Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 08/21/15
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Friday night lights. Can Trump fill all the
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.
So what do you make of this thing, this Trump thing out there? Is it
a moment, a flash in the pan, or has he got something, something that will
last right into the electoral battle for the presidency?
Well, let me read you something from my brother, Charlie (ph). I`ve
told you about him many times before. He`s my brother, who`s had a
lifetime uncanny ability to pick presidential winners. Who he votes for
Well, this is what he wrote me early today, and I take it very
seriously. Quote, “Trump has energized the middle. The middle is where
every winner wins. The idiots who think that the far right and the far
left have to be kowtowed to are wrong. He`s talking to people like me, and
we love it. We are not idiots and realize this may be a fairy tale, but
he`s not stuck in the Washington crowd who most of us Republicans known as
RINOs hate.” That`s moderate Republicans. “We hate the logjams the
Republican Party creates. We hated the last two elections as the
That`s my brother talking. “The VP selections were awful” – that was
Sarah Palin and the rest – “flat-out unelectable. We voted for Obama, who
has in all accounts been much better than the choices we had, but he still
missed the mark on a lot of stuff. Much better than Bush and the VP, of
course” – that`s Cheney, who came before, “who do not speak his name in or
out of Hogwarts.” That`s my brother talking.
So within the hour now, Donald Trump`s expected to take the stage for
a campaign rally in Alabama in front of about – well, I think precisely
36,000 people, which is an unusual crowd for any sport, certainly the sport
of politics. Anyway, he also will be holding a press conference with
reporters. We`ll take you to that event live as soon as we can get you to
it, soon as it starts.
NBC`s Katy Tur is on the site in Mobile, Alabama. First of all,
what`s the temperature down there? It`s beautiful here in D.C. It is a
hot summer sultry – what do you call it – well, never mind. What do you
call it down there?
KATY TUR, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Sweltering.
MATTHEWS: What`s the nickname for it down there?
TUR: Sweltering. Oppressive.
MATTHEWS: Redneck Riviera. Yes, go ahead.
TUR: Sweltering, oppressive, humid, Mickey Mouse (ph). It`s a little
cooler now, thank you. I think it`s going to – it might threaten to rain
at some point tonight, but so far, it`s held off. 90 degrees today, pretty
awful and muggy.
But people are still coming out. They`re lined up. They`re filing in
right now. And it looks like he`s going potentially to fill this stadium
although, there is a long way to go. And he`s just done a flyby in his
Trump 757, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Are there any black people there?
TUR: I have not seen any today that have come out for Donald Trump.
I just spoke – I spoke with a lot of people at lunch today, and they were
all, to be blunt, Caucasian white people who expressed support. The others
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about the airplane. I heard there was a
flyover, and a lighter moment. There it is.
TUR: Yes, there was. He – yes, exactly. He did his 757 flyby to
the crowd. They announced it, and there were some pretty big cheers. You
have to admit, he does like to make an entrance.
Chris, I really loved that letter from your brother, and I think
that`s going to resonate with a lot of people because that`s what I`m
getting when I`m talking to people in the seven states that I`ve been to
him with – been with – with him to. Also, when I`m flying over a number
of the other states, sitting next to people on planes, asking me what they
do, I`m telling them I`m following Trump.
And otherwise people that just look like you and me, normal looking
people, not far right, not farm left, normal looking people who have normal
looking opinions on things, saying that they just really feel like he is
speaking to them, that he`s reasonable, that he`s not a politician, that
he`s not going to keep feeding them the biased information or telling them
one thing and doing another.
So certainly, this is a moment in time right now, and it remains to be
seen if this is going to be a movement. But this is the dog days of summer
right now, no football season right now. School is still out for a lot of
the country. No fall TV. The entertainment on television is Donald Trump
going out there and making a run for the presidency.
So if this lasts through the fall, then you`ll really have something
to contend with. But as of now, he is not going anywhere, and he is as
loud as ever – as is this music.
MATTHEWS: OK, Katy, we`ll be back to you when the eagle has landed.
Thank you for joining us. By the way, you`ll be with us throughout the
We me now, the HuffingtonPost`s Howard Fineman, host of MSNBC`s “Up”
Steve Kornacki and MSNBC national correspondent Joy Reid.
Joy Reid, I want to go over these because I read your pre-interview,
and I know where your thinking is, your analysis. What`s interesting in
these polling we`re coming up with here now, the CNN/ORC poll, the national
Opinion and Research Corporation, is basically that he isn`t going to left
or the center-left, but his appeal seems to pick up on independents who
Then you get moderate Republicans and further right and you get
conservative Republicans, then you get Tea Partiers. So he has a big grab
of the electorate starting somewhere in the middle. So he`s middle to
He`s not – you think, though, based upon your sampling, that he`s all
Tea Party. I wonder if you think that still.
JOY REID, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, no, I mean, I`d like to see a
Venn diagram between the Tea Party, the Palinites and the Trump supporters.
I`ll bet there`d be a lot of overlap there. And Remember, Tea Partyers
claim they weren`t far right, they weren`t really Republicans, they were
just, you know, average Americans who wanted the truth.
And so I think what you have with Trump and what I see as his base is
not just the far right, but the right, and it`s a lot of Republicans who
are disgruntled with the Republican Party. It`s white Republicans.
MATTHEWS: Yes, that`s true.
REID: It`s mostly white male Republicans, and it`s basically white
Americans who feel left out of Obama`s America, who are peeved with the
fact that their preferred party can`t seem to beat Obama, and who want to
hear a guy be able to stand up and be as politically incorrect as they
can`t be. They`d get fired from their jobs if they put on Facebook some of
the things Trump said.
