Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 06/12/15
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Still on the loose.
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.
Well, the manhunt for Richard Matt and David Sweat, the two escaped
convicts in upstate New York, is in its seventh day now. It`s the longest
escape from a maximum prison in New York state in modern times.
Well, late today, the New York State Police announced the arrest of a
prison employee, Joyce Mitchell, for allegedly assisting Sweat and Matt in
their escape. The New York State Police announced Mitchell`s arrest just
moments ago and issued a warning to the convicts themselves.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re working seamlessly around the clock with
several agencies in our hunt. We have a message for David Sweat and
Richard Matt. We`re coming for you, and we will not stop until you are
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: “We`re coming for you.”
Meanwhile, law enforcement are ratcheting up their manpower to find
those escapees. More than 800 officers are now flooding an area just south
of the prison. Bloodhounds picked up the scent near there on Wednesday
night. Authorities say they also found candy wrappers, bedding and
footprints. However – this is important – there have been no confirmed
sightings whatever so far of the two escapees.
I`m joined right now by MSNBC`s Adam Reiss from Morrisonville, New
York, just a few miles from the prison. You know, I`m trying to – let`s
talk about Joyce Mitchell here. What do you – what is it – what category
does this fit into? I`ve never really heard about someone helping in a
major escape like this.
ADAM REISS, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: She`s been very cooperative with
police. She didn`t have a lawyer. They said today that all the interviews
with her have been both productive and fruitful. But tonight, she`s been
arrested. She`ll be arraigned in a few hours.
She`s charged with providing material support and promotion prison
contraband. That is a felony. That means she was bringing materials in to
assist them in their escape. In fact, she was allegedly going to be the
getaway driver until she got cold feet. Tonight, she faces seven years in
jail – Chris.
MATTHEWS: Well, that makes sense, to get cold feet, because they may
have killed her, right?
REISS: I`m sorry?
MATTHEWS: They may have killed her once she got them in the car.
They didn`t need her anymore.
REISS: Well, and also, there`s some concern – there`s some
discussion this evening that maybe one of the reasons that this all came
together was because she was concerned for her safety. They are still on
the loose. She didn`t want to be out there and a possible victim.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you – they say that they`re getting closer, but
yet no actual confirmed sightings. How can that be, getting closer but no
REISS: They`ve got a perimeter. It`s about five miles wide. They`re
tightening the perimeter. They`ve got 800 law enforcement officials.
They`ve got the dogs out there. They`ve got 700 leads.
This is very difficult terrain. The weather`s been really bad. They
said tonight these guys might be cold, tired and hungry, just as they are.
But that makes them even more dangerous.
That`s why they`re being even more vigilant this evening, closing in
on this perimeter, every inch. It`s a grid system. They`re going through
every inch of this small area about three miles to the south of me, a five-
mile square area – Chris.
MATTHEWS: What about the candy wrappers or the food evidence? Is
that something that has been traced yet to the prison, to know that it`s
REISS: Well, they`ve got a lot of dogs. They believe the source of
that is the prison. But they have – that`s all part of these 700 leads.
The dogs picked up some scents a couple days ago. They picked up a scent
yesterday. We were at DHS headquarters, the Border Patrol, with some dogs
today. They say these dogs are very good at what they do.
REISS: And if they`re out there, they`re going to get them.
MATTHEWS: Well done. Thank you so much, MSNBC`s Adam Reiss up in
Morrisonville New York.
Anyway, a prison official familiar with the facility tells MSNBC that
a process “grooming,” which inmates use to get close to a prison staffer,
is more of an issue at this prison than employees would like to admit.
Late today, I spoke with James Conway. He was the superintendent at
the maximum-security Attica Correctional Facility.
MATTHEWS: I`m joined right now by James Conway. He was the
superintendent at the maximum-security Attica Correctional Facility.
Mr. Conway, thanks for joining us. What do you make of this, when you
read about this issue of grooming, of how Joyce Mitchell`s now been
arrested for helping a prisoner, whatever, giving them contraband,
facilitating their – whatever movements? What does that – how does that
ring with you as an experience?
JAMES CONWAY, FMR. SUPERINTENDENT, ATTICA CORRECTIONAL FACILITY: It`s
not surprising. These guys probably watched her for months and developed
this relationship over possibly a couple of years.
They`ll start with something very simple, where one of them may say,
the one that had the closest relationship with her, Could you give me a
hand with this machine? I`m having some trouble with it. And that gets
them to have a one-on-one type of a relationship with her. He`ll thank her
They observe their work habits. Does she have a New York Yankees mug
on her desk? If she does, they will go and research the Yankees – Boy,
that Teixeira (ph) sure had a good night last night. So they kind of
endear themselves with the employee.
And when you have male employees working in female facilities and
female employees working in max male facilities, you`re going to have these
type of relationships. They`re going to develop, unfortunately.
MATTHEWS: And this is a professional killer`s instinct to do that?
Or is this – how broad – how broad a facility is this? Is this –
because I`ve read Gavin de Becker`s book about “The Gift of Fear“ and
about how they bond with people whom they`re going to kill. In this case,
is it something that lifers particularly learn how to do? Or what are they
– what`s their usual ambition, I should say? Is it to get out or to get
CONWAY: Usually, to get something else. Not all people who are doing
life have aspirations of trying to escape, but they would like to have –
they want to have sex. They want to get drugs. They could use some
stamps, some money, some currency, some food.
