Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 06/17/15
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: The Trump bluster (ph).
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.
But the big action politically tonight is still centered in New York, where
Donald Trump has dropped a high-megaton bomb on the Republican Party`s 2016
chances. The fall-out potential is frightening.
What if this loud New York voice is able to trump – and he`s got the name
for it – those lesser figures in the clown car? What if this rich real
estate tycoon from Gotham outspends, outsells and outdraws his middle,
welter and lightweight opponents? What if he not only gets into the August
debate but comes out the champ?
And what then for the natural order of things? What then for the theory
that this whole Republican `16 scenario for one of the winnable candidates
to demolish the clown car? What if the driver of that vehicle ends up
Howard Dean was DNC chair, governor of Vermont and presidential candidate.
April Ryan is White House correspondent, American Urban Radio Networks, and
John Feehery is a Republican strategist.
Anyway, in the 24 hours since Trump announced, he`s made it clear that he
will fight anyone.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL O`REILLY, “THE O`REILLY FACTOR”: You don`t really take criticism all
that well. You lash back.
DONALD TRUMP (R-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I lash back, yes. Who should
– why wouldn`t I lash back?
You know, when I watch a George Will or a Charles Krauthammer – you know,
I watched them for years. They`re losers. They`re just losers. “The
Daily News” today put this picture, “Clown runs for president.” “The Daily
News” is going to be out of business very soon.
O`REILLY: So you`re going to slash and burn.
TRUMP: All of my life, they`re all talk, they`re no action. If we have
another politician, that includes Hillary – we have another politician,
this country`s going down.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Here`s my theory, April. It comes down to salesmanship, this
guy`s got it. It may be to some people BS, but you only need 10 percent or
20 percent of the Republican Party to light up when he says – and I think
it`s working class Republicans are going to say, You know what? The rest
of these guys are just pencil-neck intellectuals. This guy`s a real street
guy. He can get something done. He can create jobs.
APRIL RYAN, URBAN RADIO NETWORKS: He`s a – well, but he fires people on -
MATTHEWS: He`s a street guy.
RYAN: He`s a street guy, but he fires people on TV.
MATTHEWS: (INAUDIBLE) hire them first.
MATTHEWS: He at least hires them first!
RYAN: But he`s known for saying “You`re fired.” But no, he`s a street
guy. He`s a smart, savvy, street guy. I mean, he`s a guy who`s come back
from the brink. He`s filed bankruptcy. But that name Trump is something
that banks still invest in. And we`re going to see –
MATTHEWS: People want to live in his buildings. They pay a lot of money
to live in those buildings.
RYAN: They do. And Gucci is in one of his buildings, as well, one of his
MATTHEWS: And that`s important to you personally.
RYAN: But I mean, that –
MATTHEWS: Governor Dean – let me ask you, Governor Dean, about – I mean,
I`m just thinking about this boring Republican line-up. I mean, Jeb Bush
is narcoleptic at times. I`m sorry. He`s probably a fine guy, but there`s
nothing coming out of him that`s exciting.
And Scott Walker, give me a break! Give me a little life there. And of
course, Rubio – we`re going to talk about him later. He`s the shooting
star, but nobody even knows what he looks like in a police line-up. They
wouldn`t know who he was. They`re looking for anybody they don`t know
because the ones they know are boring! Trump ain`t. My thoughts. What
HOWARD DEAN (D-VT), FMR. DNC CHAIR, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well,
something like those. First let me dust off my Guccis and I`ll –
DEAN: So here`s the problem. The problem is that this guy is a magnet for
MATTHEWS: Have you read all those books? Have you read all those books
behind you, or is this just for show? Really.
DEAN: I haven`t looked at them since college, I have to admit.
So – anyway, so you know, the thing about this is that this is a great
media story, and he`s incredibly quotable. And he`s going to get some
votes because a lot of people on both sides of the aisle are angry, and
they like somebody who`s going to stir things up.
But he`s going to stir things up. And that – I think that could disrupt
the field. Don`t forget, during the show in 2012, Donald Trump led the
polls for a couple of weeks in terms of who the president – who the
Republicans wanted for president. So a lot of stuff could happen, and it`s
probably not too good for the Republican Party.
MATTHEWS: I don`t think so, either. I think there`s going to be a
displacement factor. He`s going to displace – remember the – Gresham`s
law, Bad money drives good money out of circulation?
I think his focus on the anger you mentioned, the anger, the ugly aspect of
all politics, which is anger – right out of the gate, Donald Trump
targeted a Republican ugly spot, I`d argue, hatred of Hispanic immigrants.
Where other candidates speak in careful tones about the law, he just blasts
away ethnically. Here he goes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I would build a great wall. And nobody builds walls better than
me, believe me. And I`ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a
great, great wall on our southern border. And I will have Mexico pay for
that wall. Mark my words.
Mexico is living off the United States!
O`REILLY: So you`d try to strangle them economically unless they pay for
TRUMP: They will pay for the wall. And the wall will go up. And Mexico
will start behaving. Mexico is not –
O`REILLY: Or you`ll break them economically.
TRUMP: I will do something that they will not be thrilled.
We`re getting drug dealers. We`re getting sex offenders. We`re getting
tremendous problems. We`re like a dumping ground. We`re like a bunch of
dumb group (ph).
We have drug dealers coming across. We have rapists. We have killers. We
have murderers. Why, you think they`re going to send us – I mean, it`s
common sense. You think they`re going to send us their best people, their
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: So you`re sitting in the house of Jeb Bush, and your wife, your
spouse for life, is Mexican. And you`re listening to this garbage. Why
don`t you respond to it?
JOHN FEEHERY, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, if you`re Jeb Bush –
MATTHEWS: He hasn`t done it.
