Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 08/26/15
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: In cold blood.
This is HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.
“Let Me Start” tonight with the latest on the murder of two TV
journalists this morning, an attack carried out live on air. Here`s what
we know. The victims were Alison Parker, a 24-year-old reporter for WDBJ
in Roanoke, Virginia, and Adam Ward, her 27-year-old cameraman. A third
victim, by the way, Vicki Gardner, was shot and injured.
The shooting occurred in the middle of a live shoot for the station`s
morning show just around 6:45 this morning. And here`s what happened just
prior to the shooting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VICKI GARDNER, CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: This is our community, and we
want to come together. We want to share information that can help us grow
and develop, to provide a better experience. We`re seeing tourism. We
want the people that come here to say…
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, just moments after that, a series of shots rang out,
and the camera dropped to the ground.
The suspect has been identified as Vester Lee Flanagan. He also went
by Bryce Williams. He worked as a reporter for the same television
station, but was fired about two years ago. A screen grab from the camera
as it dropped to the ground – you can see it there – during the attack
showed the killer appearing to aim his gun.
And here`s where things got even more disturbing. Someone tweeting
from an account under the suspect`s name – we`re being very careful here -
- began sending messages about the killings. He made allegations about the
victims and complained about mistreatment. He also posted a video, both on
Twitter and on a Facebook account, showing the shooting from the murderer`s
perspective. MSNBC will not show that video.
In it, the killer walks up to the three victims during that live
interview. They do not appear to see him. He lifts his gun, appears to
call Ms. Parker an offensive term, and then eventually opens fire right
Shortly before 11:30 this morning, Virginia State Police spotted the
suspect. He sped away, but crashed minutes later. He shot himself and
died later at the hospital.
Well, this afternoon, the Franklin County sheriff was asked about a
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHERIFF BILL OVERTON, FRANKLIN COUNTY, VA: He was a prior employee
there. We`re looking at all of those dimensions, what they may look like.
But right now, there`s not been a motive as per se.
Many of you have gotten a lot of the correspondence, e-mails that had
been sent out. It`s obvious that there was – this gentleman was disturbed
in some way of the way things had transpired at some point in his life. It
would appear things were spiraling out of control. But we`re still looking
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: I`m joined right now by MSNBC`s Adam Reiss, who`s in
Virginia, where the shooting occurred this morning. Adam, what do we know
about the suspect?
ADAM REISS, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Chris, we`re learning more about
Vester Flanagan, as you just heard from the sheriff – disturbed, his life
was spiraling out of control. He had been in and out of local TV stations
over a number of years.
He had serious anger issues. He was, a lot of people said, always
looking for grievances, always looking for someone to say something to him
so that he could file a grievance. Most recently, he was at the station
here in Roanoke. He had to be escorted out of the building when he was
He wrote a suicide note, a fax to ABC News in New York, 23 pages. He
calls it a suicide note for friends and family. He says, in part, quote,
“The church shooting was the tipping point, but my anger has been building
steadily. I`ve been a human powderkeg for a while, just waiting to go
The sheriff this morning at the press conference said he had worked
with this crew, Alison and Adam, a number of times. Most recently, he had
been live for the morning show when the schools opened. And he was
watching himself this morning when the shooting took place. He said he
wasn`t even sure what he was looking at. He was just shocked when he heard
the gunshots ring out – Chris.
MATTHEWS: Thank you so much, Adam Reiss.
I`m joined right now by David Trinkle. He`s vice mayor of Roanoke,
Virginia. He`s also a psychiatrist. So with your political hat on and
your psychiatric hat on, what do you make of this, and what do you know
about it that you can help us with, this tragedy – this tragedy.
DAVID TRINKLE, ROANOKE VICE MAYOR: Well, it`s clearly a tragedy,
Chris, another tragedy inflicted by a disturbed individual. Our thoughts
and prayers go out to the families of Alison and Adam and the whole WDBJ
And really, you know, we`re a small big city here in the region of
southwest Virginia around Roanoke, and everybody`s been impacted today by
this senseless tragedy. And again, you know, it can happen anywhere.
Today, it happened in southwest Virginia.
MATTHEWS: Was Alison Parker a figure that you all knew about? Was
she a popular news reporter, or was she just starting off? I don`t know
TRINKLE: Well, it was both. She`s been here about a year, clearly
made a big impact very quickly to our community. As a politician, I knew
her, but she also did a lot of health reporting, so I knew her through that
vein, as well. I knew both of them through their professions.
But they made a big impact on the community. They were engaged and
involved in the community and had, you know, a huge, bright future ahead of
them. They were young.
So this is a great tragedy, and I suspect most people in our community
knew them, knew of them, or knew somebody that knew them well. So it`s
going to be a really difficult, sad time for our community. But we`re a
strong community and I feel confident we can pull through it.
MATTHEWS: Thanks so much, Vice Mayor David Trinkle of Roanoke.
I`m joined right now by Jim Cavanaugh, a retired ATF special agent-in-
charge and MSNBC analyst, as well. And thank you for joining us. And also
Dr. Park Dietz, founder of the Threat Assessment Group and himself an FBI
Let me go – let me go right now to Jim on this, Jim Cavanaugh. You
know, you look at the picture of her – and we`ve watched the graphic
picture so many times. We can`t show it on the air, of course. We don`t
But you see this young, very attractive young reporter with a great
future ahead of her. Things are working out well for her. She has a great
relationship with her camera guy. They`re a team. These are the positive
bright lights of our business.
