Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 06/09/15
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Hard to starboard, the offshore warning for
Secretary Hillary Clinton.
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.
The battle for Hillary Clinton`s heart and mind is on. Bernie Sanders
threatens from the left. If she doesn`t move her 2016 course to port, she
should fear getting stuck on the sandbar of centrism. Now comes the
warnings from the right and right of center. If Hillary Clinton doesn`t
bolt to starboard, she risks heading over the abyss, they say. Which way
should she turn, left, right or all-ahead full?
Ron Fournier is editorial director of “The National Journal,” Betsy
Woodruff is a political reporter for the DailyBeast, and Patrick Healy is a
“New York Times” reporter.
Anyway, according to Politico, Hillary Clinton`s supporters on Wall
Street worry she might start sounding a lot more like Bernie Sanders and
Elizabeth Warren. A CEO of one large Wall Street firm told Politico,
quote, “My fear is that she is just going to get pulled too far left by
people who want her to just hammer the banks and stand in opposition to all
these things she`s against.”
Politico also reports, quote, “Clinton aides and outside advisers
alike acknowledge that the candidate is in a box, as one donor put it, when
it comes to financial reform. If she goes at it too hard, she could scare
away donors. If she goes too soft, she risks alienating the left in
potentially damaging ways for a campaign that is relying on the left-
leaning Obama coalition to win.
So here we have Ron Fournier. I think I know where you`re coming from
because I`ve read your stuff. You think Hillary makes a mistake going left
with Bernie Sanders and those people.
RON FOURNIER, “NATIONAL JOURNAL”: No.
MATTHEWS: You don`t?
FOURNIER: Most of this country right now is populist, on the far
right and the far left. I think a populist message could be successful.
Her problem is – you just pointed out her problem. Nobody knows what
her position is, and nobody trusts her to come forward with an authentic
message. She should decide where she stands on these issues and frame it
and run on it, instead of trying to figure out, Am I right, am I left, am I
starboard, am I…
MATTHEWS: But don`t all politicians position themselves according to
what they think will work in the near term?
FOURNIER: No! Why don`t we have a…
MATTHEWS: Don`t they?
FOURNIER: It`d be nice if politicians would position themselves where
they are and convince the American public that this is the best place to
be, especially if you do happen to be somebody right now who`s going to
take on the banks and is going to take on Wall Street. That`s a position
that you can get a lot of Americans behind on the right and the left.
If that`s where she is in her heart, she should argue it.
FOURNIER: If she`s more centrist, argue the centrist message. But
who is she?
MATTHEWS: I don`t think – I think politicians try to figure out
which way the wind`s blowing when they get in their boat and figure out
which way to tack. I do think…
FOURNIER: And that`s a problem, especially in this day and age…
MATTHEWS: But who doesn`t do that?
FOURNIER: A successful politician doesn`t do that. A real leader
doesn`t do that.
BETSY WOODRUFF, DAILYBEAST: Hillary`s problem also is not messaging.
She can say whatever she wants. She can use whatever rhetorical strategies
she likes. That`s not the issue. The issue is she hasn`t said what
specific policy changes she would push for if she were president,
particularly on Keystone XL, on trade, especially on the Wall Street…
MATTHEWS: You think Hillary Clinton might support Keystone? Really?
WOODRUFF: She hasn`t said. She`s been very coy about it, which in
and of itself is weird. Activists are more savvy than ever. They`re more
interested than ever in specific policy proposals. (INAUDIBLE) on the
right. And we also see this on the left with Elizabeth Warren.
MATTHEWS: Let me go to Patrick Healy. I haven`t talked to you,
Buddy, in a long time. I think Hillary Clinton`s being a politician. I
wonder if there`s a new standard here because I don`t think she`s clearly a
lefty. I don`t think that`s fair. I think she`s mainly a centrist, but I
do think the Democratic Party, which she hopes to lead, is definitely
moving left. Your thoughts.
PATRICK HEALY, “NEW YORK TIMES”: No question. No question. I mean,
she`s going to have to go before the Wall Street crowd at some point. and
what I`ve heard is what they`re going to be listening for are words like
“regulation” and “redistribution.”
And she has to sort of thread a needle where she`s going to be
appealing to those thousand people who are coming out for Bernie Sanders in
New Hampshire last weekend, you know, where she`s able to tap into at least
some of that fire, without scaring off a lot of these donors, some of whom
who I`ve talked to have said, you know, We can be with her, but right now,
maybe we can be with Jeb. And maybe that is possible.
You know, she needs to – the question I think is what Ron got at,
which is, you know, what`s really in her heart and is she willing to sort
of bet the White House on sticking to what she believes in or is she just
going to kind of reinforce these questions about her authenticity in terms
of what – you know, what she`s really going to do when she gets to the
MATTHEWS: Well, haven`t – I mean, you`re up there, Patrick. You
know the crowds up there. Haven`t those people who are liberals on Wall
Street who make a ton of money – don`t they always vote liberal and make
money like conservatives? I mean, they`ve lived that kind of weird
bifurcated existence for an awful long time. You know what I mean?
HEALY: Sure, but they also…
MATTHEWS: … liberals.
HEALY: Absolutely. Right. No, they – right. They go both ways.
But the question becomes is when she`s – when they have to talk to their
people within the banking industry, when they`re trying to reach out to
people who might be, you know, more on the fence…
MATTHEWS: I see.
HEALY: … you know, what they`re wondering is, Well, how tough is
she going to be? I mean, how much is she going to get into the – you
know, the Warren rhetoric but also kind of the Warren policy? You know,
what sort of president would she be?