FEEHERY: If you`re Jeb Bush, the more you respond to someone like Donald
Trump, the more press you give Donald Trump, and it`s not –
MATTHEWS: So you buy the old Eisenhower – you don`t get in a peeing match
with a skunk.
FEEHERY: Well –
MATTHEWS: Well, the trouble with that is he will – do you believe that?
FEEHERY: I – I –
MATTHEWS: Mike Dukakis believed that. Don`t fight back. That`s what he
FEEHERY: I think – I think Donald Trump is a real problem of you`re at
the bottom of the pack. He`s a big problem for Carly Fiorina. He`s a big
problem for John Kasich, if he gets in –
MATTHEWS: But he`s not aiming at those people.
FEEHERY: I know he`s not. But listen, if he gets on the debate stage –
MATTHEWS: He`s going to aim directly at Jeb Bush!
FEEHERY: Listen, he is a –
MATTHEWS: Again, back to Nixon. Governor, the old strategy, Pat Buchanan,
Nixon, always aim up when you attack. Why would Trump attack Fiorina?
He`ll attack Bush.
FEEHERY: Oh, no, no, no. I`m saying –
FEEHERY: – crowds them off the stage.
RYAN: Let me – let me say something –
DEAN: Here`s the really big, big problem for the Republicans. The
Republicans are trying to undo the brand they`ve had for the last Lord
knows how many elections that they don`t like Hispanics. They don`t like
gays. They don`t like immigrants. They don`t particularly like women.
They`re trying to undo that brand, and they`re working hard at it.
And all of a sudden, this guy comes along and says stuff about Latinos
that`s going to drive – this is the Republican brand. Whether it`s fair
or not, that`s what the Republican brand is. I don`t see how anybody in
the Republican Party, with the possible exception of Jeb Bush, can survive
what this guy`s going to do to the Republican Party.
And the old saying – it`s not about the peeing match with the skunk. It`s
don`t get into a wrestling match with a pig because the pig likes it – you
both get dirty, and the pig likes it. And that`s the problem here.
RYAN: OK, well, let me –
MATTHEWS: (INAUDIBLE) pigs or skunks? Where are you at on this one?
RYAN: I think the pig stinks.
RYAN: Anyway, so here`s – here`s where I am. I talked to someone
yesterday who knows him very well, Omarosa Manegalt (ph), who used to be on
his show, “The Apprentice.” She used to worked at the White House as a
staff member in the Clinton administration –
MATTHEWS: Did she get fired?
RYAN: She got fired.
MATTHEWS: Yes, I remember that.
RYAN: She got fired. So – so –
DEAN: Of course.
RYAN: OK, Governor Dean. So anyway, Omarosa said to me, she said – she
said one thing that gets Donald Trump in trouble is the fact that he
doesn`t see color, but he sees party affiliation. And I have a little bit
of a problem with that –
MATTHEWS: What`s that mean?
RYAN: Meaning that it`s not about race, especially when it came to Obama
with the birth –
MATTHEWS: You mean he`s pandering.
RYAN: I think so. But –
MATTHEWS: Playing to the worst instincts of the voter.
RYAN: Of the party, yes. So – but this is what she says. She knows this
man. They communicate –
MATTHEWS: George Wallace did that.
RYAN: But it`s not good. It`s very divisive. But I`m going to say on the
women`s issue, the last time I saw Donald Trump, he was at the
Correspondents Association dinner, and he made a point – and you may have
seen this, Chris. He ran right after Susan Rice, the national security
adviser, and talked to her, smiles (ph), and Valerie Jarrett.
So he`s kind of – he doesn`t know what he wants to do. He wants to create
a name and he wants to just throw everything out there just to keep
building up his brand.
FEEHERY: He`s all over the place. He`s not –
FEEHERY: – in any way consistent philosophically, in any way – he`s a
money-maker. That`s what he`s good at. Although sometimes, he loses
money. And ultimately, he`s going to fall on his own – collapse on his
own rhetoric. But he has a problem –
MATTHEWS: You remember Ross Perot? This guy gets into a debate, I bet he
comes out third or fourth.
FEEHERY: If you think about – Jeb Bush had a wonderful – wonderful thing
with Jimmy Fallon last night. He did a great thing when he –
MATTHEWS: You think that was good for Bush last night?
FEEHERY: He announced- –
RYAN: And I think it was wonderful.
FEEHERY: And nobody`s talking about that. What they`re talking about is
Donald Trump, and that`s –
MATTHEWS: – could get excited by. Anyway, (INAUDIBLE) always good, but
I didn`t (ph) think Bush was much (ph).
Anyway, as I mentioned, Trump has made Jeb Bush his number one enemy in the
Republican field, number one target. Let`s watch him go at it because I
don`t think he`s going after the Lilliputians. He`s going after the big
guy. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Bush is totally in favor of Common Core. I don`t see how he can
possibly get the nomination. He`s weak on immigration. He`s in favor of
Common Core. How the hell can you vote for this guy? You just can`t do
I watched Jeb Bush yesterday. He can`t even put on a tie and jacket. He`s
running for president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RYAN: (INAUDIBLE) do.
MATTHEWS: That`s what you call an opportunist, Governor. He`s going after
the fact that he was casual. Anyway, here`s how Jeb is trying to respond
to this spectacle.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: Donald Trump took you on in his speech today
about Common Core and immigration. I want to ask you – you – you –
BUSH: I shouldn`t have done that.
There are a lot of people running for president of the United States. Last
time I checked, another guy showed up yesterday.