And then you see a guy who`s had nothing but bad news in his life,
being kicked out of jobs, failed at jobs, everything going wrong in his
life. But this is drama here and horror altogether. Your thoughts about
what it means psychologically.
JIM CAVANAUGH, MSNBC LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, exactly. I mean,
we rely in law enforcement on guys like Dr. Dietz. I remember him from the
Eric Rudolph case, where I was one of the commanders and he would advise us
on cases like that. And they`re just – can give you a picture into the
mind of these criminals so we can track them down.
But clearly, this guy, Flanagan is the loser, and he`s attacking the
CAVANAUGH: … the people he sees as the winners. You know, they are
successful in their life and he wants to be that, but he can`t do it. And
the doctor can maybe tell us more about what`s in his mind, but he can`t be
So he comes up with this plot, this murderous plot, which he`s going
to publicize, and you know – and show the world that he`s been wronged so
many times in his life.
And you know, Chris, we`ve all been wronged in our life, every single
person. And so some of his complaints could be real. But many of them may
be just fantasy. And his employers have said there was no basis for it.
So he couldn`t handle life`s normal setbacks.
And here he comes into this murderous plot. He gets a gun 65 days
ago. He latches onto the Charleston case and Virginia Tech, you know, sort
of copying those things as his method for revenge. But there`s a rubric of
revenge that overlies this action here, and I`m sure it goes into deeper
psychotic – you know, discussions that the doctor can give you.
MATTHEWS: What do you make of the filming – what do you make of the
filming of all this horror? I mean, we`ve got the pictures. It`s done on
live TV, maybe on purpose. We don`t know. I assume it is. He knew they
were out there doing a live shoot.
He also knew that he was going to come out there with his cell phone
or whatever and film the whole thing. He wanted everybody – we`re not
going to show it here. Some networks may. He wanted everybody to see the
act of murder.
CAVANAUGH: Well, three things, Chris. He`s in the business. He was
a reporter. He filmed things. He was an anchor in one of the stations.
So he was in the news business. So that`s a natural forum.
Second, it`s just a technology revolution. Everybody`s filming
everything. You know, we`re filming the police officers. Police officers
are filming us. Everybody`s filming everything.
But the third thing – he wants that word out. He wants his side of
the grievances out. He wants to put it out there and say, Look, I was
wronged, and I had to do something. And you know, this is the way it went.
So he had a lot of reasons.
I think technology`s going to play in all our crimes going forward,
and the police are using it to track people down and criminals are using it
to show their motivations.
MATTHEWS: Yes. Really strange.
Anyway, WDBJ`s general manager, Jeff Marks (ph), said today that
Vester Flanagan, the shooter here, was fired two years ago from the
station. Let`s listen to him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEFF MARKS, WDBJ GENERAL MANAGER: Vester was an unhappy man. He –
we employed him as a reporter, and he had some talent in that respect and
some experience, although he`d been out of the business for a while when he
was hired here.
He quickly became – gathered a reputation as someone who was
difficult to work with, would you say, Joe Dashiell? He was sort of
looking out for people to say things that he could take offense to.
He – and eventually, after many incidents of his anger coming to the
fore, we dismissed him. And he did not take that well. We had to call the
police to escort him from the building.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Let`s go to Dr. Park Dietz here. Thank you. Jim Cavanaugh
was recommending your ability to speak on this.
What do you make of it, just looking at it holistically, this set-up
here of a very attractive reporter gunned down on live TV while she`s doing
a report with her teammate, basically, her cameraman there. He`s also
killed by a guy who`s been described from the beginning as a disgruntled
DR. PARK DIETZ, FORENSIC PSYCHIATRIST, WORKPLACE VIOLENCE EXPERT: My
take on this is that this is a workplace violence incident that resembles
many others over the decades. We already know that this guy had six of the
twelve warning signs of this kind of crime. He was angry, he was paranoid,
he was suicidal, he blamed others for his problems. He had a history of
unreasonable grievances and lawsuits. And he was talking about other
killers who`d had multiple target victims. So he is not unique…
MATTHEWS: I know.
DIET: … in any of those respects at all. What makes him unusual is
that he is on the cusp of the technological revolution that Jim was just
talking about. And so he`s able to send out press releases through Twitter
and through Facebook, essentially, and to provide some footage that he
hopes is going to memorialize his actions.
MATTHEWS: Does he think he`s going to be around to enjoy that
celebrity? What delusion is at work there? He`s not going to be alive,
DIETZ: So – yes, it`s not necessarily a delusion, but many people
who are suicidal have the belief that they`re going to be able to watch
what unfolds after their death. And that can be a religious belief.
Now, this fellow also gives some clues that maybe he was psychotic.
He was talking about Jehovah ordering him to do it. His writings are
described as rambling. And he has been so dogged in his collection of
injustices and grievances, and so overinclusive in that, that I wouldn`t be
surprised if he had a paranoid psychosis.
MATTHEWS: Dr. Dietz, just quickly – so many people meet much of the
description you`ve just given us – somebody disgruntled, who`ve had bad
luck at work, they`ve lost a number of jobs, things aren`t working out in
life for them. They see other successful people, they envy them. But they
take it. They take it in the gut. They just move on.
