DeMatteis, thank you so much. You pictured him well, I think.
And thanks for coming on.
DEMATTEIS: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: Up next, the fight against ISIS and the American –
American who is out there training Iraqi Christians to beat back the ISIS
people, the bad guys.
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
ISIS continues its expansionist drive in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere
around the Middle East. U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter recently
complained bitterly about the inability of the Iraqi troops to fight it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ASHTON CARTER, U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: Iraqi forces just showed no
will to fight. They were not outnumbered. In fact, they vastly
outnumbered the opposing force, and yet they failed to fight.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Matthew VanDyke is an American who has just returned from
training Iraqis to combat ISIS on the front lines in Iraq. He is not part
of the U.S. military. He has no formal military or intelligence training.
He is a volunteer who is working with Iraqi Christians in an area northeast
Matthew VanDyke joins us right now.
So, why are you doing this?
MATTHEW VANDYKE, FOUNDER, SONS OF LIBERTY INTERNATIONAL: Well, I
decided to see what I could do to take on ISIS after the deaths of my
friends James Foley and Steven Sotloff, who were beheaded by ISIS last
MATTHEWS: And you knew Foley?
MATTHEWS: I carry his picture in my wallet. So, I share the goal.
And let me ask you about this, this statement by our secretary of
defense, that the forces in the field, the regular army of Iraq doesn`t
want to fight.
VANDYKE: That`s absolutely correct.
Morale is extremely low in the Iraqi army. Really, the only forces
doing much are the Shiite militias, unfortunately, which just fuel the
sectarian divides in the country.
MATTHEWS: What about the Christians over there? How many Christians
do you have contact with over there in Iraq?
VANDYKE: The militia that we have been working with, we have trained
about 335 so far. But 2,000 have signed up. They just lack weapons and
ammunition to field that large a force at this time.
MATTHEWS: Are they in action?
VANDYKE: They`re not in action. They`re still training. They are
deployed to show people that they are out there working and taking care of
defending towns. But so far, they haven`t been on the offensive.
MATTHEWS: Who is going to lead them into battle to face death?
VANDYKE: Their own commanders. We recently did leadership training.
That just concluded a couple of weeks ago for the sergeants and officers.
And we`re really trying to build an army from scratch with them.
MATTHEWS: What is their motivation to risk death?
VANDYKE: They want to recover their lands. They want to demonstrate
to their people that they don`t to have flee the country, that Christianity
has a future in Iraq and that they can be responsible for their own
MATTHEWS: I know about that, because the Jesuits used to teach over
at the University of Baghdad. So, I had some of the teachers come back at
Holy Cross. I know about that.
VANDYKE: Iraq has a rich history of Christianity.
MATTHEWS: Anybody who saw “The Exorcist” can figure that out.
Let me ask you about the willingness to fight. What stuns me is the
asymmetry here. You have ISIS forces in suicide armored vehicles going in
and cutting through the Iraqi forces` lines and blowing themselves up like
Hiroshima bombs, huge bombs going off.
How do you fight that with people who would live to survive the war,
people with normal desire to live? How do you fight an army that is quite
willing to die, determined to die, and kills you in the act of killing
themselves? How do you beat them?
VANDYKE: It is very – very, very difficult to fight an enemy that
doesn`t fear death and that actually seeks death. This is one of the
And, unfortunately, Iraqis have not found something to fight for.
It`s very hard to convince a young Iraqi man to stand there and risk his
life for an Iraq that may not even exist in five…
MATTHEWS: Well, Joe Biden months ago, and he took some derision for
it, as he often does, and he said it is not a real country anymore. It was
created by Churchill. It was created by Westerners the Cairo conference,
Lawrence of Arabia and all that, Sykes-Picot. And so why don`t you let it
Now, my question is, if it becomes – if the Iranian-dominated Shia
part fights, well, they will fight for their land. The Kurds will fight
for their land. But who is going to fight ISIS in the Sunni territories?
What is going to rise up against them and say – and what would be their
motivation? Their own country? Why would Sunni people give their lives up
to fight ISIS in the Sunni territories? Why would they do that?
VANDYKE: Well, this is a problem. They won`t.
They don`t have the capability to. And who is going to supply and arm
them? We can`t be really sure where the arms will go if we supply Sunni
tribesmen, nor do they have the capability to actually fight ISIS. The
truth about this conflict is there is no force on the ground that can fight
ISIS. There is no unified force. There is not going to be a force. It is
really a problem without a solution, unfortunately.
