Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 12/17/2015

David Ignatius, Heidi Przybyla, David Drucker, Robert Costa, Chris Shelton, Anne Gearan, Michael Tomasky, Francesca Chambers

Date: December 17, 2015
Guest: David Ignatius, Heidi Przybyla, David Drucker, Robert Costa, Chris
Shelton, Anne Gearan, Michael Tomasky, Francesca Chambers

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Scared enough?

Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.

Had enough? Well, that was the two-word slogan, campaign slogan, that
brought the Republicans victory in the first election after World War II.
And listening to their presidential candidates these days, you`d expect
their 2016 slogan to be “Scared enough?” Every one of them is out there
shouting their fear and loathing of terrorism.

While trying to calm nerves, President Obama spoke to the country this
Thursday for the third time in 10 days.


harder than ever in Syria and Iraq. We are taking out their leaders. Our
partners on the ground are fighting to push ISIL back, and ISIL has been
losing territory.

And we`re sending a message. If you target Americans, you will have
no safe haven. We will find out, and we will defend our nation. We`ve
prevailed over much greater threats than this. We will prevail again.


MATTHEWS: Wow. Did you notice the president`s tone and demeanor
there? It stands in sharpest possible contrast to what we`re hearing on
the campaign trail, particularly on the Republican side. They have
responded with a combination of tough talk and bravado. They`re declared
war on the president`s manner itself.


(EXPLETIVE) out of them!


TRUMP: It`s true. I don`t care. I don`t care. They`ve got to be

them into oblivion!

I don`t know if sand can glow in the dark, but we`re going to find


realize we`re already in World War III. If he doesn`t understand that
we`re already in that war, then it`s just another example of why he`s so
unfit to be president of the United States.

radical Islam, and we have been for a very long time. And if you refuse to
call it for what it is, you are doing a great disservice to the American


MATTHEWS: Well, David Ignatius is a columnist for “The Washington
Post.” Heidi Przybyla is the senior political reporter with “USA Today.”
And Ron Reagan is the MSNBC contributor.

Ron, I want to start with you out in Seattle. This is really a battle
of style. The Republicans seem to think that “too cool for school” is our
problem, and not that terrorism`s a problem, or a new one, but that all we
have to do is yell like Jackie Gleason did in the old days, and
everything`s going to be just fine.

RON REAGAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, people are anxious here in
the country. People are scared. And that`s red meat to the Republicans.
They trade in fear and loathing, of course, especially during an election

But what`s not happening here – and I have to say this applies to
both sides, it seems to me, to some extent, but more to the Republicans.
Nobody is having a realistic conversation with the American public about
what it would really take if we – and mostly us alone, or even us with
some allies – really wanted to defeat ISIS and wipe them into oblivion, as
Ted Cruz was talking about there.

They`re talking about carpet bombing. They`re talking about bomb the
– out of them. You know, do any of those people actually consult with
military people? Does Ted Cruz, for instance, even know what carpet
bombing is and how wildly inappropriate and useless it would be to fight
ISIS in the Middle East?

So – but also, on the Democratic side, also on the president`s side.
More of more of the same is not going to defeat ISIS here.


REAGAN: This is a complicated problem, and the American people need
to know how complex the dynamics are in the Middle East – Saudi Arabia,
Iran, Sunni, Shia, and what that all means before we – you know, before
they make any judgments about what we ought to be doing.

MATTHEWS: You know, David, it looks to me like we`ve been bombing
people of the Islamic faith since the first Iraq war, since the Gulf war
with George, Sr. We did it in Afghanistan. The world sees pictures of us
bombing the hell out of it, or whatever he`s calling it, the bad word he
wants to use there, all kinds of Arabs, people – carpet – that`s all
we`ve been doing!


MATTHEWS: (INAUDIBLE) that, Oh, that`s the solution. Let`s put more
TV pictures up in the world of how much the United States is willing to
kill Arabs. I don`t see that as the solution.

IGNATIUS: … bombing and tough talk would have done the job, it
would have been done a long time ago. I think President Obama`s problem is
that his demeanor, this Mr. Cool, detached, not hot, red hot temperament,
has left the public feeling unprotected. So the president…

MATTHEWS: You think it – you think it is a problem. He should heat
it up.

IGNATIUS: I think that the White House made a decision this week that
they have to look more engaged. I don`t think they…

MATTHEWS: We saw him today!

IGNATIUS: … want to change policies. So that`s exactly – that`s a
new thing. So this week, the president went to the Pentagon. It was
basically a photo op there. They could have had that briefing in the
Situation Room.

Today, the president went to the NCTC, the counterterrorism center,
same reason – to be seen by the public as being engaged, monitoring the
situation, reassuring the public. And I think that reflects a correct
assessment. The public is scared, and they need more direct reassurance
from the commander-in-chief.

MATTHEWS: If you got a robber outside your house, do you want your
husband or somebody else in the house to start screaming out the window? I
mean, is that – that – it sounds like what people seem to want.

And by the way, Islamic radical terrorism, as if the words themself
were some kind of voodoo magic, you got to call them by certain names, and
then they`ll melt.