MATTHEWS: What separates a person who just takes it as part of life -
- it is part of life – and this – and the person who says, No, I`m going
to kill everybody?
DIETZ: One of the features that differentiates them is that normal
people are flexible. They`re adaptable. They`re capable of rolling with
the punches. Not everyone has that.
Likewise, people who are sober are able to adapt better than people
who misuse substances. Likewise, people who have friends and family and
social support adapt better than people who are loners. We don`t know all
the risk factors for this guy, but he sure had too many of them.
MATTHEWS: Yes, I do have – in my own experience, I`ve thought that
the boozers out there tend to be the worst begrudgers of other people`s
successes. Thank you so much, Dr. Park Dietz and Jim Cavanaugh, for your
Coming up – no apologies. Donald Trump doesn`t stand down from his
feud with Fox News and relishes in his confrontation with Univision`s Jorge
Ramos. This as a new report says Trump is telling top Republicans he
doesn`t plan on running third party.
Also, Senator Amy Klobuchar will be here. The Minnesota Democrat will
weigh in on whether President Obama can get enough Senate Democrats to
protect the nuclear deal with Iran.
Plus, speculation grows about a possible Joe Biden presidential run as
Bill Clinton is reportedly, quote, “very agitated,” close quote, by the
prospect. Will the vice president or won`t he jump into the race?
Finally, “Let Me Finish” with something really important, this
agreement with Iran to keep it from a nuclear weapon.
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: New numbers out in Iowa show how Vice President Joe Biden
would fare among the rest of the Democratic field. Well, according to a
Suffolk University poll, Hillary Clinton leads in Iowa with 54 percent.
Bernie Sanders is down at 20, and Joe Biden way down at 11 percent.
Meanwhile, a majority out there, 52 percent of Iowa Democrats, believe
the investigation into Hillary Clinton`s e-mails and private server will
hurt her in the general election, should she become the nominee.
And we`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRET BAIER, FOX DEBATE MODERATOR: Is there anyone on stage – and can
I see hands – who is unwilling tonight to pledge your support to the
eventual nominee of the Republican Party, and pledge to not run an
independent campaign against that person? Raise your hand now if you won`t
make that pledge tonight.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
BAIER: Mr. Trump, you`re not going to make the pledge tonight.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I will not make the pledge
at this time.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE, BOOS)
BAIER: OK. All right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. That moment was the big headline
on debate night, of course. For months now, Trump has threatened the
Republican Party with a doomsday scenario of running third party himself as
the ultimate spoiler if he isn`t treated, as he put it, fairly. In that
scenario, that would split the vote with the Republican nominee, of course,
and virtually hand the election to probably Hillary Clinton.
But tonight, there are signs that Trump is thinking victory, not
spoiler. Late today, the HuffingtonPost reported that, quote, “Donald
Trump has told several top Republicans that he will swear off the
possibility of an independent bid and commit to running his presidential
campaign under the party`s banner, according to several sources.”
We reached out to the Trump campaign. They had no comment personally
(ph). So what`s this all about? Does Trump now believe he can win it all,
win the nomination, perhaps the presidency?
Joy Reid is MSNBC national correspondent, of course. Ryan Grimm`s the
Washington bureau chief with the HuffingtonPost, who broke the story.
Excuse me, Joy, we have to start with the guy who`s got it. Let`s go
with it. What do you got?
RYAN GRIMM, HUFFINGTONPOST: Yes, he`s – so he`s telling top
Republicans in the party…
MATTHEWS: How do you know?
GRIMM: They told us.
MATTHEWS: Oh, they told you?
MATTHEWS: So you`ve got direct firsthand that he has said that.
GRIMM: Right. That`s right.
MATTHEWS: So why doesn`t he say it publicly? What`s the advantage of
GRIMM: I think – so he was on – he`s telling them…
MATTHEWS: Why isn`t he trumpeting this fact?
GRIMM: … he`s going – he`s going – he`s telling them that he`s
going to do it, and I think that they pushed it out because they`re trying
to get him to do it as quickly as possible.
Hugh Hewitt asked him about the report today on his radio show, and he
said, Well, I wasn`t ready to do it during the debate. I talked to Steve
Wynn, and he told me the same thing, that I ought to forego this. He said,
I do want to forego this. He edged almost all the way up to…
MATTHEWS: Well, let`s…
MATTHEWS: Apparently, he`s going further, as you say, on that radio
show. Late today, Donald Trump spoke about swearing off a third party run
on Hugh Hewitt`s radio show. Let`s listen to him.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
TRUMP: I will say that the RNC and the Republican Party – I think
I`ve been treated very fairly over the last period of time, yes.
HUGH HEWITT, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: So are you ruling out a third
TRUMP: Well, it`s not something I`d want to do. And at some point,
I`ll, you know, actually totally commit. You know, I didn`t think it was
appropriate to commit during the debate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Joy, this is very – is somebody dating him? I mean, do
you have to, like, Well, we`ll get there, you know, we`ll get there to
third base sometime, but not tonight. I mean, what is this tease about? I
mean, it is a tease.
JOY REID, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: It is a tease…
MATTHEWS: Is this what he`s up to?