And I think some of her own people who are those – you know, who are
those sort of billionaires, multi-millionaires who are definitely going to
vote liberal, they don`t really know what to say to their – you know, to
their friends or their colleagues.
MATTHEWS: I see. She needs to give them talking points as they go
out and bundle for her.
Anyway, driving her further left, Secretary Clinton, is in the wing of
the Democratic Party that`s growing louder. It is well represented by some
of her opponents in the race, as well as influential people like Senator
Elizabeth Warren. Let`s watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: To the
billionaire class, I say that your greed has got to end! It is time to
break up the largest financial institutions in this country! Wall Street
cannot continue to be an island unto itself!
MARTIN O`MALLEY (D), FMR. MARYLAND GOVERNOR: Tell me how it is that
not a single Wall Street CEO was convicted of a crime related to the 2008
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Too many of the people in
Washington do not represent the folks who elected them. They represent the
rich and the powerful, who don`t want their taxes raised, who don`t want to
see any change. The only way we get change is when enough people in this
country say, I`m mad as hell and I`m fed up, and I`m not going to do this
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Wow. Betsy, you think Hillary Clinton, who`s a skilled
performer in public and certainly knows how to do that – would she want to
talk like that, as somebody who wants to bring down the towers of wealth,
break up the banks, arrest the rich people on Wall Street whom she has met
on Martha`s Vineyard? Arrest those people! I mean, Martin O`Malley can
talk like that. Can Hillary actually want to talk like that?
WOODRUFF: Absolutely not! These are her buddies! These are her
people. She`s been making millions giving speeches to these guys. She
can`t turn around and say they should go to jail. The reason is because
not only would she lose her friends on Wall Street, lose some very
MATTHEWS: So she can`t go left.
WOODRUFF: … she`d also lose the base. They`re not going to
MATTHEWS: What`s she going to say on Saturday? Is she going to say
HEALY: It`s also – Chris, it`s also…
MATTHEWS: Go ahead, Patrick.
HEALY: Chris, it`s also not her – it`s also not her style to use
words like, you know, “fat cats” and sort of throw around that kind of
rhetoric. I mean, it`s just – it`s just not going to play, you know, sort
of authentically, and…
MATTHEWS: OK, let`s get to the particulars. Will she come out for
breaking up the banks? Will she be – get rid of carried interest, which
is a way that the people in the investment banking industry can make a lot
– the hedge fund people can make a lot of money getting capital gains
treatment, very lower rates for income, than you would have to pay income
tax on if it was earned income?
Is she going to take away the benefits of working on Wall Street?
Will she do that? This is real stuff. Patrick?
HEALY: Yes, no, right. I mean, I think…
MATTHEWS: Will she?
HEALY: … that she`s going to come – I don`t – I don`t think she`s
going to come out with exactly the Chris Matthews agenda. You know, I
mean, she`s going to sort of do what she wants (INAUDIBLE) but she`s going
to – she`s going to talk about overseas profits. She`s going to talk
about tax reform.
MATTHEWS: Well, that`s easy.
HEALY: But I don`t – you know, but I don`t think she`s going to be
pressing red buttons that are going to make, you know, Wall Street, the
financial community panic, no.
MATTHEWS: Well, let me go back to you because you`re a tough guy,
Ron. You`re very tough.
FOURNIER: I`m a softy.
MATTHEWS: How in the world can she – you say you don`t know what she
is. We`ve watched her in public life since he was first lady of Arkansas.
We know what she is. She`s a lawyer. She`s a smart person. She knows how
to win elections. She can adjust – she stopped wearing the Coke-bottle
glasses. She changed her name to Clinton. She makes adjustments, which
they all do in politics. Everybody makes the adjustments.
Shouldn`t she make adjustments to win? She`s always had to do it.
FOURNIER: Yes, I agree with you. She`s an incredibly capable person.
I think she…
MATTHEWS: No, but she`s a politician.
FOURNIER: … is qualified to be president of the United States. But
here`s what she should do. She should decide what she wants to do on these
issues, what she thinks is best for the country, and she should have all
these high-paid consultants that she has help her message and explain that
to the public, instead of having the consultants come to her and say,
Here`s what you should do. We have this…
MATTHEWS: Should she come out for the trade bill?
FOURNIER: Personally? I think she should be consistent with what her
position has been…
MATTHEWS: Well, isn`t she for it?
FOURNIER: Yes. So she should stick with it.
MATTHEWS: (INAUDIBLE) for it.
FOURNIER: Yes. And these consultants that she has, explain – use
the consultants to explain…
MATTHEWS: So if you were Hillary Clinton, you would basically declare
war on the labor movement. That would be your advice to her.
FOURNIER: Well, how did you get to that?
MATTHEWS: Because every single labor union right now is pushing
opposition to the trade bill.
FOURNIER: I think what I would do is I would explain my position.
And if labor wanted to come to war with me, I`d let them, but I`m not going
to war against labor. I`m making a…
MATTHEWS: You don`t think that would be a declaration of war.
MATTHEWS: Coming out for the trade bill right now.
FOURNIER: No. You know what would be a declaration of capitulation
is to cave on a position that she`s had all this time. You got to be true
to who you are and have the consultants explain it.
HEALY: Chris, you know how, you know, Hillary Clinton operates.
She`s not going to go out and start vilifying large groups of people like
labor. She`s going to take her yellow legal pad. You know, she`s going to
use her rhetoric about how the deck is stacked against everyday Americans,
and then she`s going to write out ideas for specific policies that you can
tweak, that you can adjust.