But here`s a guy who can say what he wants to them, be a man`s man,
and get out there and be the kind of Ronald Reaganesque kind of America
where we did what we want, said what we want, pushed the world around, and
told them to go to hell if we wanted to!
REID: I think that`s what they like.
MATTHEWS: Well, you`re capturing his idiom now, that`s for sure.
Howard, you`re smiling.
HOWARD FINEMAN, HUFFINGTON POST GLOBAL EDITORIAL DIR., MSNBC POLITICAL
MATTHEWS: Is she right? I mean, I think it starts in the middle
right and moves to the hard right. I don`t think it`s just a bunch of
crazy right-wingers. Well, maybe – I can accept any analysis, except the
polling`s pretty solid here.
FINEMAN: Yes. And I saw one respected poll today of Republicans that
said that 57 percent of Republicans now expect Donald Trump to be the
FINEMAN: Now, that`s the Rasmussen…
MATTHEWS: I`m sorry, I…
FINEMAN: No, wait. Don`t laugh. That`s the Rasmussen poll, which is
pretty well respected and it is certainly quite well respected when it
comes to Republicans because that`s their sort of in-house bias. So that`s
very interesting to me and…
MATTHEWS: This is the fastest evolution in history.
FINEMAN: Well, and you got to remember…
MATTHEWS: I thought acceptance of same-sex marriage was the fastest
FINEMAN: As – as Joy was…
MATTHEWS: This is really fast.
FINEMAN: OK. As Joy was saying and as Katy Tur pointed out by
looking around the crowd…
FINEMAN: … this is a sectarian – this is a racially sectarian
thing at this point, OK?
MATTHEWS: Right. You can see that in the crowd.
FINEMAN: You can see that in the crowd. If you`re Hispanic and
you`re an Hispanic family and you hear what Donald Trump is saying, that`s
not dogwhistle but foghorn, about getting 11 million people out of the
country, get them out of the country, when you see his almost casual, comic
expressions of violence which we saw the other night, Bing, bong, you know,
holding up the gun…
MATTHEWS: Sonny Corleone.
FINEMAN: Yes, it was a little bit of Corleone, a little bit of making
the trains run on time.
FINEMAN: But the positive side is that he is telling people in the
middle class, in this conservative suburban middle class, that he can get
And by the way, he`s not saying, I`m going destroy government. He`s
saying, I`ll make sure you get your Social Security check. I`ll make sure
it doesn`t go bankrupt. I`ll make sure you get Medicare. I`m the only guy
left who can make government work…
FINEMAN: … because it`s so big and so sprawling that you need
somebody of my business cleverness and my confidence to actually make
government work. So he`s appealing on that side and he`s appealing on the
business side and the fear side, as well.
MATTHEWS: Sounds so true.
Steve, your take. All three – I want to hear all three. You`re
last, but let`s hear it.
STEVE KORNACKI, HOST, “UP”: Yes, no, I mean, I think, look, there`s
been an assumption that I think we`re seeing as maybe being proven wrong by
the Trump campaign, but there`s been an assumption for the last few years,
since the rise of the Tea Party, that, you know, the Tea Party itself, the
Republican base, the right wing, it was all an ideological – an
ideological movement that was going to pull the party further to the right.
And certainly, the party has gone further to the right, but I think
what we`re seeing in Trump is that, fundamentally, as Joy said, as Howard
said there, what`s driving and motivating the base of the Republican Party
is this sense of cultural anxiety.
And the interesting thing about Donald Trump, Howard just getting to
it there, is listen to some of the things he says. He goes out there and
he says the Iraq war was one of the biggest mistakes in American history.
He goes out there and he says, you know, the Bush family has no business
running the country anymore.
MATTHEWS: He said Bush was the stupidest president we ever had.
KORNACKI: … health care. That`s not a bad thing in this country.
MATTHEWS: OK, you`re on a hotline here, Steve, so let me – you`re up
there in New York – I love the way you work in shortsleeves, (sic) by the
– shirtsleeves, by the way. It`s sort of rough and ready. It`s cool,
MATTHEWS: Anyway, let me ask you this. He`s a secular guy. He`s
been married three times. I`m not knocking it, but he`s hardly a Bible
thumper. He is not exactly running on cultural and religious issues. He`s
no Rick Santorum.
That doesn`t seem to bother Southern people, Southern whites, who are
mostly Baptist and religious, as a general rule. Doesn`t bother them that
he`s had – lived in New York and Manhattan, sin city as far as most of
them are concerned, up there with all those ethnic people. Doesn`t seem to
bother them. The fact that he`s a New Yorker with the New Yorker
brashness doesn`t seem to bother them.
Is there anything cultural he that has in common with the people in
those stands tonight? Anything?
KORNACKI: I think Joy hit on it, though. He`s speaking to this sense
of cultural anxiety about the rise of the Obama coalition in the last few
years, this nostalgia for Ronald Reagan. Make America great again – that
is a callback to Ronald Reagan right there. And he shares their absolute
disgust with and contempt for the Republican Party establishment and major
political institutions in this country today.
And when he goes up there and he calls out, for instance, the Bush
family by name, when he calls the Iraq war one of the biggest mistakes in
American history, he is talking in a way that none of these other
Republicans talk like. And he`s telling the people in that base, yes, they
all say the things you want to hear, but none of them mean it and none of
them deliver on it. Look at me. I`m being authentic.
KORNACKI: I am actually somebody who can deliver on it.
MATTHEWS: Let me go back to – let me go back to Joy. Joy, I want to
ask you a question, a profound anthropological question because I`ve never
(INAUDIBLE) Ronald Reagan seemed to work it. He worked with the Irish, the
Italians, the ethnics, the Polish, the people that were sort of in the
middle politically, the ones that never felt like country club types, if
you will, that weren`t elite in some sort of social sense, which is all
nonsense, most of this stuff.
