Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 4/12/2016

Guests:
Tad Devine, Tina Brown, Kate Brower, Montel Williams
Transcript:

Show: HARDBALL
Date: April 12, 2016
Guest: Tad Devine, Tina Brown, Kate Brower, Montel Williams

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: A New York state of mind.

Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews up in New York.

Let me start tonight with the Democratic battle here in New York between
Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, the one we`re billing “the battle for
Broadway.” Clinton is looking at a big win in her adopted state here,
which she represented for eight years, of course, as a U.S. senator. A
skunking of Bernie here would clear her path to the Democratic nomination
in Philadelphia.

For Sanders, who carries his native Brooklyn in his voice and in his
politics, an upset in New York would rise giant doubts about the Clinton
juggernaut, enough perhaps to keep the brawl alive all the way to Philly.

Well, today, Sanders said unequivocally that he`ll win a major victory here
in this state.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We will win a major
victory here in New York next Tuesday!

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

SANDERS: We win when the voter turnout is high. We lose when the voter
turnout is low. Let us have the highest voter turnout in Democratic
primary history in New York!

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: He`s something.

Anyway, while polls show Hillary Clinton with a double-digit lead here in
this state, she`s intensifying her attacks on Sanders, and with just a week
to go, taking nothing for granted.

I`m joined right now by Joy Reid, MSNBC national correspondent, Tad Devine,
the great senior adviser – actually, are you older than him?…

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: … to the Sanders campaign, and MSNBC political analyst Howard
Dean, former governor of Vermont, which is where all the action is, and a
big Hillary Clinton supporter.

Anyway, I`m a going to ask you about this – this gun thing – let me ask
you about the prediction.

TAD DEVINE, SANDERS CAMPAIGN SENIOR ADVISER: Well…

MATTHEWS: He said he`s going to win.

DEVINE: … I love his optimism.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: Well, then he set that bar up there. She`s – he`s down double
digits. That usually means – he said he was going to win here. We all do
at election night.

DEVINE: Right. I think he said he was going to win every state we`ve been
in thus far.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: Oh, you`re taking the edge off it! Now he said he`s going to
win here.

DEVINE: No, listen, this is her home state. She`s – she`s ahead.
Independents can`t vote in the primary here. I mean, there`s a lot of
factors (INAUDIBLE)

MATTHEWS: What did he mean by, I`m going to win here?

DEVINE: I think he means and he believes, and I agree with him, that if we
can mobilize an electorate, particularly a young electorate, if we can get
new people in the process, we got a real shot at winning.

MATTHEWS: Have you been able to do that before…

DEVINE: Yes.

MATTHEWS: … increase – no, increase the turnout? I know I hear about
the political revolution. Fair enough.

DEVINE: Sure.

MATTHEWS: But the overall turnout in these primaries has not gone up.

DEVINE: Chris, in Wisconsin, 19 percent of the electorate…

MATTHEWS: In Wisconsin.

DEVINE: … 18 to 29.

MATTHEWS: Well, did the overall numbers go up?

DEVINE: 18 percent was 65-plus.

MATTHEWS: But did the – has the turnout gone up?

DEVINE: It went way up for 18 to 29-year-olds.

MATTHEWS: In Wisconsin.

DEVINE: That`s right. That`s the most recent example of how Bernie
Sanders increases turnout.

MATTHEWS: OK. OK. So is that a conditional claim by him, then?

DEVINE: Well, no. I think he…

MATTHEWS: Well, he said, We`re going to win New York, and you say he will
win New York if turnout is beyond normal expectations.

DEVINE: I`ll tell you one thing Bernie doesn`t do, spin, OK? He says…

MATTHEWS: You`re the spinner!

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: He made a clear statement!

Anyway, speaking at a roundtable on gun violence Monday – that`s yesterday
– Hillary Clinton called out Bernie Sanders for his record on gun control,
slamming his home state of Vermont for supplying the firearms used in
violent crimes in New York. That`s a strong charge, saying that`s where
the arsenal is for the killing in the streets of New York.