HEIDI PRZYBYLA, “USA TODAY”: That`s the problem, is they`re focusing
on rhetoric and rhetoric alone because, Chris, I`ve called and reached out
to some of the most preeminent conservative national security experts –
Jim Jeffries (ph), Bush`s former deputy national security director. He
said there`s no material difference between what they`re proposing in terms
of the actual strategy and what`s happening right now. There might be
tweaks around the margins…

MATTHEWS: That`s what I want to get to.

PRZYBYLA: … but it`s essentially the same – the same (INAUDIBLE)

MATTHEWS: So they`re sowing (ph) noise.

PRZYBYLA: Yes. I mean, it`s like “shock and awe.” Remember “shock
and awe”…


PRZYBYLA: … how good that made us feel? It was the rhetoric


PRZYBYLA: It was the strong man. It was the brass knuckles versus
the professor, right?

MATTHEWS: Ron, back to you. It seems like they also – I remember
FDR once said the Republicans always say they`ll do exactly what you`re
doing, and they`ll do it for nothing and it won`t cost you anything.

Now we have – there`s certainly not going to be a draft. Nobody`s
talking about a draft. The way of keeping our people fighting, men and
women out there, is to re-up them, whether they like it or not, back door
draft, making people have another tour of duty. That`s how we`re fighting
these wars, fourth and fifth tours of duty.

We`re not going to have a draft because that would mean making
actually Republicans have to fight, or Democrats. Number two, we`re not
going to raise taxes a nickel. So we`re not going to let the war cost us
in any way.

I`m trying to think – oh, we`re not going to have any casualties,
either, because we`re not going to put troops on the ground, we`re going to
do this all through magic wand kind of fighting.

They`re not offering up a more vigorous campaign against the enemy, as
we can identify it. They`re offering up rate.

REAGAN: They`re offering up rage…

MATTHEWS: I think that`s what they`re offering.

REAGAN: Well, the Donald Trumps and the Ted Cruzes and a few others
are offering up rage. Some of the more rational players even on the
Republican side, like Jeb Bush, are, as we`ve just heard, essentially
proposing what – what Barack Obama is proposing and what Hillary Clinton
had proposed. It`s more of more of the same.

Nobody, though, is coming to grips with the fact that if we really
want to take care of ISIS, if we really want to do something about these
people over there in Syria, in Iraq, it means boots on the ground for years
and years. So what we`re going to do is just enough to be able to say
we`re doing something, but not enough to take care of the problem.

MATTHEWS: Yes, and I wonder whether boots on the ground, a big
infantry attempt`s going to make – anyway, we`re seeing a brand of no-cost
toughness – that`s what it is, no-cost toughness – emerge on the campaign
trail, and there`s no better example than Trump. He is the epitome of
tough. Here he is.


TRUMP: I would bomb the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) out of them!


TRUMP: I`d blow up the pipes! I`d blow up the – I`d blow up every
single inch! There would be nothing left!

You have to take out their families. When you get these terrorists,
you have to take out their families.


MATTHEWS: Heidi, what do you make of that, We got to take out their
families? Now, that would really be getting into the metered (ph) –
Middle Eastern sensibility. Don`t just kill the guy, say, We`re going
after your children and your grandchildren.

PRZYBYLA: Do you think – what I think about actually the practical
impact that that would have, or as a policy or what – how that`s
resonating with the people because, Chris, I`ve looked at the polls today.
It`s – it`s incredible how much support there is for some of these


MATTHEWS: What, go get the children?

PRZYBYLA: … the Muslim – well, we haven`t polled that one
specifically yet, but like, the Muslim ban. And it`s really resonating

MATTHEWS: Because the people can get mad and say their for those
things and know that it will not cause any danger to themselves, or cost to

PRZYBYLA: The problem is, the polls also tell us that they don`t
believe it`s going to make us any safer. So where does that lead you?
What road does that lead you down in terms of just the hate and the
xenophobia that that is promulgating in our national discourse?

MATTHEWS: Why do people blow their car horns in the traffic all the
time? It doesn`t make the traffic go any faster.

IGNATIUS: Well, this…

MATTHEWS: It makes them feel better sitting in their car to honk the

IGNATIUS: This is a frightened…

MATTHEWS: I think that`s what it is.

IGNATIUS: This is a frightened country, and when people are
frightened, they will fall prey to this kind of rhetoric.

The truth is, the sorts of things that the Republican candidates are
saying couldn`t make the problem worse. If you carpet bomb the Sunni areas
of Syria and Iraq, it would be impossible to stabilize those areas for
decades. You won`t have anybody to work with. You`ll just have a pile of
rubble. That`s not a good idea.

Similarly, if we`re going to get through this, it`s because we`ll have
Muslim allies. The kind of rhetoric we`re hearing from Trump and others
makes it much harder to get Muslim allies in our communities here who will
report terrorist incidents (ph), or Muslim allies overseas who will work
with us.

So the rhetoric may make people feel better, but it`s making the
situation worse. And that`s the dilemma that President Obama I think
understands clearly. He`s trying to amp it up without deviating from a
policy that…

MATTHEWS: Yes, it`s hard to say, though, this is as good as it gets,
though, isn`t it. It`s pretty hard.