He may, after a period of time, engage in a relationship with the
employee and say, Boy, it`s been six, seven years since I`ve had a homemade
chocolate chip cookie, and she`ll bring him in cookies. And when she does
that, he`s got her. The hook has been set.
MATTHEWS: How so? Because now he can rat her out?
CONWAY: Now he can use that as leverage. Then he may say, Geez, I
missed the mail call this morning. Could you possibly take this letter out
and drop it in a mailbox for me? That`s what we call a “kite.” And if
she`s – he`s trying to circumvent the correspondence procedures,
obviously, and then he can use that as leverage against – say, Hey, you
wouldn`t want your boss to find out that you brought those cookies in or
you mailed that letter for me.
CONWAY: So you know, How about some money or some drugs or some
marijuana, or whatever?
MATTHEWS: You know, an FBI guy told me that`s what spies do. They
ask you for little favors. Could I have that press release from the office
yesterday? And you give the damn press release to somebody who`s a first
secretary of some mission. Next thing you know, they say, Well, thank you
for the help you`ve given me in the past. What can you do for me now?
Hey, this is great stuff. Thank you. It`s great to learn how this is
done because I always want to know…
CONWAY: Thank you for having me.
MATTHEWS: … how the criminal mind works.
MATTHEWS: Thank you, James Conway, the former superintendent at
Coming up – President Obama`s big defeat on trade today, and it was a
big one. Democrats had a choice, back the president or back the unions.
They chose the unions.
Plus, tomorrow`s the big day for Hillary Clinton. She`s kicking off
her campaign for president up in New York City. But will she get up there
and make the sound – and do all the right things for the progressive
groups, like New York mayor Bill de Blasio wants her to do? That may be
what the left-leaning base of her party`s looking to hear. Is it what she
wants to say?
And looks like those 450 military advisers President Obama is sending
to fight ISIS are just the beginning. We learned today he`s considering
more troops and a network of new forward bases to fight that terrorist
Finally, “Let Me Finish” tonight with the honor given me last night by
Pierce (ph) College up in Philadelphia.
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Say good-bye to the Iowa straw poll. The Iowa Republican
Party`s leadership voted unanimously today to cancel the often criticized
straw poll. Its cancellation was not unexpected, especially considering
Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee and Marco Rubio had already decided they wouldn`t
take part in the August 8th vote.
Critics say the vote marginalizes Republicans by elevating fringe
candidates. Case in point, last time around, in 2011, the Iowa straw poll
winner was Michele Bachmann. There`s a winner.
We`ll be right back after this.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Well, today, the Democratic
Party refused to cross the picket line. With the country`s labor unions
demanding defeat of an historic trade bill, big city and other Democrats
had to choose between President Obama, who is leaving town a year-and-a-
half from now, and AFL-CIO leader Richard Trumka. They picked Trumka.
Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco, a celebrated port city, was the last to
fall. She said her party members had the impression the trade bill would
hurt their people back home. She said that the country needed to do
something to create jobs first, something like getting highway construction
If some Democrats were happy today, however, she was not one of them.
The most impressive member of Congress seemed pained by the whole
Here is the look and sound of the debate earlier today on the floor of
the U.S. House of Representatives as the vote approached.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: Is America going to shape the global
economy, or is it going to shape us?
I understand a lot of our members, especially on our side of the
aisle, they don`t trust this administration. Join the club! Neither do I.
That is precisely why I support this bill. TPA puts Congress in the
SANDER LEVIN (D), MICHIGAN: We in Congress, despite all the rhetoric
– all the rhetoric – we in Congress will be in the back seat, not in the
falsely claimed driver`s seat.
ROSA DELAURO (D), CONNECTICUT: If we want to protect working
families, we must stop fast tracking.
ANDY BARR (R), KENTUCKY: Free trade is critical for my constituents
in central and eastern Kentucky. More than half a million Kentucky jobs
are related to international trade, and expanding trade agreements will
provide even more opportunities for job growth.
BRAD SHERMAN (D), CALIFORNIA: The proponents of this bill have not
played it straight.
If they had played it straight, we could play it straight.
STEVE SCALISE (R), INDIANA: Right now, China`s writing the rules
while America sits on the sidelines!
DEBBIE DINGELL (D), MICHIGAN: The vote today is why I came to
Congress. I promised the working men and women in my district that I would
fight to make sure that they had a seat at the table when we were making
decisions that impact their life and their livelihood. NAFTA cost us one
million jobs, and Michigan is still paying the price!
DAVE SCHWEIKERT (R), ARIZONA: Have you ever had one of those moments
when you`re compelled to come running down here and come up to the mike
just because you`re so enraged with the duplicity of some of the things
you`re hearing? Some of the crazy things I`m seeing put out in the media
by big labor, the willingness to make up stories, to make up facts –
Goebbels would be very proud of them!
DONALD NORCROSS (D), NEW JERSEY: Trade adjustment is the equivalent
of an execution, but you`re getting to choose your last meal. But the end
result is you`re dead. Or in this case, you`re losing your job.
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I know some members
of this body don`t like Trade Promotion Authority. Some don`t like Trade
Adjustment Assistance. But today, I`m here to vote for both because it is
the right thing to do.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER: Pope Paul VI said if you
want peace, work for justice, economic justice. And I don`t see that
happening in this fast track bill.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, in the end, the House defeated the president on the
first vote, Trade Adjustment Assistance, thus preventing the actual trade
bill from moving forward.
