Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 3/2/2016
Date: March 2, 2016
Guest: Mo Brooks, Cecile Richards, Margaret Carlson, John Stanton, Tad
Devine, Anne Gearan, Simon Marks, Nayyera Haq
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: A stampede of elephants.
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews back in Washington.
Well, too little, too late and too loopy, the Republican establishment is
trying to keep its presidential nomination from the man who`s now won 10
state primaries and is on the way to tripling that number.
Question. This being a democracy, how do you deny your party`s, nomination
to a candidate who people, lots of whom have never done anything like it,
have come rushing from their houses to support? How do you hold primary
after primary, ask people to show up and vote for – vote in them, and then
when you don`t like their choice, tell them none of it matters, that you`re
going to pick someone else to be the party`s nominee for president?
Well, how do you deny the people`s choice and still expect the party to
stick together for someone they decided, the people, quite deliberately in
primary after primary, not to choose?
Well, Trump racked up wins in 7 of the 11 states holding contests
yesterday, while Cruz earned 3 victories and Rubio 1, giving Trump a total
of 10 states won. You see them there on the map. Pretty impressive.
Trump`s total delegate count stands at 325, Ted Cruz at 237, Marco Rubio at
– at 111, actually.
I`m joined right now by NBC`s Chuck Todd, moderator of “MEET THE PRESS,”
and MSNBC political analyst Robert Costa of “The Washington Post” – he`s
at “The Post” – as well as Republican congressman Mo Brooks of Alabama,
who supports Senator Cruz for president.
Let me start with Chuck Todd about this. I am confounded by the talk – it
began last night when – with Ben last night – about how Republicans are
going to deny the nomination, somehow give it to somebody else. How do
they do it?
CHUCK TODD, MODERATOR, “MEET THE PRESS”: Well, how do they do it?
MATTHEWS: If Trump goes into the convention with the most delegates.
TODD: Well, but if he doesn`t have a majority, he doesn`t have a majority.
MATTHEWS: No, but he has the most.
TODD: He has the most, but he doesn`t have a majority. I agree with you.
I think in this day and age, in the 21st century, where every delegate will
be their own news organization at this point, OK – this isn`t – this
isn`t Estes Kefauver in 1956, OK? This isn`t even Kansas City in 1976. As
I was talking with Charlie Black…
MATTHEWS: Well, Kefauver lost (ph) the nomination in `52, actually, to
Stevenson at the convention.
TODD: Right. So this isn`t even `76, though. So this is going to be, if
this does take place, such a transparent and ugly process that everybody`s
going to be watching, of which there are no rules because there is no
tradition to even follow. Everybody`s going to play their own rules on
But if he doesn`t have a majority, and you have two candidates chasing him
that together would give them the majority, well, the math is simple. Then
they could overtake him, and that is how it could work.
MATTHEWS: If they agreed to…
TODD: If they agreed to…
MATTHEWS: … flip a coin.
TODD: … run as a ticket or flip a coin. And look, anything is possible.
I went back through with Charlie Back. He worked for Reagan in `76. And
he said the whole point of getting Schweiker, he said, was this. We
identified – the Pennsylvania delegates were unbound.
MATTHEWS: I know.
TODD: And we thought, OK, let`s get a Pennsylvania guy. It didn`t work,
as it turned out. But that is…
MATTHEWS: Because Jim Baker held them together…
TODD: That`s right.
MATTHEWS: … for Ford. Anyway, I know all this, but thank you. You know
Anyway, the 2012 Republican nominee, Mitt Romney – he was the last guy
they picked – has also stepped up his attacks on Trump in recent days. He
announced today, Mr. Romney did, that he will make a major speech on the
state of the presidential race tomorrow, I believe in the morning.
Already, a handful of elected officials and other party figures, a couple
governors, a couple senators, have publicly said they won`t commit to
voting for Trump if he`s the nominee. Among them, freshman senator Ben
Sasse of Nebraska said he`d rather support a conservative – third party
Anyway, here`s what Trump said when asked about that possibility late last
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: Some strongly worded statements coming out in recent days,
including one from a senator from Nebraska, Ben Sasse, who said, If Donald
Trump ends up as the Republican nominee, conservatives will need to find a
third party option.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, they can always do that,
and then they`ll just lose everything. And that would be the work of a
loser. But look, I`m a unifier. I know people are going to find that a
little bit hard to believe, but believe me, I am a unifier. Once we get
all of this finished, I`m going to go after one person, and that`s Hillary
Clinton, on the assumption`s she`s allowed to run, which is a big
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Best performance. Anyway, the Republican leadership in Congress
also speaking out. Yesterday, Paul Ryan, the speaker, condemned Trump
forcefully for his failure to denounce white supremacist groups. And “The
New York Times” reporter that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell gave
his colleagues permission to separate their reelection campaigns from
Trump, saying, We`ll drop him like a hot rock. That`s Mitch McConnell
Anyway, “The New York Times” also reported that Republican business leaders
held a conference call yesterday to raise money for a super-PAC intended to
stop Donald Trump from becoming the nominee. This comes as Ben Carson
today announced his intention to skip the Republican debate – there`s
going to be another one tomorrow night – saying he does not see a path
forward to his own nomination.
Let me bring in – let me bring in Robert Costa. Stay with us, Chuck. I
need you here, OK? This is a tricky one.