MATTHEWS: Well, why are you helping?
VANDYKE: Well, I`m helping Christians to be able to handle their
territory and their lands.
The way that this war will play out is, as you said, Shiites will
defend their land, Sunnis will fight in their lands, Christians in theirs,
and Kurds in theirs. And hopefully at the end, everybody can squeeze ISIS
out of their territory and across the border into Syria.
MATTHEWS: Well, that`s hopeful.
VANDYKE: It`s the Middle East.
MATTHEWS: It doesn`t sound too positive.
Are you going back over?
VANDYKE: I`m going back over in a few weeks.
MATTHEWS: Are you taking anybody with you?
VANDYKE: This past time, we took a former West Point instructor to do
the leadership training. And this next time, we will be taking other U.S.
MATTHEWS: Well, look out for yourself over there.
VANDYKE: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you, Matthew VanDyke.
He`s going over to fight ISIS.
Tomorrow on HARDBALL, we`re going to talk to the Iraqi ambassador to
the United States about his country`s fight, such as it is, against ISIS.
And we will ask him the same tough questions.
Up next: Dick Cheney doesn`t want the Republican Party to forget him.
He wants to see America flex its military muscle all around the world. For
Democrats, the timing couldn`t be better. They want this guy out there,
because they think they can beat him.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MILISSA REHBERGER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Milissa Rehberger.
Here`s what`s happening.
An investigation by the Department of Homeland Security found that the
TSA failed to detect fake explosives and other items in 67 out of 70 tests,
amounting to a 95 percent failure rate.
The nation`s transportation secretary visited a decaying Washington,
D.C., bridge and called for renewed investment in U.S. infrastructure.
And Secretary of State John Kerry is said to be in good spirits after
breaking his leg in a bike accident in France. He`s heading back to the
U.S. for treatments – back to HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: We`re back.
And so apparently is Freddy Krueger. Get ready for a lot more of Dick
Cheney in the year ahead. The former vice president told “The Wall Street
Journal” he wants the issues he cares about to be – quote – “front and
center in the 2016 presidential campaign,” issues like preparing to use
military force against Iran, of course, shipping arms to allies in Eastern
Europe, and sending a larger number of troops back into his favorite
country of opportunity, Iraq.
Anyway, to steer the conversation, Cheney will release a new book in
September. He`s also founded a new group, of course, along with his
daughter Liz, of course, the Alliance for a Strong America. They all sound
the same, don`t they?
In addition, according to “The Wall Street Journal,” he`s been making
semi-regular trips back to Washington – from the Eastern Shore, it`s a
drive away – anyway, to address House Republicans. He is also advising
several lucky 2016 Republican contenders and headlining Republican donor
MATTHEWS: Is the Republican Party really willing to embrace Cheney
and his world view?
I`m joined by tonight`s roundtable. David Corn is Washington bureau
chief for “Mother Jones” and an MSNBC political analyst. Jennice Fuentes
is a Democratic strategist and former chief of staff to Congressman Luis
Gutierrez. That`s of Chicago. And Eugene Robinson is a columnist for “The
Washington Post” and an MSNBC political analyst.
Gene, why is he back? because I think all the polls show he`s poison.
EUGENE ROBINSON, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: The silver stake didn`t
work? I don`t know.
ROBINSON: He`s back because – because he`s Dick Cheney. And this is
what he does. Right? He wants – he believes he was right.
ROBINSON: And he believes he is always right. And he, you know, by
golly, he`s going to…
MATTHEWS: Well, you know who agrees with him?
ROBINSON: Now, this is to the inconvenience, I think, of the
MATTHEWS: Well, Reince Priebus is being stoical. He says they`re
embracing Cheney`s influence right now.
Anyway, that`s what Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican
National Committee, said. He told “The Wall Street Journal,” their
favorite organ – quote – “The party is very fortunate to have an active
and engaged Dick Cheney for this upcoming political cycle. He`s a top
fund-raising draw in high demand.”
MATTHEWS: Anyway, meanwhile, Holly Shulman, a rather witty
spokesperson for the Democratic National Committee, says – quote –
“There`s no one happier about Dick Cheney becoming a foreign policy
surrogate than we are. If he needs any assistance getting out his message,
our team would be happy to help book him for interviews.”
