Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 09/08/15
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: The battle has arrived. It`s Biden versus
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews back in Washington.
Well, he looks like a candidate, out there in Pittsburgh yesterday,
running back and forth across the parade route, shaking hands, smiling,
kissing babies, being Joe Biden.
Well, nobody loves the crowd more, and all of a sudden, the crowds are
starting to love Joe back. We`ve got a new national poll showing him
passing Bernie Sanders now and now the number one challenger to Hillary
Clinton. And she knows it.
Michael Steele was chairman of the Republican Party. He`s now an
MSNBC political analyst. And Amy Walter`s with the Cook Political Report.
And radio talk show`s Ron Reagan is an MSNBC political analyst.
Now, over the past few weeks now, Hillary Clinton`s campaign has been
seen trying to muscle Vice President Joe Biden out of the Democratic race
before he gets in. She`s been appealing to gender loyalty with fierce
speeches about women`s reproductive rights and headlined a big “New
Hampshire Women for Hillary” rally over the weekend in that crucial first
primary state, where she was officially endorsed by the popular senator
Jeanne Shaheen. There she is.
Hillary`s campaign is also touting their support among party insiders,
including most especially superdelegates. Bloomberg reports senior Clinton
officials now – campaign officials are claiming that Hillary Clinton has
already secured one fifth of the pledges needed to win the Democratic
Well, they`re also, the Clinton people, trying to calm down nervous
Democratic donors. The Associated Press reports that, quote, “Donors who
have publicly expressed support for a Biden run have been contacted by the
Clinton team, according to donors and Democratic strategists.” Even
Clinton herself has made a few calls like that, they said, to express her
disappointment with those jumping ship, I suppose.
And finally, “The New York Times” reported that the Clinton campaign -
- the Clinton campaign is pursuing a Southern strategy and looking to the
South as a firewall to lock up the nomination in case she loses contests up
there in Iowa and New Hampshire to Sanders.
Anyway, in interviews, advisers say the campaign was increasingly
devoting staff members and money to win the South Carolina primary on
February 27th, while laying the groundwork to sweep Alabama, Arkansas,
Georgia, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia on March 1st. Well,
They point to her popularity with black and Hispanic voters down
South, as well as her policy stances and the relationships she and her
husband, former president Bill Clinton, have cultivated.
Well, that`s a great one (ph). I want start with Amy on this because
what I`m looking at is, you know, for weeks now, months, we`ve watched
Bernie as number one opponent. You know, he`s up there. He`s got New
Hampshire pretty much in the bag for a while. He`s threatening in Iowa.
Now a new national poll shows, well, something`s going on with Biden.
Is he just picking up the loose pieces from Clinton – ship (ph) Clinton?
Whenever there`s a bad story about e-mail, does he get another 10 points?
What`s going on here?
AMY WALTER, COOK POLITICAL REPORT: Although Joe Biden and Hillary
Clinton have the exact same favorable ratings among Democrats. This isn`t
Democrats who say, Boy, I really don`t like Hillary Clinton…
MATTHEWS: That`s good for Biden.
WALTER: … and now I`m going to go with Joe Biden. It`s saying I
like both of these candidates. Sure, give me a choice right now between
MATTHEWS: For president. Not liking them…
MATTHEWS: … going to have dinner with that night.
WALTER: Yes, but who – she`s not losing votes as much as he`s
gaining them. That`s my point in saying that.
MATTHEWS: Why is he gaining them?
WALTER: I think they like that there`s another option out there.
When I talk to Democratic voters, their biggest frustration is the lack of
enthusiasm they see on the part of Hillary Clinton. They want the see an
engagement. They see a lot going on in the Republican side, and they want
to feel like their vote matters, too…
WALTER: … and she has to go and earn it from them. She`s not
MATTHEWS: There`s something there. I don`t know whether – first of
all, I am baffled by some of the so-called issues these days. You know,
people say Benghazi. I don`t care if you trumpet it 10,000 times on 50
different musical instruments, I don`t know what it means.
MICHAEL STEELE, FMR. RNC CHAIR, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Right.
MATTHEWS: I don`t know what Benghazi means. E-mail, it seems to me a
decision she made out of privacy concerns. OK, she`s a private person.
She wanted to do it privately. OK. Is that a mortal sin? I`m not sure.
I doubt it.
So when people say, I`m against Hillary because of e-mail, I go, You
were for her before e-mail?
MATTHEWS: So there might be something…
MATTHEWS: Maybe it`s a lack of pizzazz in her campaign. Maybe that`s
MATTHEWS: … a reason for running. I don`t know.
STEELE: Look, if Joe Biden…
MATTHEWS: But Joe Biden`s picking up speed.
STEELE: If Joe Biden is gaining votes, he`s taking them from someone,
right? And that`s Hillary Clinton, or maybe even Bernie Sanders, but most
likely Hillary Clinton.
And there is a reason for that, and it goes to what Amy said. There
is this sameness about her campaign that hearkens back to 2008. And this
is – she`s basically running the same playbook and getting the same
result. She`s pretty much in the same position, where she`s looking over
her shoulder at her opponents, who are gaining ground on her when she`s the
presumptive heir apparent. So the – so the base is, like…
MATTHEWS: Well, isn`t that like every candidate who has ran twice,
except Reagan changed…
STEELE: Reagan changed it. And it`s that enthusiasm. They`re not
excited about her.