Robert, what is this talk? It just seems to me like a bunch of
establishment types running around, talking to each other, but they don`t
have a candidate to beat Trump. No one person can they put forward and say
he`ll do better politically than Trump. They don`t have a guy like that.
ROBERT COSTA, “WASHINGTON POST,” MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Romney`s move is
a stinging one. A lot of the campaigns today privately were seething,
unhappy with Governor Romney. They`re wondering why he`s stepping into the
arena, giving a speech in Utah tomorrow without offering an endorsement,
instead offering some guiding, some guidance, some talking points, it
seems, is what`s going to be on the agenda for Romney, trying to get the
party to have a more coherent message against Trump.
MATTHEWS: Well, like so many times in the history of Mitt Romney, was he
just imitating his father, who did the same thing to Goldwater back in `64?
COSTA: The history certainly has a precedent here. We see Romney in his
political winter, but very much not a silent presence on the sidelines. He
wants back in, not maybe as a candidate, but he wants back in the process.
Remember, back early 2015, he teased a presidential bid, said he was maybe
thinking about it again. Romney`s associates tell me tonight he thinks he
can be the chief anti-Trump voice in the Republican Party. He thinks the
other candidates aren`t getting it done. He may not run, but he wants to
be out there as a foil.
MATTHEWS: He strikes me as the very opposite of what Republican voters
want this time around.
Anyway, here`s how Donald Trump responded to Romney`s announcement just
moments ago. Quote, “Failed presidential candidate Mitt Romney`s having a
news conference tomorrow to criticize me, just another desperate move by
the man who should have easily beaten Barack Obama.”
Congressman Brooks, thank you for joining us. How does this – how do you
react, as a guy pushing for Ted Cruz, to this Romney interruption,
intervention, or whatever you call it?
REP. MO BROOKS (R), ALABAMA: I really haven`t paid much attention to it,
and so it`s not a concern of mine.
MATTHEWS: Well, what`s that mean? He was the nominee of your party four
years ago, and now you don`t think his voice matters?
BROOKS: Well, his voice does matter, but it`s premature. We don`t know
what he`s going to say. And he has the right as an American citizen to say
whatever he wants to say. Some people will be influenced by it. Some
won`t. Principally, though, this is a campaign now between the Trump team
and the anti-Trump team. And that`s what I`m more focused on. There are
plenty of players surrounding…
MATTHEWS: I understand.
BROOKS: … those two teams that will have an impact, but I`m focused more
on what the principal candidates will say and what they`re going to do for
MATTHEWS: How do you outmatch Trump`s delegate strength as it moves
forward, with Cruz? Can Cruz unite all the anti-Trump people?
BROOKS: Well, Donald Trump is already behind. Going into yesterday,
Donald Trump – his team was ahead. They had more delegates than did the
anti-Trump team. Now Donald Trump is behind. With what happened
yesterday, he fell behind the combination of Kasich, Rubio and Cruz, what I
call the anti-Trump team. And with Ben Carson looking like he`s going to
drop out, that enhances the viability of those three anti-Trump candidates.
And going forward – if you really analyze the election results yesterday,
it was a really bad day for Donald Trump. It was a really good day for Ted
BROOKS: And Marco Rubio got what he need to be able to claim some degree
of survivability with his victory in Minnesota. But the analysis I look at
is this. We`ve got two types of primaries and caucuses, open and closed.
Closed is where Republicans choose our nominee, OK?
BROOKS: And Donald Trump has lost 80 percent of the states where
Republicans are choosing our nominee. Coming up, we`ve got 20-plus states
that are closed primaries, where only Republicans are allowed to vote.
BROOKS: And if Donald Trump continues losing 80 percent of those states,
well, there`s over 1,000 delegates in those 20 states. Donald Trump`s
going to be in a world of hurt. So we`re going to see how he goes forward
trying to recover from his severe losses in the states that only allow
Republicans to participate…
MATTHEWS: OK, let me…
BROOKS: … in the selection of the Republican nominee.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you a matter of principle. Could you see your party
– would you support an effort to deny the person with the most delegates
going into the convention the nomination?
BROOKS: Well, to me, the team that`s going to have the most delegates is
in all likelihood the anti-Trump team. Now, do you deny the majority…
MATTHEWS: I`ve never heard of a candidate team. I`ve never heard of such
a thing, this coalition you`re talking about.
BROOKS: Oh, sure you have.
MATTHEWS: You have to have a name.
MATTHEWS: And what`s the…
BROOKS: 2008, Mike Huckabee and John Glenn – excuse me, John – John
McCain, Senator McCain, they coalesced on a strategy that helped one win
New Hampshire and the other win Iowa. So it`s happened before. It`s
happened many times throughout American history.
But I think – normally, you would not see a team, but when you`ve got
Donald Trump, one candidate, that is so belittling, so insulting…
BROOKS: … to people who normally would be competitors, he has forced
them to gel together…
BROOKS: … into a team against Donald Trump. So it`s a team of Donald
Trump`s own making.
MATTHEWS: Let me go back to Chuck.
TODD: Look, it`s fascinating what the congressman is saying, and I applaud
him for voicing it because I – I – I`ve heard this strategy. And it is
this idea that – it`s funny, two days ago, Cruz, Rubio and Kasich were all
desperate to consolidate. No, no, no, no! Rally around me. I could stop
Trump. Rally around me.