Joining me right now is NBC News Capitol Hill correspondent Kelly
O`Donnell. Well, give us the capsule. It was a bad day for the president,
I think. How do you see it?
KELLY O`DONNELL, NBC CORRESPONDENT: An extraordinarily bad day
politically for the president today. But it may not be the end of the
story because the way they`ve structured this, they can try again next
week. And that`s what the White House tonight is asking for. And
certainly, House Republicans want to see that happen, too.
Today was big labor`s day, for sure, and for Democrats, especially
from the industrial parts of the country. I come from Ohio. I understand
the rhythms of that. And they got their piece today to say that they will
not go along even when the president comes here personally and makes a very
One of the most stunning things today, Chris, is the Democrats, who
over the years of the Obama presidency have told us often off-camera that
they`ve been frustrated by the relationship with the White House, today let
that really break open.
And you had a handful of Democrats who said on camera and publicly
that they felt really mishandled by the White House, even insulted by the
White House, that simply coming up here right before the vote, that that
would somehow change their minds when they have heartfelt, deeply rooted
concerns with this. They also have concerns about how some of this might
be used against them in reelection.
So this is complex set of issues politically, and in the underlying
substance of global agreements, where the president said when he was on his
European trip, This will get done. Well, today, the brakes were put on by
one of his chief supporters, Nancy Pelosi, who spoke at length and with a
lot of emotion and said, sadly, she could not support this.
And by voting against that first piece, it`s like train cars on the
tracks. They linked them together. So voting down the first piece
effectively killed the whole package for now, until they can come back and
Republicans had led the train car with a package for federal programs
to retrain displaced workers, hoping that would bring Democrats along. And
even though they believe in that in substance and basically as a part of
their DNA, today they said they`re going to vote against it to stop the
whole thing. And that`s where we are.
Can the president try to change minds between now and next week? You
alluded to it. Nancy Pelosi said maybe if the highway bill got this sort
of fast track attention, maybe that could bridge the gap. So she floated a
way forward, if that can be done.
Lots of machinations involved there, but at least that`s one sign of
how they might achieve it. We just don`t know tonight. It`s going to be a
rough weekend for the president. He said he would get it, and he did not -
MATTHEWS: Kelly O`Donnell, as always, great from you on the Capitol.
Thanks for joining us with the hottest.
For more now on what the vote means for President Obama and his
legacy, we`re joined by White House press secretary Josh Earnest. Josh,
thanks for coming on tonight. It`s a tough night, but you know, I always
think there`s a deal made – to be made.
Is there a deal to be made here on highways, infrastructure jobs,
something that whets the appetite of the Democrats to go for something the
president wants, a trade bill?
JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Well, listen, Chris, I
actually think that this is a pretty good day for the president. And the
reason for that is we got a piece of business done that a lot of people
were pretty skeptical about.
There was a lot of – there was a sense all across this town that
Democrats and Republicans could never successfully work with the president
to pass Trade Promotion Authority legislation, and yet that`s exactly what
happened in the House of Representatives today.
There was a lot of skepticism about how many Democrats we could
convince to support Trade Promotion Authority. The sense was, Well, you
know, the White House is going to be lucky to get 15 or 17 or 18 Democrats
to vote for it. We got 28 Democrats to vote for it. So from that
standpoint, Chris, we overperformed.
Now, it`s also true that we haven`t gotten everything that we wanted
yet. And what we are going to spend time doing now is making the case to
Democrats that this is their last best opportunity to prevent trade –
trade assistance from expiring. The fact is, this legislation that has
previously been supported by every Democrat in the House is legislation
that will expire on September 30th if it doesn`t pass the Congress.
And so we`re going to make the case to Democrats not only should we
prevent this important program from lapsing, we actually can expand it. We
can double it in size.
MATTHEWS: I know.
EARNEST: And we can make sure that over the next six years, about
100,000 American workers a year benefit from this Trade Adjustment
MATTHEWS: But you got the car today, but you didn`t get the wheels.
So without the wheels, that car is not much good. What are you going to
offer the recalcitrant Democrats to get them to support your position
Monday or Tuesday next week? You got to change a lot of minds. It was
only 126 Democrats, I believe, that voted for TAA. You`ve got to get that
up to about 215 or 216, at least, to get a majority.
EARNEST: Yes, and – but what I would say, Chris, is that the fact
is, the car was the hard part, and now we just got to get the…
MATTHEWS: Oh, really?
EARNEST: … got to get the accessories.
MATTHEWS: You are so positive!
I mean, I just – here`s my concern.
I don`t understand – and this isn`t your job to figure this out. But
it is to explain perhaps why we can`t do this.
MATTHEWS: Why don`t they deal-make on the Hill? The president
doesn`t want Keystone, but he does want infrastructure. He does want
minimum wage. The other people want something else. Why can`t they go up
on the Hill and spend a weekend, get over a card table and say, OK, look,
we`re going to get – the damn highway bill used to be a big Republican
thing. Why are you guys sitting on this thing? Let`s get that moving.
We will get you the highway bill. Then the Democrats will feel like
they`re creating jobs. They won`t feel like they`re not killing the old
industrial states. By the way, if you`re building highways and bridges,
you`re creating a tremendous market for steel and all kinds of material and
stuff that can be produced in those Rust Belt states. I just don`t see why
we can`t all get to the table on jobs.