(INAUDIBLE) let`s look at what she said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), FMR. SEC. OF STATE, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When
challenged on his gun stances, he frequently says, Well, you know, I
represent Vermont. It`s a small rural state. We have no gun laws.

Here`s what I want you to know. Most of the guns that are used in crimes
and violence and killings in New York come from out of state. And the
state that has the highest per capita number of those guns that end up
committing crimes in New York come from Vermont.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, the Sanders campaign released a statement that turned
Hillary`s words against Governor Peter Shumlin, who is backing Hillary
Clinton. Quote, “I don`t know why Secretary Clinton would be so critical
of the governor of Vermont, who strongly supports her candidacy. What
Governor Shumlin recently said is true. It is campaign season. Therefore,
things are sometimes said by all the candidates that sometimes aren`t
entirely accurate. I would just say this. I think you`ve had a hard time
convincing Vermonters that New York crime problems are coming from
Vermont.”

Anyway, a fact checker at “The Washington Post” points out that Vermont`s
small population skews the numbers that Clinton is using there. Quote, “We
do not find the per capita measure as a fair assessment of gun flows from
Vermont into New York. The difference between this point, using per capita
calculation, and the raw number is so stark that it creates a significantly
misleading impression to the public.”

Tad, you want to back that up?

DEVINE: You better believe it! Listen, there are over 4,500 guns in that
reference that she made. 55 of them came from Vermont, OK?

MATTHEWS: That were used in violent crimes.

DEVINE: Yes, that – well (INAUDIBLE) most of them were the crime was
possession of a firearm, OK? We can`t tell whether any was used in a
murder. But you know, it`s just terribly misleading. You know, if you`ve
got a candidate whose problem is credibility, I would suggest don`t have
her out there attacking on things that aren`t credible at all.

MATTHEWS: Let me go back to Howard, Governor Dean. I`ll get to you, Joy,
in a minute. But Governor Dean, you were governor of Vermont. Did you
feel that you were the arsenal of criminology or crime in New York City?
Did you feel that your state was feeding guns down across the northern
border?

DEAN: Well, they do. Actually, we do, except that it`s misleading in the
sense that while we are the highest per capita exporter of guns, that`s
because Vermont`s population is so small.

But Bernie`s real problems is his vote against the loss – against the
ability to sue gun companies. And what – he needs to apologize for that,
as Hillary had to apologize for Iraq. And if I were Bernie`s campaign –
not that I should give advice to Tad, who`s right here and is a very able
guy – I would stop talking about guns. That does not help Bernie in New
England and the Northeastern primaries.

MATTHEWS: Question to both of you. Is Vermont and its laws on guns
significantly responsible for the crime rate in New York City?

DEVINE: No, not at all.

MATTHEWS: OK, Governor Howard Dean, is Vermont significantly responsible
for the crime in New York used by guns – with the use of guns?

DEAN: It is not the largest exporter of guns, but there are a significant
amount of guns that end – bought in Vermont legally that end up in New
York. There`s a lot more guns in – from Virginia, for example, that are
illegally purchased that end up in New York.

But again, I don`t think this is an article about semantics. I think this
a – this is a problem because Hillary is to the left of Bernie on this
particular issue.

Look, here`s the other problem. I got eight endorsements in a row from the
NRA. I got off the NRA boat (ph) after Newtown, after Wayne Lapierre made
his spitting speech about this is all, you know, fine and good, we`re not
going give up our right to bear arms.

I concluded that the National Rifle Association did not represent
reasonable, thoughtful gun owners…

MATTHEWS: OK.

DEAN: … and that Wayne – and the NRA had become a right-wing extremist
group. And that is when I left the NRA.

And I think if you`re going to run for national office, you probably have
to do that.

MATTHEWS: Joy, I`ve heard of Catholic guilt. I think…

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: … Tad and I know about it. I know about Jewish guilt because
my friends tell me about it. Is this Vermont guilt?