REID: Well, I think it`s a recognition on the part of Donald Trump
and his campaign that they do have a sort of sword of Damocles hanging over
the Republican Party, just because of the anecdotal evidence that a lot of
Trump supporters are only marginally attached to the Republican Party,
meaning they`re more passionate about being Trump supporters than they are
about being Republicans.
REID: You witnessed the willingness and zeal with which they went
after trusted Republican/conservative media figures like Megyn Kelly and
Erick Erickson of Red State. They chose Trump over them in a heartbeat.
And I think that Trump also understands, however, that, at some point,
he`s got to get those people back into a primary, because these are closed
primaries for the most part that he`s facing if he`s serious about running.
And he`s going to have to corral them back into a process where he could
actually put some numbers on the scoreboard.
MATTHEWS: But I was just reading today in one of the papers – I
think it was “The Times” or “The Post,” “The Washington Post” – that
Virginia already has, what do you call it, a sore loser law, like in
Pennsylvania. You run in the party primary, the Republican primary, which
you would enter, and then if you lose, you can`t go run third-party.
So there`s already statutes out there fighting him.
MATTHEWS: He can`t just play the game here.
GRIM: But nobody thinks he was going to win as an independent. As an
independent, he`s a spoiler.
MATTHEWS: I mean get on the ballot.
GRIM: Right, but he – so he wouldn`t spoil in Virginia, but if he
ran nationally as an independent, he could still spoil Ohio.
MATTHEWS: Why would he do that, if he can`t win 270 electoral votes?
GRIM: He`s not going to. And I think people realize he`s not going
to, but he wanted to keep…
MATTHEWS: OK. Let`s go to the positive side. Two theories we have
right now, I have in my head about why he`s changing his message here.
I will start with you. You have reported the story. One is just to
keep the ball in the air. And this is like keeping the beach ball in the
air, as some sort of volleyball game or something. Keep it up. Keep the
ball in the air, keep news. Every couple days, he does something
newsworthy. He re-picks the fight with Megyn Kelly. That will keep the
story going two more days. He`s got to keep living off the land.
The other one is, he`s decided he can win this darn thing. Which is
it? Win the nomination?
GRIM: I think it`s all of those things, plus a lot of sustained
pressure, not just from GOP elites, but he hears it a lot out on the
campaign trail from regular voters, saying, look, I would love to support
you, but I don`t feel you`re totally committed to the Republican Party.
He heard that from people like Steve Wynn. When he went on Hugh
Hewitt`s show earlier in August, Hugh Hewitt just kind of battered him over
this issue, saying people like me are not going to support you until you
take this step. And I think he feels like he`s at 30-plus percent. Now is
the right time to move and maybe he will push himself up into 40. And like
you said, maybe he can actually win the thing.
MATTHEWS: Isn`t this a great world, Joy, we live in, progressives?
You live in a world where a guy goes out to Vegas and talks to, what, is it
Adelson? No, this time, we`re talking to Steve Wynn.
Why do they go to the casino guys to find out how the country should
be run? It`s outrageous. I mean, you used to – Mitt Romney out there
kissing his butt last time around, remember, Adelson, then go kiss the
other casino guy. What is this about the gambling mecca that seems to
attract the best thinking in the Republican Party these days?
REID: Yes, I don`t know.
MATTHEWS: It`s crazy that it`s actually happening.
REID: And all their bets right now are actually not very good. They
seem to be betting on establishment candidates. I think the establishment
is used to being able to let the base play and then imposing the candidate
of their choosing.
But who would know more about sort of the ordinary, average guy than a
guy from a reality TV show, right? So Trump sort of gets it more than they
do. And on your other question, Chris, I actually think the first of your
scenarios is just incidental. I think that Trump is a megalomaniac, and I
think he`s convinced himself he can be president of the United States.
And I think that what he`s telling the RNC is basically a threat.
He`s essentially saying, OK, I will commit, but you guys better be nice to
me. FOX News better be nice to me. Everybody better be nice to me. And
you know what? I bet it will work.
MATTHEWS: Yes, I`m assuming the rational here even in his case.
Anyway, is Trump looking for a poll boost? It could have made him an
even bigger force in the race. He leads nationally by the way in the
latest CNN poll. He polls up at 24 percent. He leads Bush by 11. In
Iowa, he leads with 22 percent. He`s eight points ahead of Ben Carson, Dr.
And in New Hampshire, a recent poll by “The Boston Herald” had him
leading with 18 percent, five points ahead of Jeb Bush, who is sort of a
New Englander. And a new poll out of South Carolina has him soaring up to
30 percent, 15 points ahead of Ben Carson.
I have to think that what`s happening to this guy is, he`s realized,
he once told me, and it wasn`t off the record, he wasn`t going into this
thing to commit suicide. He was going to test the waters, but he was ready
to pull out if it wasn`t working.
Well, it is working. It is working, because whatever you say about
his rationality – and I accept any challenge from Joy – there`s no
evidence the other guys are up to this test. He thinks faster than they
do. He talks faster. He adjusts.
When he knew he had overstepped his bounds with the fellow from
Univision, when he realized he had done that, when he made him look like
the troll out there, and he didn`t – he said, wait a minute, and on his
feet, he goes, let him back in here. Then he says, we will have lunch.
He seems to be able to regulate himself, and most politicians are not
that flexible, not that smart or nimble. He is nimble.