But among African-Americans, Reagan never got a yes. What was that
REID: Well, it was partly because of the style, because you remember
Reagan comes in and his message – he starts in Philadelphia, Mississippi,
which wasn`t exactly a way to start off your campaign being open to
African-Americans, right? And then…
MATTHEWS: Where those three Civil Rights guys were buried alive, yes.
I remember that.
REID: Exactly, the place where those three Civil Rights leaders were
murdered, and he said things about states` rights that were meant to be a
dogwhistle to that same kind of Archie Bunker crowd. So he turned off
African-Americans right from the get-go.
And I think that what Reagan`s message had in common with the kind of
meat and potatoes message that you`re hearing from Donald Trump is that the
substitute slogan for it could be, It`s time you got yours, right? This
attitude of, The African-Americans, they got theirs, they got the White
House. The gays are getting theirs. Look at all of us focused on gay
marriage. The Latinos got theirs. They get to come over the border. Look
they`re everywhere in our country. It`s time you got yours!
REID: He`s saying to that middle-aged white guy, whether he`s rich,
middle class or broke, I`m going to make sure you get yours. This is going
to be your country again.
It`s a very ethnically polarizing appeal, and it really can only
appeal to that white guy. It isn`t going to appeal to African-Americans
and Latinos because when what he`s saying to that white guy, You`re getting
yours, he means getting yours and getting it and taking it away from or
pushing away all of the rest of us and saying, This is your…
MATTHEWS: So he`s Robert de Niro.
REID: … America, not theirs.
MATTHEWS: Robert de Niro – You talking to me? You talking to me?
FINEMAN: Well, I think it`s a little Robert de Niro and a little Ayn
Rand in the sense that he`s – I mean, I agree with most of what Joy was
saying there, and I do think it`s racially divisive.
But he`s also saying, Look, I`m not going to destroy the private
sector, but I`m a businessman and I`m going to restore the vigor of private
enterprise, and everybody`s going to get rich. He`s saying, Everybody`s
going to get rich because I know how to get rich. I`m going to make other
He`s sort of like the pope of the free market. I mean, that`s what –
that`s the other thing he`s running as. He`s saying, I`ve been
MATTHEWS: No minimum wage, none AP (ph), none of that stuff.
FINEMAN: None of that stuff. Let`s get the government out of
regulating that stuff, and I will let you business people, you middle class
business people, you know, do better because I`m going to get…
MATTHEWS: Why couldn`t…
FINEMAN: … that part of the government off your back.
MATTHEWS: Why couldn`t guys like Michael Bloomberg and Ed Rendell
that talked about building again – how come they couldn`t sell it?
FINEMAN: Well, Michael Bloomberg could sell it because he spent his
life in business.
MATTHEWS: Or Rendell…
MATTHEWS: Let`s get building highways, let`s get building bridges,
let`s fix the subway systems in the big cities.
MATTHEWS: It never worked. It was – it didn`t work.
FINEMAN: Well, he also has – and again, to refer to Ayn Rand again -
- he`s got the builder – I mean, he`s saying, I build things.
MATTHEWS: That`s true. (INAUDIBLE)
FINEMAN: And it`s a metaphor that works up to a point. I mean, you
can examine the details and wonder. But when he says, I can build a wall -
- he`s built a lot of big buildings. Superficially, at least, people
MATTHEWS: David Garth`s (ph) commercial for Hugh E. – Hugh E. Carey
back in 1974 – (INAUDIBLE) in my head. Before somebody tells you what
they`re going to do, first ask them what they`ve done. Powerful stuff.
Anyway, thank you. It worked for Hugh E. Carey. Howard, Friday night
lights. Thank you, Steve. Thank you, Joy. It`s always great. Keep the
argument going. I want to hear it (INAUDIBLE) well, doesn`t matter if I
want to hear it or not, you`re going to give it to me.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, coming up – with all this talk of Trump, what
happened to the issues central to the core Christian conservatives? Former
Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum is coming here as my guest in a moment
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: We`re awaiting a Donald Trump appearance tonight by
airplane coming into that stadium, before possibly tens of thousands of
people down in Mobile, Alabama. We hope to bring you that as it happens
live. This is quite a Friday night.
But first, a look back at vintage Trump. Here`s what he told me and
what he told a questioner in the audience back in 1999 about his plan for a
huge one-time tax – tax – on anyone worth more than $10 million to pay
down the debt of the United States.
A word of warning. It doesn`t sound like it comes from a 2016 GOP
front-runner. Let`s listen to Trump of old here.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Let me just put you in a situation, professional situation.
You just got out of Wharton business school. You`re out practicing.
You`re an accountant. Your client comes to you and says, I`m scared to
death. Some crazy guy wants to put a tax on everybody owes – owns more
than $10 million. How do you protect me? What would you say?
TRUMP: Well, I`d start off by saying the man must be brilliant. The
economy would boom. We`d have no debt. Hey, I know about debt, probably
as much as anybody. I`ve had too much, and I`ve had too little. And you
know what? Too little is much better, believe me.
(END VIDEO CLIP
MATTHEWS: Of course, Trump`s history has drawn criticism from his
Republican opponents. Jeb Bush pounced on that old Trump position
yesterday and tried to play up his, Jeb`s, own conservative bona fides.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEB BUSH (R-FL), FMR. GOV., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There`s a big
difference between Donald Trump and me. I`m a proven conservative with a
record. He isn`t. I cut taxes every year, he`s proposed the largest tax
increase in mankind`s history, not just our own country`s history. I have
been consistently pro-life. He until recently was for partial-birth
abortion. I`ve never met a person that actually thought that that was a
He`s been a Democrat longer than being a Republican. I have fought
for Republican and conservative causes all of my adult life. And I just
think when people get this narrative, whatever the new term is, the compare
and contrast narrative, then they`re going to find that – that I`m going
to be the guy that they`re going to vote for.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: “Narrative, whatever that new term is.” I can`t stand the
We`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICK SANTORUM (R-PA), FMR. SEN., PRES. CANDIDATE: You have taken the
first step of taking back this country.