JOY REID, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Vermont guilt!

MATTHEWS: (INAUDIBLE) Vermont guilt we`re being accused of here?

REID: That`s going to be a hashtag.

MATTHEWS: That Vermont is now the – is like the Mexico for drugs, it`s
the – it`s the home base of all bad guns? Has Hillary overstepped here.
You`re objective.

REID: Yes.

MATTHEWS: Yes or no?

REID: Somebody is hashtagging Vermontguilt right this instant. I think
what you see here is an example of the dangers of talking around an attack,
right?

MATTHEWS: Can you help me out here?

REID: Yes, I think…

MATTHEWS: Particularly – is Hillary overstating the charge? Is she
overcharging Vermont as the source of the gun battles, the crimes down in
New York. Everybody knows that.

REID: Yes. Absolutely.

MATTHEWS: It`s been very healthy compared to what it was 20, 30 years ago.
We know that.

REID: Sure.

MATTHEWS: But to an extent – to what extent is Vermont and its gun –
lacks gun laws and (ph) cowboy (ph) guns laws responsible for the New York
City violence?

REID: Well, very little. There just aren`t enough humans in Vermont, that
if they all started exporting guns here…

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: It`s 50 guns…

(CROSSTALK)

REID: There aren`t a lot of people there. So I think, yes, she`s
overstating it.

MATTHEWS: Is this where the campaign`s headed?

REID: But you know what?

MATTHEWS: Arguing over the number of guns coming from Vermont? Is that an
attempt by Hillary to find some safe left place to the left of Senator
Sanders? Is that what it`s about, to find someplace that she can be the
left of him, so she doesn`t have to attack him for being too left, which
we`ll get to in the polls. That`s not healthy for her in the long run.

REID: Right. It`s not attacking him for being too left. I think what you
see in Hillary Clinton is this sort of Gordian knot they`ve tied themselves
in because the Clinton campaign writ large I think does not want to
directly personally attack Bernie Sanders.

MATTHEWS: Right. And not on his philosophy.

REID: And not on his…

MATTHEWS: And not on his philosophy, right.

REID: … philosophy because of the risk of then alienating particularly
the young voters that your campaign…

MATTHEWS: So true.

REID: … is doing such a great job at. So even on issues where she`s got
some advantage…

MATTHEWS: OK…

REID: … and I think even Tad would admit that on the issue of liability
for gun manufacturers, sort of the only industry that Bernie Sanders
doesn`t think is, like, really evil, right, are these gun manufacturers
(INAUDIBLE) liability.

But they don`t want to go at him directly and personally because the
blowback against Hillary Clinton when she does that is so severe that
they`re trying to find sort of ways to dance around and still attack him in
these sort of side-glancing ways.

That doesn`t work in politics. If you`re going to attack Bernie Sanders on
his policies on guns, you just have to do it.

MATTHEWS: I got to go back to Governor Dean. Governor Dean, Bernie
Sanders has used the phrase “pact with the devil, sold her soul to the
devil”…

DEVINE: That was Weaver. That was Weaver.

MATTHEWS: Well, her (sic) guy, anyway, her (sic) chief campaign manager.
Is that what you have to do in Vermont? I mean, the way Bernie sold this
is, you know, You can`t blame me. You don`t get elected in Vermont unless
you`re pro-gun? Is that the deal?

DEAN: No, and I don`t know if Bernie really said that because he`s not
that kind of a – I don`t think he`s that kind of politician.

Look, here`s the deal. In Vermont, most NRA members are perfectly fine,
normal people who don`t think you need a bazooka to blow up a deer. The
NRA as a national group is not that way. And when you get to Washington,
everything changes. So we all get endorsed. Pat Leahy gets endorsed, I
got endorsed, Bernie gets endorsed by the NRA because the local people get
us. We understand hunting.

And it`s true, we don`t have any gun laws. When you get to national…

MATTHEWS: OK…

DEAN: … politics, the gun lobby is a group of lunatics. And I mean, you
know, what Wayne Lapierre did after Newtown was outrageous!