IGNATIUS: This is not – he does need to do more. As you know,
Chris, I`ve felt for three years that there`s more that he should be doing.
Right now, he`s trying to resist the impulse to do things the country
really won`t be willing to see through. You know, major ground –


PRZYBYLA: … so shallow.

IGNATIUS: Major ground war…

PRZYBYLA: It`s so shallow.

IGNATIUS: … in the Middle East, returning to Iraq, sending
thousands of troops into Syria. I think the country really, as much as –
as frightened as people are, they`re not ready (INAUDIBLE)

MATTHEWS: Have to do this now. With the Republican field in shambles
and foreign policy dominating, of course, the conversation right now, this
is a golden moment for Hillary Clinton, but she must convince voters that
she`s stronger than Obama. Only 36 percent of the country now approves of
Obama`s handling of ISIS. And voters have seen her at times alternate
between a hawkish and a dovish tone.

Let`s listen to Hillary Clinton.


… because it is not enough to contain ISIS. We must defeat ISIS, break
its momentum and then its back.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is it fair for people to expect that you would
be a more aggressive commander-in-chief than President Obama has been?



MATTHEWS: Ron, again back to you. I think it`s very hard to – I`ve
always thought, watching her position on the EP-3 (ph), on the Iraq war
over the years, that Hillary, I would say, a notch or two more hawkish than
Obama, which certainly doesn`t mean she`s hawkish, it just means she`s much
further over from him. And now the question is, does she want to be seen
that way, as she approaches what will be a very close presidential election
next year?

REAGAN: Well, Hillary Clinton is a political animal. She reads the
political winds as well as anybody. And with the country feeling anxious
about terrorists and ISIS and all of that sort of thing, I would think that
she`ll tack a bit to the right and take a slightly more aggressive tone

But again, she`s stuck with the same dilemma that every other sensible
person is stuck with here, which is what exactly do you do about the
situation? There just is no easy answer.

As far as sort of the optics for her, though, I don`t think too many
people think of her as a big softy. They may not trust her entirely. They

MATTHEWS: Yes. I`m with you, Ron.

REAGAN: … think she`s really political. They think she`s pretty
steely, though.

MATTHEWS: I think watching her in the sit room or anywhere else
(INAUDIBLE) Heidi, here`s the tough one for you. Journalistically, the
morning after the 2016 election – I always like to think ahead to try to
figure out what`s going to happen. If Hillary Clinton wins the presidency,
which I think she has an edge right now, it will say something like she was
able to convince voters, although she`s from the same political party as
President Obama, she will be something that gave them confidence she could
be a great president. What would it be on foreign policy she would have to
fill in the blanks there?

PRZYBYLA: She wouldn`t be as much of a – I mean, the word that
people use to describe Obama, unfortunately, and the word that Republicans
are trying to attach to him right now is “weak.”


PRZYBYLA: And she`s got to project that strength, and I think that`s
the problem for her right now is she`s still in a Democratic primary, and
she`s got a general election and the problem…

MATTHEWS: She can`t fill in that blank.

PRZYBYLA: … that will – that will carry through to her presidency,
if she`s elected.

MATTHEWS: Is that right, David, that she has to fill in that blank,
which why you picked her? Most people try to vote for change when they
vote. They always want something better. That`s how we are as Americans.
What`s the words that Hillary needs to fill in there?

REAGAN: In crisis, people vote for security, and she has to be the
person who makes you feel that her judgment is good, that she`s tough, she
knows – she`s willing to use military power. Hillary Clinton has a very
good relationship with the U.S. military. She has since she was in the
Senate. She has to find a way to project that to voters.

MATTHEWS: I think she has to look strong, too. I think we all know
the situation.

Thank you, David, and thank you, Heidi, and thank you, Ron. Merry
Christmas out there in Seattle.

And coming up – there`s growing worry among Main Street Republicans
that Donald Trump could tank their chances of keeping control of Congress.
You know what they`re afraid of? He`s going to win. He`s going to be the
nominee. And Republican senators in key swing states, the purple states,
are afraid they might get dragged down by him. But who knows.

Plus, the Democrats debate for the third time this Saturday night, two
nights from now, and Hillary Clinton may be the prohibitive favorite right
now, but Bernie Sanders just got a big boost to his campaign. We`re going
to have the guy on that just boosted him.

And Russian president Vladimir Putin praises Donald Trump. They like
each other! Big bromance here – calls him talented, bright and
outstanding. That`s an endorsement you may not want from Vlad, the
impaler! Anyway, to get an idea what a Trump presidency might look like,
look to Putin`s Russia with its hyper-nationalism, saber-rattling and macho

Finally, “Let Me Finish” with the simple thought that every election`s
an attempt to solve the problem presented by the president we have.

And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MILISSA REHBERGER, NBC ANCHOR: I`m Milissa Rehberger in New York with
breaking news. We now have the first charges relating to that San
Bernardino attack. Enrique Marquez, a friend and former neighbor of Syed
Farook and Tashfeen Malik, has been charged with conspiring to provide
material support to terrorists. Marquez is in federal court at this hour
in Riverside, California.