Post-super-Tuesday, the conventional wisdom is, Oh, boy, all of us need to
participate in stopping Trump. John Kasich, your job is to stop him in
Ohio. Marco Rubio, go do your job in Florida.
Congressman brings up a very important point about these open and closed
primaries. Eight of the next 13 contests between now and March 15th,
closed Republican primaries. And he is right. Oklahoma and Arkansas,
where Oklahoma Trump lost, Arkansas, he almost lost – those were closed
Republican primary states. You`ve got four this weekend…
MATTHEWS: Yes. OK.
TODD: … and they`ve been strong for Cruz, in particular. The Florida
primary is closed, only registered Republicans.
TODD: So this is – this is – if you can`t stop him now – the
opportunity is there to stop Trump. 8 of the next 13, by March 15th…
TODD: The opportunity is there. The strategy the congressman outlines is
MATTHEWS: OK, let`s bring in…
TODD: There`s a lot of – there`s a lot of viability to that.
MATTHEWS: Robert Costa, here`s the challenge I keep making. The American
people have gotten used to picking presidential nominees in the primaries.
They`re used to picking the one with the most votes. That`s the guy or
woman who wins, the one with the most votes.
Come this summer, they all of a sudden, the people went out and voted in
the snows of New Hampshire and out in Iowa when it`s just as cold – all
went out and voted and picked perhaps Donald Trump as the leading
candidate. Then they`re told, No, that`s now how it works.
It`s sort of like in Iran, where the mullahs get to make decisions in the
end and the voters don`t really matter. It seems to me that`s going to be
awful hard for people to buy, that democracy isn`t democracy, it`s the –
Oh, the second or third guy really wins because somehow, there was a
coalition that went together and they ganged up on Trump and said, Oh,
we`re going to pick Rubio or we`re going to pick Cruz, but not the guy who
had the most votes.
I don`t think that`s going to sell, and I think Trump will walk right out
BROOKS: I respectfully disagree for a moment, if I might interject…
COSTA: Based on my reporting, I`m not so sure that`s going to work. I`m
not sure it`s going to be effective. You look at these “Stop Trump”
organizations. They haven`t been active on the airwaves in a significant
way. Trump is steamrolling through many of these primaries.
I talked to a lot of party leaders today, called around, and they said they
had a cautionary message. They said they`re worried if they go too hard
against Trump, those white working class voters, who are turning out in
record numbers in these primary and caucuses – will they even show up in
November if they feel like they`ve been wronged and they came out and their
candidate was somehow pushed aside at a convention.
So there`s a lot of discussion at the highest levels of party. Does it
really make sense to have an all-out assault?
MATTHEWS: Well, let me ask you, Congressman, about fairness because Trump,
who`s got all kinds of problems and he`s a mixed bag, at best – we all
know that- he goes into this convention, he`s going into this process
saying, I`m running for the Republican nomination, and I`ll stick with this
process as long as they`re fair to me.
You`ve just said a few moments ago he`s a special case. We`re going to do
something to him we`ve not done to other candidates.
BROOKS: No, that`s not true.
MATTHEWS: We`re going to gang up on him. Well, you said you got to stop
Trump for a particular reason, not because he`s the front-runner, but
because he`s Trump. That`s why you have to have four people in a coalition
to stop him.
BROOKS: If we had more time, I could get into specifics, but there are
valid public policy reasons. There are valid character reasons that
motivate people to form this coalition.
And let`s be sure about a couple of things. The rules are very simple. If
you get a majority of the delegates, you`re the nominee. Delegates are
legally obligated to vote for the person that they`re committed to on the
first ballot, sometimes beyond the first ballot.
BROOKS: And so if Donald Trump wins, where winning is defined as getting
the majority, he is the Republican Party nominee. Now, at some point in
time, this coalition, so to speak, the anti-Trump team, they`re also
jockeying amongst themselves to be the one who leads that team, and so
that`s going to get a little bit rocky at times, too. I`m sure there`s
going to be tension over there.
But again, the principle is very simple. Majority rules, and if Donald
Trump wins enough delegates to form the majority, he`s it. But if another
candidate has a majority of the delegates, then that candidate is it. How
can you deny the nomination to another candidate who can claim a majority
of the delegates when the law and the rules say that`s the standard by
which someone prevails? It`s not whether you win a state. That`s like
getting a first down.
MATTHEWS: OK. I`m just…
BROOKS: … is the delegate breakdown.
MATTHEWS: I`ll go back to this. If going into the convention in
Cleveland, Donald Trump has the most delegates, there will be civil war if
he doesn`t get the nomination. Thank you very much…
BROOKS: Well, we`re in a very difficult situation – if I could –
BROOKS: Do I have time?
BROOKS: Very difficult situation. On the one hand, Donald Trump is
bringing in a lot of independents and Democrats, and that`s a positive, OK?
But on the other hand, he`s alienating as much as 20 percent of the base
Republican voters who are publicly or privately saying they will not vote
for Donald Trump as our nominee.
That puts us all in a very difficult situation. And I wish that Donald
Trump did not use so much profanity. I wish he did not insult so many
different people the way that he does so he could capture this 20 percent.
But there are a lot of people who really want in the White House a person
of integrity, a person that their kids can look up to.
BROOKS: So any alienation that is occurring is because Donald Trump has
intentionally or otherwise alienated them. And to now say…
BROOKS: … that he is a uniter, not a divider, is silly.
MATTHEWS: OK, thank you.