MATTHEWS: Well, that`s sarcasm.
JENNICE FUENTES, FOUNDER, FUENTES STRATEGIES, LLC: Well, I think that
people who lead us into the worst foreign policy decisions we have ever
seen have no business advising anyone on anything.
It would be just like if the captain of the Titanic was writing a book
about how to avoid icebergs. I don`t want to read that. You know what I
want to read from Dick Cheney?
FUENTES: A very long apology.
FUENTES: No, I want to read a 70-page apology.
MATTHEWS: We`re going to get to a minute, because we had Mike Morell
in here, who`s the chief CIA briefer for the W. administration and Cheney
during the whole run-up to the war in Iraq. And he came on and said, we
never once ever said they had nuclear weapons.
Where`s Cheney, by the way? Let`s look at them and look at Cheney.
Let`s look at both right now and get the picture.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DICK CHENEY, FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: We know he`s been absolutely
devoted to trying to acquire nuclear weapons and we believe he has in fact
reconstituted nuclear weapons.
MATTHEWS: Was that true?
MIKE MORELL, FORMER CIA DEPUTY DIRECTOR: They were saying –
MATTHEWS: Can you answer that question? Was that true?
MORELL: That`s not true.
MATTHEWS: They gave a false presentation of what you said to them.
MORELL: On some aspects.
MATTHEWS: He had a nuclear weapon.
MORELL: I`m telling what you we said.
MATTHEWS: That`s a big deal. They claimed they had a weapon when you
knew they didn`t.
MORELL: That`s a big deal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: I`d say that`s a big deal. It`s the reason a lot of
reasonable people in the middle went with that war. If he has nuclear
weapons, we have to fight. If they hadn`t said that, a lot of the people
on the middle would not have said that.
DAVID CORN, MOTHER JONES: You know, of all the misrepresentations –
MATTHEWS: It was the most (INAUDIBLE)
CORN: Yes. Of all misrepresentations that came out of the Bush
administration leading up to the war in Iraq, about 90 percent of them,
this is a rough estimation, came from Dick Cheney including that one, but
again and again and again and he`s been proven wrong. He`s low in the
I mean, I`ll tell you, the guy who has to be worried about this the
most is Jeb Bush. Every time Dick Cheney pops up, the jack in the box, the
Count Chocula, anything he pops up, Jeb Bush is going to say oh, no. And
it`s also good for Rand Paul. Rand Paul and Dick Cheney are the big foils
here, in the battle for the heart and soul of the Republican Party and
foreign policy. Rand Paul is doing cart wheels about this news today.
MATTHEWS: It is like you`re trying to win a Nats game and one of the
big heads running around the field. You can`t watch the game anymore.
There`s Dick Cheney running around George Washington.
On Friday, Senator Rand Paul told me, the rank and file Republican
voter is not as hawkish with Dick Cheney and others would like you to
believe. Let`s watch Rand, as your point is made here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There is a good chunk
of the Republican Party who thinks that we should think before we act.
That war is not always the answer. That war may be the last resort, not
the first resort. That we have to defend ourselves, we have to have a
strong national defense, but at some times, we`ve intervened in the Middle
East. And sometimes we`ve had unintended consequences.
MATTHEWS: Is big money driving the Republican Party, the hawkish
side? These big godfathers of candidates who just come in there and say,
I`ll give you $200 million. Talk line.
PAUL: Big money drives both parties.
MATTHEWS: To the right.
PAUL: Big money is in control of both parties. And I have one –
MATTHEWS: The hawkish position.
PAUL: Well, yes – I mean, just big money in general for a variety of
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: I was trying to shoe horn him on that one. He finally got
there, because you got Sheldon, who was a total hawk. You got Braman
behind Marco Rubio. They do have – and then you have this guy, Foster
Friess, I don`t know what his sales pitch is. But they do come with an
agenda, all these guys with money.
CORN: You need that with the Republican Party. I mean, you have the
neocons for years who have influence within the party. Not because of
money. Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld came out of a sort of a corporate
backing and they care about strategic interests and oil and other things.
So, even without the big money, individual billionaires, like Sheldon
Adelson, the party still to the right on the hawkish issues.
And I think Rand Paul is wrong. I think the grassroots are far more
hawkish than he thinks they are.