HEALY: You know, it won`t be quite – it won`t be “Hillary-care” with
a, you know, thousand-page book of policy, but she`ll be looking at ways to
sort of, like, refine and work toward the middle.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, let`s look at this question. Is the Democratic
Party moving left? Is the country – is Hillary Clinton keeping up with
the country? On the one hand, when asked – this is the public in the
polling – if you were – if they`re conservative or liberal on these
issues, now, only 19 percent of Americans say they`re liberal. They don`t
like that word, according to a new Gallup poll – 39 percent say liberal.
But when asked about individual issues separately, a new “New York
Times”/CBS poll shows the country does lean left, particularly – catch
this – 66 percent – that`s two thirds – say wealth should be more evenly
distributed in the country. Well, that`s pretty dramatic. Fifty-seven
percent say the government should do more to reduce the income gap. That`s
pretty liberal. Sixty-eight percent in favor of raising taxes on people
making more than a million a year. That`s pretty liberal. And 63 percent
say trade must be restricted to protect domestic industries. Ron…
FOURNIER: I disagree. Those aren`t liberal issues. Those are
populist issues. You can find people…
MATTHEWS: Well, what`s the difference?
FOURNIER: … on the right…
MATTHEWS: What`s the difference?
FOURNIER: There`s a lot of people on the right who are populists and
who are tired of the establishment…
MATTHEWS: So basically, you don`t think…
FOURNIER: … tired of Wall Street –
MATTHEWS: You don`t think it`s a liberal position to try to
redistribute the wealth downward.
FOURNIER: I think it`s a populist position.
MATTHEWS: OK, these are terms. Go ahead.
FOURNIER: Yes, well, it`s important to know that – and it`s actually
MATTHEWS: I know they`re popular. Using the word “populist” is a
soft way of saying liberal. Yes.
FOURNIER: No, no, no, no!
FOURNIER: There are hard-core conservatives who would have nothing
else in common with you…
MATTHEWS: Who like to see the taxes raised on the rich to reduce the
FOURNIER: Who would love to see Wall Street taken to the mat.
MATTHEWS: No, no. You said redistribute the income.
FOURNIER: I`m talking about all those issues.
MATTHEWS: Close the gap.
FOURNIER: All those issues…
MATTHEWS: Would they do that? How would they do it?
FOURNIER: How would…
MATTHEWS: How would a conservative reduce the income gap?
WOODRUFF: Conservatives can argue…
MATTHEWS: No, really. I want to stay with you. How would a
conservative do that? Because I`m curious as hell.
FOURNIER: How would a populist conservative…
MATTHEWS: How would a conservative reduce the gap of income in this
FOURNIER: I don`t think they have any trouble…
MATTHEWS: How would they do it?
FOURNIER: The stuff on Wall Street, on…
MATTHEWS: How would they – how would the – no, we`ve had people in
this country making exponential wealth and other people just scrambling to
stay alive. How would they end that…
FOURNIER: Who are we talking about? Are we talking about – I`m
MATTHEWS: You say conservatives are populist on this issue.
FOURNIER: I`m talking about the most populist of the conservatives…
FOURNIER: … the Rand Paul type of conservatives…
MATTHEWS: What would they do about the income gap?
FOURNIER: … who have no problem with cracking down on Wall Street.
MATTHEWS: What would they do about the income gap? You said that
that`s not a conservative – a liberal position. I think it is.
FOURNIER: It is a liberal position, but it`s also a populist very
MATTHEWS: Well, just give me one example of where the conservatives
will do something about the income inequality in this country.
FOURNIER: Well, of the two or three issues that you ticked off, on
taking on Wall Street, you could find a lot of conservatives (INAUDIBLE)
MATTHEWS: What would that be? Give me an example.
FOURNIER: Well, you talked earlier about the – the – taking away
the incentives that they have now.
MATTHEWS: You think the conservative would do that, they`d go after
Wall Street and cut down those tax advantages.
FOURNIER: Yes because there are populists on both sides.
MATTHEWS: When hell freezes over, they`ll do that.
WOODRUFF: It won`t happen. One specific thing Republicans can argue
for when they talk about income inequality is making it easier for people
to open businesses. Rather than talking about going after wealthy people,
Republicans will talk about making…
MATTHEWS: That`s now what people – look, the public is very – when
Hillary Clinton`s talking about it – you pick up on this, Pat – when
Hillary Clinton`s talking about it, which I think is rather modified, or
modest, is she talks about the fact that CEOs make 300 times what the
average guy works in the factory is making.
MATTHEWS: I don`t know how you regulate that. I don`t know how you
use the tax structure to do it, if you even can. That`s what she`s willing
to talk about. I don`t know if she`s going after people with exponential
wealth, though, entrepreneurs who make billions of dollars. I don`t know
how you bring the guy making billions somewhere close to the guy making
$50,000 a year. I don`t know how you bring that together. I`d like to
know. And I don`t think conservatives want to do it.
HEALY: Well, look, this is – but this is the important thing about
Hillary Clinton. The moment that you know that she has really crossed over
the authenticity line into, you know, leftist, just give the people what
they want, is when she starts proposing things like Bernie Sanders proposes
that never will have a chance of getting through a divided Congress…
FOURNIER: … you know, when she starts throwing out sort of, like,
big red meat ideas, because here`s the thing. It`s easy to do, but it goes
against the – you know, I think, a real core of Hillary Clinton, which is
that she believes in living in the real world. She believes in pragmatism.
She believes in trying at least to work across the aisle on some things,
and she doesn`t believe in just sort of throwing out ideas that will…
MATTHEWS: Yes, but she has made mistakes.
HEALY: … satisfy some liberal anger…
MATTHEWS: Thank you, Ron Fournier, Betsy Woodruff and Patrick Healy.
And we`ll have more about Hillary Clinton and her shift to the left
later with the roundtable.