EARNEST: Well, Chris, what I would say is, actually, when it comes to
this particular piece of legislation, we did successfully craft a
bipartisan proposal that got support of both Democrats and Republicans in
the Senate, right?
And it included a variety of things. It included trade promotion
EARNEST: … that included a variety of provisions. It included
trade adjustment assistance, doubling the size of that program almost.
It also included a bunch of enforcement priorities as well. And
that`s the package that got strong bipartisan support in the Senate.
EARNEST: And we got a lot of that pieces of that package through in
the House, except for one. So, we got to go back to that one piece of the
package and actually make sure that we get it through.
The good news is, is, we`re not trying to convince Democrats to
support a – something that Republicans had asked for. We`re actually
trying to get Democrats to support something that Democrats asked for.
EARNEST: So that`s why I say that…
MATTHEWS: But they know…
EARNEST: … we already did the hard part. Now we have just got to
do this last part.
MATTHEWS: But Nancy Pelosi today made it very clear that the reason
she voted against Trade Adjustment Assistance is to kill the trade
authority, the fast track. She said it over and over. That`s why she was
MATTHEWS: And now you`re saying the Democrats would be stupid enough
to think, oh, we`re just voting for Trade Adjustment Assistance.
No, they`re giving the OK to the deal, to the fast track. They know
what`s going on here. I want you to respond to something here.
EARNEST: They do.
But, Chris – I guess my point, Chris, though, is that this is a
procedural difference of opinion. It`s a procedural snafu, as I described
it in the briefing before. We don`t actually have to change minds. We
know that Democrats in the House of Representatives strongly support Trade
EARNEST: We just got to get them to vote for it.
MATTHEWS: You know, if I thought the Kool-Aid would help, I would
drink it. But I`m not sure it`s going to help at this point from my end.
From your end, it`s helpful.
MATTHEWS: Let`s take a look at DeFazio today. There`s some tough
talk on the Hill.
And I do think both sides are right here, because I think they heard
each other. Here`s a comment. In a last-minute push hours before the vote
today, President Obama went up to Capitol Hill, we know, to make the case
to ask Democrats to support the bill. The president spent 45 minutes with
members of his own party, the Democrats, taking no questions, and according
to a source in the room reported by Politico, he told Democrats to – quote
– “Vote your values.”
Well, some Democrats were not happy with the president`s visit to the
other end of the Pennsylvania Avenue. Here they are.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PETER DEFAZIO (D), OREGON: The president tried to both guilt
people and then impugn their integrity. And I don`t think it was a very
effective tactic. There were a number of us who were insulted by the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Do you think or does the president think that some of the
members were scared of labor, they didn`t vote their values, they voted
their fears? Do you think that`s what happened today?
EARNEST: Well, Chris, I`m not going to ascribe motives to any member
of Congress. They have a responsibility to vote their conscience.
MATTHEWS: No, he ascribed the motive to the president. He said the
president`s been accusing them of being in the tank with labor because
they`re afraid of labor.
EARNEST: Yes, well, look, maybe members of Congress have the luxury
of indulging in questioning the president`s motives. I`m not going to
question the motives of any member of Congress.
I`m simply going to say that if you consider the values that Democrats
stand for and the values that this president has fought for over the last
six-and-a-half years, we acknowledge that the challenging forces of
globalization are not something that we can insulate America from.
EARNEST: We know that our work force is being affected by those – by
those significant global challenges.
And so the president`s view is, we can`t just stick our head in the
sand. If we do that, we`re just going to lock in the status quo. If we
actually want to try to and go out and fight for the opportunity for
middle-class workers in this country, we have got to engage the world.
And that`s exactly what the president wants to do, level the playing
field so American workers and American businesses can compete in some of
the most economically dynamic regions of the world. If we do, that`s going
to be good for the country, that`s going to be good for our economy, and
that`s going to be good for middle-class families.
Well, as I said from the beginning, this is a great debate, including
a debate on the progressive side. I don`t think the case is closed, but I
do think, the more you can create jobs in this country for regular working
people, the better position you will be in politically.
Thank you, Josh Earnest, for coming on.
EARNEST: Yes. And that`s exactly why we`re doing this.
MATTHEWS: Thank you, Josh Earnest.
Coming up: Tomorrow`s launch day for Hillary Clinton. Is she going
to speak to the progressive left in her party?
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Hillary Clinton is set to formally kick off her campaign for president
tomorrow with her first big speech out there on Roosevelt Island in New
York City. Clinton will talk about her mother, Dorothy Rodham, who was
abandoned as a child. She will highlight her mother`s life as a major
factor driving her to want to fight for others in troubled circumstances.
Ahead of the big speech, the Clinton campaign released a new video of
the candidate. Let`s watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Everyone deserves
a chance to live up to his or her God-given potential. That`s the dream we
share. That`s the fight we must wage.
You know, my dad, the son of a factory worker, could start a small
business. My mom never got to go to college, could see her daughter go to
college. Everyday Americans and their families need a champion, a champion
who will fight for them every single day. And I want to be that champion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, part of Hillary Clinton`s challenge will be threading
the needle of convincing liberals in her party she`s a progressive
champion, while not going too far. How will she do it?