BUSH: I mean, so I – I haven`t checked this morning, but I`m sure there`s
somebody else running.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Governor, I think he`s going to be a big show in this debate
because the other guys are boring. But I`ll just say this. The tumble
(ph) – the trouble with Jeb Bush, who should be the Republican front-
runner in terms of experience and just a guy who he is, should be the
front-runner but he thinks (ph) will (ph) eventually be the front-runner –
he`s got to decide whether to take this guy on or not.
What would you do, play Dukakis and pretend he`ll go away, or get in there
and slug it out with the guy? What would you do?
DEAN: I`d get somebody else to take him on, but I wouldn`t do it myself
because, you know, you debase yourself if you get in serious a debate with
a guy like this. This is the problem, and this is the problem. Bush – so
Bush goes on, just – just as John was saying. Bush goes on. He has a
good show with Jimmy Fallon. Nobody cares about it because they`re all
looking at this incredible spectacle.
Spectacles wear out, but the press is going to have so much fun with this,
and God help the Republican Party if he gets into the one of the top tier
MATTHEWS: John, every time I get a kind of situation in traffic where
somebody`s mad at me or I`m mad at them, I make – I count to 10, sort of,
and I go, Do I want to see this guy again? No.
MATTHEWS: I don`t want to ever see this guy again who`s mad at me right
MATTHEWS: So I put my head down. I avert (ph) his glance. I don`t look
in the rearview mirror. I`d just – I`d rather to go to work today and
have a nice day than have a street fight with this guy.
MATTHEWS: I don`t know whether – if you can keep that up when you`re
against Trump because Trump`s going to be blowing his, horn, yelling out
the window at you and you got to completely ignore it.
FEEHERY: Yes, you got to let it go. And the fact of the matter is – my
point on Fiorina and Kasich and Lindsey Graham is they`re all at the 10
line. If you`re below the 10 line, you`re not going to get in the debates.
And so those are the ones –
MATTHEWS: What happens if a woman, the only woman in this field, Carly
Fiorina, gets knocked off, she ends up number 11 or 12 –
RYAN: It`s sad. She`s not there.
MATTHEWS: – and Mr. Donald Trump owns the show?
FEEHERY: That`s the problem.
RYAN: And but, you know, well, he may own the show because he`s going to
be strategic. Yesterday, he knocked me off of my chair. I didn`t think he
was even going to run because he`s talked so much about running before –
MATTHEWS: He`s running for a while.
RYAN: But wait a minute. He`s going to be strategic, and he`s going to
get a prep team, so – because everyone things –
MATTHEWS: (INAUDIBLE) good.
RYAN: I think he`s going to –
MATTHEWS: Anyway, Governor Rick Perry has been drawn into Trump`s
Wrestlemania, if you will. Here`s Perry being pressed by Fox`s Bill Hemmer
on Trump`s great wall of Mexico.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL HEMMER, FOX NEWS: And what do you think about that idea, get Mexico
to pay for a wall?
RICK PERRY (R-TX), FMR. GOV., PRES. CANDIDATE: Well, I`ll suggest that –
that what Mr. Trump was talking about makes for some pretty good TV maybe.
PERRY: But Americans don`t want rhetoric. They want action.
HEMMER: That`s pretty remarkable, just take on the issue about the wall,
though, and get Mexico to pay for it. Is he right on that or not?
PERRY: I`ll let him run on that. I`m going to run on actual experience of
dealing with this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: See how it works? He makes the other guys talk about his stuff.
Anyway, Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina, I just mentioned,
is praising Trump. Let`s watch her.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARLY FIORINA (R-CA), FMR. H-P CEO, PRES. CANDIDATE: I think Donald Trump,
who shouldn`t be underestimated, by the way – but I think he`s hitting on
issues that Americans care about. Americans clearly believe the economy
isn`t growing quickly enough, and not enough of them are employed in jobs
They`re worried and afraid of what`s going on in the world, not just ISIS,
but other issues, as well. They realize that China has turned into an
adversary. They`re concerned about border security. These are, I think,
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Do you notice, John, how the Republicans, your party, always
likes to talk about a wall. One guy says a pretty good wall. This guy
says, I want the whole 2,000 miles. I want them to pay for it. It`s a
bidding war over this wall.
Now, I`ve seen ugly walls before, like the one in Israel against the
Palestinian territories. It may be necessary, but it`s ugly as hell.
FEEHERY: And – and –
MATTHEWS: It`s not going to make us proud as a country to see that wall go
up. And it`s probably not going to work because if you or I down there, or
you were down there, April, or the governor`s down there, if we had to get
a job and the only place to get a job was on the other side of that wall,
we`d get over that wall.
So I don`t understand why they keep talking about a wall. If this guy`s
against illegal hiring, he ought to say so. But he`ll never say it. You
know why? Most guys like him make – in construction and other trades make
a lot of money off illegal labor. They all do. Everybody does in this
country. All construction, ground work, groundskeeping –
RYAN: Landscaping –
MATTHEWS: – and landscape – tons of money are made off of cheap labor.
FEEHERY: Well, listen –
MATTHEWS: Illegal labor.
FEEHERY: I was thinking of peace walls in Northern Ireland and Belfast,
MATTHEWS: Oh, they`re ugly, too.
FEEHERY: The fact of the matter is we need comprehensive immigration
reform. I`ve been on that –
MATTHEWS: Well, why doesn`t he want it?
FEEHERY: I think –
MATTHEWS: He doesn`t want it.
FEEHERY: I think what Donald Trump is doing, and Fiorina is right about
this, is he`s speaking to the base in a way that a lot of –
MATTHEWS: Without –
FEEHERY: – a lot of Archie Bunkers –
MATTHEWS: – and doing so in a way that doesn`t offend business because
business doesn`t care about walls. They don`t care about walls, as long as
they get the cheap labor somehow.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank – it`s all symbolic. They want the cheap labor.