GRIM: And he`s been performing and perfecting his act for 30 years.
MATTHEWS: He`s also decided to keep the heat on Megyn Kelly. What is
Let me ask Joy about that.
Why keep the heat on Megyn Kelly, who everybody likes, I think, and go
after another guy and sort of rough it up with a guy? Is this just macho,
we will go to the fisticuffs for a couple minutes, like Irish guys do, the
first time they meet, they have a fight? It`s an old tradition.
MATTHEWS: What is it about Ramos? Let`s have a fight, then we can be
guys. What is that about?
REID: I think it`s all part of this collectivized world view of
Donald Trump, which is that he`s taking us back to the America where a man
is a man and a woman better sit down and be pretty and be quiet.
And he`s going after Megyn Kelly for the same reason his supporters
don`t like her, because she is supposed to be pretty and quiet and not
challenge a man like Donald Trump.
MATTHEWS: She never got that message, by the way. She never got that
REID: And she shouldn`t. She`s a journalist. And she was doing her
MATTHEWS: I know. I know.
REID: It`s not a feud. She`s done nothing to him.
MATTHEWS: It was in a job description.
REID: Right. And on the Jorge Ramos attack, he`s going right to his
base. That`s why they like him. They like the idea that he throws the
Hispanic guy out of his press conference. They love it. They would love
for him to do it every day.
MATTHEWS: And before he threw him out, he said, go back to Univision,
like it was some foreign country.
Well, it`s him. We will see how rational it is. I`m of the belief
it`s rational. You`re of the belief it`s megalomania.
MATTHEWS: By the way, you have to narrow down the list of
megalomaniacs in the business of politics. Narrow your list.
Anyway, thank you, Joy Reid. And thank you, Ryan Grim, for that.
REID: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: I hope you`re right. We like scoops here.
Up next, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota is going to join us with her new
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D), MINNESOTA: A lot of long nights, a lot of
early mornings, but you know what, all the parades, all the lawn signs, all
the phone calls, all the rallies, they were all worth it, because we won
this the right way.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
KLOBUCHAR: I can tell you right now that courage in the next few
years in Washington is not going to go to those that just stand alone and
make a speech. Courage is going to be in the hands of those who are
willing to stand next to someone they don`t always agree with for the
betterment of this country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
That was Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar winning reelection in 2012.
Klobuchar was first elected in 2006, becoming the first woman ever elected
to the Senate from Minnesota. She`s since become a national figure on the
political stage, frequently mentioned as a possible presidential or vice
presidential candidate in the future.
She`s out with a memoir called “The Senator Next Door,” where she
writes about her life journey that brought her from a suburban middle-class
upbringing all the way to the United States Senate.
Senator Klobuchar joins me right now.
Thank you so much.
You have a wonderful personality. I know that sounds superficial, but
I think it`s important. “The Senator Next Door,” you seem to know that you
come across as somebody who grew up as the girl next door to become a
senator later in your career. How do you keep it together, stay informal
with the obvious professional formality of the office?
KLOBUCHAR: Well, I think it`s really important to keep grounded.
My husband. My daughter helps. I tell the story in there where my
daughter was saying to me one day, mom, you`re not a helicopter mom.
You`re a submarine mom. And I said, wow, that sounds tough and cool. She
says, not really. It means you lurk beneath the surface and come up
KLOBUCHAR: So, in fact, I think part of this book is about how you
can`t do everything perfectly. You try your best. You overcome obstacles.
I talked about my dad`s struggles with alcoholism for years. He was a
columnist for the newspaper, my parents` divorce. Growing up, I was going
to schools where I had never met anyone on the entire East Coast. But I
made this case that you want to have normal people with regular backgrounds
running for office and in Congress, and you want to have people that go to
represent their neighbors. And that`s why I called it “The Senator Next
MATTHEWS: Isn`t it amazing how many kids of alcoholics have done so
incredibly well? Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan. And what is it, do you
think? I never thought I would ask that question, but you just told me.
You sort of prompted me there.
KLOBUCHAR: Well, you know, first of all, my dad`s recovered. He`s
very happy at age 87. He`s married happily for the third time.
But I think what it is – I actually devoted a little time to it in
the book. I think that being the kid of an alcoholic means, for me, first
of all, I don`t like lies. You think about things that you grew up with,
and it just – I have an aversion to that. And the second thing is, it
means you try to fix everything.
And that`s why I think you see a lot of kids of alcoholics going into
government, because they grew up trying to fix things, trying to make
things better, trying to, in my case, take the keys away from my dad when
I`m 17 when I see him drinking out of the trunk of the car and I don`t want
him to drive 300 miles, and then we don`t speak for four hours. Those are
things that happen to a lot of kids of alcoholics.
And in my case, it has a happy ending, an ending of redemption. And
that was a story I also wanted to tell.
MATTHEWS: You are great. I know I say that too often, but you really
are. Thank you.
Let me ask you about the great stories in your book. A lot of us
looked up to Ted Kennedy an awful lot. And you talk about what it was like
to be in one of those Capitol old hideaways that they – nobody else gets
to see but U.S. senators.
What was it like late in the night when there were late votes, and you
were there with a couple other younger members of the Senate, and there was
Teddy Kennedy, the old lion?