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: What`s the biggest mammal you`ve ever killed?

DEAN: Oh, I don`t know. Probably a duck or something.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: Anyway – that`s a great answer! Anyway, the latest NBC/”Wall
Street Journal” Marist poll out of New York, the primary voters, finds that
some – some, a big number of them – Sanders supporters won`t support
Hillary Clinton in the general election if she`s the nominee. Look at
this, 30 percent of those who support Sanders right now say they will not
support Clinton in November if she`s the Democratic nominee, while 15
percent of those who support Clinton now say they will not support Sanders
in November if he`s the nominee.

30`s fairly high. But there were a lot of PUMAs, as they called
themselves, back in the last election who ended up – except for the real
strange cases – coming over. Tad, will your people make an adjustment,
should it come to that?

DEVINE: Well, I don`t think it`s going to come to that. I think we`re
going to win. But I also don`t think 2016 is anywhere near where 2008 was.
You know, I mean, listen…

MATTHEWS: In terms of vitriol?

DEVINE: Absolutely. And I think everybody agrees we cannot afford –
America cannot afford to have Trump or Cruz be our next president.

MATTHEWS: The clinch!

(CROSSTALK)

REID: Tad, I got to tell you – and you see this. They`re on line, and
you know, I was out talking to voters all day today in the Bronx. And
there is a different level of distaste for Hillary Clinton among Bernie
Sanders supporters.

MATTHEWS: You found somebody who was a Sanders supporter that said they`re
going to vote for Hillary in the primary.

REID: Yes, because he doesn`t – he didn`t think that Sanders could win,
so he`s going to vote for Hillary even though he likes Bernie better.

But I also only found only one person of each who said they wouldn`t vote
for the other. You know, most people we talked to there said, You know,
we`re fine…

MATTHEWS: Would they go for Trump?

REID: But when you – oh, no. But most of…

MATTHEWS: Well, what are they going to do?

REID: Except the Bernie people. I did find people who said they liked
Trump, but if Trump – if they`re Democrats…

MATTHEWS: OK…

REID: … and they didn`t switch their registration, they`d vote for
Bernie.

MATTHEWS: Governor Dean, your thought on this…

REID: But there`s a risk to the vitriol…

(CROSSTALK)

DEAN: I think Tad is right. I`m certainly planning on voting for Bernie
if Hillary doesn`t win. Obviously, I think Hillary`s going to win. But I
mean, as Bernie himself said, the two of them are so different and much
better than anybody on the other side.

Second of all, I would argue that for both of these candidates, these are
great numbers. Right now, we`re at the most bitter part of the campaign,
or close to it. We`re getting close to the end. Everybody is exhausted.
Everybody`s tired. Everybody`s competitive.

If we – I had to really work hard to get my people to support Kerry. And
it took at least a month after I dropped out. So I actually think these…

MATTHEWS: Did you vote for Kerry?

DEAN: Of course I voted for Kerry!

MATTHEWS: OK, just checking.

(LAUGHTER)

DEAN: I asked all my supporters to vote for Kerry, too, but I waited for a
month so they could calm down and cool down after all that. That was
pretty bitter.

MATTHEWS: How hard is it for a candidate to vote for the other person they
lose the primary in?

DEAN: It`s easier for the candidate than it is for the supporters.

MATTHEWS: Wow. That`s…

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: I like this noblesse oblige.

DEVINE: I just want…

MATTHEWS: Anyway – go ahead. Last word, Tad.

(CROSSTALK)

DEVINE: … Governor Dean said about Bernie being endorsed by the NRA.
Bernie`s got a D-minus lifetime rating from the NRA, OK?

MATTHEWS: Is that an endorsement or not?

DEVINE: No, it`s not an endorsement.

MATTHEWS: OK. What did you mean by that, Governor? Is he endorsed or
not?

DEAN: He was endorsed originally, but that – he may not have been in the
last couple of races. I don`t know.