TODD: Prisoner`s dilemma. He just outlined the prisoner`s dilemma very
MATTHEWS: What`s the prisoner`s dilemma?
TODD: Well, they sit there and on one hand, he`s bringing more people in.
On the other hand, he`s alienating more people. And it`s…
MATTHEWS: And on the other hand, they want to make the decision by the
closed – closed primaries where Republicans make the decision.
TODD: Well, and there you go. I mean, it is – the Republican…
MATTHEWS: You want a bigger party?
TODD: It is the Republican Party.
MATTHEWS: You want a more homogeneous conservative party, don`t let
anybody vote in your primaries. Anyway, thank you, Chuck Todd. Thank you,
Robert Costa. And thank you, U.S. Congressman Mo Brooks.
Coming up, Hillary Clinton`s big victories last night prove she has the
deep support of African-American in this country. Without such support,
how long can Bernie Sanders stick around in this fight?
Plus, the global reaction to Donald Trump as he locks in his status as the
likely Republican nominee. From Mexico to Russia, people around the world
are watching, and they`ve got plenty to say about Trump.
And if the general election campaign between Clinton and Trump truly
started last night, what will be the record turnout? What will it do (ph)
– we`re seeing on the Republican side mean for November? We just talked
about that, all those new voters Trump`s bringing in. Should Democrats be
Finally, “Let Me Finish” with the problem facing Republicans. It goes back
to the birther thing and their failure to stop that talk.
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Six newspapers in New Jersey today have called on Governor Chris
Christie to resign. The editorial boards write, in part, “What an
embarrassment. What an utter disgrace. We`re fed up with Governor
Christie`s arrogance. We`re fed up with his opportunism. We`re fed up
with his hypocrisy. We`re fed up with his sarcasm. We`re fed up with long
neglect of the state to pursue his own selfish agenda. We`re disgusted
with his endorsement of Donald Trump after he spent months on the campaign
trail trashing him, calling him unqualified by temperament and experience
to be president. And we`re fed up with his continuing travel out of the
state of New Jersey on New Jersey`s dime, stumping for Trump after finally
abandoning his own presidential campaign.” Well, there you heard it.
A new poll shows Christie matching his all-time low approval rating in the
state. Just 30 percent of New Jersey voters approve of how he`s handling
his job, 61 percent of New Jerseyans disapprove. According to Fairleigh
Dickinson University, which conducted the poll, Christie`s approval dropped
6 points following his Trump endorsement.
And we`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you all so much.
What a Super Tuesday!
Instead of building walls, we`re going to break down barriers and build…
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
CLINTON: … build ladders of opportunity and empowerment, so every
American can live up to his or her potential, because then, and only then,
can America live up to its full potential too.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
That was Hillary Clinton last night with supporters in Florida, reveling in
her sweep of the largest Super Tuesday states. Clinton`s Southern strategy
worked. She won Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia,
and even a nail-biter up in Massachusetts which I was watching all day.
But Bernie Sanders didn`t leave empty-handed either. He won Colorado,
Minnesota, Oklahoma, and his home state of Vermont, where he spoke last
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (VT-I), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I know that Secretary
Clinton and many of the establishment people think that I am looking and
thinking too big. I don`t think so.
At the end of tonight, 15 states will have voted; 35 states remain. And
let me assure you that we are going to take our fight for economic justice,
for social justice, for environmental sanity, for a world of peace for
every one of those states.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, exit polls showed that Hillary Clinton strength came from
a variety of groups, including Hispanic voters, who she won 66 to Bernie
Sanders` 33. Black voters also gave her strong support, especially black
Clinton received 36 percent of their vote, while – 86, I should say –
while Sanders got the rest, 13.
Anyway, Bernie Sanders, meanwhile, found support with solid backing from
white male voters, winning 54 percent of those men – men compared to
Well, joining me now is Tad Devine, a senior adviser to Bernie Sanders`
campaign, who always come on this show. We like that. And Jonathan
Capehart and Anne Gearan, both of “The Washington Post.”
What did you make of last night? I was trying to be really straight about
it by saying before what I thought were my calibrations. If he wins four,
pretty good night.
TAD DEVINE, SENIOR BERNIE SANDERS CAMPAIGN STRATEGIST: Yes. I thought it
was a good night. We tried to win five. We won four. We almost won
Massachusetts. We targeted those state. We made a great effort there.
MATTHEWS: But you called – he called for – he said he was going to win
DEVINE: He says he is going to win I think almost every state he is in.
DEVINE: Listen, he`s very optimistic. He feels the Bern himself, I think,
in front of those crowds, and I don`t blame him.
But we fought hard in Massachusetts. And we came very close. We were up
against a whole political establishment. I think they emptied out city
hall at about 2:00 yesterday in Boston. OK?
MATTHEWS: Marty Walsh. The mayor is a tough opponent.
DEVINE: And yes. And we respect that, OK?
MATTHEWS: And Tommy Menino was before him up there.
It`s old time. It`s fascinating, just for a second. You guys do have the
great message. There`s no doubt, you and Trump, in totally different ways,
have – I`m talking like your guy now.
MATTHEWS: You`re from inside the Beltway.
No, and you guys definitely have the message this year, the clear messages.
But Hillary has got the old-school connections, Harry Reid, you know, John
Lewis, and Jim Clyburn, in all these states, and old politics seems to
DEVINE: Yes, it does. And, listen, we`re up not just a very formidable
opponent, but I think the entire establishment of the Democratic Party.