Howard Dean, Governor, thank you for joining us from up there, April Ryan
and John Feehery.
Coming up – police in New York are expanding the search area for those
convicted killers who broke out of prison. A big question now, 12 days
into the manhunt, is what the searchers can do when the trail goes cold.
What if the escaped pair used one of those high-speed avenues – I love
that phrase – authorities are talking about? In other words, they got
Plus, new polls point to trouble for Hillary Clinton. She`s facing stiff
competition from Republicans in key swing states. In fact, all swing
states are key. Up in New Hampshire, she`s getting a scare, sort of, from
And then the shootings star I told you was coming. Why Marco Rubio is the
Stephen Curry – well, Steph Curry of the Republican Party.
Finally, “Let Me Finish” with the battle that`s brewing between
conservatives and Pope Francis.
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Well, the fight against ISIS is based on training Iraqi troops,
and so far, that effort is slow going. Defense Secretary Ash Carter told
Congress today that the United States is having a tough time finding
credible and capable allies to fight in both Iraq and Syria. Here`s
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ASHTON CARTER, DEFENSE SECRETARY: We simply haven`t received enough
recruits. Of the 24,000 Iraqi security forces we had originally envisioned
training at our four sites by this fall, we`ve only received enough
recruits to be able to train about 7,000.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, the White House announced last week that it`s sending 450
more U.S. troops to advise the Iraqis in the fight against ISIS.
We`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re talking about two men who have been very elusive.
They came up with a very elaborate and creative plan to escape from up with
of the most secure facilities in New York state, if not in the United
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is no hard evidence that they are outside the
area. That being said, I cannot rule that out. But we`re going under the
– what I think is the logical belief they can be anywhere.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: “They can be anywhere.” Welcome back to HARDBALL.
They can be anywhere. That was the stark conclusion from investigators
hunting for the two convicted killers. Police are into their 12th day now
searching for Richard Matt and David Sweat. They escaped from a maximum
security prison in upstate New York, and authorities still have no solid
In fact, today investigators say they expanded and shifted their search to
other areas, though they wouldn`t say where or why. Anyway, 1,300 leads
have flooded in to the authorities, and 600 law enforcement people are
involved right now, but they used to be 800. So it is getting colder.
But so far, it`s as if the two escapees have simply disappeared from the
face of the earth.
MSNBC`s Adam Reiss is outside the prison in Dannemora. Pat Brown`s here
with me. She`s a criminal profiler and author of the book “The Profiler:
My Life Hunting Serial Killers and Psychopaths.”
Adam, what`s the latest? I mean, are they still of the belief – they were
confident over the last several days that these killers are somewhere in
that wooded area. Are they not anymore?
ADAM REISS, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: No, they could be anywhere.
They`re expanding the perimeter now outside the 16-mile zone. They`re
redeploying their resources. Take a look behind me. This was a very
secure zone, many checkpoints all along Route 374 here. Now they`re
shifting their focus. They`re going to look at trains. They`re going to
look at ferries. They`re going to look at highways, any way to get out of
here really, really fast.
They have 1,400 tips, as you mentioned, 600 searchers, but they still don`t
have that one solid lead that they can hang their hat on, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Do they know whether any trains passed through that area during
the night before the authorities were alerted to the escape?
REISS: Well, a big concern is, did they get out early on? Did they get
out before the full search began?
REISS: And that`s a big concern. So, they`re going to look at photos.
Maybe there are photos on the ferry or on the highway or the train even
from maybe a week or 10 days ago that would give them some sense of where
MATTHEWS: What about the idea of the intellectual background, the perhaps
months if not years of planning of this?
I have been getting intimations that it was a highly sophisticated plan.
It wasn`t just charm some woman who works in the prison – in the tailor
shop and get her to give you some tools. There was something more to it.
What do we know about that, the sophistication of their escape?
REISS: Well, we know they`re wily. They`re very smart. They took their
time. We know how they planned and actually cut through the walls. Some
have suggested there`s not a plan A, but a plan B, maybe even a plan C,
someone else that helped on the outside.
Maybe there were also people on the outside, so investigators said today
they are still talking to people on the inside, corrections officers,
inmates, people on the outside. They`re still looking at everything.
They`re going down every single avenue, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Listen on. Stay on for a moment. Listen to Pat Brown, your
What is your thinking about this as a pro? What`s your hunch tell you
about this whole thing, Pat?
PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER: That they are smart.
I think, Chris, that they`re not survivalists. That`s one thing somebody
said early on, is these guys are really not into survivalism. Chances are,
they`re not going to think, oh, let`s just go hide in the woods while
they`re looking for us for the next two weeks. They want to get away.
And they`re smart enough to go through all this escape and do it so well,
my belief is that probably they were out of there pretty darn quickly. And
they did have phones and access to contacting people. My guess is they set
something up and they`re somewhere else.
MATTHEWS: See, the original clue was that that woman Joyce Mitchell said
that she was supposed to be the getaway car. Therefore, the implication,
if she didn`t show up, because she chickened out, therefore, they would be
stuck there and, therefore, they could only walk away in desperation. But
now you`re arguing it was more sophisticated.
BROWN: Yes, well, here`s the problem. Well, first of all, why are we
believing Joyce Mitchell?
MATTHEWS: There you go.
BROWN: Anybody who talks to Joyce Mitchell, they`re going to conduct
hopefully a good interrogation, but they are going to have to try to figure
out what`s true and what`s not true.
She may well have sent them off in the wrong direction on purpose. We
can`t believe her. So just to say, oh, yes, she was absolutely going to
pick them up, really? How do we know that? I think we have to take that
with a grain of salt and think there might have been some other plan of
MATTHEWS: Well, what does the phrase viable high-speed avenue say to you?