NBC News justice correspondent Pete Williams joins us now from
Washington – Pete.

PETE WILLIAMS, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, these charges give us a much
more complete picture of what the FBI believes happened here. They believe
that Syed Farook, one of the shooters, radicalized Marquez, got him
interested in al Qaeda, got him interested in radical Islam and that the
two began plotting as early as 2010 to carry out terror attacks in the
area, plotting to throw pipe bombs into a community college and then shoot
people, plotting to throw pipe bombs onto a busy state highway to stop
traffic and then shoot people in their cars.

After that, the FBI says, they continued plotting for unknown attacks
and training at shooting ranges. And these court documents say that when
Enrique Marquez bought the two assault rifles that were ultimately used in
the San Bernardino shootings, he knew that the rifles were being bought for
terror attacks, and that he also bought components to make pipe bombs that
could also be used for terror attacks.

Now, the charges say he did not seem to know anything about the San
Bernardino attacks themselves. He`s in court now. He faces these charges.

The government also accuses him of a sham marriage, defrauding the
federal government by agreeing to marry a relative of Farook`s to get her
into the country. She, according to the FBI, in return for the favor, was
paying him $200 a month. So these are the only charges filed in connection
with the shooting, but they don`t accuse Marquez of having any role in the
San Bernardino shootings.

REHBERGER: Supposedly, Pete, he checked himself into a psychiatric
facility after the shooting. What do we know about that?

WILLIAMS: Yes, we`ve reported that, and there`s more detail here.
They say that he`d been drinking, he`d had several beers, and then checked
himself into this facility, made a 911 call in which he said that he
thought that it was his friend using the guns that he bought that carried
out the San Bernardino shootings and that he was extremely upset.

REHBERGER: Do we know what kind of time he could be facing?

WILLIAMS: Well, the maximum here would be about 30, 35 years in
prison. But on the other hand, he`s been cooperating with the FBI.
Indeed, many of the allegations here against him are based on statements
that he made to the FBI. Authorities say they gave him his warnings, his
Miranda warnings, and he chose to talk without a lawyer. But that may
affect the sentencing here, if he`s ultimately convicted, because he was
cooperating to help the authorities learn more about the San Bernardino

REHBERGER: Now, clearly, they were much more than neighbors. They
had become friends. They`d spent a lot of time together. Is there
evidence that they had had some sort of falling out?

WILLIAMS: Not a falling out, but what the government says here is
that in late 2012, while they were in the midst of all their talk about
plotting terror attacks, there was an arrest, an unrelated to them arrest
in southern California of some people who wanted to get folks to go over to
Syria or Afghanistan and attack American soldiers.

They got cold feet and he says – the court documents say that from
2013 on, they basically stopped talking about terrorism.

REHBERGER: NBC`s Pete Williams, thank you very much.

HARDBALL returns after this.



KELLY AYOTTE, (R) NEW HAMPSHIRE: I also don`t believe in the end that
he`s going to be our nominee.

NEIL CAVUTO, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: OK, but you would support him if he

AYOTTE: You know, I don`t support what he has done and I don`t think
he will be our nominee so I don`t think I`ll have to worry about supporting


MATTHEWS: Oh, there`s some hedging by Kelly A. out up in New
Hampshire and now it`s going to answer Senator Kelly A. just a few months
ago saying she didn`t think she`d have to support, have to support Donald
Trump because he would not be the nominee. Well, that`s not certainly so
sure anymore.

But a lot of has changed since then and every day it looks more likely
that Trump could be – could well be the man at the top of the ticket next
summer. And Trump head winds are giving anxiety to Republican senators up
for re-election in purple states like Ayotte up there in New Hampshire,
Wisconsin`s Ryan Johnson but probably should lose anyway. Illinois`s Mark
Kirk probably shoots this anyway. Ohio`s Rob Portman has already in
trouble and Pat Toomey could win, we`ll see.

Not to mention GOP prospects in that wild card opened seats down in
Florida where right now there`s a three-way Republican primary fight.
Anyway, the Washington post Phil Rucker and Robert Costa report, “All are
states where polls predicted that Trump which struggle in a general action
and where analysts believe the shrapnel from Trump atop the ticket would
injure Republican lawmakers in difficult reelection fights thus giving
democrats the senate majority.”

Well, here`s why these senators are very nervous about Trump in 2016.
According to NBC News as Mark Murray, “In the 40 Senate seats since 2004
rated by the cock political report as either a toss up or lean race, 32
times or 80 percent of the time the Senate contest went the same way as the
presidential contest did in the same state.”

Robert Costa`s a “Washington Post” political reporter, MSNBC political
analyst. And David Drucker, is senior congressional correspondent for the
“Washington Examiner”.

David, do you believe that the coat tails of a presidential candidate
are strong enough to decide four out of five senate races or do you not?

DAVID DRUCKER, WASHINGTON EXAMINER: Well, no. They`re strong enough
but I think that if you look.

MATTHEWS: Who are that five? They can decide the race.