Coming up – former House speaker Dennis Hastert, at one point the
most powerful Republican in Washington, pleads not guilty to charges he
lied to the FBI and tried to skirt banking laws. So Hastert`s fighting the
charges. Let`s come back and find out what his strategy might be.
Plus – President Obama tries to save the signature achievement of his
presidency, “Obama care.” The Supreme Court could decide this month to gut
it. And right now, neither President Obama nor the Republicans has a
And two days in June of 1963 that might have changed the course of
history. On those two days, JFK made two huge speeches that tackled the
big issues of the day, nuclear weapons and civil rights, the stuff of
Finally, “Let Me Finish” with the likelihood that Donald Trump will
actually run for president this time.
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Tense moments today at the White House press briefing. A
bomb scare phoned in to Washington police forced the Secret Service to
evacuate the room right in the middle of a live televised briefing.
Reporters were cleared from the room, but the Secret Service says no bomb
was found. President Obama, the first family and other officials remained
at the White House during the evacuation.
And we`ll be right back after this.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Former Republican House speaker
Dennis Hastert today pled not guilty in an arraignment hearing in federal
court in Chicago, where he`s fighting one charge of lying to the FBI and
another charge of evading bank regulations.
Facing a crush of media outside the courthouse in his first public
appearance since the indictment, the former speaker remained silent as
reporters bombarded him with questions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: Mr. Hastert, did you have a sexual relationship with a
student of yours?
QUESTION: What do you have to say to the people…
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, hey, careful!
QUESTION: … constituents?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Wow. The charges against Hastert are connected to a series
of hush money payouts to an unidentified individual which were, according
to a federal official, intended to conceal a past relationship of a sexual
Well, this comes a day after Hastert hired top white-collar crime
defense attorney Thomas Green, whose experience defending public officials
includes high-profile cases like the Watergate, Iran-contra and Whitewater
For the latest, I`m joined right now by Carol Marine. She`s political
reporter – editor, in fact – at WMAQ out in Chicago. Carol, thank you
very much for joining us. Give us a sense of everything today, the tick-
tock, the color, what Hastert looked like, everything.
CAROL MARIN, WMAQ: You know, Denny Hastert, as you know, Chris, is a
big, hulking guy, but he walked in a thinner, more stooped man. He kept
his eyes down even in the courtroom. He was quiet. He was, as you would
expect with these charges, somber. But it was someone who looked a bit
more bent and a bit more broken.
MATTHEWS: What about the media scrum out there?
This was – I never saw so many people. I guess I have, but for
basically a case like this, to see this many reporters and cameras, and
they – it was almost like running the gauntlet there. They weren`t
letting that guy through.
MARIN: This – Chris, you have to remember, this is Illinois, this is
Chicago. The last time we saw that kind of scrum, it was for the two
different trials of Governor Rod Blagojevich, before that, the trial of
Governor George Ryan.
And so we have seen mighty and powerful politicians walk through the
lobby of this federal courthouse. And, in Chicago, that`s a story that`s
heavily covered. In the country, it is. There were national reporters
here as well.
MATTHEWS: What do you make of the fact that the judge in this case
has apparently admitted – that`s all public record – that he`s made a
couple of political contributions to Hastert? Now, if neither the
prosecution nor the defense asks him to recuse himself, this could be a
basis for an appeal later, it seems to me.
So maybe the defendants want him there. I mean the prosecution. I
don`t know. What would be the strategy of letting a judge who has made
political contributions to the defendant continue as trial judge?
MARIN: Well, there`s more context to that than this. And both sides,
I`m guessing, want Thomas Durkin to stay as the judge.
Thomas Durkin is an A-1 prosecutor who went after public corruption in
Illinois and put judges and lawmakers in jail. He was the supervisor in
the federal office of the U.S. attorney for these two prosecutors at one
point and the defense attorney John Gallo, who now is representing Hastert
with Thomas Green.
Durkin also worked in Mayer Brown, a big law firm in Chicago, worked
with Ethan Hastert. Both sides know Thomas Durkin. And anybody who knows
him also knows he`s a pretty by-the-book, straight-and-narrow judge. I`m
guessing neither side is going to ask for Durkin to leave this case.
MATTHEWS: OK, thanks so much, Carol Marin, out there at WMAQ, a great
I`m joined right now by MSNBC political analyst Michael Steele, former
chairman of the RNC.
Michael, thank you so much for joining us.
MICHAEL STEELE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Nice to see you.
MATTHEWS: I mean, it`s probably out of order right now to show any –
too much sympathy for this guy.
MATTHEWS: Because, if he did abuse those kids, it was totally – not
reprehensible. It was evil. Well, so what do you look at – you look at
the situation so many years later. It`s like a war criminal being hauled
back years after the incidents.
STEELE: Part of the problem is, that`s not what he`s being charged
with. You got what he did with the cash, that he was paying this
individual or other individuals, and then you have the separate piece which
deals with his personal behavior.
That, of course, is the most damaging part about this. And I think
the problem that Denny Hastert has is further revelations, if there are
other students who come forward. And apparently there are those that are
waiting in the wings, as some have reported.
So this story is going to be, at first, about the trial for
misappropriation of funds, et cetera, but the bigger story and the bigger
narrative of course is going to be the sexual abuse portion of this and
that history there. And given that you`re not going to go back and
prosecute for that, it is going to be frustrating for a lot of people.
MATTHEWS: It`s like – it was like the Lewinsky thing and all. They
talked about it being perjury, but it was really about Monica Lewinsky.
Let`s face it.
MATTHEWS: It was about that relationship.