MATTHEWS: I don`t know.
EUGENE ROBINSON, THE WASHINGTON POST: That`s what`s so interesting
about the Republican Party.
MATTHEWS: Rand Paul is tying Hillary lately in Pennsylvania.
ROBINSON: I don`t know if it is a silent majority, or it`s kind of a
quiet plurality maybe on something in the Republican Party. But there is a
big chunk of the Republican Party that is really kind of cautious. And
there is a sort of isolationist –
MATTHEWS: We`ve got a new poll out today. It shows, number one,
people don`t like the way President Obama is handling the war against ISIS,
because there isn`t really a war against ISIS. You want more troops? No.
So, that`s the conundrum. The Republicans don`t want to fight another
land war like W. led us into, but they want toughness.
FUENTES: Supposedly more than 50 percent of the GOP primary voters
are believing that terrorism and national security are the big issues they
care about. I think you`re pointed to the right problem. I think people
don`t know what to do because there`s this fatigue. You want to be
assertive in the world stage, but you don`t want to have more people on the
MATTHEWS: How do you get to be assertive without being assertive?
FUENTES: You ask Dick Cheney, right?
CORN: Well, this is why you have all these hawks running now. I call
them hollow hawks because all you do is have slogans. Marco Rubio, we must
be safe. I will fight terrorists. I will kill them.
FUENTES: You need to strike a balance.
ROBINSON: That`s the simple question, how many troops?
ROBINSON: Lindsey Graham is the only one who answers that question.
MATTHEWS: That`s when they just go, oh, and they go back.
I think you`re wrong about being hawks, I think they like to talk of
Anyway, the roundtable is staying with us.
And up next, the debut today of Caitlyn Jenner.
And this is HARDBALL. The place for – you`re gong to stick around
for that, aren`t you? I know you will.
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: The Republican field got another presidential entry. U.S.
Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina declared his candidacy for
president. Graham`s campaign is borne out of stopping people like Rand
Paul for moving the Republican Party away from its hawkish foreign policy.
And that was clear in the declaration today.
Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We`ve learned
over the past six years the speeches alone won`t make us safe. If that
were true, we`d be really safe. Superior power and resolve is the only way
to be safe. I am running for president of the United States because I am
ready to be commander-in-chief on day one.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: I feel safer already.
Anyway, Senator Graham is the ninth official Republican in the
We`ll be right back after this.
MATTHEWS: We`re back.
He was a star Olympian in 1976, a winner of the decathlon in the
Olympics and featured on the cover of the Wheaties box. There he is. He
became a male sex symbol. There he is on the cover of “Playgirl” in 1982.
And then, this July coming up, he`s going to be on the cover of
“Vanity Fair,” she is. She says to call her Caitlyn. It`s the first photo
of Caitlyn Jenner. It`s the first time Jenner is speaking publicly since
completing his gender transition.
Caitlyn Jenner tweet this afternoon saying, quote, “I`m so happy after
such a long struggle to be living my true self. Welcome to the world,
Caitlyn. Can`t wait for you to get to know her or me.” Anyway.
ESPN also announced today that Jenner will be this year`s recipient of
the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at next months` ESPY Awards.
Back with the roundtable: David, Jennice and Eugene.
Jennice, I want you to start.
MATTHEWS: Because it`s a she now.
FUENTES: It`s a she now.
MATTHEWS: It`s a she and we`re being instructed by people who care in
the LBGT community to do it right and I`m going to do it right.
FUENTES: Well, thank you.
MATTHEWS: And I think we honor people`s identity here, and it`s a
world that opens up the opportunity to find yourself in a way that people
haven`t been able to before.
FUENTES: Hey, to quote Pope Francis, “Who are we to judge?”
FUENTES: He`s being honest. His only problem is with his own family.
He has taken the time to talk to his family and tried – you know, he has
young children probably having a harder time than the older children. I
think this is a lesson for all, especially for a community that we are very
not familiar with, because if you look and read – about 90 percent of the
population knows somebody who is gay, who`s lesbian, who`s bisexual, but
not many transgender people. And this is bringing – by doing this so
publicly, he`s doing a huge favor to that community. And I think it`s
important for the rest of us to comment less and being more supportive.
MATTHEWS: Yes, I think we`re going to have it in the workplace, too.