DRUCKER: I think if you look at this map, it depends on the map we`re
dealing with but particularly because there`s less ticket splitting than
there use to be and you name the states. I mean, you`re looking at
Wisconsin, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, all states that have gone
democratic in resent years and this is where the battle for senate control
is going to be fought.

Clearly, the top of the ticket could have strong coat tails and that`s
why Trump is a huge liability for Republicans and why down that republican
that they`re going to be candid are really scared.

MATTHEWS: So why would the Republican Party pick a candidate who`s
going to bring them down to the feet?

DRUCKER: Well, because you have voters and you have members of
congress who are up for reelection and.

MATTHEWS: By different points of view.

DRUCKER: That`s correct. Look, I was in Nevada a couple of days ago.
I spoke to Governor Brian Sandoval and Senator Dean Heller you got Harry
Reed`s open senate seat there. You got some congressional races that could
go either way and in a state where 20 percent of the electorate could be
Hispanic and 2016 if not more that`s very ethically diverse. They`re
worried that all of the republican credit that they have build up over the
past couple of years could be for nothing with Trump at the top.

MATTHEWS: Well, there you have it. So that you buy this instance the
economy at difference between how republican voters vote and what`s good
for the party in the election race that there are another voters are voting
for a candidate they vote for Trump. So what hurt the party? Why would
they do that?

why they would do it, what the campaigns are preparing for the campaign
they get definitely a possibility that the party is going to move in a
different direction not in a electable direction that was going to help all
this vulnerable senator. That`s why for me he`s already reaching out to
minority voters. He`s already reaching out to center or left people to say
I need to build the different kind of coalition in case Trump comes up.

MATTHEWS: Why did they probably going to establish or thinking it`s
about two year ago stable running – instead of running dodos. The reason
Trump`s doing well is he`s running against dead people. These are terrible


MATTHEWS: Give me the establishment candidates it will do better.

DRUCKER: Look, I don`t think all look. I don`t think all.

MATTHEWS: They are terrible.

DRUCKER: I don`t think all – they are terrible. Let me tell you.

MATTHEWS: Establishment ones Rubio, right.

DRUCKER: They think that Rubio.


DRUCKER: Let me tell you the biggest problem Republicans are having.

MATTHEWS: Oh yeah, so yeah, well, democratic presidents have no
executive experience they said it per years. No executive experience. We
shouldn`t have elected him president but he can give a good speech. So
they come along with this government to governor have presented a term
whose never had an executive experience, Marco Rubio who just this under
Obama was to say, “I would put him in there. What hypocrites.

DRUCKER: It`s the same – yeah, they are hypocrites. It`s the same
for Ted Cruz. Republicans are having their own version of hope and change
but this is the biggest reason why they`re in the position, they are with
Trump. Republican voters in particular, have lost faith and institutions
faith in the government. They think that all the people that are so smart,
that are supposed to know everything that we`ve been electing for all these
years, have messed it all up. So, why shouldn`t I take a chance on
somebody who`s never done anything?

MATTHEWS: The establishment thought they`re going to have a.


MATTHEWS: By the way, you have me on a show before but that`s exactly
what I think. I think they say, they can`t do worse than dodos that took
us into Iraq, the guys, who would use our patriotism, some people
patriotism and soldiers lives and limbs, to fight a stupid war. They did
it. And they never say they`re sorry, they never say they`ve made a
mistake, they just keep at it.

And Jeb`s out there selling W. this weekend. Right. I`m sorry, W. is
selling, W. is selling Jeb to the money people.

One more worst.

DRUCKER: Well, well look, W still has a lot to play with the money
people and Jeb needs money. I think.

MATTHEWS: That`s why Trump is doing well.

DRUCKER: . and I think a lot of this is also that Republican voters
had an unrealistic expectation of what 2010 and 2014 could deliver and
they`re angry that they didn`t deliver more. And that`s part of this anti-
establishment backlash.

MATTHEWS: So, what do they do? They`re stuck because they can stop
Trump by saying, “Oh, he`s going to cause this pad to me in Pennsylvania.
No, it is not going to stop for that.

COSTA: And I think your point about the hoax, the base is in hawkish
as the party leadership is.


COSTA: The under camp – turn of the Trump campaign, this is not
intervention his stance. I think the biggest disappointment of the party,
at least, is that these governors always governors elected in 2010, 2014,
they didn`t pan out as presidential candidates. They`re left with the two
youthful senators not by choice but because of how the race unfolded.

MATTHEWS: Do you think that Democratic Party will face to face
eventually, to Hillary Clinton will be as weak in establishment as the
Republican established early.

She had some special reserves. I`m opening this question here. And
she`ll come on and say ,”Yeah, I may be part of this party, the Democratic
Party that`s been around for a long time but I`ve got something to offer

DRUCKER: Well, I think, part of it is who she faces in the general
election. If she faces a weak candidate or bad candidate like Trump, I
think, she`s going to look a lot better then if she faces Rubio or even to
Ted Cruz, who for all his tough positions and conservative positions that
could be difficult in the general election, is going to be the youthful and
new and fresh.