But we`re going to take them on and I think we have got a path to victory.
MATTHEWS: Anne, is it`s still open, still doable by these guys?
ANNE GEARAN, “THE WASHINGTON POST”: Numerically, it`s extremely, extremely
difficult, as we have been talking about all day, how narrow that path is.
MATTHEWS: Well, 35 states to go.
GEARAN: Numerically, it`s possible, but it`s extremely difficult.
MATTHEWS: Explain that, because if only 15 states have voted, and 35 have
yet to vote, how can it be close to being over?
GEARAN: Because – it isn`t. I mean, we have got a ways to go. The
nomination will not be locked up for weeks and weeks from now.
But after two weeks from now, when a number of big states vote, including
Florida, the path for Sanders to put together – the number of delegates in
the number of states still to go gets – shrinks astronomically.
It`s hard right now. It gets functionally impossible, according to the
math we have done, a few weeks from now, which is not to say that he does
not remain a significant force in this race, a significant threat to her.
He is clearly making the most of that. She is clearly responding to it.
Her message is changing. Her stance is changing. Her cadence is changing.
And that`s largely because of him.
MATTHEWS: We all wait for events to occur, because events do occur. It`s
an amazing thing. Like, in life, things happen.
Is there anything that could happen between now and the next couple of
weeks that could stop Hillary Clinton from winning this thing? Is there
anything to the e-mail potential indictment, or is that just stuff being
pushed by the right?
JONATHAN CAPEHART, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, stuff being pushed by the
right, chatter from inside the Beltway.
But unless and until it happens, she is well on her way to the nomination.
I mean, as Anne said, numerically, it`s becoming harder and harder for
Senator Sanders to catch up with her.
And also let`s not – think about the significance of what happened
yesterday. You could say that South Carolina was a big deal for her,
because, you know, the African-American firewall of voters proved to be
very, very strong.
But then you go to Super Tuesday, where you had a whole lot of states with
varying demographics, and not only did she win the African-American vote
where the African-American vote is strong, Alabama, Georgia, but the fact
that she won Massachusetts, where Senator Sanders campaigned hard…
MATTHEWS: I like the way you lowered your voice for Alabama and Georgia.
That was great.
MATTHEWS: Deep South.
CAPEHART: But, you know, what I`m taking from her victories last night,
Massachusetts plus those Southern states, is that this new American
majority that Steve Phillips writes about his book “Brown Is the New White”
is present right there.
And that is 28 percent – using voter data and census data, 28 percent of
the American electorate progressive whites and 23 percent of progressive
people of color add up to 51 percent of the electorate.
A Democrat can win the presidency if they come out to vote. And the key
part of that is the African-American vote. President Obama showed in two
elections that if you get African-American voters out, the person could
MATTHEWS: If you don`t have – Hillary Clinton has gender going for her,
at least with older women. She has race going for her with the historic
connection between the African-American and the Clintons.
But when you don`t have those two, the white males go for Bernie. White
males are not liberals. They`re not all progressives. There are a lot of
moderate Democrats who are not lefties at all.
DEVINE: That`s right.
MATTHEWS: And yet your guy gets them. So, why are – you`re getting the
residual, which tells me, unless you have got gender, well, you will have,
unless you have race, which you will have, there`s something that is
missing in the Hillary message that`s open to you guys.
MATTHEWS: You`re able to get your message across with white men, who are
not historically left.
DEVINE: Sure. And a lot are them independent too.
And when independents can come to this process, we tend to do better. And,
by the way, Massachusetts, listen, she beat President Obama by I think 15
points in 2008 in Massachusetts, OK? So this is not a bad place for
Hillary Clinton. I think it`s remarkable.
When we started off, our first poll in Massachusetts, we were down 23
points in December.
MATTHEWS: But it`s New England.
DEVINE: Well, yes, it is New England.
And it`s incredible that we could come back from so far behind and
practically beat her. Listen, I think one of Hillary`s problems so far in
all of these races, in all the four states we had yesterday that we
targeted, she was ahead by 20 or more points when we started this race.
And we won three out of those four.
MATTHEWS: Can you get behind the caucuses and the campuses, though? Can
you get into the – with all the states voting, so many states every week,
Bernie can`t retail this. He can give a great speech in Austin. There`s
no doubt, with a big crowd. He can go somewhere, Oklahoma City, maybe, and
get a big crowd.
But these are sanctums, if you will, of liberalism.
DEVINE: We can. And I`ll tell you how.
With voters and families with under $30,000 and even $50,000 a year, that`s
where we`re beginning to make the break. And I also think we`re going to
do better and we must do better – and I stipulate to that – with African-
American, with Latino voters.
By the way, we won a huge victory in Colorado yesterday, the biggest
turnout in the history in the caucuses. And even though there is no exit
poll, it had to be because of the huge Latino support in Colorado.
MATTHEWS: Does he believe – I watched him last night. Did everybody
Did you think – I thought Senator Sanders thought he was going to still
win this thing. I thought that. Did you, Jon?
GEARAN: To your point, right?
MATTHEWS: It was not a concession speech.
By the way, I said this last night. I can`t tell anymore the difference
between concession speeches and victory speeches.
MATTHEWS: I want to say nice try to my opponent. They don`t that anymore.
They don`t say I beat my opponent. They don`t say I lost to my opponent.