Anyway, in an earlier statement, a self-help group called the
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests called for anyone involved in
possible misdeeds by Hastert to come forward, stating: “We urge those who
may have been – have seen, suspected or suffered abuse by Hastert to speak
Well, that`s a pretty dramatic call. And today that group is also
urging lawmakers to reform the statute of limitations for victims of
childhood sexual abuse.
Anyway, as “The Washington Post” reports, “Each time a name is added
to the list of once well-regarded, seemingly wholesome and in some cases
self-appointed arbiters of sexual morality, the details of state and
federal laws that limit or prevent potential punishment also get pushed
into the spotlight.”
I was asking around. Our producer dug up the fact that the reason we
have statutes of limitations is because people`s memories fade, and the
idea of having a fair trial about something 30 or 40 years ago. But out in
Chicago and Illinois, the law is 20 years after the age of 18.
So, if these crimes were committed against a victim, say, a 12-year-
old kid, so that`s six plus 26, that`s still a pretty lengthy statute of
limitations, but not enough for this case.
STEELE: Not enough for this case, number one.
And, number two, I think there should be some look-back at these
statutes and how they`re applied, particularly for younger kids, minors up
to the age of 13, 14 years old especially, because the trauma of that and
reliving that experience, it does come back, having talked with sexual
abuse victims in the past. In their 20s and their 30s, it does manifest
MATTHEWS: It flash – they have memories.
STEELE: Yes, they do. They really do.
And for a lot of these stories, the trauma and the fear is what grips
these young people in the early going. And it`s not until they have gone
through psychological counseling, they have gone through a lot of that
trauma that they then decide it`s time to do something.
MATTHEWS: It`s horrible.
You and I probably drive up Massachusetts Avenue past the vice
president`s house, right? And on the other side is the Papal Nunciature.
STEELE: That`s right.
MATTHEWS: That`s the ambassador of the Vatican.
And there`s a guy standing out there in a big – holding a big sign.
MATTHEWS: He was apparently abused 30, 40 years – he`s a middle-aged
guy, even older, and he`s been abused. He look – has a look on his face
STEELE: Yes. And…
MATTHEWS: And that guy says, when are they going to do something
STEELE: And that – whether it`s the church or an individual, the
society wants those folks to be made whole.
MATTHEWS: OK. I hope people do come out. I agree with those victims
of the priests. Get out there and get your message out. Don`t let it
There may be stuff going on like this somewhere right now, somewhere
in this world, where somebody has authority over someone else. It`s good
to get the word out. Blow the whistle now.
Anyway, thank you, Michael Steele.
STEELE: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: Up next: two days of John F. Kennedy`s presidency and two
speeches which we who lived through it all remember. They changed the
course of history. One was on nuclear war and the chance to stop the
nuclear testing. And the other was on civil rights, probably the most
important president – presidential speech of modern times, when Jack
Kennedy came out and said this country has to have civil rights.
“Two Days in June,” the author is coming here in just a minute.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN F. KENNEDY, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The fires of
frustration and discord are burning in every city. Where legal remedies
are not at hand, redress is sought in the streets, in demonstrations,
parades and protests, which create tensions and threaten violence.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
That was, of course, Jack Kennedy, President Kennedy, addressing the
nation on June 11, 1963. The streets then seethed with riots and protests
by African-Americans wanting a seat at the lunch counter and in university
classrooms. And, today, the quest for civil rights continues, as African-
Americans need to fight back against attempts to restrict their vote, and a
new generation takes to the streets spurred by racial tensions. We have
seen all that this year.
President Kennedy also spoke that same week on another front. He gave
a major address on nuclear arms control, on a test ban treaty with the
Russians. It was a critical effort to reduce the dangers, the chances of
nuclear annihilation at that point. And here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KENNEDY: It would place the nuclear powers in a position to deal more
effectively with one of the greatest hazards which man faces in 1963, the
further spread of nuclear arms.
It would increase our security. It would decrease the prospects of
war. Surely, this goal is sufficiently important to require our steady
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: And just like President Kennedy, President Obama has to get
Congress and the American people behind a nuclear agreement with Iran right
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: These are matters of
war and peace, and they should be evaluated based on the facts and what is
ultimately best for the American people and for our national security, for
this is not simply a deal between my administration and Iran.
This is a deal between Iran, the United States of America and the
major powers in the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Joining me right now is Andrew Cohen, a syndicated
columnist and author of “Two Days in June.”
Congratulations on this great book, because I think June 1963 was an
amazing period in history for presidential leadership. Let`s talk, right,
about civil rights. When Jack Kennedy went on television, prime-time TV,
everybody in the country, black – but especially black – it was white and
black – black people for the first time heard a white guy, as Martin
Luther King mentioned in your book, that quote from Walter – Walter…
ANDREW COHEN, AUTHOR, “TWO DAYS IN JUNE”: Fauntroy.
MATTHEWS: … Fauntroy – you never heard anything like that.
COHEN: “That white man just stepped up to the plate and hit it out of
the park,” said Martin Luther King that night of Jack Kennedy.
MATTHEWS: And what made Jack Kennedy, who was very cautious
politically, and especially on civil rights, come forward with that
dramatic statement that civil rights are as old as the Scriptures and as
American as the Constitution and as clear as the Constitution?
COHEN: Well, it was an extraordinary journey for Jack Kennedy.
He was a white Irishman, as you well know. He was of Bronxville, New
York, and Brookline, Massachusetts, and the Choate school and Harvard, and
the all-white Navy and the all-white Congress, and suddenly he`s asking
Americans to imagine, white Americans, what it`s like to be a black
And he goes through it statistically in that speech. He has about
seven or eight numbers, one-third as much chance of going to college, half
as much chance of…
MATTHEWS: It was very logical.
COHEN: Absolutely logical.