DRUCKER: And so, it just sort of depends.

COSTA: But I speak to Democrats, I think, they must rather run
against Senator Cruz because they can pan him as extreme to the right.

MATTHEWS: I agree with you, I agree with you in that. I think in a
way, hoping they`re diminishing the guy because he doesn`t deserve it.

I think Rubio is cute and young. And I think people find him not too
frightening. I think when they look at Cruz, they`ll go, this guy`s
frightening, he really believes and he`s a man of the right, a very hard
right and I think that maybe easier for Democrats to lie against anyway and
Hillary to run against. We`ll see.

Robert Costa, David Drucker, great reporting here today.

Coming up, as Democrats head into their weekend debate, Bernie Sanders
has walk in with one big endorsement but this isn`t enough to stop her with
his momentum?

We`ll have the guy here to talk about why endorse president of CWA,
Communication Workers of America.

Now, if you`re a Republican that`s not a big deal, if you`re Democrat,
that`s a big deal.

This is Hardball. The place for politics.


REHBERGER: I `m Milissa Rehberger with breaking news. A friend of
the San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook was arrested earlier and charged
with three terror related accounts. Authorities say for Farook and Enrique
Marquez plotted attacks at two nearby locations including river side
community college where they plan to throw pipe bombs in the cafeteria and
then shoot people as they fled. They also hoped to attack a California
highway by throwing pipe bombs to stop traffic and open fire on disabled
cars and first responders.

The plans were never carried out. Marquez is also accused of
illegally buying were buying the two assault rifles used in the shootings
early this month. And the explosive used in a pipe bombs.

And attorney Dennis Hastert says the former house speaker has been
hospitalized for six weeks following a stroke. Hastert is awaiting
sentencing in a mush money case.

And defense secretary Ash Carter is under fire for using his personal
e-mail for work related communications. Carter says he should have known
better. Back to hardball.


seeing is a lot of grassroots support in union after union throughout this
country. That support has not necessarily tripled up to the leadership in
some cases. What I know about the CWA is that your endorsement is not just
a paper endorsement. It`s not just a press release endorsement. So we`re
going to have thousands of people on the ground knocking on doors and
making phone calls and helping us as we do what needs to be done in this
country and that is create a political revolution.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to Hardball. That was Democratic presidential
candidate and Vermont senator, Bernie Sanders receiving the endorsement
from the Communication Workers of America, one of the largest labor unions
in the country early today. While the CWA is 700,000 members strong,
represent workers in the telecom media and airline industry and Sanders`
third big labor endorsement but it does tail behind former secretary state
Hillary Clinton who has received 18 national labor endorsements according
to her campaign.

Joining me right now is the president of the Communication Workers of
America, Chris Shelton. Mr. President thanks for joining us and thank you
for putting the show on. And all the other things that the communication
workers do, engineers who work here in NBC and MS, and NBC especially.

Anyway, let me ask you about this. Why Hillary Clinton – I`m sorry,
why Bernie Sanders with Hillary Clinton leading so far?

know, we did an exhaustive poll of our members since September and we had
tens of thousands of our members vote in that poll and they voted for
Bernie Sanders. They voted first of all whether we should endorse or not
and they chose Bernie Sanders as the person that we should endorse.

MATTHEWS: Give me the voice of the average member, the CWA and what
he would say if he were here, why Bernie?

SHELTON: Why Bernie because he`s the guy that we think is going to
stand up for the middle class, going to stand up for working people in the
country better than any other candidate.

MATTHEWS: Now, let me ask you, do you think he has a prayer?

SHELTON: I think he does. I think that with our help and with the
help of the American people and when you look at his town hall meetings,
you just see thousands of people coming out to support him, it looks to me
like he`s got more than a shot.

MATTHEWS: OK, he`s a progressive. He`s a social – in European say
social democrat. Here we say democrat, is he more progressive than

SHELTON: I don`t know if he more progressive than Hillary but his
stance on working people is certainly what we want to hear and what most
unions I believe want to hear even though a lot of unions are backing
Hillary but stands on working people is certainly what we want to hear and
what most unions I believe want to hear even though a lot of unions are
backing Hillary. But, you know, we thought we needed somebody who was not
ready for politics as usual and that happens to be Bernie Sanders.

MATTHEWS: I love your activity here. Thanks so much, Mr. President,
Chris Shelton of CWA. And CWA endorsement was the only big announcement
from the Senator`s campaign today. In Vermont Senator`s also received the
endorsement from a 1 million liberal organizing group. Democracy for
American, aids to Sanders also say he has amassed more than 2 million
contributions and the wash of 2 million people contributing.

And the Washington Post reports today that expect – they expect to
out pace President Obama`s 2012 reelection effort on that count by the end
of the year. More contributors to Bernie that there were to Obama. So,
heading into Saturday`s Democratic debate up in Manchester, New Hampshire
is this Democratic race really over or is it just beginning?