REID: He was. He…

MATTHEWS: So he was initially an NRA guy.

DEVINE: (INAUDIBLE) after they took – after they defeated him in `88,
after he…

REID: Then he changed his position, and then they were for him.

DEVINE: No, no. He changed nothing! He was still against the assault
weapon – always supported the assault weapon ban…

MATTHEWS: You know what`s amazing to me?

DEVINE: … and his Republican opponent lied about it…

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Only in Vermont does the NRA endorse the socialist candidate.

(LAUGHTER)

Anyway, thank you, Joy Reid. I don`t get it up there! It`s beautiful. I
love Burlington, by the way, Berkeley East – love that up there. Howard
Dean, Governor Dean, thank you, sir. I love your honesty. Tad Devine,
you`re pretty good at this. Anyway – Joy Reid, as always.

We`ve got a special guest coming up Thursday night, by the way, on
HARDBALL. I`m going to host a town hall out on Long Island – you can
pronounce it any way you want – for Ohio governor John Kasich. He`s out
on Long Island in a place called Jericho, New York. And we`re going to be
with him for an hour at 7:00 o`clock Eastern time.

By the way, ask these people who are for Hillary or Bernie if it`s Kasich
on the other side. You`re going to get some interesting answers because
some of them might jump the fence.

Then at 8:00 PM, another big one. Chuck Todd`s going to sit down with
Texas senator Ted Cruz up in Buffalo. I don`t envy him. That`ll be an
interesting night, Buffalo meets Cruz. It`s a big night for politics,
however, on MSNBC. We`re lining them up for you.

Coming up, Donald Trump versus the RNC. The Republican front-runner is
claiming the voting system is rigged. And now Reince Priebus – that`s his
name – is coming out to defend the GOP rules.

And while Republicans get restless, House Speaker Paul Ryan comes out to
say he`s not the party`s white knight, telling supporters, Count me out.
We`ll see.

Also, John Kasich stands alone. He says he`s running against the darkness
of his rivals, Trump and Cruz. I`m going to speak to Kasich supporter
Montel Williams about the process tonight on this show right now within
this hour, about the Ohio governor having a chance headed into Cleveland
and the convention.

Plus, the HARDBALL roundtable tonight will be here tonight to discuss the
2016 campaign moving into the center of the media universe, New York City,
the battle of the tabs, home of fearless reporters and take-no-prisoners
tabloids.

Meanwhile, “Let Me Finish” tonight with Bill Clinton on the campaign trail,
as at the Irish event today, watching him in action.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: It was quite a heart-warming scene in Citizens Bank Park in
Philadelphia Monday before the Phillies took the field for their home
opener against the San Diego Padres. Heroic Philadelphia police officer
Jesse Hartnett, who was shot three times in an ISIS-inspired ambush attack
in January, threw out the first pitch before the game.

It was a double tip (sic) – dip, actually, of good vibes, though, as
Hartnett then pulled an engagement ring out of his sling and promptly
proposed to his girlfriend – there she is – right there near home plate,
much to the delight of the sell-out crowd. She said – of course, she said
yes.

And we`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Well, here`s a roundup of what`s
happened in the Republican race today – just today. Speaker Paul Ryan,
the best hope of being a white knight for many in the establishment, said
he would not accept the Republican nomination.

Governor John Kasich, the third man in the race who`s actually running,
called out what he calls “the path of darkness” offered by Donald Trump and
Ted Cruz. That sounds like he`s not going to follow those guys. And
front-runner Donald Trump went to war with the Republican Party, calling
the primary process itself corrupt and a scam. Let`s watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Our Republican system is
absolutely rigged. It`s a phony deal! These are dirty tricksters! This
is a dirty trick! And I`ll tell you what. The RNC, the Republican
National Committee – they should be ashamed of themselves for allowing
this kind of crap to happen!

The rules are no good when they don`t count your vote. When (ph) they
don`t like in Colorado – the rules are no good when you have to play dirty
tricks in order to pick up delegates.