KLOBUCHAR: He was amazing. He would actually sort of talk to – he
would bring people in when we had those voteramas, and they would leave
messages, his staff, on your phone that said, the lantern is lit.
And that means head over to his hideaway, and he`d always have a group
of people there. We`d have some wine and he would tell these incredible
stories from the past about his brother. And, you know, he loved the
Senate, which you know, Chris, as well as anyone. But he also worked
across the aisle.
And you hear the stories from Orrin Hatch or Mike Enzi about how he
would look for that common ground. And I talk about that in the book, and
how we miss some of that right now. But I used some examples of how it`s
still happening today.
MATTHEWS: Yes, what is the trick that`s been lost? You disagree with
people. You`re different parties, you`re different philosophies, but
you`re in the same country and, bottom line, when your careers are over
with, you are still going to be more American than anything else hopefully.
And what`s the trick to making it work?
KLOBUCHAR: I think the trick is seeing yourself in the other person`s
It`s not necessarily moderation in terms of the middle of two points.
MATTHEWS: I agree.
KLOBUCHAR: Actually, David Brooks has made this point recently. It`s
not necessarily your character, because John McCain doesn`t have a moderate
character, but he`s willing to work on issues like immigration.
So, to me, it means, are you able to look at the other person and
where they are and find where there can be common ground? And that`s what
Ted Kennedy did, because he got to know the other person, and really like
the other person. And that way, you can get things done.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about a profile in courage situation right
now. And I am taking sides. Maybe you have too, on the Iranian nuclear
It`s a tough one. It`s not a perfect deal. People are critical of
it. People are worried legitimately about the state of Israel and its
precarious situation over there, but it`s better than what we have right
now, my view.
How tough is that vote for people like you and Al Franken, who support
Well, I think, first of all, I think the process, which you know at
its core was bipartisan that Senator Cardin and Corker worked out, so that
everyone had this time to look at it, I think it`s important, because it`s
a tough call. I have deep respect for people that take the other view.
But, in the end, I decided that it`s the best option for trying to put
the brakes on Iran having a nuclear weapon. And I do that with my eyes
wide open. I know what this regime and the horror and the terrorism and
also the things that have been said about Israel.
But the bottom line to me was, we don`t want them to have a nuclear
weapon. And with these intrusive inspections, with the fact that we still
have the military option still on the table, I was glad the president made
that clear – and, honestly, if you want to look at the fact that you –
there`s a chance here that Iran`s going to cheat, you are going to know a
lot more about those three facilities having an agreement than not having
an agreement and having the inspections.
And, finally, Chris, having talked to the ambassadors from those five
countries, I`m pretty convinced Russia and China would start doing business
with them, Iran would get a nuclear weapon. They`re months away. And then
we will have splintered the coalition, which is so important having a
united force. So, those were the reasons I came down. It was a difficult
MATTHEWS: Well said.
“The Senator Next Door” is the name of the book. It`s a memoir by Amy
Klobuchar – K-L-O-B-U-C-H-A-R.
MATTHEWS: Just kidding.
Amy Klobuchar, one of the great people in the United States Senate.
Up next, will he or won`t he? Speculation continues to bubble up
about a Biden bid for the presidency. Look at it. He looks bubbly.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MILISSA REHBERGER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Milissa Rehberger.
We`re following some breaking news out of Louisiana, where a police
officer has reportedly been shot and two people stabbed, allegedly by a man
who`s barricaded now himself inside a mini-mart in the town of Sunset. The
suspect, who is now in police custody, appears to have rammed a car into
the mini-mart before hiding inside. The stabbings reportedly took place at
another location away from the mini-mart.
Stay with MSNBC for more on this developing story.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president has
indicated his view that the decision that he made, I guess seven years ago
now, to add Joe Biden to the ticket as his running mate, was the smartest
decision he`s ever made in politics. And I think that should give you some
sense of the president`s view of Vice President Biden`s aptitude for the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
That was White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest praising Vice
President Joe Biden on Monday of this week when asked about an emerging
Biden presidential run. It`s not clear if Biden is 100 percent in this
story. According to “Politico”, according to them today, one former aide
who remains part of the Biden extended political family says, quote, “He`s
not leaving one way or the other.” That`s helpful.
And “Politico`s” Glenn Thrush writes, “To the annoyance of the Clinton
campaign, Biden`s Allies have strategically leaked his modest noncommittal
doings to the media, which have given otherwise ho-hum confabs with
Elizabeth Warren and President Barack Obama`s former counsel, Bob Bauer,
Thrush also reports Bill Clinton, according to a person who has spoken
with the former president in the past couple of weeks, is very agitated by
the possibility of a Biden candidacy and incensed at the press hype about a
Well, joining the HARDBALL roundtable to talk about both these, Howard
Fineman, of course, is global editorial director for “The Huffington Post”,
Carol Lee is White House correspondent for “The Wall Street Journal”, and
Perry Bacon is senior political reporter for NBC News.
Gentlemen and lady, it`s so exciting because I think the Clintons are
getting mad, it must be real.
MATTHEWS: And the fact that Bill Clinton is mad not just at the
people, it`s a long reached of Biden friends out there pushing it, but the
press biting for it. It seems to bother Bill that people like us are
talking about it now. He`s probably watching now. They`re talking about
this, I`ll get them.