MATTHEWS: If you`re in prison for a couple of years, you know which trains
go by. You can hear them and you can see roughly what speed they`re going
at, whether you can jump aboard or not, things like that, or whatever`s
I`m assuming that it`s somebody on the outside to look at all the viable
options, because if you only have so much time to work with, and they knew
they only had so much time to work with, as I said, these are not stupid
guys. These are pretty smart guys.
So they`re going to find some way to make sure that they have a methodology
to get out and get out quickly. And since they haven`t found them in the
area, I`m going to say chances are they did.
MATTHEWS: Let me go back to Adam Reiss on the question of these are
criminals, they`re killers, cold-blooded. No one`s been reported missing.
No truck driver has been found missing or discovered missing.
Nobody has said they sold them food or dinner or anything. There`s been no
human evidence of their existence outside the prison, right, which tells
you either they got somebody to feed them, they got somebody to give them a
ride and killed them or they were in cahoots with them.
REISS: Investigators say they look at two things. Were there any cars
stolen or carjacked? Were there any break-ins? Apparently not.
So most residents here say, if they haven`t found them yet in this area,
this 16-mile perimeter, they`re gone.
Thank you so much, Adam Reiss in Dannemora. I love that name, Dannemora,
by the way.
Pat, thank you so much for – Pat Brown.
MATTHEWS: We will have you back, I think, because I think they will
probably be gone and we will back next week.
MATTHEWS: Up next, NBC`s the great Tom Brokaw, his book`s “A Lucky Life
Interrupted,” a story of actually charm and certainly courage.
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: We`re back to HARDBALL.
He was a kid from South Dakota who got cover the end of the Nixon nightmare
and, more importantly, the fall of the Berlin Wall.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM BROKAW, NBC ANCHOR: It is overcast and raining in Washington as
President and Mrs. Nixon prepare to leave the White House for the last time
as the first family.
We have a remarkable development here tonight at the Brandenburg Gate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: He interviewed the great Nelson Mandela.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BROKAW: I know you have not been out of prison for very long, but have you
been able to block the worst memories of those years from your life, or do
you live with them every day?
NELSON MANDELA, FORMER SOUTH AFRICAN PRESIDENT: No, it`s difficult to do
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, he offered a reassuring voice the morning after the nation
was hit on 9/11. Let`s watch that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BROKAW: So far, Manhattan has been changed. There`s been a declaration of
war by terrorists on the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: And now he brings us a book about his own personal battle which
interrupted what he calls his lucky life.
Joining me now is NBC News special correspondent Tom Brokaw, the author of
“A Lucky Life Interrupted.”
BROKAW: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: Tom, it`s so great to have you on.
And the book has so much charm and obviously, without overstating it by
yourself, a lot of guts in it. And I have to go back to the Berlin Wall,
because I was there about five or six days later. And you were there.
This thing about being a great journalist, I want to pay credit to you.
It`s showing up, it`s being there. And then you`re there when the
lightning strikes. Could you just describe it, when you got the word that
the bureaucrats of East Germany had just said something very casual, like,
we`re letting people out?
BROKAW: Yes, well, I was stunned by that.
I had gone because, as you remember, East Germany was in some turmoil. Not
much going on here. Jerry Lamprecht, our foreign editor, say why don`t you
go to Berlin? And he said, that`s a pretty good story. We had no idea, of
course, that the wall was going to come down around us.
And there was that announcement by a mid-level bureaucrat who had
misinterpreted what the politburo had in mind. And as I stood there that
night, I realized how symbolically important this was, as well as
physically important, that the wall was down. It was the final nail in the
coffin of communist Soviet Union. And it was a thrill to be there, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Well, we all know you`re a great storyteller.
And one story was so poignant. When you were being treated, you met – you
were asked because of your – who you are, to go visit a young kid who is
about – a soldier, a U.S. soldier, who had just been – was going to be –
his leg was about to be amputated. And you went in there – and you went
in there and had to give the kid – to buck him up. And tell what you had
to go through to do that, what you said.
BROKAW: Well, what I – what happened is that I had been out hunting in
South Dakota with my friend Bob Kerrey, who lost a leg below the knee in
Vietnam, as you know.
And I was going to Walter Reed a lot in those days. And I went down to the
orthopedic ward and the doctor said I just removed a young man`s leg. He`s
heavily sedated, and – but he insists on saying something to you, and he
won`t talk to me again if you don`t go in there.
So, I went in and there was a young man from Texas, and he was heavily
sedated. I grabbed his hand, began to squeeze it. And I said I was just
with a friend of mine who lost a leg beneath the knee. And hunting in
South Dakota, he ran through the fields and over the fence. I couldn`t
keep up with him. There is life after losing your leg. And I want to
thank you for your sacrifice and for your service.
I was very clutched up at that point.
BROKAW: He gave me a very weak smile through his closed eyes, and squeezed
my hand back. And I walked out, stumbled out really, and the doctor said,
I would like you to go from room to room, because that`s the kind of story
you want to tell.
I came back and called Bob Kerrey. I said, you got me through this really
tough day. And Bob, long pause, said, you talked about my hunting? I
said, yes. And he said, you didn`t tell them I couldn`t hit anything, did
MATTHEWS: That was the stunning part of the book, that this war hero, this
Medal of Honor winner couldn`t hit the barn door with a canoe paddle.
Anyway, in your book, you took President Obama and Democrats to task for
the rollout of Obamacare, especially the original promise by the president,
everyone will be able to keep your doctor. But, fairly, though, you also
called out the Republicans for not offering anything of their own.
You wrote: “They chose to simply make it a political football, punting at
Well, now we have got this whole question this summer with the Supreme
Court ruling on ACA. And how do you feel, being a person who has been
involved in this system, a cancer victim, if you will? And you have been
through it. You have seen other people in different situations with no
money, no connections, just regular everyday people, as Hillary calls them.