The party is playing dirty! And we got to show our Republican Party –
you`ve been disenfranchised. Everybody has! You got to show the
Republican Party that they can`t get away with this stuff any longer!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Interesting tactic. He is basically saying, if he doesn`t get
the nomination, it`s dirty.

Anyway, earlier, Reince Priebus, the chair of the Republican National
Committee, tweeted: “The rules were set last year, nothing mysterious,
nothing new. The rules have not changed. The rules are the same, nothing
different.” That`s his defense. It`s boring, but it`s his defense.

Joining me right now, the man who used to have that job, Michael Steele.
He`s an MSNBC political analyst. And Robert Costa, national political
reporter for “The Washington Post” and an MSNBC political analyst as well.

Gentlemen, the news is out tonight that The Daily News” is endorsing
Hillary Clinton. It`s going to happen. We`re going to show you the – the
front cover in a minute.

But, Michael, let`s get to this point. Trump has a pretty good argument.
Popular vote should decide the nominee. The guy who gets the – the person
who gets the most votes should be the nominee. The counterpoint by the
inside guys is that, well, we have rules that allow people to get picked by
conventions and caucuses, and they can also be picked who are not – they
not bound to anybody. They could also make up their own mind.

MICHAEL STEELE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Sure.

MATTHEWS: Democracy is a pretty good sell in this country.

STEELE: It is a very good sell. And it`s a very good argument for Trump
to make.

It`s a very difficult argument for the establishment types, the chairman
and others to defend, because, I mean, people think, I went to the polls.
I voted. I stood in line in a primary. I sat in a room for three hours at
a caucus, and I voted. What do you mean you now can – you can dilute, you
know, on a best-case scenario, dilute my vote, and in the case of Colorado,
not even include me in the process of voting? What do you mean by that?

So Trump has got a good argument. But the rules are the rules. They have
been set…

MATTHEWS: Yes, I know.

STEELE: … as the chairman said. But here is the problem, Chris.

We also know the rules can be changed. And that`s what a lot of people
also know and realize, as they saw in 2012, what happened to Ron Paul, when
they changed the rules there to prevent him from getting nominated from the
floor.

So there is no confidence in the system when they have already seen actions
taken by those to block out people they don`t like or don`t want to get the
nomination.

MATTHEWS: Well, guys, two big things happened today, besides the fact that
“The Daily News” up here is endorsing Hillary. As I mentioned, Speaker
Ryan today said he wanted to put to rest once and for all the speculation
that he would emerge as the party`s Republican nominee for president.
Let`s watch Ryan.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: So, let me be clear. I do
not want, nor will I accept the nomination for our party.

So, let me speak directly to the delegates on this. If no candidate has a
majority on the first ballot, I believe that you should only choose from a
person who has actually participated in the primary. Count me out.

The rules committee, which is assembled by the delegates, will decide what
the rules are.

But I would encourage those delegates to put in place a rule that says you
can only nominate someone who actually ran for the job.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: You know, I think a couple of things came from that. Check me
on this, guys, starting with Robert.

If he really took himself out – and I think he did just then – that
reduces the numbers of possible candidates in multiple choice to three, the
three that are still running. I don`t think he meant Jim Gilmore, or
somebody that dropped out six months ago. He means the active candidates,
I believe.

So, if it`s just three of them, that to me makes the case for Trump,
because the only argument to put somebody else in there besides Trump would
be somebody who didn`t compete, but offers real party unity, someone who
could come aboard like a Ryan and truly unite the party under a whole new
dispensation if you will, something new, a different way of looking at it,
because you couldn`t decide among the candidates running.

It seems to me it makes Trump`s situation much easier to argue. Your
thoughts, Robert?

ROBERT COSTA, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: People don`t like to call this a
brokered convention. It`s a contested convention, but Ryan did not rule
out someone like a Scott Walker or Senator Rubio using their delegates to
try to broker a situation at a convention.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: You mean to win? To win, for Walker be the nominee? He got
blown out in this contest. He was rejected.