What is it? Is it real? I know there`s fire there because in unusual
case, is there smoke, is there fire? He really wants to run? But is it
just smoke? I mean, is that all it is?
HOWARD FINEMAN, THE HUFFINGTON POST: I think there`s a couple of
things. First of all, there`s no doubt that he wants to do it.
MATTHEWS: Yes, we know that.
FINEMAN: There`s also no doubt, at least according to the people
close to Joe Biden that they think they can put together the mechanics. In
other words, I was told yesterday, they said, look, it`s not about being
able to put together a campaign, there are plenty of people out there,
there`s plenty of money out there, that`s not it.
The two things are what Joe Biden is feeling by the time he actually
has to do it, and the family. And it`s not just Jill Biden, his wife.
It`s the whole family. This is – that`s what means everything to him.
They`ve been through the terrible –
MATTHEWS: What`s the vote? We don`t know the vote.
FINEMAN: We don`t know the vote, and it`s Jill and it`s Hunter Biden
and it`s Hunter Biden`s wife, Joe Biden`s sister Valerie, who`s been
basically the manager of every one of his campaigns –
MATTHEWS: Going back to `72.
FINEMAN: – going back to `72. It`s that group, plus his chief of
staff, Steve Ricchetti, and his pollster Mike Donilon. That`s the group.
And I don`t think they have reached a final decision. And after
Monday, I was on the show Monday, we got pretty far out there saying, he`s
almost reached the point of no return. Well, I got calls in the next day
from friends of friends of saying, you know, the thing about the meeting
with the donors, that was insane and that`s not true.
MATTHEWS: What about the one coming up after Labor Day?
FINEMAN: Yes, they`re dialing back. They`re trying to say, wait a
minute, nothing`s decided.
MATTHEWS: This is a long tease worthy of Gypsy Rose Lee. I mean, how
long can he sustain our interest in something where he says he`s right
there at the teetering point?
CAROL LEE, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Well, they think for a least a
number of weeks going forward. But what – two things. One is the
Clintons being upset or agitated by all this talk about a Biden candidacy
mainly it`s because it does one thing and that it creates the narrative or
enhances the narrative that Hillary Clinton is vulnerable. And all the
MATTHEWS: That`s why Bill doesn`t like it.
LEE: That makes it very –
MATTHEWS: By the way, I`ve been reading you for years and now I meet
FINEMAN: I had the same experience today.
MATTHEWS: Those are great front-page bylines, and “The Wall Street
Journal” is one of the great newspapers in history, by the way. Until you
get the op-ed page, I`m sorry.
PERRY BACON, NBC NEWS: I think we`re undervaluing something here.
We`re talking about the first female president.
I asked the Draft Biden group, who are your women surrogates? They
named one Iowa state rep I`ve never heard of before. Joe Biden is talking
– I know Joe Biden is talking about his family too. He`s got to find
support in the Democratic Party. Every female senator is for Hillary.
Lots of women, it`s a big challenge.
MATTHEWS: OK. I said this the other day, sometimes you just want to
get – Ben Stein wrote about this years ago in “The Wall Street Journal”.
He said, to win you got to get a seat at the table. That`s how Carl
Bernstein made it by working for “The Post”. How Goldie Hawn made it going
to Las Vegas. You got to get to seat at the table. Biden may regret the
rest of his life he didn`t get on the ballot, become come next February or
March, something might hit Hillary so hard, she has to get out of this
LEE: That`s the big part of their calculation. But the problem s
that`s not going to be known before he has to make an actual decision.
MATTHEWS: He`s got to go in with nothing protecting him.
MATTHEWS: And how about playing defense, Howard? Playing defense he
has to cover.
FINEMAN: Joe Biden?
FINEMAN: Yes, of course. Well, he can be hit right out of the box.
MATTHEWS: His family could be hit.
FINEMAN: For example, on the issues, just to pick one, Black Lives
Matter is talking about mass incarceration. The disproportionate racial
nature of imprisonment in the U.S.
And Joe Biden was the big architect and sponsor of the law that led to
MATTHEWS: Back in the `90s and `80s.
FINEMAN: In terms of the family, it`s a big family.
MATTHEWS: All families have problems.
FINEMAN: You know, I don`t know if they`re ready for the scrutiny.
But the thing is, I asked one of his people, well, how long does he need to
decide? I mean, you know, what else does he need to know? And the answer
to that, I think, is what else comes out of the pressure they feel in terms
of family and also, how long, as Carol was saying, how long they can wait
to see just how vulnerable Hillary is.
Unfortunately for Joe Biden, he can`t wait until after the Benghazi
hearing. He`s got to decide sometime before that.
LEE: Or first debate, which is October 13.
FINEMAN: The first debate, right.
MATTHEWS: OK. So, he`s in by the late part of September probably, or
LEE: They said end of summer.
MATTHEWS: Well, summer the 23rd of September. Aren`t we up to date
on that stuff?
MATTHEWS: When we return, we`ll get back to the shooting of those two
TV journalists. This is a real stark on-air tragedy that we`ve all become
a part of by watching it.
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Wow. We`ve got new numbers in the race for Pennsylvania
U.S. Senate seat up next year. Let`s go to the HARDBALL scoreboard.