Jonathan Allen is chief political correspondent for Vox and Susan Page
is Washington bureau chief for “USA Today.”
Susan, you first.
And I get the feeling – you know how Pat Toomey went on gun control,
just far enough without offending the NRA guys, by saying, I`m for a
different, better kind of background checks?
Well, is Hillary Clinton going to attempt that brilliant maneuver of
positioning herself left enough while giving herself running room to get
back to the center for the general?
SUSAN PAGE, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, “USA TODAY”: Well, I think that
is what hopes to do. Isn`t that what every candidate…
MATTHEWS: Romney couldn`t do it. Romney went over too far.
PAGE: He couldn`t do it, but he wanted to do it. Right? He wanted
to go far enough and the goal kept getting pushed aside, pushed a little
farther down the road.
MATTHEWS: Is that happening now? Are the Bernie Sanders and the Bill
de Blasios saying, unless you`re willing to come out against the trade
bill, break up the banks, go after carried interest, all the big standards,
unless you do that, you`re not one of us?
PAGE: I think that`s right. I think the goalposts are moving. And
the longer she doesn`t stake out clear positions on some of these issues,
the more the left of the party that`s really energized right now is going
to push for her to take positions that are agreeable to them.
MATTHEWS: And what is the left-wing standard, to do stuff that really
bothers the establishment? What does the left, what does Bernie Sanders to
get – for the bell to ring for him on the stump, he has to say stuff that
no other sort of liberal, old-time liberal would say.
He has to say something really dramatic. Like, Hillary says it
shouldn`t just be the CEOs and the hedge fund managers who are rich, but
she just says not only them. But she doesn`t say they shouldn`t be rich.
She says the others should be able to catch up a little bit. That`s
PAGE: I actually think there are specific things they want, I mean,
policies. I think it`s not so much about rhetoric. It is, are you for or
against the Pacific trade deal, for instance?
MATTHEWS: That`s a tough one. She`s not – but she`s not willing to
say that. Nor was Bill clear on that back in `92, Bill Clinton, when he
ran. He was kind of like, I`m for it, but I want to have some changes in
She hasn`t gone that far even.
JONATHAN ALLEN, VOX: We`re at Coca-Cola in Mexico now in terms of
NAFTA after that 1992 – look, she said that the Trans-Pacific Partnership
is the gold standard in trade – standard in trade deals.
And you can see she`s being pulled to the left by the fact that she`s
not willing to come out with a position on it. I think what she`s really
got to do, not necessarily, is be a Bill de Blasio or a Bernie Sanders, but
I think she does need to say and to do things to come up with policies that
are pleasing enough to them, so that they`re not running away from her.
I think, at the end of the day, the Democratic Party is going to be
MATTHEWS: Oh, I think they are unified. But that is doable to keep
the – there`s a certain left that – I don`t want to use the phrase
professional left, but the fact is there are some people that really are
out of kilter with the mainstream. They don`t agree with it.
They are somewhat radical. They want big changes made, big changes
structural changes in the economy, in terms of wealth, distribution of
wealth and redistribution of wealth. When you talk about I`m going to
increase the benefits for Social Security, well, the only way to do that is
tax the really well-off and take that money from them and give it to
regular people, everyday people.
ALLEN: Look, there`s a difference between taxing hedge fund managers
or coming up with a financial transactions tax or regulating Wall Street
and tarring and feathering CEOs. Right?
So you have got – you talk about the professional left. It`s like
you wouldn`t please them enough unless there was like some sort of marathon
of tarred and feathers CEOs running across the country.
MATTHEWS: But the trouble is, Susan, these guys today and women are
making so much money exponentially, you can`t catch up with them.
If you raise – if you tax three-quarters of their income, they will
make another billion a year. The income – anyway, look at this. One of
the Democratic Party`s well-known progressives, New York mayor`s city –
New York City Mayor, of course, Bill de Blasio, told reporters he thought
Hillary Clinton should speak up on the issue of trade, as I said.
The mayor said: “I would like to see a very clear statement that this
trade bill should be opposed and should be stopped. Democrats all over the
country are looking to her for leadership.”
Who elected Bill de Blasio to be the leader of the world, the leader
of the progressive United States? How did he put that hat on?
MATTHEWS: He`s now deciding. He`s like, I get to decide.
PAGE: And, in a way, it makes it less likely she`s going to like seem
to bow down to Bill de Blasio.
I don`t actually think she needs to take their positions on
everything. But I do think she needs to take positions on something. She
needs to believe in something. She needs to say, here`s what I think,
here`s how I think we should proceed in a globalized world when it comes to
trade and to free trade deals. And she can articulate and defend…
MATTHEWS: Do you think she will say that tomorrow? Do you think she
will say the word trade?
PAGE: I don`t know. Maybe. Got me.
MATTHEWS: You sound like her for a minute there.
ALLEN: Or let`s just talk about the movie “Trading Places.”
MATTHEWS: Just like that woman. Are you African-American? Uh, no.
ALLEN: I`m not touching that one with a 10-foot pole.
No, but what I was going to say is, look, she`s got – tomorrow, she`s
going to talk about her vision. She`s going to talk about what motivates
her to run for president.
MATTHEWS: Any foreign policy at all?
ALLEN: I would be surprised if she didn`t say something about the
MATTHEWS: Because I don`t see it in the advanced.
ALLEN: … about the need for American strength.