MATTHEWS: Yes. OK. Ron, what do you make of this Biden boomlet?
And it is real. I mean, let`s look at the poll, by the way. It shows him
going up to 22 percent. He was at 12 just very recently. And Hillary
Clinton, of course, is going down 10 points, down to 42 from 52, which is a
Something`s astir here. I don`t know whether it`s permanent, a trend
or just a burp. What do you make of it?
RON REAGAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I make of it that people
are very nervous about Hillary Clinton. She doesn`t seem to be able to
shake this e-mail “scandal” – and I put that in quotes. Like you, I`m not
really sure that this is much of a scandal. It may raise questions about
how, you know, computer servers ought to be used for public officials, but
I don`t see her having done anything illegal or really even wrong there.
But nevertheless, the media narrative around Hillary Clinton is always
paired with scandal. So she`s got that sort of headwind here. Joe Biden,
I think, perceives that. There are people who are nervous about her being
able to close the deal. And so they look for another…
MATTHEWS: Look at Joe!
REAGAN: … another establishment candidate, Joe Biden. He`s the
MATTHEWS: OK, Ron, we have an advantage over you. We`re watching
Biden do what he did. I was standing out there with Al Roker at the last
inaugural break (ph). And he does this. He just – look at him! He just
REAGAN: Yes, and he`s…
MATTHEWS: He loves the physical connection with regular people. I
don`t think it`s even ideological or political.
REAGAN: No, it`s not.
MATTHEWS: It`s just he wants to physically hold people.
REAGAN: In many ways, he`s the opposite of Clinton in that way.
MATTHEWS: I think so.
REAGAN: Her people are now talking about how, she – you know, We`re
going to show you more of her heart. She`s going to loosen up now. If you
got to have assistants telling you…
REAGAN: … that that`s what the candidate is going to do, they
obviously have a hard time doing that. Joe Biden does not. You`re right,
he`s a natural at this.
MATTHEWS: He would serve as president so he could run for office.
She will run for office so she could be president. Isn`t that true, Amy?
There`s a different joy level here.
WALTER: There is a joy level in campaigning that you see every day
with him. I mean, my mother saw him when she was in South Carolina. He
kissed her on the lips, all right?
MATTHEWS: That`s a little (INAUDIBLE)
WALTER: She said – right, well, she – I`ve never had a candidate…
WALTER: But it was one of those things where – I never met him
before, but felt like, OK, well, there we go.
MATTHEWS: (INAUDIBLE) my relatives, I know all (INAUDIBLE) nothing
wrong with it. It`s just very direct and very loving.
Anyway, let`s watch Joe Biden in action, maybe not kissing but
marching, glad-shaking – glad-handing, shaking, kissing babies – not
shaking babies, I hope, even jogging in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in the
Labor Day parade yesterday, along with labor union (INAUDIBLE) like the
AFL-CIO`s great man himself, Richard Trumka.
There they are. Let`s watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I`m going to run
part of the parade. (INAUDIBLE) I`m going to run part of the parade.
This is a struggle to be able to catch up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, I got to raise something raised by the executive
producer here, Ann Clank (ph), because she`s r5aised it four times today,
and I know she`s listening. And I just want to know – I want to ask you
Mr. Republican. How come Richard Trumka, who is the great leader of labor
in this country…
MATTHEWS: … is OK with Biden, who basically backed the trade deal?
MATTHEWS: And he`s out there saying to Hillary, Get on (ph). We want
you out there against the trade bill and be a real populist Democrat. How
come she`s being measured by that standard and not Joe? Because he loves
STEELE: Well, because Joe`s standard with the unions is baked in. He
MATTHEWS: Even though he`s with the trade deal.
STEELE: They – look, they forgive – just like you`re seeing with
Trump and Republicans…
MATTHEWS: Well, what did Hillary ever do wrong with labor?
STEELE: Well, but I`m just – but I`m just saying it`s – he`s
bringing something. He has a history that they respect. They understand
him. He`s one of them.
MATTHEWS: Well, how come Hillary ain`t?
STEELE: Because she`s not one of them.
WALTER: I don`t know that we`ve lost – I don`t know that she`s lost
labor, lost any establishment…
STEELE: I don`t think she`s lost them, but clearly…
MATTHEWS: Well, explain why labor`s being cute with Biden.
WALTER: Well (INAUDIBLE)
MATTHEWS: The head of the labor union`s marching along there,
chuckling with him.
WALTER: Why not?
STEELE: Why not?
WALTER: It puts more pressure on Hillary Clinton to do what they
would like to see her do.
MATTHEWS: Where is she on the trade bill?
STEELE: We don`t know.
MATTHEWS: Ron, you want to answer that question (INAUDIBLE) a double
standard (INAUDIBLE) Is there a double standard? There often is, but is
there one here, where Hillary is being judged harshly by the head of the
American labor association, the AFL-CIO, whether she will or she won`t come
out against the president`s trade deal or – and Biden`s not getting
suffering – he`s not suffering through that kind of little test.
Is there a double standard?
REAGAN: Well, there can be, in a way. As Michael was saying, you
know, the labor support for Biden is baked in. And they understand, I
think, that this is a loyal vice president supporting his president`s trade
Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, you don`t quite know where she is.
You know, is she going to support it or not? So there`s a big question
MATTHEWS: Now, you`ve just defined terms, but what`s the answer? Are
they being fair to her?