People ask me what motivates me. I say the dignity of every human
life. Whether it`s the sanctity of life in the womb or the dignity of
every working person in America to fulfill their potential, you will have a
friend in Rick Santorum.
We are off to New Hampshire. Game on!
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. That`s, of course, former
Pennsylvania senator and presidential candidate Rick Santorum on the night
of the Iowa caucuses back in 2012. Santorum was declared the victor a few
days later after spending months in the single digits in polling leading up
to Iowa. Now he`s back in 2016, starting out again at the bottom of the
pack this time.
Santorum, by the way, carried evangelicals by 33 percent in Iowa in
2012, more than doubling the eventual nominee in that category. Mitt
Romney did very badly in that crowd.
But a poll this year found Republican caucus goers aren`t interested
in hearing candidates talk – at least they say they aren`t – on issues
important to evangelical voters; 51 percent of Iowa Republicans don`t want
to hear the candidates spending a lot of time talking about abortion; 58
percent don`t want to hear about them talking about their religious beliefs
personally. And 60 percent don`t want to hear them discuss even the issue
of same-sex marriage.
With this sentiment among Iowans, can a man like Santorum, a candidate
like him, basing on cultural issues, once again manage a come-from-behind
The former Republican Pennsylvania senator joins us now.
Rick, thank you so much.
RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Pleasure.
MATTHEWS: And I`m going to give you a time to make the case, because
I do respect your beliefs. I don`t always share them, but I have to tell
you, you do have clear beliefs. There`s no B.S. from you. You are a
right-to-lifer all the way. It`s a big part of your religious – your
political commitment, if you will.
And yet it just seems like we`re in a secular time. If a guy like
Donald Trump, with three marriages and coming out of New York City with the
whole – he doesn`t claim to be some country boy – how does he get the
crowd he`s going to get down there we`re watching already in Mobile,
SANTORUM: Well, I don`t know. I think, how Donald Trump gets his
crowd here in the summer is – I will let the pundits figure that one out.
How I`m going to get crowds and how we`re going to win this election -
- you know, I announced from a factory floor in Western Pennsylvania. I
talked about how we`re going to make America the number one manufacturing
country in the world again, how we`re going to put people back to work, how
we`re going to make sure wages go up, not just by creating better jobs, but
by making sure that we`re not flooding labor markets, which we have been in
the last 20 years in this country.
And so I think that we`re very much in synch with what voters want to
talk about. And, by the way, I also talk about the importance of the
family and that the fact that the family breakdown is causing a lot of the
hollowing out of the middle of this country. And I`m not alone on that.
You have folks like Robert Putnam, who wrote a book called “Our Kids”
just a few months ago, who is saying very much the same thing. This isn`t
a left/right issue on a lot of these issues. And I`m hopeful that people
will see someone who is talking about commonsense solutions to problems and
has a record of leadership in getting things done in Washington, D.C.
I will get things done. I have proven I can get do that. And,
hopefully, Republican voters will respond to that.
MATTHEWS: What can you do for the little guy out there, the guy who
is struggling, the soddy buster, the guy making $20,000 or $30,000 a year,
barely able to provide for anybody at home, bring the food home.
MATTHEWS: How do you talk to that guy when Trump is out there saying,
I`m going to punch the Chinese in the nose, I`m going to send the Mexicans
home where they came from? How do you beat that bluster when you`re
offering what you call common sense?
MATTHEWS: How do you beat that?
SANTORUM: Yes. Look, I talk about we`re going to bring the
manufacturing economy back in this country.
We had 20 million people in manufacture when Ronald Reagan came into
the office. We`re at 11 million now. We can win. We can win against
China and Mexico and other countries right now, if we create a competitive
environment for manufacturers to win.
We can win in increasing wages if we stop flooding this country with,
this past year, 1.7 million legal and illegal immigrants, almost all of
whom are competing for jobs.
You know, Chris, in the 25 years, the last 25 years, wages have
increased a little over a dollar. That`s, by the way, about a nickel a
year in real wage increase for American workers. And I think American
workers are tired of it. They`re tired of everybody giving them lip
service, and no one is doing anything to try to restore the jobs that are
going to create that opportunity and stop bringing people into this
country, both legally and illegally, that are directly competing against
them, holding down wages.
There`s one candidate in this race who has been talking about that
from day one. And that`s been me.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you this. They like to say that people are
liberals, and I guess some businesspeople want to get make some – get
cheap labor. They love the guy who just got here, by the way.
SANTORUM: Of course.
MATTHEWS: That`s the cheapest, most scared guy they can hire.
MATTHEWS: Because he`s scared of the government and he`s desperate
for his family.
You know, they say they`re taking jobs nobody else wants. Now, I see
a guy cutting lawn with a lawn mower, modern lawn mower, sitting down on
the tractor cutting a big golf course. Do you got – I`m telling you, give
that guy 30 bucks an hour, there will be a lot more people out there.
I mean, I don`t buy this theory.
SANTORUM: I agree.
MATTHEWS: Dishwashing, you pay people enough money, they will take
those jobs. And the argument is always, well, we can`t get people in this
country to do those jobs.