Jay Newton-Small is a correspondent with TIME magazine. You`ve just
got a new addition, a new segment on Hillary Clinton. Some people said,
where did I read today she`s winning but it doesn`t feel like she`s
winning. How do you assess that statement?

to feel like she`s winning right now. Her own campaign wants us to feel
like it`s an actual race that she`s earning their votes and that it`s not
in marks inevitability. So, to them, I mean, I don`t think it`s a bad
thing that Bernie is getting a little bit of steam.

I mean I think it`s really bad if they lose Iowa and lose New
Hampshire and we`re going in to South Carolina but contest is a good thing
and it excites Democrats in the days. And they`re not that worried because
if you look at polls Hillary is still very poplar amongst Democrats. So,
it`s not as a kind of anti establishment thing here. It`s just a healthy
debate that they`re having and that they`re going to get to have.

MATTHEWS: Do you think Hillary Clinton is exposing herself to real
give and take in the interviews that she has chosen to give? I watched a
lot they`re doing. I understand why they do this but I`m not sure it`s the
way to get a candidate ready fort a big fight. And it`s going to be a
close general election. I remember George Bush Sr. he went out and fought,
you know, he went out and fought with Dan Rather. He went out and found
media people that were going to take him on and he looks stronger because
that`s like getting ready for a big battle. You get into sparing partner

Hillary Clinton doesn`t seem like she wants to do that. She wants to
not do that. Your thoughts?

SMALL: Well, are you saying that Bernie isn`t enough, a good enough
debate partner for her coming in tonight in the debate this weekend?


SMALL: Well, I mean it`s true that she have not had any really tough
interviews. A lot of the interviews have been pretty soft at. They do
maybe one round of questions a week, from journalist, the reporters that
travel with her in the campaign trail. So, it isn`t that to the nail but
at the same time they`re kind of more than happy to lay back and let the
Republicans do their thing. Let them fight it out and sort to see who is
last standing but you`re right. The danger is that then she goes to the
general election very soft, very weak with a very big under belly.

MATTHEWS: I think she looked great in that fist debate. Not so good
in the second debate. I think it`s a thing you have to learn. It`s like
playing the piano. Everything else you`re doing like playing baseball, you
know, before every baseball game they go out and practice for an hour. So,
they practice every night before the game.

These are pros. They shoot baskets in the NBA before the game. Pros
have to go practice every night. You`ve got to learn this game and you got
to keep practicing and you can`t lay back and say, I`ll win the next game
I`m great.

Anyway, thank you Jay Newton-Small. That`s my lesson for tonight.
Anyway, a reminder let me – we`re going to have live coverage this
Saturday night, the Democratic debate, Saturday night here. I`m coming to
work 10:00 Eastern to tell you what we thing and what happened the debate
this Saturday between – among Bernie and O`Malley and Hillary Clinton.

Coming up, by the way, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, this is so
weird to say but, had the same kind of way of talking. Talking, but is
that a good thing? I mean, why does Trump, why does Vladimir like Trump so
much? We`re going to ask you to pick out who said what because you can
tell whether it`s Trump or Vladimir who just said this. This is going to
be fun and also weird and a little scary. You`re watching Hardball. Place
for politics.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

Donald Trump seems to have a fan over in the Kremlin. Vladimir Putin
told Russian journalist today, quote, “Trump is a bright personality, a
talented person, no doubt about it. But it is not up to us to appraise his
positive sides. It`s up to the U.S. voters. But as we can see it, he`s an
absolute leader in the presidential race.”

Well, the admiration appears to be mutual while most try to out do
each other talking about how tough they will get confronting the Russian
leader. Donald Trump is going in the opposite direction.


well with Putin. I think so. People say what do you mean? I think I
would get along well with him.

I think in terms of leadership he`s getting an A and our president is
not doing so well. They do not look good together.

I would get along with Putin. I`ve dealt with Russia. Putin hates –

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN: You think you`d get along with Putin?

TRUMP: I think I`d get along with him fine. He does not like Obama
at all. He doesn`t respect Obama at all. And I`m sure that Obama doesn`t
like him very much.

But I think that I would probably get along with him very well, and I
don`t think he`d be having the kind of problems that you`re having right

And I got to know him well because we were both on “60 Minutes”. We
were stable mates. We did well that night. But you know that.


MATTHEWS: I don`t think he`s ever met him.

Anyway, I`m joined by tonight`s roundtable, Anne Gearan is political
reporter with “Washington Post”, Michael Tomasky is a columnist with “The
Daily Beast”, and Francesca Chambers is a White House reporter for “The
Daily Mail”.

Francesca, what is this thing? Are they going to the same Russian
health club and fights it out naked or something, looking that movie?

FRANCESCA CHAMBERS, THE DAILY MAIL: When you read the loud what Putin
said, it sounded like a Trump press release, quite honestly. You know,
he`s absolutely winning this race from what we can see.

But I think that what they do have in common is they`re both
aggressive. I think they`re both playing off a populist sentiment and
they`re both very colorful. And so, they have a lot in common, as Trump
pointed out.

MATTHEWS: Does this mean peace for mankind if they get together?