But I will tell you what. One huge mistake presidential candidates
make is talking about foreign policy long before an election. What the
world looks like a year from now is sure to be very different. Domestic
policy is pretty static most of the time. You can tell what – where
issues are going to be.
Foreign policy, you have no idea where the next blowup is going to be
across the world.
MATTHEWS: Is your hunch she is going to hit the bullseye tomorrow in
terms of Sunday paper? You don`t have a Sunday paper. You can say.
PAGE: I think she will do well, because she`s a smart person and
she`s very skilled, and this isn`t kind of her natural best form, to do a
big rally. But she knows that.
MATTHEWS: It`s not. So, she has a video to come with it.
PAGE: So, I bet she`s worked on it. And they know this is important.
This is a – got a little bit of a reboot.
MATTHEWS: I got to ask you both, did she study the `68 Nixon campaign
closely? No, really. I`m not making an ideological judgment. This is
Nixon was the front-runner, because the Democratic Party was in
shambles after convention in Chicago. So he ran a very controlled
campaign. He didn`t have actually debates. He had these things he put –
Roger Ailes put together. Right?
And Hillary is doing a lot of videos, very controlled events, not a
lot of big back and forth, no rock and roll campaign there. Will that work
in the 21st century, a very controlled presidential campaign?
ALLEN: I think the view is that Democrats have an Electoral College
advantage, and if you don`t screw it up…
MATTHEWS: So, that will work? So it`s the smart move, controlled?
PAGE: I disagree.
ALLEN: I`m not saying it will work. I just – that`s their view.
PAGE: When did she do well last time around, in 2008? Not when she
was all controlled. It was when she felt she lost control and her back was
against the wall. And that`s when she became a compelling campaigner that
really connected with voters.
MATTHEWS: When she didn`t have the machine.
PAGE: When she was out there on her own.
ALLEN: Remember, that`s in a Democratic primary, as opposed to a
general election, where you`re really contrasting against…
MATTHEWS: You say keep it controlled.
You say you got to show yourself.
MATTHEWS: Disagreements. We call it frisson.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you, Jonathan.
I think we call it that.
Jonathan Allen and Susan Page, two pros.
Up next: the fight against ISIS. President Obama may send in even
more U.S. troops into Iraq, and he`s considering a network of forward bases
to fight off the terrorists. Are we in, out or just muddling through?
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MILISSA REHBERGER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Milissa Rehberger.
Here`s what`s happening.
A prison worker questioned in connection with the escape of two
convicted killers has been arrested. Joyce Mitchell is accused of
providing contraband to the two and facilitating their escape. She`s been
suspended without pay from her job at the prison.
Administration officials say there`s been a second hacking at the
Office of Personnel Management. This intrusion was into investigations for
security clearances and other checks. It`s not clear how many people were
And a motion was filed earlier in the Dennis Hastert case asking the
court to keep some information secret. It would protect the identity of
Individual A, who was being paid hush money to conceal Hastert`s prior
misconduct – back to HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
The White House this week announced they`re expanding the training
mission inside Iraq and are now sending 450 more American soldiers to a new
base in Anbar province to help the Iraqis take back Ramadi, but that may
just be the beginning.
“The New York Times” reports today that the administration is also
considering a plan to expand American involvement further, with additional
bases, and the possibility of greater numbers of U.S. troops.
General Martin Dempsey introduced the concept just yesterday proposing a
network of new bases which he called “lily pads” throughout the country to
encourage Iraqi security forces forward – I love that phrase – to reclaim
While there are no immediate plans on the table just yet, President
Obama has been criticized for his handling of Iraq, namely for his gradual
expansion of American footprint in that country, so soon after he ended the
But deputy national security advisor Ben Rhodes said yesterday this is
not mission creep.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KRISTEN WELKER, NBC NEWS: Isn`t this mission creep?
BEN RHODES, DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: No, this is the exact
same mission we`ve been pursuing which is to train, advise and assist the
Iraqis. Americans are not in combat. Frankly, we only have 3,500 troops
in Iraq right now. That`s compared to 150,000 when the president took
So, this is a much more limited mission in scale and scope for the
U.S. military than anything we were doing in Iraq over the previous decade.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, the new proposal also comes after the president
acknowledged in what appeared to be a candid admission on Monday that more
needs to be done.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: One of the areas where
we`re going to have to improve is the speed at which we`re training Iraqi
forces. We don`t yet have a complete strategy because it requires
commitments on the part of the Iraqis as well, about how recruitment takes
place, how that training takes place. And so the details of that are not
yet worked out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: I`m joined by the roundtable: MSNBC political contributor
Jonathan Capehart of “The Washington Post,” Francesca Chambers of “The
Daily Mail”, and MSNBC contributor David Corn of “Mother Jones”.
I`m going to start with Francesca on this. You know, I think there`s
just the politics of this. President Obama ran on the promise to get us
out of Iraq. He did it. Now we`re going back in.
Simply put, it does put him in a conundrum because it allows the
critics to say, you were wrong to take us out in the first place, because
now you`ve admitted it because you`re going back in.
FRANCESCA CHAMBERS, DAILY MAIL WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, I
MATTHEWS: Is that right?
CHAMBERS: I think to a certain extent. And I also think his twist
of words this week about a lack of a complete strategy. I mean, clearly, a
horrible choice of words.
MATTHEWS: With honesty, that was honest obviously. If he had a
strategy, he would admit it.