I don`t – how come the labor unions don`t say, we want to unionize
these people that work here and we`re going to get them better wages and
we`re not going to let people work here illegally? Where are the unions in
all this stuff?
SANTORUM: Well, here`s what I know.
The Commerce Department has over 400 job classifications, and there`s
only six where a majority of the people in those job classifications were
not born in this country. So there are some jobs that it`s going to be
difficult. And, by the way, as you can imagine, they`re harvesting fruits
and vegetables and they`re in the agriculture…
MATTHEWS: That`s seasonal.
SANTORUM: Yes, that`s it. But those are jobs that I would argue –
and, in fact, when I laid out my immigration plan yesterday at the National
Press Club, I said we can provide a temporary guest-worker program for
those people here illegally working in those businesses, so we don`t
disrupt those sectors of the economy.
MATTHEWS: Well, why isn`t that the law? Why can`t somebody come up
here from Central America in the picking season, make a good bundle of
money and take it home…
SANTORUM: I agree.
MATTHEWS: … and be – totally have the government on their side and
have – pay for maybe Social Security. Why don`t people push commonsense
solutions like that if Americans don`t want those picking jobs?
SANTORUM: There`s absolutely – look, I`m in agreement with you. In
MATTHEWS: I`m with you. I`m agreeing with you, not with me. I`m not
with – you`re not with me. I`m with you. You said it. I think it makes
sense. But, you know…
SANTORUM: Well, all I`m saying is, right now, that program is
operated by the Department of Labor. It`s been basically useless.
You talk to the people in agriculture, it just simply doesn`t work.
And we need to move that program over to the Department of Agriculture, so
we have people in the bureaucracy that are actually on the side of the
folks who are in business, as opposed to on the side of labor unions who
don`t like those kind of jobs coming from Central America.
MATTHEWS: Well, somebody has got to use their brains.
Anyway, thank you, Rick Santorum.
SANTORUM: A pleasure.
MATTHEWS: You`re – I have always liked you, even though I have
disagreed with you.
MATTHEWS: Good luck in this race.
SANTORUM: Thank you so much.
MATTHEWS: It`s tough beating the master of showbiz.
SANTORUM: Hey, there`s five-and-a-half months to go, my friend, five-
and-a-half months to go.
MATTHEWS: OK. OK, Rick.
Still ahead, we are going to hear from Donald Trump in Alabama within
Plus, on the Democratic side, it`s Bernie Sanders at the moment. Is
he a movement or is he a moment? And why big crowds are turning out for
the Vermont socialist. He calls himself a socialist. He`s pretty old
politically, and look at the crowds he`s getting. This is a great act,
maybe a Vaudeville act, but what a crowd.
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Let`s go to NBC`s Katy Tur, who is in Mobile, Alabama, at that Trump
This is an amazing thing for us to do at this show. We don`t usually
events on Friday night live, but how many people are there now, would you
KATY TUR, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Oh, Chris, I`m terrible with
numbers, not 36,000.
Let`s pan, and I will show you some of the crowd. It`s filling up,
but he does have quite a long way to go before he`s going to get to 40,000
to fill the capacity of this stadium. And he`s supposed to be speaking –
in about a half-hour, he`s supposed to take the stage.
So we will see if they get there. But even if they get only half the
amount that RSVPed, like 20,000, they said they are going to be really
happy with that turnout. Of course, that wouldn`t necessarily beat the
Bernie Sanders turnout earlier this month. But it would still be very big
and certainly the biggest for a Republican candidate.
It`s interesting that he came to here Alabama. As I`m sure you have
been talking about, it`s not an early voting state, but it`s the state
where Jeff Sessions, the Republican senator here, actually helped Donald
Trump with his immigration policy. He helped craft it. It`s also a state
TUR: … passed the harshest immigration law back in 2008, one that
even made it a crime to transport an illegal immigrant in your car, give
them a ride to school, a ride to work, a ride to down the street. Most of
that though was struck down in the courts. So, it`s not on the books any
Also, the governor here, Governor Bentley, just endorsed John Kasich
on MSNBC a couple days ago. So, I think Trump, what he`s hoping to do,
while necessarily – not necessarily responding to the governor, he`s going
to come out here, show that he can get a massive crowd, show that he`s so
anti-establishment that the governor of this state might have endorsed
someone else, but look what he can do and look at all the people that he
can bring out.
Of course, they do want to see it a little bit more filled than this,
Chris. And, also, I will say, there are some minorities in the crowd.
MATTHEWS: Let me see if I can get you a couple questions here to make
life difficult for you. Do you see any Confederate Flags, any Confederate
Battle Flags anywhere in the audience?
TUR: We actually have – we have kept an eye out. I have not seen
any in the crowd within the stadium. We did see one on a motorcycle from a
gentleman out here pulling up, so, yes, one so far. But that`s it.
MATTHEWS: Have you found any – have you found any significant number
of African-Americans at the event of the 30-some-thousand there?
TUR: No, not a significant number.
And I will say this. I have heard some – at Trump rallies, I have
met a lot of very lovely and great people, but at various Trump rallies in
various places in the country, I have heard some very off-color remarks
about various minorities in this country.
TUR: And I hadn`t heard those sort of things in places in quite a
while, so that was definitely off-putting. But the vast majority of the
people that I speak with are pretty lovely people, from what I can tell at
Yesterday – or two days ago – my days are running into each other –
two days ago in New Hampshire, I asked Donald Trump about that pair of
brothers in Boston who were arrested for beating up a Hispanic homeless guy
and saying that it was OK because Donald Trump wants to get rid of illegal
immigrants, and I asked Donald Trump about this.
I said, what do you think about it? And he said he didn`t really know
about it, that it was a shame, but that his supporters were – quote –
“passionate,” which many thought was kind of an odd answer, that he didn`t
necessarily denounce those beatings, instead saying that his supporters are
very passionate, as if it`s some excuse for that sort of behavior.