MICHAEL TOMASKY, THE DAILY BEAST: Yes, well, it means peace for
Putin. And you know, the psycho drama of this is interesting. It`s more

There`s geopolitics here too, Chris. Trump said he doesn`t care if
Ukraine and Georgia get into NATO, and he has also said the Ukraine – the
fighting in Ukraine is Europe`s problem. Putin loves to hear those things.
So –

MATTHEWS: What Americans want to fight over Georgia and Ukraine?
Maybe the Baltic states I think will fight for it, to be in NATO. Do we
really want Georgia –

TOMASKY: John McCain hasn`t said that?

MATTHEWS: Yes, but do you think the average American wants to take
part of the inner empire and give it to Europe?

TOMASKY: Some of the other Republican presidential candidates.

MATTHEWS: Well, that would be fighting words.

Anyway, Anne, you can start the game. We`re going to play a little
game tonight. It`s like Jimmy Fallon stopped here. “BuzzFeed” had an
online quiz asking who said it, Trump or Putin. I`m going to read quotes
now and you`re going to have to decide who said what.

First off, “There`s an old German proverb to the fact that fear makes
the wolf bigger than he is, and that is true.”

Who said that?

Well, the answer is Donald Trump. We got that wrong completely.

Next, the White House has mush for brains.

We`re all wrong again. It`s Putin.

Next quote, “We`re losing a lot of people because of the Internet and
we have to do something, maybe in certain areas closing to Internet up in
some ways.”
It`s Trump.

Trump. The answer finally got one right. One for three.

Next quote, “Partnerships must have loyalty and integrity at their

Three of us are wrong. Another disaster.

Here`s another one. You got that one. You got it right.

Here`s another one, “Terrorist are using civilians as shields. But
we`re fighting a very politically correct war.”

We know. Putin knows what politically correct means anyway.

Finally, “You know what`s bad? Not bad but a tragedy, there`s just
one of me. There`s nobody else like me in the world.”

I think that`s Putin. OK. We got Putin. Two of us got Putin right.
It`s getting very tricky.

Anyway, the round table is staying with us and they`re going to tell
us, all three of them, tell me something I don`t know. That`s coming up.




MATTHEWS: We`re back with the HARDBALL round table.

Anne, tell me something I don`t know.

ANNE GEARAN, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, Hollywood is embracing
Hillary Clinton and she is embracing Hollywood. And Hollywood is doing
this in more ways than writing checks.

Today in New York City, Drew Barrymore and her husband are hosting a
family holiday party, $2,700 ticket gets you, a spouse and your kids in.
Last weekend, Tony Goldwyn, President Fitz from “Scandal,” spent the entire
weekend campaigning for Hillary in Iowa. And then on January 9th, we`ve
learned that Lena Dunham will also be in Iowa for Hillary.

MATTHEWS: Yes, but after all that is said and done, Michael Bay`s
movie`s coming out early next year blasting her.

GEARAN: Yes, right exactly when she`s going to –

MATTHEWS: That`s going to hurt more than anything.

Go ahead, Michael.

TOMASKY: I learned today that this week for the first time some
serious Republicans started talking about their nominee, Paul Ryan, at a
brokered convention.

MATTHEWS: Oh, really?

TOMASKY: I`m not saying it`s going to happen. I`m saying they
started talking about it.

MATTHEWS: You want to bet? Ha!

TOMASKY: I don`t want to bet. I`m just telling you.

MATTHEWS: Francesca.

CHAMBERS: Yesterday, President Barack Obama had a secret meeting with
former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the White House ended up giving
out details of that to reporters but wasn`t originally going to. It wasn`t
on his schedule.

Apparently, the White House and President Obama invited Bloomberg over
to talk about gun control. As you may know, the president may take
executive actions on gun control next year. So, I`d love to have been a
fly on the wall in that meeting.

MATTHEWS: Maybe he wants an ad campaign to go along with an executive

CHAMBERS: Possibly.

MATTHEWS: An ad campaign might make it work. Without it he`s out
there all alone again. And Bloomberg does have some money.

Thank you to my roundtable tonight, Anne Gearan, Michael Tomasky and
Francesca Chambers.

When we return with a simple thought that every election is an attempt
to solve the problem represented personally by the president we happen to

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with a simple thought that every
election is an attempt to solve the problem represented by the president we
have. And this is the norm. And it makes perfect sense.

For the voter, it`s a matter of figuring out what is the most
important thing they want changed. Is it a problem to have a president as
we have now who tends to be cool in his manner, you know, the no drama
Obama thing? Do we want our president to express outrage? Do we want him
to show anger in his voice and his face? Do we want loud shouts of anger
and contortions in his face? Do we want to see the veins in the guy`s neck
start to bulge?

Then we`ve got the wrong man. Just as we`ve got the wrong man if we
want a politician in the White House who just loves the company of other
politicians. This one certainly doesn`t, just like he certainly doesn`t
show his reactions to things.

Somehow I think there are other areas of improvement we might like to
think about. I`ll keep thinking, but I believe Barack Obama has been right
about the economy, right about war policy, right and courageous about
health care, social justice, and a whole wide range of issues. And so far,
I think he`s been precisely the president we wanted when most of us voted
for him.

And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.

“ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES” starts right now.


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