It`s all the same speech. Rubio gives victory speeches when he comes in
third every time. I mean, he won one out of 12 yesterday and declared
victory. That`s what you call confidence, I guess.
CAPEHART: The last point I will make is that the key demographic is
Terry McAuliffe is governor of Virginia because African-American women came
out to vote in droves. And we saw that. You showed in a lot of the states
African-American women put Hillary Clinton over the top.
MATTHEWS: A lot of connection there. A lot of real connection.
Anyway, thank you, Tad Devine. Thank you, Jonathan Capehart. And thank
you, Anne Gearan, both of “The Washington Post.”
Up next, the 2016 election here in the United States hasn`t just attracted
attention of Americans. The entire world is watching, in their usual
superior manner, by the way. What global leaders and citizens of the world
have to say – what is a citizen of the world – have to say about Donald
Trump in this wild election year.
This is HARDBALL. We`re going to talk about how the world is looking at us
right now. Stick around. It will be novel.
Anyway, here we are the place for politics.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VICENTE FOX, FORMER MEXICAN PRESIDENT: I`m not going to pay for that
(EXPLETIVE DELETED) wall. He should pay for it. He`s got the money.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: That`s Vicente Fox, former president of Mexico.
Welcome back to HARDBALL.
That was former President of Mexico Vicente Fox last week rebuffing,
there`s a great word, Donald Trump`s demand that Mexico pay for a wall on
this country`s southern border.
He`s joined many others around the world now who are talking about Trump
their potential – our potential next president. Not in kind ways. The
recent cover of the German magazine “Der Spiegel” called Donald Trump
American`s agitator, and a French newspaper called him the American
Trump has also received the endorsement of one you don`t necessarily want
these days, of France`s Jean-Marie Le Pen, the former leader of the hard-
right National Front Party. He`s also received praise from Russia`s
Anyway, Great Britain`s Parliament last month debated whether to ban Donald
Trump, in fact, from their country, from even coming into it. And Trump`s
Christian faith was questioned by of course Pope Francis earlier this
After Trump retweeted a quote attributed to Italian fascist Benito
Mussolini, op-ed columnist Roger Cohen wrote this in “The New York Times” -
- quote – “Europe knows how democracy collapse after lost wars in times of
fear and anger and economic hardship, when the pouting demagogue appears
with his pageantry and promises. America`s Weimar-lite democratic
dysfunction is plain to see. A corrupted polity tends toward collapse.”
Well, I`m joined right now by Simon Marks of Feature Story News, as well as
former State Department spokesperson Nayyera Haq.
Nayyera, does this surprise you? Is this another chance – not to defend
Trump, another chance to whack at us and the cowboy mentality of our
NAYYERA HAQ, FORMER STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON: Well, there is the
stereotype of the ugly American overseas. And that stereotype…
MATTHEWS: Explain it. What are we like?
HAQ: It`s brash, it`s loud, it`s walking over people, not really
recognizing any kind of diversity or connections with other people, and
just, you know, blazing our way however we want to around the world.
We`re fitting that stereotype with Trump dominating the airwaves.
Unfortunately, the world is looking for us for leadership. And so the
world is on fire. They`re looking to us to help put it out, and instead we
seem to be throwing more fuel onto the very issues that have people all
worked up around the world.
MATTHEWS: You know who I think he appeals to? Not the American of the
Declaration, or the American of the Bill or Rights, or the American of the
Constitution, not even the American the `50s, where some people thought.
Way back to when we got here and took it from the Indians, that`s the
America. It`s the continental land mass, the country, not the nation. He
appeals to that. And it`s us against the Russians over there, not the
Soviets, the Russians, against the Mexican people, against, you know,
everybody in the world. Against the Chinese. We`re against everybody.
It`s our country fighting them.
And that`s the nationalism we have not gotten used to yet. We`re not –
Americans don`t even know that word nationalism.
SIMON MARKS, FEATURE STORY NEWS: I think that`s true.
I think that in terms of the reaction that I hear from people overseas, I
was in Mexico City last week, and there was absolute astonishment that he
genuinely thought this wall could be built.
People were dismissive of the idea that this could ever get through
Congress, that this would ever happen, but also coupled with fear.
MATTHEWS: But don`t they know about the antagonism towards a big rush of
immigrants over the years, the last couple, 20 or 30 years?
MARKS: Of course they know. They`re aware of it, but they are mused by
the notion that you might actually seriously talk about building a wall and
last night citing the Great Wall of China as an example of, they were able
to do it and they didn`t have Caterpillar trucks.
MATTHEWS: Can you decide, do they truly think we`re on the verge of having
a demagogue rule this country, a dangerous demagogue?
HAQ: One of the best things I have seen online about Trump and how that
works is the gentleman who said, you all in America think this is an
election, we`re looking at it as an I.Q. test and you`re failing.
And the challenge is that in places like Europe that have had a history of
dealing with American isolationism, where we did not step up in World War
MATTHEWS: I think there is a lot of feeling. I don`t consider it all
malignant either. I think a little bit of isolationism after the Iraq War
makes some sense, by the way.
HAQ: But, Certainly, when you`re upsetting your allies, that`s not a good
way to start.
People who are not aligned with our policies, Russia, not helping the U.S.
in the Syria challenge, when those are the people who are praising you and
your allies are trying to vote to not allow you in the country, not a great
way to start a new presidency when it comes to foreign relations.