CHAMBERS: Well, I think he does have a strategy. I don`t think it`s
that he doesn`t have a strategy here. I think the problem is his strategy
relies on the Iraqis to be on the front lines fighting this battle and
they`re not doing that. His strategy relies on the Sunnis to join with the
Iraqi security forces.
MATTHEWS: So, a question – so, Jonathan, we give them their
uniforms, we pay their monthly salary, we give them training, we give them
weapons. And now, we`re going to put guys behind them to push them. I
mean, actually, they`re saying now to push them.
JONATHAN CAPEHART, THE WASHINGTON POST: Yes.
MATTHEWS: To physically push them into battle.
CAPEHART: From lily pad to lily pad.
MATTHEWS: That`s a real strong statement. You`re a lily pad, buddy.
CAPEHART: No, but I mean, the situation here is we`re trying – the
United States is trying to convince people to defend their own country, and
we`re putting – and putting our own men and women and the armed forces in
harm`s way. Now, right now, they`re not in forward operating bases, these
are just advisers, just trainers.
But at a certain point, the United States, if it doesn`t want – and
the Western world, if they don`t want to lose Ramadi and don`t want to lose
Baghdad and, therefore, Iraq, there`s going to have to be more than just
Iraqis who don`t want to defend themselves. Americans going in to clean up
MATTHEWS: ISIS is watching the news. They may not be watching this
show, but they`re watching other networks, they know what`s going on in the
world. They`re saying, where are the Americans going to be, because we`re
going to start picking them off. It`s just good sense.
If they can grab a bunch of our guys, behead them in uniform.
DAVID CORN, MOTHER JONES: Right.
MATTHEWS: The horror they can inflict on us. What would we do then?
Maybe that would draw us in more. I don`t know what it would do. But
CORN: Of the 350 new troops going in, about 50 maybe a few more are
actual trainers who will be advising Sunni forces and Iraqi military
MATTHEWS: Through translators.
CORN: Through translators, hopefully a few of them speak Arabic, but
maybe not. The rest of the contingent will be defending them doing
logistics. They have been very careful. So far, there are four training
camps already out there doing this. This will be a fifth one. So far, no
one`s been picked off.
But that is a – the more people you put in, the bigger the chances.
But I think the president is stuck in this position of having – you know,
his strategy is kind of mulling through this –
CORN: Muddling through this. That`s really difficult because it
doesn`t give you the satisfaction of going out and killing lots of people
and it`s not withdrawing either.
MATTHEWS: Having been through Vietnam and all that stuff, having
watched Vietnam and all that, it looks like a holding action, Francesca.
Something to get them through the night, to get them through the next year
and a half, a few troops, a few trainers –
CHAMBERS: Yes, when it`s not a big problem –
MATTHEWS: Try to prevent the country from being overrun. Prevent
CORN: That`s a good thing, preventing that.
MATTHEWS: That`s a holding operation. Is that the best we can do,
holding up, prevent Baghdad from being –
CHAMBERS: Unless the administration wants to put in the 10,000 to
15,000 troops that Republicans are calling for. I mean, that`s the other
option here, to send in American forces or convince some of the rest of
Western world to put in the forces. Or they can create a new base that`s
closer to where the fighting is occurring, which is what they`re doing, and
hope and pray that the Sunnis are going to come to that base and get the
training and go out on the front lines. But this is relying on the Iraqis
to want to fight for their own freedom and country. And if terrorists
taking over the country is not enough to do that, then I don`t think
anything will do it –
MATTHEWS: The Sunni territory that ISIS has, we don`t even have
Sunnis that want to fight for the territory they live in.
CAPEHART: You know, in terms of your conjecture that the president`s
doing this holding action –
MATTHEWS: I`m asking.
CAPEHART: – because in a year and half he`ll be gone, I think he`s
trying to hold it together because in a year and a half he`ll be gone but
because, as you said, he`s in this conundrum. He`s got to make sure that
Iraq doesn`t fall, but he`s also leading a country that is war weary that
CHAMBERS: He doesn`t want to be responsible for –
MATTHEWS: Because he made a point of saying when he put the 450
troops in there, “I`ve done this at the recommendation of Ashton Carter who
is the secretary of defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Dempsey.
He said, I didn`t want to do it. That`s what those guys –
CORN: Of course.
MATTHEWS: He wasn`t married to it.
CORN: There was the Sunni Awakening. When the Sunnis decided they
were against al Qaeda in Iraq and they tried to fashion a coalition with
the Baghdad government with U.S. troops supporting them and they turned and
tried to take Anbar province back for themselves.
What the president obviously wants to do and Ashton Carter and
everybody else, is try to get a repeat of that in some ways. And so, to
have it set up so that the Sunnis come to the conclusion that they`re
willing to do this, we`re there to help give them some firepower.
MATTHEWS: OK. This is tricky stuff.
The roundtable is sticking with us.
And up next, something we really know about, it`s the eve of Hillary
Clinton`s big launch. Can she answer the big question, why she`s running?
This is a re-launch, interesting. A reintroduction, it`s being called, of
somebody we know pretty well. You think?
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Well, the fight against ISIS has so far cost this country
$2.7 billion. Do you believe it? That`s the word from the Pentagon right
now. When you break it down by day, it comes out to over $9 million a day
to fight them. As the president gets deeper into this fight, those figures
are only going up.