ROBINSON: I think her emergence as Caitlyn Jenner actually can be
that sort of moment when people focus on transgender issues in a way that
they haven`t before simply because there wasn`t a role model.
MATTHEWS: You and I growing up, we had people like Christine
Jorgensen, Dr. Renee Richards, fictional characters like Myra Breckenridge,
Gore Vidal. So this was a topic. It wasn`t a present reality so much.
ROBINSON: Right, right, right. This is someone who has been in the
public eye and whose transformation, because it was rumored for months and
talked about for some time before she appeared on the cover of “Vanity
MATTHEWS: Remember David Cope?
MATTHEWS: Remember Dave Cope of the Redskins?
ROBINSON: That was a big moment. I think this is a chance for a kind
of focus and learning that we haven`t had before.
CORN: This is about as much a public transition as you can have. And
she is as highly public a figure and a spokesperson or symbol for this type
of change and for people widening their horizons and how they view gender
Laverne Cox, who is an actress on “Orange is the New Black”, is
another person who has been out there for the last couple of years really
being a tremendous role model. My kids love her, not because of the show,
but they see her as being a new type of hero talking about defining your
own identity which is really I think an important issue for young he people
these days as well. So, seeing Caitlyn Jenner out there, Laverne Cox, it`s
really quite, I think, inspiring to see their courage.
MATTHEWS: You know what Gandhi used to say? First, they ignore you.
Then, they laugh at you. And then they attack you. And then you win.
It`s so true of life.
Thank you, David Corn. And we`re going to be good here about these
CORN: Of course, we are.
MATTHEWS: We`re going to learn, because learning is the best part of
FUENTES: But she looks beautiful, doesn`t she?
Jennice, thank you.
FUENTES: Thank you.
ROBINSON: That`s a stunning photo.
MATTHEWS: I may not go that far, but I do appreciate your taste.
Anyway, Eugene Robinson, sir, you`re a great man. Two of you are
Anyway, we`ll be right back after this.
CORN: And a great woman.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this.
You know, back in the summer of 1972, I recall spotting a billboard on
the way to Rehoboth Beach that summer. On it was a young guy with thinning
hair, wearing a tan raincoat. He was running for the United States Senate.
I assumed he didn`t have a chance.
Senator Caleb Boggs, a Republican, the man he was challenging, had
been elected to the U.S. Congress three times, governor of Delaware twice,
and U.S. senator twice. A decorated veteran of World War II, he had won
each office by defeating an incumbent Democrat. He was certainly not going
to lose to a member of the Newcastle County Council, a 29-year-old who`s
not even old enough to take the oath.
What I didn`t know is what kind of a campaign young Joe Biden and his
family were running. Out in Utah where I was working on the campaign
myself that fall, there began to be talk of a possible upset coming in
Delaware, in a year the Democrats were led by anti-war crusader George
McGovern, the candidate in Delaware was getting national attention. What
did it for Joe Biden did it in a way I`ve never seen before or since was a
piece of campaign literature delivered by hand door-to-door over the last
weekend that resembled a New York or Philadelphia tabloid.
On its front page were the words, Joe Biden is making an impact in the
U.S. Senate and he hasn`t even been elected yet. On the inside pages were
photographs of Biden with distinguished senators, Jackson, Hubert Humphrey,
Phil Hart, an impressive Capitol locales. He looked like he belonged
there. In fact, like he was already there.
Well, that Tuesday, Biden won. In a year Richard Nixon killed
McGovern, a star was born.
And then came the horror. Coming home from buying a Christmas tree,
his wife and daughter were hit by a tractor-trailer, both killed in the
crash. The two Biden boys also in the car, Beau and Hunter, survived but
Stunned by the horror, their father committed himself to spending
every night back in Delaware. The decision, which he kept faithfully,
changed his political career. Not being a part of social Washington, he
never gained admission to the so-called “Senate club.” He never made
friends with the Washington media crowd. Much like a day-hop at college,
he built his life back home in Delaware with his family, being a father.
And now again, it`s in that role that we see him, a father who has
lost a child, again. And that`s who he was when the country first met him,
who he is now.
Beau Biden, a man everyone who knew him respected, an honest, good and
positive public servant, a father himself, is dead.
This is no time for politics, even as it has been sprinkled itself
these many years among the Biden family tragedies. In the face of death,
the verdicts and glories of politics simply lose their place in human life.
And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
“ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES” starts right now.
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