REAGAN: Probably not. But who said politics is fair?
MATTHEWS: OK, well, here we are, a candidate (ph) who said it`s not -
- not unfair – anyway, here was the head of the country`s largest labor
union on “MEET THE PRESS,” AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka, talking about
the kind of support Hillary Clinton might expect from his union.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD TRUMKA, AFL-CIO PRESIDENT: So here`s the difference. I think
if she doesn`t take a position on TPP, then you can say she`s looking for
our vote. If she does take a position on TPP, then she`s looking for our
And the difference is, if you get my vote, I come out on election day
and I pull the lever. If you got my support, I get up at 7:00 o`clock in
the morning, I stuff 200 envelopes, I make seven calls, I go knock on a few
doors, and I get my neighbors all excited about voting for her, as well.
That`s what she`s – what`s at stake for her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: You know what I think`s going on here right now?
Everybody`s pulling her chain because they think she`s a little vulnerable.
MATTHEWS: And here`s the chance to get her to…
WALTER: Of course.
MATTHEWS: … (INAUDIBLE) way, right?
STEELE: Absolutely. And they know that, and…
MATTHEWS: OK. Is Biden going to make the move? Is he going to get -
- I mean, I don`t want to be too tough on you guys because I don`t know the
answer. Is he going to get closer to running?
STEELE: I think he wants to get closer to running. It`s…
MATTHEWS: November, he says now.
STEELE: Yes, November, he says.
MATTHEWS: It`s part of your job at the Cook report. You have to
WALTER: I have to predict things. In this case, though, is it more
of a psychiatrist trying to predict something than a political analyst
trying to predict…
MATTHEWS: Well, he really wants to run.
WALTER: Do I, though? I mean, I think there`s a part of him that
wants him to run, then there`s this other part that he knows very well what
it means to run, to have the emotional stamina…
WALTER: … to do this, and without a logical pathway…
MATTHEWS: Ron Reagan, people who`ve run for president tend to keep
running until they win it. What do you think of this guy, Joe Biden?
REAGAN: Are you asking me?
REAGAN: I think Biden`s going to do it, but you know, we just don`t
know. He`s had personal tragedies in his life, as we know, just recently,
a terrible tragedy, and there may be an emotional component here that is
something beyond what we can predict. But I would say that he`s going to
go for it, yes.
MATTHEWS: Yes, me, too. I think he`s about 10 minutes from running,
any moment now. I think he really wants to run. He may put it off, but he
wants to run badly. And he thinks he can win it because this is his chance
MATTHEWS: … and he thinks Hillary`s going to falter. And he thinks
she`s going to falter. He`s not a big particularly fan of the Clintons,
and he thinks here`s his chance, and it`s never coming again.
Michael Steele, thank you. I think three of us agree. Amy doesn`t.
Amy, thank you.
MATTHEWS: I think I got it right, although you`re a little quizzical
here. Ron Reagan and I are totally in agreement.
Coming up – President Obama now has the votes he needs to keep
Congress from disapproving the nuclear deal with Iran. It`s a big win for
the president and a defeat for Republicans like Dick Cheney who wants to
tank the deal still.
Plus, Donald Trump and Ben Carson together have over 50 percent
support in the latest Iowa polling, while big names like Jeb Bush, Marco
Rubio and Scott Walker are all stuck in single digits. And that says a lot
about the unsettled state of the Republican Party 2016.
And two weeks before Pope Francis makes his first trip to America,
there`s a culture war brewing inside the Vatican between the pope`s liberal
supporters who hail him as a revolutionary and strict conservatives who,
some of them, are resisting the changes he`s brought to the church. Let`s
talk about how conservatives in this country are reacting to that fight.
Finally, “Let Me Finish” with the difficult deliberation over the
Iranian nuclear deal.
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: A Kentucky clerk jailed for refusing to issue marriage
licenses to same-sex couples is now free. A federal judge today ordered
Kim Davis out after five nights behind bars. She was jailed Thursday of
last week, held in contempt of court for refusing to issue those marriage
Davis addressed her supporters late today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KIM DAVIS, ROWAN COUNTY, KENTUCKY, CLERK: Keep on pressing!
DAVIS: Don`t let down because he is here.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
DAVIS: And he`s worthy (ph). He`s worthy (ph). I love you guys.
Thank you so much!
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, today, presidential candidates Mike Huckabee and Ted
Cruz met with Davis and rallied with her supporters. Here`s Huckabee.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE HUCKABEE (R-AR), FMR. GOV., PRES. CANDIDATE: We do not want to
see this country become the smoldering remains of what once was a great
republic, where the people ruled, and it`s exchanged for a place where five
unelected lawyers think that they can rule. We`re here to say, No, they
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: There`s a glorious tribute to the U.S. Constitution.
And we`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. President Obama and supporters
of the nuclear deal with Iran reached what could be a major victory today.
Four more U.S. senators came out in favor of the agreement, bringing the
total to 42. That is enough to block a congressional rejection of the deal
without the need for the president to veto it.
Congress has until September 17th, next Thursday, to vote on the deal,
but opponents aren`t going down without a fight. Today, former vice
president Dick Cheney called the agreement “madness” and warned that the
results could be catastrophic for national security.
Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut is one of the four senators
who came out in favor of the deal today. Senator Blumenthal, it`s a great
honor to have you on. I can only imagine what you`ve been through in your
heart, staying up at night thinking about it.