TUR: I don`t think that`s the way he intended it. I think that
obviously – I don`t think he`s a man that is advocating violence.
But I do think he does get tripped up in the way that he expresses
himself sometimes. Is that sort of thing resonating with the people that
are coming out to support him? Not necessarily. That might be the sort of
thing that resonates with the press more than anyone else, because most
people are just expecting him to say what`s on his mind. They aren`t
holding him to any sort of political correctness or any sort of higher
standard of common courtesy, the same sort of standards that they`re
holding the other candidates to right now at least.
MATTHEWS: You got it. I think you`re a great reporter, Katy Tur.
Thanks for joining us. You have got to guts to tell it as you see it.
TUR: Thanks, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Thanks so much.
As we have said, Donald Trump will be speaking within the hour. We
are going to bring it to you live as it happens here on MSNBC.
You`re watching it, HARDBALL, the place for politics.
PAGE HOPKINS, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Page Hopkins. Here`s what`s
It was brutal on Wall Street today, triggered by worries about global
growth. The Dow slid 530 points. The S&P sank more than 3 percent,
closing below 2000. The Nasdaq ended off a whopping 171 points.
Two Americans traveling on a high-speed train from Amsterdam to Paris
subdued a gunman who opened fire on passengers earlier. Two people were
seriously injured, including one of the Americans who helped thwart the
President Obama declared an emergency in Washington State, where
wildfires are burning out of control. The move authorizes federal help for
the blazes, which now cover more than 252 square miles – and now we take
you back to HARDBALL.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (VT-I), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: In the year 2015,
in South Carolina, in Vermont and throughout America, children are going
hungry. It`s not acceptable that billionaires become richer when kids in
this country go hungry.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
That was of course Bernie Sanders warming up, rallying a crowd in
South Carolina just moments ago. The Democratic primary race doesn`t have
the same fireworks of course we`re seeing on the Republican side, at least
not right now, but front-runner Hillary Clinton might be set for a
collision course with her closest rival, Bernie Sanders, who is holding a
town hall meeting in Columbia, as I said, South Carolina, as we speak.
Anyway, a report today in “The New York Times” compares Sanders`
insurgent campaign to that of Barack Obama eight years ago – quote – “By
overtaking Hillary Clinton – Hillary Rodham Clinton in New Hampshire in
some polls and drawing tens of thousands of people to his events on the
West Coast, as well as thousands in Iowa and Nevada, Mr. Sanders, 73 years
old, has recaptured the enthusiasm that fueled the 2008 Obama campaign,
with T-shirts that say `Feel the Bern` and show an image of a floppy white
hair and glasses replacing the famous image of the Obama hope poster.”
Anyway, sure enough, that image of Sanders is ubiquitous at his
campaign events and has become a symbol of what Sanders has described as a
coming political revolution. In three short months, he`s consolidated
enough Democratic support to emerge as the chief – and this is what he has
won – he`s now the chief alternative to front-runner Hillary Clinton, all
His gains are most evident in New Hampshire, of course, where he leads
Clinton, Hillary Clinton, by seven points, according to the “Boston
Herald”/Franklin Pierce University poll, 44 percent to 37 percent. And
We`re joined right now by roundtable. Ron Reagan is out there in
Seattle. And Howard Fineman is here, MSNBC political analyst. April Ryan
is a White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks. And
Jason Johnson, he is our newcomer here, a political contributor to
Let me go to Ron Reagan and give you the first shot.
You`re out there, Ron. Is this a moment or a movement? Let`s start
with Bernie. Let`s start with the Democratic side. Is it a moment or a
RON REAGAN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it remains to be seen.
Right now, we can certainly declare it a moment. If he does any
better, if he wins some primaries, then I think we will start calling it a
movement. It`s interesting that Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump couldn`t
be more different in many ways. I mean, Donald Trump looks like he spends
hours on his comb-over, and Bernie Sanders looks like he`s never been
introduced to a comb.
REAGAN: But on one thing they`re very much alike and they`ve both
tapped into a kind of contempt, I think there is growing in the middle of
the country, if you will, for politics as usual and the usual candidates.
Whether it`s the right or on the left, you got a lot of people out there
who identify with these two candidates who are just disgusted with the
usual suspects showing up and saying the usual things.
MATTHEWS: Let me get to Jason on this. It seems to me the
interesting – the difference in age between Trump and Bernie Sanders is
hardly anything, like three or four years.
But one seems – it`s not just appearance, but one really represents
an earlier age, the 1930s, the 1960s, the socialist tradition. Fair
enough. Where this guy is like Mr. Improv. I don`t know what tradition he
represents, Donald Trump. What?
JASON JOHNSON, POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR, NBC: That`s what`s exciting
about both of them. Donald Trump seems like that kind of guy who could
jump off the horse in a middle of a rally. I`m expecting him to land his
helicopter or sky dive. It`s exciting, it engages people.
I was at Netroots with Bernie Sanders. People came running in like it
was a Justin Bieber concert. They both get a lot of excitement.
MATTHEWS: Is this like the Tony Bennett thing? For years, he`s able
to make a comeback work going up against Lady Gaga.
JOHNSON: Oh, yes, people still find it exciting.
APRIL RYAN, NATIONAL URBAN RADIO NETWORK: But his comeback has been
with, like you say, with Lady Gaga or with Stevie Wonder. It`s not by
And for Bernie Sanders, he`s 73 years old and we`re seeing the test of
the trail. It`s about stamina. And we`re hearing his voice crack already.
RYAN: Yes, Bernie, and he looks tired.