And Ted Sorensen has had less than two hours to write that speech.
And he`s bringing stuff back from University of Nebraska in 1948 of what it
was like then to be black in America. And it hadn`t changed that much.
MATTHEWS: It gave logic on top of this hell we`re looking at. So,
the emotions were there, the need to do something.
And then here the president very coldly and analytically says we have
got to do something. And here, by the way, JFK`s brother, of course Robert
Kennedy was attorney general. He played a critical role elevating civil
rights as a priority in the administration. Here`s Bob Kennedy advising
John Doar of the Justice Department on how to handle Alabama Governor
George Wallace. Wallace was opposed to the registration of two African-
American students, Vivian Malone and James Hood, at the University of
Alabama in June of `63.
Here he is, Bob Kennedy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT KENNEDY, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: I would take it to – almost
dismiss him as being a second-rate figure.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Amazing thing to have a brother who is willing to be your
COHEN: That`s what Bobby did. And there he is.
And they`re bothered. They`re – Wallace is driving them crazy. He
won`t take their calls. He won`t meet Bobby Kennedy. And there he is down
in Alabama standing at the door of the University of Alabama against Nick
Katzenbach, who is representing the Department of Justice, the two students
you have just referred to in the car unable to register.
And they say, why do we have to deal with this guy? He`s on the wrong
side of history. We know he is. But he has to have his show.
They will face him down later on in the afternoon. JFK will issue an
executive order. They will call the National Guard, they will move him out
of there, and they won`t waste a crisis, which is why he will go on the air
that night and announce in that extraordinary speech, which is really all
about morality, the Civil Rights Act…
MATTHEWS: It was great to have an aggressive federal government that
knows what it`s doing.
Anyway, right out of the gate this year, Hillary Clinton is calling
out her Republican opponents for their attempts to restrict access to the
ballot box by African-Americans. Here she is in Houston last week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The Republicans
are systematically and deliberately trying to stop millions of American
citizens from voting. What part of democracy are they afraid of? I
believe every citizen has the right to vote.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Good for her.
Let me ask you about nuclear disarmament, because back then, I was
growing up, and I got to tell you, we thought we`d eventually have a Third
World War. Everybody thought it was just a matter of time, because the
Soviets and us had so many weapons poised at each other.
And then along comes Kennedy and Khrushchev. Some, in `63, after the
Cuban Missile – these two leaders somehow find their way to making a deal
on the test ban treaty of atmospheric test ban on the – testing nuclear
weapons. And it began with this speech right across the street here at
COHEN: It`s called the Peace Speech.
It was Kennedy`s – I think Kennedy`s greatest speech. Both
Khrushchev and Kennedy realized that only eight months earlier they had
nearly blown up the world. And opening back channels, Jack Kennedy and
Khrushchev, through the pope, Kennedy realizes there`s a chance that they
might make some progress on a limited nuclear test ban treaty.
He wanted a comprehensive ban.
COHEN: That`s what he wanted. He couldn`t get it.
But, nonetheless, when he steps up to that microphone at American
University just very near here at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, June the 10th, he`s
going to speak about the Russians in a way no American president has.
MATTHEWS: It`s the first time a president has ever come out and said
to the Soviet people, in the great patriotic war, you defeated the Nazis,
you took the loss.
COHEN: He humanizes them.
COHEN: And it`s not just…
MATTHEWS: That`s what Obama`s trying to deal with the Iranian people
right now. I know it sounds romantic, but he`s trying to reach the people
And he knows, once we bomb them, if we bomb their facilities, we will
never be able to get alone or have the hopes of the secular people over
Anyway, the book, you`re called – great book. Couldn`t be more
timely on the two issues we talk about all the time around here, how to
avoid a war, another war in the Middle East over nuclear weapons and how to
guarantee the rights of African-Americans to be full Americans. That`s
what we try to do here anyway. Have to write that book someday.
The book is called here “Two Days in June.”
Thank you, Andrew Cohen. Thank you. Congratulations on this great
COHEN: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: Up next: Hillary Clinton`s swing to the left, is it a
reflection of the country`s shift as a whole? Is it? Is she in gear?
That`s coming up next with the roundtable.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
RICHARD LUI, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Hi. I`m Richard Lui in the MSNBC
Law enforcement officers searching for two murderers who escaped from
a New York prison have descended on the town of Willsboro after a tip from
a driver who saw two people walking along a road, then duck into the woods.
Police are questioning a woman named Joyce Mitchell who worked at that
prison. The woman`s son tells NBC News his mother would not risk her life
or other people`s lives to help the two escape.
And, in Texas, the police officer who pulled his gun on a group of
teens at a pool party has resigned. Video of the incident sparked outrage
on social media – now back to HARDBALL.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What is happening is a
sweeping effort to disempower and disenfranchise people of color, poor
people and young people from one end of our country to the other.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Hillary`s leftward approach is coming under fire right now. She`s
positioning herself away from the middle and steering to the left on issues
like immigration, and gay marriage and attacking the Republicans on voting
rights. Hillary`s latest moves are a part of her effort to energize
President Obama`s successful 2008 and 2012 coalition of young people,
minorities and women into 2016. Will it work?
The roundtable tonight, for this hot one: Jonathan Capehart, opinion
writer with “The Washington Post”, Cherylyn Harley Lebon is a conservative
commentator and was senior counsel on the Senate Judiciary Committee, and
Ryan Grim is the Washington bureau chief with “The Huffington Post”.
I want to start with you, Ryan. I`ll start with you.
Is Hillary on course to win this election and to be a great president?
Is she making the right moves?