What have you learned philosophically through all this experience?
BROKAW: Well, I do think that we need to reform health care in this
country, and especially for the people who are at the bottom of the ladder,
if you will.
I thought it was important at the beginning of this process for the
president to ramp up along the way and begin with those who didn`t have
coverage, because it`s a very complex plan. And people were very tied into
the medical establishment that they have in this country. They like their
doctor. They like the hospital.
A lot of that did – health care plans that were imperfect, but they were
theirs. And then we had a 2,800-page document that came out. And it
become very quickly, as I said, a political football.
It is working well where it`s working well. In some areas, there`s a lot
of confusion. But the Republicans – and a lot of major corporate
chieftains who are very Republican say to me, you know, a big, big part of
the burden is on the Republican Party, because they haven`t come up with
anything. It`s still 17 to 18 percent of our GDP, health care in America.
It will only stay there or get larger, because of the cost of producing all
these new medical miracles that we are producing in pharmaceutical
laboratories and in the operating room, Chris.
So there is no more important part of the future of this country. It`s a
big idea that needs to be engaged. And what I have been saying about
American politics now, the only big idea is to go small, and I think that`s
MATTHEWS: Well, people like you, Tom Brokaw.
And I just want to ask you a personal question. Bob Casey, the late
senator – governor of Pennsylvania, once told his son, you know, in the
end, celebrity disappears, and what`s there left, what you`re left with is
your family, your God, and your health insurance. That`s where you are.
You have been there. What have you learned that we should all know because
you have been there?
BROKAW: Well, at the end, what you talk about, first of all and foremost
is that your family counts most of all.
I couldn`t have gone through this without my wife and my daughter, who`s a
doctor, and my other two daughters and all my grandchildren. There are
just some of them now. They were critically important to me. They bucked
me up at the right time. There was no self-pity going on at our household,
as you might expect.
Meredith was the kind of, not Nurse Ratched entirely, but she would stand
in front of me and say, no, you`re not going to go there. And my daughter,
the doctor, would give me the latest notes that she`d compiled on the
disease. My middle daughter is in the music business. She would keep me
apprised of what was happening there, and keep me up to date on the
millennials and what they were up to.
And my youngest daughter had our first boy. We have had three daughters
and four granddaughters, and suddenly we had a boy in the family. And she
would say, dad, I know it seemed like a terrible year, but we had Archer.
And that gave me a real lift as well. So, you start with that, and at the
end of your life, however famous you become or however successful you are,
if you don`t have that core, nothing else counts.
MATTHEWS: Well, as they used to say, the intellectuals always say in
college a good little book. And it really is a good little book, a life –
“A Lucky Life Interrupted.”
Great – actually, this is an odd thing to say, but it`s almost like beach
reading. It`s an upbeat book. It makes people feel. It`s got a fine
quality to it, a lot of charm in it, and a lot of great little stories
about things that aren`t related to being sick.
Anyway, Tom, thank you so much for being on. It`s a great book.
BROKAW: Thank you very much, Chris.
I have been very gratified by hearing from cancer families, saying, we
needed to hear that story. And then people who don`t have cancer in their
families, they also need to hear it, so they can deal with it if it comes
to them, or deal with their friends who have it.
BROKAW: So it really accomplished what I set out to do, which is to share
my experience with everyone else.
MATTHEWS: And it`s very affordable. It`s a good affordable book.
BROKAW: Thanks, Chris.
MATTHEWS: I checked the price.
Thank you very much, Tom Brokaw.
Up next, how worried should Hillary Clinton be about the new polls showing
her in tight races in battleground states? They are very tight.
And, later, is Marco Rubio the Steph Curry of the Republican field? I
think he is. He`s a shooting star.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MILISSA REHBERGER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Milissa Rehberger. Here`s
Joyce Mitchell`s husband, Lyle, was questioned by authorities at a New
York State Police barracks earlier. His wife is charged with helping two
inmates escape from prison.
A New York City man who planned to join ISIS is under arrest after
allegedly trying to stab an FBI agent. Officers were searching his home as
part of an ongoing terrorism probe.
And a 10-year-old boy was bitten by a shark this afternoon in Daytona Beach
Shores, Florida. It`s the second attack in a week in Volusia County –
back to HARDBALL.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I may not be the
youngest candidate in this race, but I will be the youngest woman president
in the history of the United States.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Well, Hillary Clinton could make history if she makes it to the White
House, but she has to get past a Republican opponent before she makes it
back to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. A new round of swing state polls from
Quinnipiac University show several potential GOP rivals could give her a
run for her money.
In Florida, she leads Marco Rubio by three, and former Governor Jeb Bush,
But in the battleground state of Ohio, Hillary trails that state`s
governor, John Kasich, by seven, she ties Kentucky Senator Rand Paul and
leads Jeb by a point.
In my home state of Pennsylvania, a must-win for any Democrat, Hillary
trails both Rand Paul and Marco Rubio by a point, and leads New Jersey
Governor Chris Christie by two, still.
And for more on what these swing state polls mean for Hillary Clinton,
let`s bring in the roundtable. Howard Fineman is global editor of “The
Huffington Post”, Lauren Victoria Burke is managing editor of “Politic365”,
and David Corn is Washington bureau chief of “Mother Jones”.
David, you first.
DAVID CORN, MOTHER JONES: You know, the interesting –
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you, why are these so damn close? No matter what the
question, who the candidates are, it`s always around 50/50.
CORN: Because I think any Republican running against Hillary Clinton
starts with 45 percent. You know, it doesn`t matter. And the interesting
thing about the Pennsylvania number particularly is the candidate that
Pennsylvania knows best out of those three, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, and
Chris Christie, is Chris Christie. He`s next door, and he does the worst.