Tell us – take a minute or so. Take us through your own battle with
SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D), CONNECTICUT: There were very strong and
compelling arguments on both sides, and friends and supporters on both
sides. It has been a deeply difficult decision.
But at the end of the day, I decided that supporting this agreement
was the best path to preventing a nuclear-armed Iran and doing so by
peaceful means, through diplomacy, not military force.
And one of the key facts for me, as I learned throughout this process,
was that our allies and partners in this negotiation are not coming back to
the table, and rejecting this deal means that the United States, not Iran,
would be isolated, that Iran would be enjoying the results of sanctions
being lifted, a huge windfall, without any kind of discipline or united
I want the United States to be in the lead here through diplomacy and
to be able to stop the funding of terrorism through a crackdown and
overwhelming sanctions that we can help to lead going forward. And that
was ultimately very persuasive to me, as well, as I stayed up those nights,
that looking forward, I hope through unilateral action or consulting with
our allies, we can take specific steps to strengthen and improve this deal,
which is far from perfect.
MATTHEWS: OK. Let me ask you, was there ever a time during the
decision-making, the personal decision-making, where you thought you would
go the other way? Did you ever get hit with a really good argument against
BLUMENTHAL: Iran is not to be trusted. That`s a good argument
against this deal. There are shortcomings in the inspection verification
process, another good argument. And there are also shortcomings in the
duration of the agreement.
As I spoke to opponents of the agreement, I saw arguments on the other
side, and some of them were made with tremendous passion…
MATTHEWS: I`ll bet.
BLUMENTHAL: … and vehemence. But at the end of the day, I became
persuaded as a matter of conscience and conviction that supporting the
agreement was right for America and right for our allies.
MATTHEWS: I was just as a – it just happened that, over the weekend,
I was reading Jay Winik`s amazing book about World War II.
And there`s chapters in there about the Holocaust which I have never
read anything like them before, firsthand account of a survivor of
Auschwitz, and the way in which he saw the German, European, if you will,
sadist, sadistic torture of people, torturing them right to the very end,
humiliating them right to the end, with nobody ever stepping up and saying,
how can we be doing this?
No one said no. Did that enter into your thinking, that there was
such a recent history in the human experience that made you wonder, do the
Jewish people have to look out for themselves?
BLUMENTHAL: Chris, my dad came to this country in 1935 to escape
persecution in Germany.
He succeeded in bringing here his immediate family, but I lost family
in the Holocaust. And that memory is still very much a part of who I am.
And I`m very much aware of the need to be resolute and steadfast in support
of Israel, as well as our other allies in the Middle East, that they will
need military assets, and I`m determined to fight for them, in order to
maintain their qualitative edge and also for their survival.
And so I`m determined to make some good come of this agreement to
strengthen and improve it.
MATTHEWS: I hope so much you`re right. I think you are. Senator
Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, thank you so much, who decided today to
support the agreement.
Dick Cheney, the former vice president, continued, not surprisingly,
his attack on the nuclear deal during a speech at the American Enterprise
Institute here in Washington. His talk was interrupted at one point by a
protester who called him a war criminal before being forced out of the
room. There we go.
The former vice president gave a classic Cheney performance of course
full of fear and threats of mass destruction to this country.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DICK CHENEY, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: With the
removal of restrictions on Iran`s ballistic missile program, this agreement
will give Iran the means to launch a nuclear attack on the U.S. homeland
that guarantees that in less time than has passed since 9/11, a regime with
death to America as a pillar of its national policy will have the ability
and the material to produce an arsenal of nuclear weapons.
Charles Krauthammer has written that it took Nazi Germany seven years
to kill six million Jews. It would take a nuclear-armed Iran one day. To
build a deliverable nuclear weapon is a mercifully difficult enterprise.
But when the world wakes up one day to find the news that Islamic radicals
in Tehran have done it, all the pretenses will fall away and new lines of
force come into view with all further terms to be worked out under the
threat of the first use of the nuclear weapon since Nagasaki.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: I`m joined right now by Jeremy Ben-Ami. He`s the president
of J Street, a pro-Israeli group that came out in favor of the Iran deal
early on. And Ryan Grim, Washington bureau chief for The Huffington Post
and an MSNBC contributor.
Gentlemen, this has been amazingly difficult. You have been right in
the front on this fight. This is – Cheney is selling Cheney. He sells it
all the time. What do you make of what you just heard?
JEREMY BEN-AMI, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, J STREET: These arguments were
the arguments that were used to get us into the last fiasco that we had in
2002 and 2003.
MATTHEWS: There are 200,000 people dead because of that war, blowing
up the Middle East. Thank you, Mr. Cheney.
BEN-AMI: And look what we have got today. And there`s a real
argument that you might not even have the whole situation with Iran today
if it wasn`t for that decision. We have heard these…
MATTHEWS: That Iraq was the only buffer against Iraq – or Israel.
BEN-AMI: Right. And it has completely changed the dynamics of the
region. And we see the tremendous result?
MATTHEWS: How about Europe? Everything is going to be changed
because of that stupid war in Iraq.
BEN-AMI: It`s unbelievable, the ramifications. Listening to those
arguments that are now being resurfaced by him and by the prime minister of
Israel and by some in the Republican Party in Congress today, and they`re
trying to sell us the same…
MATTHEWS: Politically, what do you think was the worst mistake that
people who were against the deal made?