RYAM GRIM, THE HUFFINGTON POST: I think she`s actually quite
beatable. But if she does go left and get into the White House, I don`t
think the pitfalls that were described earlier in the show are there for
her. For one, the well is already poisoned. You know, they tried to
impeach her husband. So, if she tries to drink from that well, she`s a
But two –
MATTHEWS: You mean, if she tries to be a moderate?
GRIM: Right, yes, you know, Obama tried it. In 2009, when he kind of
rallied his base, that`s when got everything done. He got stimulus, he got
Obamacare, he got Wall Street reform done. He then tried to go to the
center. And for four years or so, he governed nil, nothing, got nothing
He now is kind of going back to the base and all of a sudden, he`s
able to govern again even though –
MATTHEWS: So, you argue we`re a divided country, get used to it?
GRIM: That`s right.
CHERYLYN HARLEY LEBON, CONSERVATIVE COMMENTATOR: Well, I find it
interesting because to run to the left, everything that we`ve seen in terms
of what the foundation is doing, her – the money that they have, it`s so
inconsistent with the left`s narrative. How will she relate to someone who
makes $10 an hour?
And if, in fact, she –
MATTHEWS: How does the foundation not square with helping people that
are needed? That`s what they do in the foundation.
LEBON: But here – but the point is where they`re getting their money
from. There`s been a lot of controversy about that. Almost everybody, you
can see a story about the money coming from Saudi Arabia. Let me give you
another example –
MATTHEWS: What`s wrong with robbing the rich and giving to the poor?
LEBON: But the point is if you, in fact, are arguing and saying that
you are for the rights of women and girls, yet you`re taking money from
countries that in no way are supporting the rights of women and girls.
MATTHEWS: Give me a list of things that the Republican presidents of
recent history have done against – for the rights of women in Saudi
LEBON: But we`re talking about Hillary Clinton running to the left.
MATTHEWS: No, no, give me an example. No, this is hypocrisy here.
This conservative concern about women in Saudi Arabia is fairly new like
last week. When has your party ever voiced a concern about women in third
LEBON: But, Chris –
MATTHEWS: I`m just asking because you`re bringing it up here against
LEBON: I bring it up here because it`s important. If she`s running
to the left she has to answer for the type of money she`s taken in. Why
JONATHAN CAPEHART, THE WASHINGTON POST: Then people should give up
their iPhones and their iPads because there are stores in Middle Eastern
countries that don`t, you know, treat women equally.
CAPEHART: Look, I think that that argument is immaterial to the
American voting public. If you pay attention to what Secretary Clinton has
been saying in her speeches over the last couple of months, last week was
voting rights. She`s done the speech on pay equity. She`s done a speech
of criminal justice reform.
And if you look at them and pay attention to what she`s saying, she`s
talking about issues that everyday people care about and want something
done by the president of the United States. And so, if that means to us it
looks like she`s running to the left, she`s running to the left to – yes,
to energize the base, but the country`s there, too.
MATTHEWS: Can she do it without – guys, can she do it without
rocking the boat, going after Wall Street? Can she do it without saying,
I`m getting rid of carried interests, I`m going to break up the banks, can
she do it without talking like even Martin O`Malley?
CAPEHART: She –
MATTHEWS: In other words, can you bring the people to the voting
booth to vote for something that you think – that they think is good for
themselves, self-interest for everyday people without creating havoc with
her donor base?
GRIM: She probably can. I mean, Democrats have been pulling this off
for, you know, a century or so, where they talk tough in the campaign.
MATTHEWS: But they have to deliver.
GRIM: Why do they have to deliver?
MATTHEWS: There are certain things you have to deliver.
GRIM: They can just say, look, the jackboots are coming. And, you
know, don`t –
MATTHEWS: You`re cynical.
Obama did bring us back from the abyss of the worst recession of the
`30s. He did it against the policies of the Republican Party. It actually
worked. We`ve got an unemployment situation that we never thought we`d be
near at this point in history. He really did create ACA, the health care
thing, it may not survive under the control rulings, but he`s done he`s
best. It`s not like he`s played the game of pretending he`s going to do
GRIM: Sure, but the Bush tax cuts got pushed mostly forward. You
know, they got –
MATTHEWS: Because the Republicans and the Congress wouldn`t let him
GRIM: And that`s fine. I`m just saying he didn`t have to deliver.
The interest is still taxed at the same rate it was 10 years ago, and
chances are, 10 years from now, it still will.
MATTHEWS: Well, let`s go to low hanging fruit, Cherylyn. What about
raise the minimum wage. I don`t know how Hillary Clinton can lose on that?
Because more people get wages than give them. There`s a hell of a lot more
employees than there are employers. So, if you come out for minimum wage,
that`s a winning ticket. And the Republican Party for some reason is
opposing it. Aren`t they?
LEBON: Well, here`s the answer (INAUDIBLE). She`s going to continue
to talk, but when is she going to engage people? These are all, you know,
everything that she discusses is very controlled and, Jonathan talked about
– yes, she`s proposing lots of things, but she doesn`t want to engage with
MATTHEWS: I agree –
LEBON: She doesn`t want to engage with people, and when are people
going to find what she`s really like.
MATTHEWS: We`ll get to that. It`s now June in the year before the
CAPEHART: Yes, June to the next election. But she`ll start talking
June 13th this Saturday and she`ll start talking to the press.
LEBON: Can`t wait to hear it.
CAPEHART: We`ve got a year.
LEBON: Yes, and it will be a long year.
MATTHEWS: I think there`s a lot of territory on the center left you
can move over to the left without getting into Elizabeth Warren country and
certainly not with Bernie Sanders. There`s a lot of room over there.
Anyway, the roundtable is staying with us. And up next, this is hot.