So, that indicates to me, as Rand Paul and Marco Rubio are more like
generic Republicans running in a lot of these polls. They haven`t been
under a lot of attack ads. And so, they`re the high-water point. You
spend a year with opposition research in attack ads against them, they may
not look as good, but it`s going to be close in every state –
MATTHEWS: Pennsylvania is the closest to the George Washington Bridge as
well. They do know what`s going on. They`ve seen the cones.
CORN: And they know Chris Christie really well.
MATTHEWS: OK, Lauren, you`re the new kid on the block here. What do you
think about why this election, no matter how much Hillary Clinton is
celebrated in history, he may well be the most important woman in American
history by the time the cycle is over, seriously, that she still has to
face a 50/50 battle.
LAUREN VICTORIA BURKE, POLITIC365: Right, she has to face the 50/50
because her negatives are so high. But obviously, 509 days before Election
Day, I mean, I don`t know that the numbers mean anything other than name
BURKE: I know, you`re right. I know, you`re right, but it is a –
MATTHEWS: And it does matter.
BURKE: It does matter, but when we look at the polls, Christie was the big
flavor of the month before.
MATTHEWS: I happen to have an answer here.
BURKE: OK, what is it?
MATTHEWS: I think most people have made up their mind about Hillary
Clinton. I would say 80 to 90 percent of the electorate. And I think it`s
a Rorschach test. It`s more about them that it`s about her. They`ve just
made an attitude about gender, about age, all kinds of things, about
ideology, but those are internal decisions.
BURKE: But wait a minute, when we get on the debate stage and you got 14
Republicans there, and they go after each other – they`re going to make a
decision about those guys as well. Particularly when you see Rand Paul
versus Walker versus everybody, you`re going to see –
CORN: Donald Trump.
BURKE: Trump, right. And Trump is going to make it entertaining and
crazy, and they`re going to make a decision about those candidates.
MATTHEWS: Lauren made the point that the polls don`t mean anything. I say
HOWARD FINEMAN, THE HUFFINGTON POST: Well, I think what they show is that
we basically – the geology, the landscape, is we basically have a country
divided pretty much right down the middle. It`s almost like a
parliamentary system, where you`ve got the brand name for the Republicans
and the brand name for the Democrats.
MATTHEWS: Everybody`s stuck.
FINEMAN: And everybody`s stuck.
Now, in Hillary`s case, you`re right that she`s – 90 percent of the people
have decided. That`s one reason why John Podesta told me the other week,
that they have to focus on young millennials. Not even the older
millennials, the younger millennials –
FINEMAN: – who don`t know and haven`t made up their mind.
CORN: They haven`t lived with the Clintons for the last 20 years like we
MATTHEWS: They don`t have that baggage.
FINEMAN: They don`t know anything about the Clintons, and also the appeal
to making history with a woman as president.
MATTHEWS: Is that important to younger women versus older women? The
history-making potential here?
BURKE: I think it matters. Women went for Romney pretty well too. There
was no – I mean, not to say – I think there`s a history factor there.
She gets a large bloc of women, bigger bloc of women that Romney,
obviously, she`s going to do really well.
The other thing about the swing polls, though, every one of those states
has a candidate in it. Kasich, Rubio. That`s got to matter a little bit I
would think. You know, obviously, Pennsylvania went Democratic, the last
six time, six races. So, I think if you have Rubio and Kasich in the poll,
that`s obviously going to matter –
FINEMAN: This election is going to be hand to hand combat, voter by voter,
precinct by precinct, using all the big data to pluck individual voters,
because it`s so close. And it`s not just state by state. It`s –
MATTHEWS: That explains why Hillary Clinton and I respect – excuse me,
this is something you care about – has been so careful not to either
endorse or trash the trade deal. She`s somewhere out there.
MATTHEWS: Because she doesn`t want to alienate labor, which she needs, the
teacher, she needs the federal workers, state workers, and she needs the
manufacturing workers, and she labor, but yet she`s obviously not happy
with opposing a trade bill which she was for.
BURKE: Go ahead.
CORN: She can`t afford to lose any big bloc of voter at this point in
I think by the time the election comes around, the trade deal will be
pretty far in the past and there will be four or five other things between
now and then that will determine how people vote. But remember, with Marco
Rubio and Rand Paul, a lot of these other guys, and Carly Fiorina, we
haven`t seen them really perform on the national stage. There`s a lot more
potential for them to go south as a candidate than there is for Hillary
Clinton. She can make her mistakes.
MATTHEWS: So, you make my point. The Senator Eagleton situation where
something was kept secret from us, like his mental history, emotional
history, it`s very hard to imagine something secret about Hillary Clinton.
CORN: But Marco Rubio had some scandals that haven`t been resolved.
MATTHEWS: What are they, not yet throwing that out?
CORN: Well, using credit cards for personal purposes. They`ve gotten some
attention. There`s still investigations ongoing. Rand Paul –
MATTHEWS: What does he owe that Daddy Warbucks of his?
CORN: Yes, who knows? But he`s had his wife on the payroll. I`m not even
talking about scandals or skeletons, I`m talking about the ability to
MATTHES: I love the way you throw the word scandals out.
CORN: I would say – I disagree with David a little bit.
MATTHEWS: Go ahead.
CORN: I think you`re right about Hillary Clinton, there`s not much up or
down side. Almost everybody`s decided. But I think a couple Republicans,
you have to say have some upside potential if they can make the sale. And
I think Marco Rubio is the one that the Hillary crowd is most concerned
MATTHEWS: He is the shooting star.
FINEMAN: On paper.