MATTHEWS: Whereas the other guy seems to be juicing up.
RYAN: Oh, Donald Trump, he is ret to go. He is ret to go as the kids
MATTHEWS: Howard, who`s running the store?
HOWARD FINEMAN, HUFFINGTON POST: Who`s running which store?
MATTHEWS: He`s gotten a $11 billion business he supposedly runs and
he just left. Took French leave and nobody is saying “Where`s Donald”?
FINEMAN: It`s not only stylistic in the comb or lack of comb. It`s
not only the energy or the lack of energy. They`re coming from different
places philosophically. Meaning that Donald Trump is the big business guy,
descending out of the clouds of big business to make society work.
MATTHEWS: Where`s Bernie coming from?
FINEMAN: From the campus with the list of nonnegotiable demands.
FINEMAN: He`s serving a subpoena on the country.
MATTHEWS: He went to school with that guy. He`s the political
MATTHEWS: OK. My favorite political science professor 101. Anyway,
much more – by the way, I think Trump comes from Krypton.
Much more with the round table up next including how the Trump
campaign plans on winning the 2016 – they have a plan now. You can buy
one of them.
This is HARDBALL, the police for politics.
MATTHEWS: Well, as we await Donald Trump`s pep rally in Mobile,
Alabama, I`ve been saying Trump reminds me for years now, it`s been a long
time as a figure for the comic books, long before this latest sortie into
American life as in this guy is a comic book figure. So, we dug into the
archives and it turned out that I asked him about this in 1999 when Trump
was a guest on our HARDBALL college tour from Wharton Business School at
the University of Pennsylvania.
Let`s watch us when we were younger, talking about him, in the way he
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Aren`t you character out of a – like a comic strip hero.
Gotham, big time developer. Do you know when you first wake up, hey, I`m a
comic book hero.
MATTHEWS: Do you know that?
DONALD TRUMP, REAL ESTATE DEVELOPER: Is that a compliment or not?
MATTHEWS: It`s a compliment. I`m not saying you`re the Joker. I`m
saying you`re the good guy. You`re like this Gotham, you know, Bruce
TRUMP: I just really set out to do a terrific job. I build the most
beautiful buildings in the world. I get the highest prices for my
I`m in other businesses but I love real estate business. I truly do.
I love it because it`s creative. There`s something you can see, there`s
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Just to set the record straight to point out my
consistency, that was back before he started this birther crap. I had
nothing against him back then. So, this is when we were both innocent, OK?
Ron Reagan, he was a more likable guy back then.
Anyway, we`ll be right back with Ron Reagan.
MATTHEWS: We`re back with Ron Reagan and Howard and April and Jason
awaiting Trump`s pep rally in Mobile, Alabama.
Trump, by the way, has proved he has staying power. Now his campaign
needs to formulate a strategy to actually capitalize in the huge interest
in order to achieve a primary set of victories. Trump leads, by the way,
in the polls in the early states of Iowa and New Hampshire right now. He`s
scored big in those states with helicopter rides at the state fair in Iowa
and a raucous town meeting.
Anyway, tonight, he turned his Trump-emblazoned plane South – there
it is – where his relentless drumbeat on immigration has appealed
apparently down there. According to “USA Today” strategists in South
Carolina think, quote, “His message plays well with conservatives who
believe cheap foreign labor, bad trade deals and immigration, legal or
otherwise, have cost American jobs and the so-called political
establishment has failed to address these problems.”
Trump is, by the way, starting his effort to conquer the South
tonight. Billionaire Trump says he doesn`t need to generate monetary
donations from other normal – like other normal presidential candidates
but he does need to formulate a good contact list, of course, for people to
help him locally, to have a ground game, to gain entry into the pep rally,
by the way, in Mobile.
Trump is requiring attendees to give their e-mail addresses in their
online ticket request forms. That campaign`s goal, of course, for getting
the message out the voters. Trump would not seem to be a natural fit for
southern evangelicals with his unrepentant approach to religion. I love
that phrase – unrepentant.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I like to do the right thing where I don`t have to ask for
forgiveness. Does that make sense? Where you don`t make such bad things
that you don`t have to ask for forgiveness. I mean, I try and lead a life
where I don`t have to ask God for forgiveness. If I make a mistake, yes, I
think it`s great, but I try not to make mistakes. I mean, why do I have
to, you know, repent? Why do I have to ask for forgiveness if you`re not
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Why didn`t we with think of that?
And as a New Yorker, he does seem to speak the language of the
southern pro-gun rights crowd. Here he is talking Second Amendment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KATY TUR, NBC NEWS: You`re for the Second Amendment. Do you have a
TRUMP: I have a license to have a gun. Yes, I do.
TUR: Do you own one?
TRUMP: Yes, I do.
TUR: Do you use it? Gun range?
TRUMP: It`s none of your business. It`s really none of your
business. I have a license to have a gun.
TUR: Gun control.
TRUMP: What are you talking about? You asked if I have a gun. Yes,
I have a gun. Excuse me, yes, I have a gun, and yes, I have a permit to
have a gun.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Excuse me, I love that, excuse me. Are you ready for
Trump? I`m back at the round table. Of course, Ron, and Howard, and Jason
I want to start with Ron again, it`s easy to start with you out there.
Let`s talk about the Bernie Sanders thing. We have given so much time
to Trump. Bernie Sander`s coalition is not the same as Obama`s coalition.
Obama`s coalition obviously started with people who are African-American,
thrilled at the first African-American president in their lifetime and
liberal also, liberal whites liked him. I think he built on those
foundations. Bernie is building sort of a campus revolt with some
proletarian support, if you will, people on the hard left.