BEN-AMI: Having Prime Minister Netanyahu come here in March to make
MATTHEWS: Against this country`s government.
BEN-AMI: Right. It really – it injected partisan politics. It made
this far less of a rational discussion about the rational deal and the
policy. It was a huge mistake by opponents of the deal.
MATTHEWS: I don`t think John Boehner`s a bad guy. I think that was a
very bad decision.
BEN-AMI: Bad mistake.
MATTHEWS: Go ahead, Ryan.
RYAN GRIM, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: And when Cheney came into office, there
were zero centrifuges in Iran. When he left office, there was something
MATTHEWS: How does he get away with that?
GRIM: It`s not clear he totally does. Even on FOX News the other
MATTHEWS: Well, don`t say it that way.
MATTHEWS: That`s what they do to us, even on…
MATTHEWS: No. And Wallace did a good job of interrogating him and
pointing out what you just did, that the real advances made by the Iranian
nuclear program were under a Republican watch.
GRIM: Right. And he just looks the other way and just keeps
repeating talking points.
But history is not going to judge that kindly. And I think the fact
that he came out and then you saw this flood of supporters of the deal
announce their public support, I think, also says something about his
credibility. I think Obama couldn`t have asked for a better spokesperson
to come forward for the other side.
MATTHEWS: Let me just try to turn the tables here. It seems to me
that in politics, the safest votes, as you know, Jeremy, and you know,
Ryan, are to vote for something that passes or to vote for something that
fails, because then you`re not personally responsible for what happens, the
You have supported the arrangement. What are your responsibilities
now? What are the responsibilities of this administration to make sure
that Iran doesn`t get a nuclear weapon?
BEN-AMI: Yes. The implementation of this deal is absolutely
critical, living up to the promises.
MATTHEWS: Did you read Dershowitz today, Alan Dershowitz in “The Wall
BEN-AMI: Not today. But I have read him…
MATTHEWS: His basically – point was they say in it – at least its
preamble language, that they`re not going to have a nuclear weapon.
BEN-AMI: Right. And that has to be – this is the president`s
commitment, right? And it`s not just the 15 years of the deal. This is a
commitment that goes beyond the deal. It`s in perpetuity.
There`s a lot of the pieces of the deal that continue beyond this
window. That`s the commitment. And we have to make sure that the
resources are there, the cooperation is there to actually implement it.
MATTHEWS: Is this the end of the fight? Is it over, Ryan?
GRIM: This particular fight is over. Yes. Now it`s about
implementation. But to your point, a lot of people took courageous votes,
like Senator Blumenthal coming forward before it was over.
MATTHEWS: And Ron Wyden just now.
GRIM: Ron Wyden, Senator Cantwell.
MATTHEWS: What do you make of Joe Manchin coming against the treaty?
What do you make of that?
GRIM: Trying to look conservative.
MATTHEWS: Look Republican.
GRIM: He said, I am leaning yes. He said publicly, I am leaning yes.
He said the opponents haven`t made an argument for what could be done
if this deal goes down. In other words, he saw that this was something he
ought to support or that he wanted to see pass.
BEN-AMI: All the signals.
GRIM: Right. Once it was passed, he said, oh, free vote, I`m voting
no. Profile in courage.
MATTHEWS: Yes, but you need 41 to stop the resolution from passing,
because it is a no-confidence vote in our president.
GRIM: Right, which they have. They have the 41.
MATTHEWS: Do you think it will hold?
MATTHEWS: Well, that`s a major victory for the president.
Jeremy, you were a great diplomat, a great fighter on this. Jeremy
Ben-Ami of J Street, which you will be hearing a lot more from in the
Up next, what does it say when two outsiders, Donald Trump and Ben
Carson, are making the most noise in the Republican Party? They`re getting
most of the votes right now. I`m going to ask the consummate insider,
former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour.
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I will be totally pledging
my allegiance to the Republican Party and the conservative principles for
which it stand. And we will go out and we will fight hard, and we will
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Guys like a POW with his fingers crossed.
Anyway, that was Donald Trump pretending he is going to stick with the
Republican Party. Anyway, despite budding heads with the Republican
establishment, Donald Trump at least formally committed himself to the
party last week, renouncing even the prospect of a third-party bid if he
doesn`t get the nomination himself.
Trump`s rise has been fueled by a wave of anti-establishment zeal out
there that`s overtaken the Republican electorate. According to the latest
NBC/Marist poll out of Iowa, Donald Trump and Dr. Ben Carson are leading
the field by an increasingly wide margin. Trump is at 29, Carson at 22,
while all their opponents are in single digits.
In fact, support for Trump and Dr. Carson accounts for more than half
of Iowa Republicans, which is more than the 15 other candidates combined.
According to a national poll last week, a national poll, 73 percent of
Republicans, about three-quarters, say they`d prefer an outsider as
president to someone with experience in Washington.
I`m joined right now by a man who knows what he`s talking about,
former Republican national chairman Haley Barbour, who was also the
governor of Mississippi during Hurricane Katrina. He`s author of a new
book, “America`s Greatest Storm.”
I want to talk to you about the storm in a minute because it`s a hell
of a book about American people, American people. What is going on with
your – is the Republican Party coming apart? Once your party was formed
before the Civil War, you had the abolitionists who really wanted to get
rid of slavery, and then you had the old guard, the Whig Party.