MATTHEWS: I compare him to Steph Curry, who`s the greatest basketball I
think I`ve seen.
FINEMAN: He`s the perfect contrast.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, the roundtable is staying with us.
And up next, why I`m calling Marco Rubio the Steph Curry of the Republican
field. I have never seen shooting from outside like this guy, and that
includes LeBron James, who was fantastic as well.
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: President Obama met with pro-trade Democrats today. There`s a
plan to have the House of Representatives vote on the president`s free-
trade agenda again as early as this week. The plan would separate fast-
track authority for the president from the aid for workers bill that failed
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: We`re back with our roundtable, Howard, Lauren and David.
If you`ve seen – if you have been watching the NBA finals, who hasn`t, you
witnessed something that we`ve never seen before – the incredible outside
shooting of Steph Curry, as he led the Golden State Warriors to the NBA
I never seen anything like it, who has? There is someone like Curry in
politics today, his name is Marco Rubio. Rubio is the Steph Curry of the
Republican field. Nobody expected him to perform at the level he is acting
As Chris Cillizza of “The Washington Post” points out, “Senator Marco Rubio
of Florida is the candidate trending up in the top pack. It`s a trajectory
he`s been on since he announced his candidacy two months ago. Rubio`s
charisma, personal story and relative youth have combined to make him the
it candidate for the GOP at the moment.” That`s Cillizza talking.
The conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer, not exactly a great
political pundit but a pundit, recently ranked Rubio as the most likely
candidate to win the nomination, noting that, quote, “Democrats fear his
And we just saw in today`s Quinnipiac poll that Rubio is the best at any
Republican in the hypothetical matchup against Hillary Clinton in three key
states. That`s why Marco Rubio is the Steph Curry of the Republican field
right now. He`s emerged as a shooting star. And he looks like he has the
best shot at taking on Hillary.
Why the Hillary people, you know this better than I do, why are they a
little tremulous about this guy? Is it age? What is it?
FINEMAN: Well, because of his potential, because of the contrast he
presents, and because of the story he has. If you feed it all into a
computer, you come out with a young charismatic, Hispanic from Florida and
you`ve got the perfect contrast on paper to Hillary.
Now, he`s like Steph Curry in the sense when he came out of Davidson
College, everyone said this guy can really shoot. But is he tough enough
for the league? It`s one thing to stand out there and look –
MATTHEWS: But don`t go under the boards.
FINEMAN: And look pretty shooting the three pointers. But you`ve got to
be able to take it under the board.
CORN: Can I throw a bucket of ice water?
FINEMAN: David Corn is there.
MATTHEWS: You say it`s all under the paint. It`s in the paint –
CORN: I say this is preseason, Howard. And if preseason is counted, we
have President Fred Thompson or –
CORN: Until I see Marco Rubio in a debate playing at least in a play-off,
let alone the championship series, I think this is all –
MATTHEWS: Who`s his media adviser? Who`s his media guy? Who`s the guy to
tower over his shoulder? Todd Harris, a very smart guy.
What do you think?
BURKE: I think that Rubio is the best speaker in the field. When you have
Hillary Clinton around that is flat, not really emotional, not really
passionate, a guy like Rubio really stands out. His problem he is doesn`t
have much of a record in the Senate. He doesn`t have much –
MATTHEWS: Guess who else was like that.
BURKE: That`s true, that`s true.
He did come out on something. Rubio, you know, he blundered on the
immigration thing. They need that – they need the Hispanic vote.
MATTHEWS: I know. They`re all hawks in the Republican establishment.
Did they know they need a Hispanic vote?
BURKE: Oh, absolutely, they`ve got to know that. They`ve got to know
I mean, obviously, the game that Rand Paul is playing, he is trying to get
more minority voters. For them, it`s a huge win if they get a few more
MATTHEWS: What happens, none of us are Hispanic here, what happens if a
guy, even if he is Cuban-American rather than, say, Mexican-American or
Puerto Rican, what happens when he comes on the stage and starts speaking
BURKE: Jeb Bush can do that, too.
BURKE: So, I don`t think that`s going to sway people. It`s what you do
regarding policy and he`s terrible on immigration so far, and that`s going
to matter to the voters if he swings the state of Florida.
MATTHEWS: I think you`re making the point, I think you made it best about
this guy`s talent. Anyway, greatest speaker out there right now.
Howard Fineman, thank you. Lauren Victoria Burke and David – what`s your
MATTHEWS: David Michael Corn.
When we return, let me finish with this battle that`s brewing between
conservatives and Pope Francis. This is tricky business for the right.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish with this. It`s no surprise that people harken
most of the leader of the Roman Catholic Church when they share his values
on the subject at hand. Conservatives rarely cite the word from Rome on
matters ranging from war to capital punishment, thou shall not kill. It`s
rarely the commandment of reference where these two topics stand high on
the U.S. agenda.
We execute killers, we go to war, even the most dubious hearing no one on
the right crying out at the immorality of the decisions. Religion it seems
is dismissed as a reference point when it gets between a conservative and
his politics. As it now does on the question of climate change, on the
coming call from Pope Francis, to act on its man-made causes.
Progressives take a somewhat different tact when the moral question posed
by the church stands in the way of individual freedom as perceive by the
American Supreme Court. Here are the most common approaches to admit the
church`s moral teaching authority to argue that in a free society,
government has its limits. What is inconsistent is to argue the need to
protect life in the case of human reproductive decisions and to deny it
when it achieves planetary scale.
If it`s important to save the life of fertilized human egg, how much more
important it is to protect the ability of this planet to sustain and
protect human life itself. Here, Pope Francis is perfectly consistent and
his right-wing critics, including presidential candidates, are damnably
That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being us with.
“ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES” starts right now.
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