President Obama`s attempt to save Obamacare. This is on the line with the
Supreme Court. It could come down to Anthony Kennedy. One vote could
decide whether the whole thing`s gutted or not.
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Well, four years ago, Rick Santorum won the Iowa caucuses
but times have changed for Rick. Yesterday, on the campaign trail in
Hamlin, Iowa, Santorum held an event that was attended initially by a
single person, and she was the chairperson of the county Republican Party.
Eventually a number of people swelled to four people in attendance.
To his credit Santorum put a good spin on the low turnout, telling to
“Des Moines Register”, “It`s not glamorous and you`re not out there raising
money, but you`re doing what the money is ultimately supposed to do,
getting votes. This is a lot more fun than being on the phone raising
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: We`re back with the roundtable: Jonathan, Cherylyn and
President Obama is fighting a war right now that could very well
define his legacy. The president`s signature achievement, of course, the
Affordable Care Act, health care, could be gutted by the Supreme Court this
month if it rules to nullify subsidies for millions of people. The
president says he has no plan B if the court rules against him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I`m not going to go
into a long speculation, anticipating disaster.
REPORTER: But you`re a plan-ahead kind of guy. Why not have a plan
OBAMA: If somebody does something that doesn`t make any sense then
it`s hard to fix. And – this would be hard to fix. Fortunately, there is
no reason to have to do it. It doesn`t need fixing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: I love the argument that people have, they don`t like
Obamacare, but they don`t want those subsidies stopped. They want to keep
the money coming for health care.
Here is the question: why does the president say he doesn`t have a
plan if the court rules out the paying of those subsidies, that kills the
GRIM: It raises the stakes. You know, if the stakes –
MATTHEWS: Squeeze Kennedy and Roberts on the court and say, if you
blow it up, it can`t get fixed.
GRIM: Right, they have to be willing to – you know, for this
calamity to unfold, as a result of their decision, and if they`re still
willing to pull the trigger, so be it is what that president is saying.
LEBON: You know, Chris –
LEBON: – the interesting thing, the poll that came out that
everybody is talking about. It said Democrats like the law and like the
subsidies. The Republicans and independents that were polled say they
don`t like the law. But they don`t want to take away the subsidies.
MATTHEWS: That`s what I said.
LEBON: And see, that is interesting because –
MATTHEWS: What does it tell you?
LEBON: – I think Republicans are being you know, painted – they
don`t like the poor. But the thing is, they don`t like the law. But they
want some sort of subsidy for low to moderate income people so that we
don`t have everybody using the ER as health care.
LEBON: So the question is, how can we keep this subsidy and what can
we do to keep the parts of the law that we do like?
CAPEHART: Chris, what it tells – the poll that you just cited, what
it tells you is, if the Supreme Court invalidates the subsidies,
invalidates – what`s the word I`m looking for?
MATTHEWS: The exchange.
CAPEHART: The exchanges.
MATTHEWS: The federal exchange.
CAPEHART: Right, it invalidates the exchanges. That means that the
Republicans on Capitol Hill will feel the heat. Yes, the American people
are going to be angry and upset and probably angry at the president.
But ultimately the plan B has to come from Congress.
CAPEHART: And they have had five years.
MATTHEWS: Well, what if their plan as a fix, Ryan, is we get rid of
the individual mandate. We kill the deal some – we kill Obamacare some
GRIM: I think that they`ll try to do something.
MATTHEWS: They are trying to –
GRIM: But they`re going to run against real public opinion, think
bank a year and a half ago when a couple of thousand people`s you know,
high deductible plans were cancelled, and they had access to the exchanges,
so they could buy probably better plans at a lower rate, but just the shock
of getting that letter, saying your plan is cancelled led to weeks of
spasms in the media, and people trying to take action.
So, you`re trying to tell me that millions are going to be thrown out
of the insurance and Republicans are going to be able stand –
MATTHEWS: By the way, the Senate and House case workers who work up
on Capitol Hill, they deal with these problems every day. And this will
Anyway, thank you, Jonathan Capehart, Cherylyn Harley Lebon, and Ryan
And when we return, let me finish with the likelihood now that Donald
Trump will in fact, now, run for president.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with the likelihood that Donald Trump
will run for president.
Now, this will be a game-changer for the Republican debates which
commence in August, just two months from now.
Donald Trump is, apart from his business acumen, a showman of the
first order. P.T. Barnum has got nothing on this guy. Barnum said if you
want a crowd, start a fight. Donald Trump is a fight. Everything about
him breeds contests – me against you, me better than you, me trumps you.
So, fasten your seat belts, Jeb Bush, and Scott Walker, and Marco
Rubio, you`re in for a bumpy ride, Trump will go after you, knock you heard
and see if you go down. Will you attack him back? Will you?
Well, that`s the question now looming over the Republican fight for
president in 2016. If Trump does get in the ring, will anyone else get out
alive? And this is not, let`s remind ourselves about a distraction.
Trump, if he goes in will not be going in to show off. He will be going in
to win the nomination.
And that means trouble for the other candidates. Can they take a
punch? Can they? Can they stand there on that debate stage of laugh of or
direct shot from Donald Trump? Can they act as if the man has not just
attacked their character, their dignity, their rationale for being there in
the first place?
So, all bets are off. Trump inside the ring means trouble for
everyone else. The only question is whether he can take a showman`s
performance in the debates and convert it into victory in the caucuses and
But those are months from now. What happens if the big name, the big
noise coming out of debates this summer, which begins this August, by the
way, politically, is one Donald Trump? Will there be any life in other
Republican candidates once he`s done his number on them?
Well, it should be interesting. Then again, Trump often is, even when
he is being irresponsible which, when it comes to politics, he often is.
And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
“ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES” starts right now.
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