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: We`re back with the roundtable, Jonathan, Francesca and
While as the faithful gather on Saturday, that`s tomorrow for
Secretary Clinton`s first big campaign rally, we`re seeing more Rodham than
Clinton, more `70s than `90s.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was just a caring, young, bright, creative
student who cared about children and those left behind.
HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON: It is a violation of human rights when babies
are denied food or drowned or suffocated simply because they are born
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, the image that the campaign is using reminds today`s
Brooklyn hipsters and young voters everywhere that Hillary Rodham Clinton
worked in the trenches of liberal politics before she was the first lady of
Arkansas and the White House. Her politics and priorities are pivoting to
the left right now, showing how both the private sector and the government
itself has a role in resurrecting a stagnating middle class.
Well, that`s – Francesca, when you create a big rally, it has to have
a purpose, a statement. What do you think the statement is going to be
CHAMBERS: Well, I think –
MATTHES: Who am I?
CHAMBERS: You know, when you look at the video, I think what she`s
trying to do is make herself not seem rough around the edges. She doesn`t
want to look as hard, as cold, as calculating.
She wants to come of as a champion for every day Americans. She wants
– heck, that she was once an every day American, and I think that`s the
purpose of tomorrow`s rally. And to –
MATTHEWS: What is an every day American?
CHAMBERS: Someone who hasn`t spent most of their life in Washington,
MATTHEWS: Have you ever heard that phrase before in your life before?
I never heard.
CHAMBERS: Main Street. People who live on Main Street. Who live in
real America, Chris.
CAPEHART: You know what – but, you know what, Chris?
MATTHEWS: As opposed to Mr. Saturday Night. Every day American. Or
Tim Russert or this is Sunday or weekday American.
CAPEHART: Here is the thing. You touched on it in the intro. We`re
going back to Hillary Rodham Clinton, to Hillary from the `70s, not the
`90s. What`s going to happen, and if you watch that video, those – one
person who`s not shown anywhere –
MATTHEWS: Bill Clinton.
CAPEHART: Bill Clinton. What that video does and what tomorrow is
going to do is going to deliver her from Bill`s shadow. She is standing on
her own two feet.
CAPEHART: No, I`m an analyst. I think about these things.
MATTHEWS: What`s the analysis? So, give me the analysis, why
separation of these two people that have always been connected?
CAPEHART: They`ve always been connected, but she`s the one who`s
running for president now, and whenever we talked about Hillary Clinton –
MATTHEWS: Did he get in the way last time?
CAPEHART: Well, certainly, he got in the way last time. But, look,
here is the thing, everybody is talking about her in relation to him and
what she would do as president and that video and what she apparently will
do tomorrow is say – basically say, forget about him in this race and what
I will do as president and what I will do in this campaign. Here is who I
am, and here is what I`m about and now, pay attention going forward.
MATTHEWS: Is that because Bill Clinton supports the current trade
CORN: Well – I doubt she`ll say anything about that tomorrow, I`ll
make that bet. But I think there`s another issue here, too, which is the
big question with Hillary Clinton is, why? Why do you want to be president
and why should you be president?
MATTHEWS: Do we ask that of everybody?
CORN: Well –
CORN: It often is, and we knew why Barack Obama wanted to be
president, he was pushing up against the Bush years and the policies in
Iraq and also in economics. So, but Hillary Clinton, though, why? She
needs to come up with a reason and her history here of working for
progressive causes and championing populist – quasi-populist issues is
what she wants to talk about.
MATTHEWS: And an exciting time in the country, maybe not
professionally, but there is no bigger challenge and nothing more fun to be
working with her in this campaign and figure out how to answer these
questions because there is an answer. There is a way for her to become
president. And if she doesn`t make it, we`ll know there is a route that
wasn`t taken that would have her won. This is very doable.
CHAMBERS: This is her campaign to lose.
MATTHEWS: This is very doable. The best way of saying it, hers to
CORN: Or maybe.
MATTHEWS: Thank you, Jonathan Capehart, Francesca Chambers and David
I agree with her. Don`t you guys agree with that?
CORN: I don`t know.
CAPEHART: That is what they said in 2008. Look how well that turned
CHAMBERS: And she lost it. It was hers to lose. And she lost it.
MATTHEWS: The honor given me last night by Peirce College up in
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Let me end the week with a thank you for the honor given me
last night by Pierce College up in Philadelphia.
The Kimmel Center was packed last night with a happy crowd, of
parents, sisters, brothers and children of the graduating class. I have
never seen so much joy and heard such excitement from a crowd of good
people. It was an honor to give the commencement address and to receive an
honorary doctorate. But the real fun was Pierce congratulating each of the
Nothing in the world gives me more of a thrill than having a person in
their 20s or 30s telling me how their beloved parents love to watching
HARDBALL. I give some advice last night. It`s on the HARDBALL web site
right now, and if it works for you and I know from experience, these life
tactics of mine do, it`d be great for both of us. I`ll be able to help a
real person and you can get ahead with it.
I`ve spent a lot of years watching people, politicians, especially get
ahead for a living. A lot has to knowing how to get along with people. I
say, the better you are at that, the better you are getting along in life.
Again, thank you to Peirce College and my native Philadelphia and a
big congrats to the graduates and their families.
And that`s HARDBALL for now, thanks for being with us.
“ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES” starts right now.
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