Is it coming apart, the radical part of your party breaking off from
the old Bush party, the establishment party?
HALEY BARBOUR (R), FORMER MISSISSIPPI GOVERNOR: I think what you`re
seeing in the Republican Party, you`re also seeing a version of in the
Democratic Party. People are unhappy.
People don`t think Washington works. If you look at a poll, you were
quoting some polling, every poll by everybody says more than 60 percent of
Americans think the country is going in the wrong direction. And by that,
they`re describing Washington. If you ask them about their home state, the
numbers are radically different.
MATTHEWS: But why aren`t they even backing any governors? The
governors aren`t doing well in this race. Walker and Kasich aren`t getting
BARBOUR: Because right now, it`s the anger and Trump has done a very
MATTHEWS: Anger at what?
BARBOUR: At Washington`s failures.
MATTHEWS: What does that mean?
BARBOUR: The country is going in the wrong direction.
MATTHEWS: These are generalities. What is that is ticking people off
about the Republican – why is Jeb Bush getting like half of single digits?
BARBOUR: Because lots of Republicans are very mad at Washington.
MATTHEWS: He`s not from Washington.
BARBOUR: Exactly. That`s one of the interesting things about it.
MATTHEWS: Why are they against Jeb Bush? He is from Florida.
BARBOUR: He is the ultimate Washington candidate, but never had a job
in Washington in his life.
But, look, Chris, people think the country`s going in the wrong
direction at warp speed. They look at this economy and they`re told, oh,
the economy`s getting better. It`s not getting better in their lives.
MATTHEWS: OK. What are the chances of an establishment Republican
candidate winning the nomination, like the president – I mean like – I`m
talking about – I mean somebody like Jeb Bush. Can he actually win the
nomination after all this anger?
BARBOUR: I think – can one of those candidates win? Yes.
MATTHEWS: One of those insiders?
BARBOUR: Could Jeb Bush win? Yes. Marco Rubio win? Yes.
BARBOUR: John Kasich win? There are a lot of people that can win.
But right now what is driving the polling today in the summer of 2015
is anger, dissatisfaction, not believing in Washington. And, look, don`t
think Bernie Sanders isn`t a part of this, too.
MATTHEWS: Don`t worry. I`m going to talk about him, too. Do you
think Trump could win the nomination? Could?
BARBOUR: Could? Of course he could. The American people can pick
whoever they want to.
Do I think he will? I think it`s unlikely, but I do think one thing
he did to help himself. He said, I will not run as a third-party…
MATTHEWS: OK. Who has got a better chance than him to win the
nomination? That`s the tough question of the night. Give me one name.
Who has got a better chance than him?
BARBOUR: Ben Carson.
MATTHEWS: Has a better chance of being the nominee? You`re just –
do you want to take that back?
BARBOUR: No, I don`t want to take it back.
MATTHEWS: Haley Barbour says Ben Carson has a better chance to win
the nomination than Donald Trump?
BARBOUR: You`re asking a question that`s silly for me to answer.
Anybody that tells you they`re going to win our party – who is going
to win our party`s nomination will lie to you by…
MATTHEWS: You`re an expert. You`re an expert.
Let`s talk about something you wrote beautifully about, “America`s
Great Storm.” You were the leader of your state and many parts of the
region of the South after Katrina. And I think you rallied the people. I
think the people looked pretty darn good in Mississippi, because there you
are out there in the field, in the rubble. And they came back pretty
strong down there along the Gulf of Mexico.
BARBOUR: Well, I think the truth is that I didn`t rally the people,
that the people rallied themselves.
The thing about Katrina that`s very undercovered, it`s just not
covered at all, really, the spirit and character of the people of
Mississippi got knocked down flat, bore the brunt of the worst natural
disaster in American history, utter obliteration, back up within 24 hours
rebuilding their communities, not just helping themselves, but helping
their neighbors, the outpouring of volunteers.
Chris, 954,000 volunteers came to Mississippi.
MATTHEWS: OK. You mentioned how people don`t like Washington, all
right, as an idea. In your book, you write about how you butted heads
personally with the Bush White House and members of your own party in your
effort to secure a larger relief package, more money in the aftermath of
This is in the book: “I was really upset by the lack of support from
the White House.” That was the Bush White House. “When my state was in
its greatest hour of need, the president wasn`t going to help me. In order
to overcome the resistance to do something that had never been done before,
and to overcome the resistance to spending billions of dollars of federal
money in the Katrina states, I had to explain what was at stake and why it
was the right thing for the federal government to do this.”
So, you had to – they were resisting you. It`s in this book.
BARBOUR: Well, I will tell you, I went on to write later in the book
that it became clear to me that the White House was saying, we`re not going
to endorse this. We don`t want to put the president out on this limb. We
don`t want to set a bad precedent, but we think you`re going to win without
us. We`re not going to fight you. But we think you`re going to win
I wasn`t happy about that answer either, but it was sure better than
when I first thought, are they going to oppose this? They never opposed
it. But they made us or we were required to win this on our own. It
wasn`t just me.
You had Thad Cochran. Bill Frist was from Tennessee, the Republican
leader. Everybody worked together. I tell a story in there about Barney
Frank, who I bumped into walking into the Capitol. And he called me over
and he said, I hear Mississippi`s got a plan for special hurricane relief.
And I said, yes sir. And he said, send me a copy. I want to write every
Democrat member of the House and ask them to vote for it, which he did.