MATTHEWS: You should be a spokesman. I`m just kidding.
MATTHEWS: You really are smart. I do think that a demagogue`s problem is,
he has to always – or she has to always top the latest outrageous
And at some point, like Joe McCarthy, you get in serious trouble because
you have to keep exciting the crowd. And Trump`s problem is, he needs
publicity every couple days. Fight with Vicente Fox, fight with the pope.
Fight with somebody. What happens when he fights and it just gets
completely out of hand, people say this guy is out of control?
MARKS: Chris, the impact of this, imagine sitting in South Africa and
watching this as Donald Trump escorts African-Americans out of rallies,
people who have just been sitting there doing absolutely nothing.
There a demagogic impact of that. And that reflects back on the United
States and leaves world leaders saying to President Obama when they travel
here, what`s going on?
MATTHEWS: I think the choking of that photographer will definitely make
the world news.
We have to go. But thank you. Please come back, and thank you, Simon
Marks. Thank you, Nayyera Haq, for joining us.
Coming up, was last night a preview of the 2016 general election, November
election coming up this year? Believe it or not, we`re going to actually
pick a president by the end of this year. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton
came away with the most wins and sounded an awful like they`re already
going past their primary fights headed towards each other in a very nasty
The roundtable is coming here next. You`re watching HARDBALL, the place
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
While neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump, technically, have locked up
the nomination by last night, both seemed to transition rather quickly to a
general election argument in their party speeches. Clinton worked to
counter Trump`s angry rhetoric with the pitch for love and kindness.
This grabbed me. Let`s watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It might be unusual as I`ve
said before, for a presidential candidate to say this, but I`m going to
keep saying it. I believe what we need in America today is more love and
Instead of building walls, we`re going to breakdown barriers and build –
Build ladders of opportunity and empowerment.
The rhetoric we`re hearing on the other side has never been lower. Trying
to divide America between us and them is wrong. And we`re not going to let
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, meanwhile, Donald Trump sent a signal for how the campaign
will unfold from his side, suggesting any charge against Clinton will be
fair game. In fact, all the charges will fair game apparently. Last
night, he accused her of being a criminal. Catch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am a unifier. Once we get all
of this finished, I`m going to go after one person. That`s Hillary
I don`t know that she`s going to be allowed to run. What she did is a
criminal act. If she`s allowed to run, I would be very, very surprised.
But if she is allowed to run, honestly, it will be a sad day for this
country, because what she did was wrong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Are we looking at the shape of the political landscape to come
for the next eight months.
Anyway, I`m joined right now by tonight`s roundtable: Cecile Richards is
president, of course, of Planned Parenthood, John Stanton is Washington
bureau chief for “BuzzFeed News”, and Margaret Carlson is a political
columnist for “Bloomberg News”.
It seems to me that Trump has basically said any charge or rumor against
Hillary Clinton is now in my agenda to pursue. Everything goes – in fact,
calling her a criminal. What`s that about?
MARGARET CARLSON, BLOOMBERG VIEW: You know, at Trump rallies, there are
some signs that say “Hillary for prison”, and when he sees it, he goes like
this. But I mean, she is under FBI investigation, so there is some basis
at least for him doing this. It`s not a totally trumped up charge.
MATTHEWS: Well, innocent until proven guilty might be a good stand by
It looks to me like Hillary Clinton, even though she said she`s going to be
nice and talking about – has really found a theme, which I don`t think
she`s had before, which is we`re not going to let Trump become president.
And that seems to be a pretty powerful message.
CECILE RICHARDS, PLANNED PARENTHOOD: Yes, I think it`s a very powerful
message. And I think, particularly when folks begin to focus more on what
he actually stands for. I was interested any think it was an MSNBC poll
that show that numbers of his supporters are pro-choice and yet he`s
actually taken a position that he wants to outlaw abortion.
MATTHEWS: Nobody believes him.
RICHARDS: Well, I think, look, I think –
MATTHEWS: He is for Planned Parenthood because he wants to work the
suburbs, obviously. He wants to win the general election. So, he has to
say nice things about your organization.
RICHARDS: Right. But then, when folks find out that he may like us, but
he wants to make sure that no one can actually go to us for health care, I
think it`s going to be difficult for him to win in November.
MATTHEWS: How would he do that? How would he do that?
RICHARDS: That`s what he said. I mean, obviously, this Congress has
already tried to defund Planned Parenthood and all he –
MATTHEWS: Could you exist without federal money?
RICHARDS: I mean, we`ll exist no matter what, but it would mean millions
of folks couldn`t come to us for basic health care, including, you know –
MATTHEWS: John, why is he going both ways of Planned Parenthood. He`s
saying, I like the organization that does good, which is not what any other
Republican says, but obviously goes down the line when it comes to the
JOHN STANTON, BUZZFEED: I`m not – I don`t know, look –
MATTHEWS: I think he`s running for president. That`s what I think he is
STANTON: He`s playing a dangerous game, which I don`t really know that I
ever want to try to do. I`m not horribly scarred from that. But I think
he does this all the time, right? He says two things. For him, it doesn`t
matter whether they line up. He`s going to say them. And by and large,
his followers are OK with this, because he`s constantly just sort of like,
if they don`t like that, then ten seconds later, he`s going to say
something crazy that`s going to make them upset and get their blood boiling
and get –
MATTHEWS: People do what works. You notice a couple of weeks ago, when
Hillary Clinton went after him for sexism, misogynist comments and behavior
in his show and other places, and he came back and hit Bill Clinton.