According to a Quinnipiac poll, Republican Senator Pat Toomey, the
incumbent, beats former Congressman Joe Sestak in a rematch of their 2010
race. It`s Toomey, 48, Sestak down at 43.
But if Toomey runs against the other possible Democratic candidate,
Katie McGinty, Toomey still wins in a landslide. Toomey, 48, McGinty, 32.
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: We`re back with the HARDBALL roundtable, Howard, Carol and
Anyway, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe said the tragic shooting
today in his state, his commonwealth, is another example why it should be
tougher to get a gun in our country.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
GOV. TERRY MCAULIFFE (D), VIRGINIA: There are too many guns in the
hands of people who should not have guns. This is why I have long
advocated for background checks. We`ve got to come together. There is too
much gun violence in the United States of America.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: And catch this on. On a campaign swing to Iowa, Hillary
Clinton said she is committed to pursuing stronger gun control measures,
including universal background checks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have got to do
something about gun violence in America. And I will take it on. There are
many people who face it and know it but then turn away because it`s hard.
It`s a very political, difficult issue in America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: It`s a solid performance there on a very tragic day.
Anyway, while in his own campaign event this afternoon, his home
state, Jeb Bush was asked by reporters about the murders and had this, if
you want to call it that, response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It`s a tragedy. I don`t have
enough details to determine what the reason for all this was. I can`t – I
don`t know. It is clearly a tragedy when you have – in a free society.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.
REPORTER: Governor, how concerned are you –
BUSH: I`m not concerned about anything –
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: That`s exactly what his campaign has seemed like. Out to
lunch. Out to lunch.
LEE: Did he take a photo with somebody?
MATTHEWS: Maybe he did. He didn`t understand the stark nature.
We`re talking about two people killed on national television. We`re all
seeing it tonight. Take a moment. Learn what`s going. Don`t face cameras
until you know what`s going to and then act like a grown-up.
LEE: Well, it was a very different response from Hillary Clinton.
MATTHEWS: Hillary was perfect.
LEE: This is a tough issue for Republicans. There are obvious ways
to express condolences and address a tragedy.
MATTHEWS: You can`t discuss policy.
LEE: When you venture to the policy debate, it`s a very tough space
for Republicans which is why –
MATTHEWS: Well, Pat Toomey could well win his reelection because he
had the guts, the cojones to come out and say we need background checks –
in Pennsylvania, a gun state.
BACON: They need that in Pennsylvania, also a fairly liberal state.
MATTHEWS: Guns ain`t liberal. Howard knows that.
BACON: Jeb Bush is probably not going to win the Republican primary.
I think that`s a harder view for him.
I think for Secretary Clinton, I`d like to hear from her and the
Democrats particularly, what is your detailed plan to deal with gun
violence in the country? The Democrats I think have more of a
responsibility on this to have some, agenda as opposed to talking points.
MATTHEWS: Guns don`t kill people. People do. So make sure who the
people who get the guns. That`s perfectly consistent with NRA slogan for
Howard, last thought.
FINEMAN: Well, I would just that when Hillary is promising to be
tough, that`s believable. That`s who Hillary is.
MATTHEWS: She speaks softly like that. A very calm point. It
carries tremendous strength.
Anyway, thank you, our roundtable. Always, Howard Fineman, who`s
brilliant again tonight, I mean it. I`m never sarcastic with Howard.
And, Carol Lee, it`s great to meet you.
LEE: You, too.
MATTHEWS: But you are a front page wonder. Thank you. A-1.
Perry, you`re with us.
MATTHEWS: When we return, let me finish with something really
important. This agreement with Iran to keep it from becoming a nuclear
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with something really important –
this agreement with Iran to keep it from a nuclear weapon. Some are asking
now for President Obama to commit the United States to bombing Iran if it
appears to be heading toward weaponizing 15 years from now. They want him
to also give Israel a 30,000-pound bomb, able to destroy even the most
deeply buried Iranian nuclear facility.
What is the purpose of these demands? Is it to ensure the agreement
is carried out in good faith? Is it the further the possibility of a
better relationship with Iran down the road? Really?
Would committing ourselves to an attack at this point, in effect
putting a gun to Iraq`s head achieve such as a goal? Would giving Israel
our giant penetrating bomb and giving Prime Minister Netanyahu the
discretion on if and when to use it?
Well, the first demand is absurd on its face. There is clearly no way
President Obama can lock in a U.S. military action, an act of war, four
administrations from now. What possible influence would this president`s
words have on a president in the year 2030? Really. Think about it.
No, the real impact of Barack Obama if he were forced into making such
a commitment now would be on those currently in power in Iran. He would be
making an armed threat. He would be telling the ayatollahs, I`ve got a gun
to your heads. It would be an ultimatum, a short fuse to war. Why would
any peace loving person want to light it now 15 years in advance?
And how would giving over a state-of-the-art, 30,000-pound bomb, a
bunker buster, to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu now, along with the
means to deliver it, another demand of the war hawks, in any way improve an
agreement? No one says this deal struck by the leading countries of the
world is perfect.
But one thing is undeniably true. And we`ve learned it from recent
polling, the more people understand the deal, the more they grasp the
controls it does place and put in place on Iran, and therefore the more
they support it.
That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
“ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES” starts right now.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
Copyright 2015 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by
United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed,
transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written
permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark,
copyright or other notice from copies of the content.>