And every single one of them voted for it.
MATTHEWS: Here`s a blurb on the back. “Haley Barbour, the best
public official to deal with Katrina, is the best at telling its story. He
was a can-do leader when Mississippi needed one and the country needed to
I wrote that.
Anyway, the name of the book is “America`s Great Storm: Leading
Through Hurricane Katrina” by a guy who was there, a great story about
actually America and how we do come back.
Thank you, Haley Barbour.
BARBOUR: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: Up next: Pope Francis is coming to America in just two
weeks. He`s leading the Catholic Church in a more liberal, I think more
tolerant direction, more compassionate, especially on issues like climate
change, social issues.
So, how long can conservatives – social conservatives in this country
continue to dig in and fight against the changing tide of history?
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
A battle royale over faith and progressive politics has hit the front
pages today. Pope Francis is making friends on the left and some enemies
on the right and he`s headed for Washington. And as “The Washington Post”
reports, conservative dissent is brewing inside the Vatican right now. The
changes left the hierarchy more polarized over the direction of the church
than at any point since the great papal reformers of the 1960s.
Well, the pope`s leading something of a liberal crusade. You might
also call it a crusade of compassion. This is what he said about
homosexuals, about gay people, “Who am I to judge?” On climate change, he
says, “Our home is being ruined by human activity.” Our home being the
earth. He`s directed priests to offer confession and absolution to women
who had abortions and he`s called for softer immigration policies as it
relates to the migrant crisis.
In just two weeks, Pope Francis will make his first visit to the U.S.
where he will address a joint session of the United States Congress.
The roundtable tonight, Michelle Bernard is the president of Bernard
Center, Paul Singer is Washington correspondent of “USA Today”, and Ruth
Marcus is a columnist for “The Washington Post”.
And I want to start with you, Michelle. You`re closest, I think.
What are you Episcopalian?
MICHELLE BERNARD, BERNARD CENTER FOR WOMEN: It`s a Catholic lite.
MATTHEWS: That`s fair enough. My father was Episcopalian before he
found the light.
Anyway, let me ask you about the American reaction to this pope. I
mean, I look at him – it`s not going to be doctrinal changes. But what
he`s doing – I am a Catholic all my life. I am a Catholic. I`ll forever
be one is – I really believe that what he`s saying it`s the sin, not the
sinner. It gets back to that we`re going to forgive, even mortal sin.
We were going to see – a woman who has had an abortion is many ways a
tragedy for her. It certainly was a big part of her life and she had to
make a decision. And after she made it, she decided that wasn`t what she
felt good about or whatever, that there would be a way to come home.
And he said, you just go to confession and move on.
MATTHEWS: No more special deal. No more excommunication.
I just think that`s a wonderful embrace of so many Catholics.
MATTHEWS: To come back to the church.
BERNARD: Absolutely. I love this pope, for one.
MATTHEWS: As do millions of people.
BERNARD: As an Episcopalian.
And for people who are gay, for people – for women –
MATTHEWS: That`s not a decision. You are gay.
BERNARD: You are gay. But what I`m – and being a woman is not a
decision. You`re born – you`re either born male or female. For people
who have feel excluded by the Catholic Church or let`s even take it outside
of the realm of the church, have felt excluded by in our culture in any
way, this pope is opening it up. He`s talking about what it really is to
be equal and –
MATTHEWS: I`m with you.
So, Paul, no religious test here. But let me ask you this – why
would the right wing not like the guy? I have a theological theory. They
don`t like it because they like the fire and brimstone. They like the
terror of sin, that if you commit a sin that`s so horrible and so evil that
you can even imagine. And once you commit it, you are now an outcast.
Therefore, you`ll be lest likely to become an outcast which I think is
I don`t think it works that way.
PAUL SINGER, USA TODAY: You know, I`m not a religious scholar by any
stretch of imagination, I`m a reporter who covers politics. I`d like to
see more politics where we believe it is the sinner, not the sin – I`m
sorry, the sin, not the sinner, where we can disagree with each other on a
policy issue and not think that you are bad for America and hate – you
probably beat your dog when you go home.
MATTHEWS: How about Dick Cheney? You have some exceptions here?
SINGER: Even Dick Cheney can go to confession.
SINGER: But it`s the language of let us love each other and disagree
with our ideas, not with our humanity.
MATTHEWS: Well, I think on the question of compassion, it`s real.
And I think that that`s – religion has a role in ordering society. You
know, keeping marriages together. Parents look out for the kids. All
these values by the Ten Commandments are pretty much human values, you
know? That`s why I don`t have a problem with them appearing in some
building somewhere, government building, because they`re really human
RUTH MARCUS, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, the pope is arriving in the
United States, an absolutely interesting political moment. And here, he –
this is a pope whose politics, if you will, are much more in line with
those of American Catholics than his predecessors, which actually helps to
explain a little bit, I think, why the conservatives, political
conservatives might not be so happy about his arrival.
Many of the things he`s stressing, the tolerance, issues of global
warming, issues of opening up immigration are not in line – well, not gay
marriage, but I mean, things where he`s really been very clear we must be
welcoming towards immigrants, they`re not Republican Party or conservative
dogma. And that`s going to create some potentially uncomfortable moments
for Republicans as he speaks to Congress.