Bill Clinton went into – somewhere. Didn`t come out for weeks. So he may
think it works, Trump.
CARLSON: Yes. And you know, he has previewed what he is going to do, and
that`s one line, which is to say that, you know, Hillary was complicit with
her husband during the troubles in the White House and impeachment. He`s
going to pursue that line. And he`s going to do Planned Parenthood,
because of all the candidates, he likes that lightweight Marco Rubio, the
very least. So he wants to fight him in the suburbs.
MATTHEWS: I`ll give you a chance here. This is the first time, because
the Republican senators refuse to review, even consider a nomine for the
Supreme Court. We have eight members of the court, one missing. You have
a Texas case right now, which is very hot.
MATTHEWS: Reducing the number of abortion clinics from 40 to 10, basically
making it a major part of your life to get to an abortion clinic hundreds
of miles away. So, is this going to make the issue of choice, a major
RICHARDS: It already is a major campaign issue. And you`re right. I
mean, this case was just heard before the Supreme Court today. I thought
the arguments made were very clear, that women are suffering in Texas, who
don`t have access to basic healthcare.
And what we`re already seeing, really interesting, I saw “Cosmo” just did a
poll of their readership and millennials basically said that the two number
– the first and second issue for their readers were health care access and
reproductive rights. And the Supreme Court vacancy and what`s up before
the courts is really –
MATTHEWS: It`s going to bring up – Democratic turnout has not been great
so far. It has not been.
RICHARDS: Well, I think they`ve had a very competitive primary and I think
November, though –
MATTHEWS: There should be more people voting.
CARLSON: The excitement is on the Republican side.
MATTHEWS: It seems to be. It`s strange. But maybe this will – the court
decision on Texas is going to gin up a lot of interest.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, we`re all watching Anthony Kennedy, as we always do.
Watch Anthony Kennedy.
Anyway, the roundtable is staying with us.
And up next, these people are going to tell me something I don`t know, the
best part of the show, because we learn something very important.
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Well, Dr. Ben Carson has now announced he won`t appear at
tomorrow night`s debate, Republican debate, and does not see a path forward
to the nomination. So, he`s out. And that leaves Donald Trump, Ted Cruz,
Marco Rubio, and John Kasich left in tomorrow night`s Republican lineup and
in the Republican race for president. So, it`s really down to six people,
as our possible next president.
Join me for complete pre- and post-debate coverage here on HARDBALL. We`ll
be here at 7:00 p.m. tomorrow night Eastern, and back at 11:00 p.m. for two
hours following the debate. So come join us for the night`s key moments.
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Back with the roundtable.
Cecile, tell me something I don`t know.
RICHARDS: Great news. A report just out, we`re at a 30-year low for
unintended pregnancy in America and 40-year low for teen pregnancy. And
so, we could just get politics out of health care. We could actually do an
MATTHEWS: So, birth control is good.
RICHARDS: Yes, birth control is good. It`s working.
MATTHEWS: It works.
STANTON: So, there`s a growing number of people that want Mitch McConnell
to try to step in with John Kasich to try to get him to get out to allow
sort of Rubio and Cruz to do this thing. That seems like something he may
end up doing, but the one thing he`s not going to do is go to Rob Portman
and tell him to disavow his endorsement of Kasich because if Portman were
to do that, it could hurt his chances in November. So, the people who are
pushing him should probably drop that because there`s no chance McConnell
will do something like that.
CARLSON: So, Governor Christie has had a hard time, we might say, since he
endorsed Trump and we could all see it on TV last night and six papers have
called for his resignation. He is going to be spending less time than he
has on the campaign trail with Trump.
CARLSON: It`s not working for him.
MATTHEWS: OK. Lot of people thought –
CARLSON: Did you see him last night?
MATTHEWS: – behind him.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, Ms. Cecile Richards, thank you. Paul Singer, thank you.
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with the problem facing Republicans. It`s
called Donald Trump.
You went along with him when he trashed the president as an illegal alien,
when Trump again and again accused Barack Obama of being born outside the
country, of being because of that, being an illegitimate holder of his
Well, the monstrosity of that indictment needed to be felt and understood
by the Republican big shots back when they had a chance to do something
about it. Did they truly believe Trump`s birther charge, do they think the
president`s mother had slipped over to Kenya, had her son, named him Barack
Hussein Obama and then whisked him back stateside to get him prepped for
the country`s highest office? Did they really believe the birth
certificate and the birth announcements in the Honolulu newspapers were a
fraudulent caper meant to get her son, her infant son to get all cleaned up
to be president? Did they?
And if they didn`t, why didn`t they say show? Why did the top Republican
in the country, the speaker of the House John Boehner, when asked about
members of his caucus who had taken up the birther cause, fob off the
question by saying it wasn`t his job to tell people what to think?
And why didn`t the party leadership draw the line when Trump did the same
birther number on Senator Ted Cruz or when he tested the same power of
suggestion on Marco Rubio? Well, now, they`ve got him. They`ve got a
likely nominee for president who if he gets sworn in next January will have
ridden a cart to the U.S. capital with a man he had dismissed as an illegal
immigrant, that`s if Trump gets that far.
Long before then, the party needs to ask itself something more basic, yes,
more basic, than who it wants as our next president. Has it no decency?
And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
“ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES” starts right now.
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