REAGAN: Bernie Sanders is saying the things he`s been saying 25
years. He`s a pro-labor kind of Democrat. He self identifies as a
socialist. That`s a new thing for American politics.
But it`s – he`s got a lot going against him. You know, Bernie
Sanders is going to have to buck the establishment media too. “The New
York Times” article you cited earlier which was a big article on how he is
drawing big crowds but the first word in the headline was angry, angry
Sanders, and then went on to talk about him snarling at people and glaring
at a reporter who asked him a question at an impromptu press conference at
after one of these rallies.
Well, I saw the video clip of that press conference. He wasn`t
glaring, and he wasn`t snarling and he wasn`t angry. But the media – the
mainstream media is going to do the best to marginalize Bernie Sanders
because he makes them uncomfortable. He`s an actual progressive. He`s
actually on the left.
MATTHEWS: Do you say that somebody has their thumb on the scale at
“The New York Times” for Hillary?
REAGAN: Yes, yes, I am. Yes.
MATTHEWS: OK, Howard.
That`s all right. Thanks, Ron.
FINEMAN: Can I say Bernie doesn`t make me uncomfortable at all? I`m
saying that as someone who was one of the first, if not the first to
interview him about his presidential hopes going back. I think what he`s
doing – yes, he`s got an edge to him but he`s got tons of substantive
proposals which runs counter to the way politics works today, Ron.
MATTHEWS: OK, I think a lot of “New York Times” readers, readers of
“New York Times” are like him.
MATTHEWS: I think “New York Times” readers are looking at the guy
Anyway, Trump supporters, we`re going back to him, say his straight
talk has fired up a broad base of first time voters, but they haven`t voted
yet, and disconnected voters, discontented, have sitting out previous
elections. In Iowa, Tea Party leader says, quote, “Some on are the fence
but they are dropping for Donald. The Tea Party doesn`t want mushy middle
And there`s a woman down there that says I never went to see Elvis
Presley, but I am not going to miss this guy.
So, there`s a bread and circuses aspect to this, Jason.
JOHNSON: Look, it`s fantastic if it`s sustainable. I mean, I think
it`s perfectly fine –
MATTHEWS: Is he a Roman candle?
JOHNSON: Yes, he`s a Roman candle.
MATTHEWS: Are you sure? You have bet on that.
JOHNSON: I`m willing to bet on it. If he can`t – he can`t keep this
up. He`s got to get – it`s one thing to talk about.
MATTHEWS: You want to come to the cash drawer in my office.
JOHNSON: We can make a bet.
MATTHEWS: When does he die?
JOHNSON: He`s going to die in Iowa.
MATTHEWS: Seven months from now.
RYAN: I wouldn`t bet that.
MATTHEWS: Why? Even though, who`s going to beat him?
JOHNSON: I think it`s going to end up being Scott Walker. I think
Scott Walker`s been – I`m serious. I think he has been in Iowa long
FINEMAN: I`ll tell you what he needs to do if he will get to April`s
time in February he can`t do it based on one lounge act he did the other
day. He can`t do it just by getting headlines for 25,000 people. He`s got
to get in to specifics and getting into substantive fights.
MATTHEWS: How many people go to the Iowa caucuses roughly.
FINEMAN: A hundred thousand.
MATTHEWS: He`s got to draw four 25,000 trounces in one night.
RYAN: OK, now, you heard what they had to say.
MATTHEWS: Style we`re watching here.
RYAN: No, this is a style. I`m listening to old tradition.
JOHNSON: Old tradition.
MATTHEWS: Hold on. We`re about to hear the new gospel. Here it is.
RYAN: According to April.
Let me say this to you. What was is not today. We are seeing
something we have never seen before. Donald Trump knows what he is doing.
He is building his campaign organization. He`s building his staff. He`s
watching all the candidates who have like 3 percent or less and watching
with them fall off as they don`t have the money that he has.
Money is funding him. He has $6 to $7 for their one.
MATTHEWS: He lasts.
RYAN: He lasts. Money makes –
MATTHEWS: You were doing what he does. You are putting your hand in
FINEMAN: I`m glad I`m over here.
RYAN: Let me finish.
MATTHEWS: Excuse me for living.
RYAN: I love you. I adore you, Chris.
But let me say this and this is the last thing. I think Donald Trump
is getting first timers who are expected to be first time voters because a
lot of people don`t get in to the where thou arts in politics.
MATTHEWS: Around the table. Ron, you first, Bernie, last or not
last, moment or movement?
REAGAN: Movement. I`m going to say movement.
MATTHEWS: Anyone else think he`s movement?
JOHNSON: I do.
MATTHEWS: OK, movement. Bernie?
RYAN: He`s someone there.
MATTHEWS: We have three to four votes, to one unsure.
Donald Trump, moment or moment? Howard, first.
FINEMAN: I think he`s going to turn into a movement because I agree
with April, he`s utterly different in politics.
RYAN: Howard, amen.
JOHNSON: His moment is done by Iowa.
MATTHEWS: OK, go on.
RYAN: He`s movement.
MATTHEWS: OK, two movements, three movements.
Your thoughts, last one, Ron. You`re the last one. Is he a movement
or a moment?
REAGAN: I think Bernie is a movement. I really do.
MATTHEWS: How about the other guy?
REAGAN: Donald Trump, he may be a long moment, he may stick around
but he`s a moment.
MATTHEWS: OK, thank you. You may be right. It may not be just your
My guest tonight Ron Reagan, thank you, sir, from out there in
Seattle. It`s even cooler out there.
Howard Fineman, my friend forever actually. April Ryan who takes over
everywhere she goes.
MATTHEWS: And Jason Johnson – at least give her a block.
HARDBALL back right after this.
MATTHEWS: That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
“ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES” starts right now.
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