MATTHEWS: The wild thing here is, which is very secular, it`s the
first time he`s ever been here, the wild thing. He probably thinks like a
lot of people from the east or the south that we`re much more of a
capitalist country than we are. There`s a pretty good social welfare
system in this country. It`s not great. But it`s pretty good. It`s
surprisingly present, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, all that
stuff and welfare.
And I think he`ll be surprised to hear that there are wonderful
agencies, not just Catholics, there`s a lot of effort in this country. It
isn`t all me first. It`s not that bad, your holiness.
Anyway, the roundtable is staying with us.
And up next, how will Europe cope with the influx of hundreds of
thousands of migrants of refugees from the Middle East? And they`re
pouring – you look at these pictures.
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: We`re back with the roundtable: Michelle, Paul and Ruth.
I`m surprised this great moral issue, political and social economic
crisis in Europe right now. Hundreds of thousands of refugees have poured
into Europe this year. They come from war torn countries in the Middle
East, many of them from Syria, 4 million Syrians have fled their country
since 2011 alone.
Yesterday, a spokesman of the United States National Security Council
said the White House was looking at options to allow more refugees to come
Today, Germany just announced plans to take up to 500,000 of them
annually. German Chancellor Angela Merkel says, quote, “This is a test
that will decide whether we maintain our European values. The entire world
is watching us.”
That`s a big question for us tonight. Can these millions of refugees
and migrants, if you will, adapt to European values.
Ruth, this isn`t just a question of bringing people in, it`s letting
them become Europeans and hoping they will.
MARCUS: Well, it`s a really complicated question, and it`s an issue
that Europe has been struggling with for some time now even before this
latest influx. Look at what has happened in France with Muslims.
MATTHEWS: The hats and the rules.
MARCUS: Well, with the alienation of many people in Muslim society.
MATTHEWS: Also, the rules that are saying you can`t wear head covers
MATTHEWS: Head coverings.
MARCUS: And all of that. So now, you have –
BERNARD: What`s your answer? Is it doable? What can they –
MARCUS: Actually, my answer is, it doesn`t matter if it`s doable or
not, because it`s necessary for Europe. It`s necessary for other
MATTHEWS: And then what do you do?
MARCUS: It`s necessary for the United States.
MATTHEWS: I agree.
MARCUS: To try to accommodate these people.
MATTHEWS: And then what?
MARCUS: And then we`re going to have to figure out how to make this
MATTHEWS: Paul, how do we do it?
MARCUS: I just want to –
MATTHEWS: The second step`s very important.
MARCUS: Because we are morally responsible and Europe is in part
morally responsible for this situation.
SINGER: It`s easier for the Americans to do it because we have a
culture of assimilation, we have a culture of immigration, we`re larger by
population and by size. We have a bigger economy that we can absorb more
people. It`s easier for us to do this than it is for, you know, the French
or Germans or Italians who have, you know, these cultures.
MATTHEWS: How do you do it without bringing the politics in the
Middle East? How do you bring them in without their politics?
BERNARD: You can`t.
MATTHEWS: I`m going to kill somebody who mentioned something about
Mohammed. I`m going to kill them. I have a right to do that. How do you
SINGER: Are we going to politically test everybody?
MATTHEWS: I don`t know.
MATTHEWS: I can put my hands out, too, if you got to make a decision
BERNARD: I don`t think you can.
I agree with Ruth. We have a moral obligation to take in as many
people as possible. However, there`s some serious questions that are
posed. For example, what happens when you have second generation people
who go to Europe and they`re not doing as well as others. They might be
the subject of religious discrimination. And they might feel like they are
in a culture clash, a religious clash.
What do you do at that point in time? And does that lead to more
Those are questions that Europeans and Americans are going to have to
ask themselves about how we bring –
MATTHEWS: I agree. I think there`s a couple of steps here. But
you`re right when you`re right. Morally, the first step, but you better
take seriously that second step. Are you going to have problems down the
Michelle Bernard, thank you. Paul Singer, Ruth Marcus, I read you all
And when we return, let me finish with a difficult deliberation so
many senators went through over the Iranian nuclear deal.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with the difficult deliberation over
the nuclear deal.
I can`t remember a time I`ve watched individual senators go through
such a hard time of weighing two sides of a question. Do they back the
president in his attempt to contain Iran`s nuclear ambition? Or do they
stake out a place for bold opposition.
Well, it`s clear how the Republican senators decided. They did it as
a pact, as they behaved in each vital stage of the Obama presidency. Their
default position ably shepherded by their leaders has been no.
On the Democratic side, the matter has caused, I`m sure, sleepless
nights, long conversations with trusted friends, endless sessions with
their staffs and political strategists. And more than all that, it`s been
a battle for the heart. I think of the members and their true well-based
concerns for the state of Israel were born as the country in the very
aftermath of the Holocaust.
I spent the last week reading Jay Winik`s brilliant “1944” with its
unforgettable accounts of went on in Auschwitz. The sadistic taking of
human hope, the absolute lack of remorse in the way Europeans killed Jewish
people by the millions.
Having to think of a present day Iran, present day Israel, present day
America and the present day world, all with the memory stirring of what
happened in the recent century is a hard test. Not just a political
judgment or policy judgment, but in the deepest, most permanent of moral
I think and hope I`ve lived up to this test to judge the way members
voted not on motive, which is a mixture all the time, but of consequence.
I do believe that we are in a stronger position as a country, as a force
for good, if we stand together and back this agreement and back our
And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
“ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES” starts right now.
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