COSTA: Agreed. And he left early.

It`s more someone like Rubio, who has accumulated delegates, who could be a
player. And it`s not so much about them rising. It`s about them shaping
the outcome of the contest and what happens on a second ballot.

MATTHEWS: But don`t they – look, I saw this article the other day that
shows – nothing wrong with this – he`s back in 19C, back in coach on an
airplane with no staff around him, coming up from Florida to go vote in the
Senate. Rubio is out of the game right now.

He is not going to be in Cleveland with a big gang of delegate grabbers and
people like that. You have to are a campaign to run, don`t you, at the
convention.

Michael, you tell me. Don`t you have to have a campaign, active campaign
to actually win the nomination, even at the convention?

STEELE: I think you`re absolutely right about that.

You just cannot walk into the convention, even if you have got 150
delegates like Marco Rubio, and think you`re going to compete with someone
like Ted Cruz, who is the master of organization, or Donald Trump, who is
sitting probably at 60, 70, 100 delegates away from the nominating number.

So you`re right. You have got to put together the campaign, which is why a
lot of people thought, Chris, that that`s what Ryan was doing when he said
a couple of days ago about having this parallel message to the convention
and all of that.

Now, having taken himself out of it, I think you`re more correct than not
that this is – he is really saying to the delegates, you`re only going to
deal with the three people who walk into that convention, who have run the
complete race, and nothing more.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Oh, excuse me, Michael.

Let`s take a look at what Donald Trump said about Hillary Clinton, because
in the same way that the Democrats, Hillary and – Hillary and Sanders, are
saying, you think we`re bad, look, the real challenge here is to take on
the other party. They`re so different than us.

Anyway, last night, Donald Trump slammed Hillary Clinton in the same way,
from the other side, saying, her – catch this – her whole life, her life,
has been a lie. Let`s listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I don`t think the e-mails will take her down, because she is being
protected by the Democrats. It would take anybody else down, but it`s not
going to take her down, because she is being protected by the Democrats,
which is a disgrace.

But she is going to have to live with that when she runs, because everybody
knows that she is guilty as hell, OK, everybody. Her whole life has been a
big, fat, beautiful lie. It`s been a terrible, terrible lie. Everything
about her is a lie.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: You know, this is the kind of stuff that goes on, Michael and
Robert, in developing countries, where somewhere in Zimbabwe, where you say
the election is rigged. If I lose, it`s rigged. If I win, I put the other
person in jail, like in Pakistan. Bhutto gets hanged.

You lose an election in these Third World countries, sometimes, you die.
This is the kind of language Trump uses. I don`t want to put down Third
World countries, because developing countries need a break. We don`t need
this crap. He says Hillary`s whole life is a life.

What did he mean by that, Michael?

STEELE: You know, Chris, I have to say, it`s early branding. It is. I
was talking with someone.

MATTHEWS: This is tradecraft?

STEELE: I was talking with someone earlier today. And we were talking
about negative ads in the general campaign. And my response was, Donald
Trump will not have to run negative TV ads.

That is an ad. That branding, right there, will catch on, and just like we
saw with little Marco and lying Ted, et cetera, he has an innate ability to
brand his opponent without having to go in through all the traditional
modes an means to do that, running 30-seconds ads, and having people going
on there talking on his behalf.

In that sound bite, you`re beginning to see the difficulty that I think a
Hillary Clinton is going to have in a fall campaign against a Donald Trump,
because what is she going to do? She`s going to be spending a lot of time
defending against that, as much as she is trying to go on the attack
against him.

MATTHEWS: Robert, quickly, it`s a colossal attack on a person`s character
to say their whole life is a lie.

And, by the way, there`s a lot about Hillary Clinton. We have been working
on a documentary about her we`re going to have this weekend. And I got to
tell you something. There is a lot about her life that is very consistent.
She is a methodist, believes in good works. She fell in love with Bill
Clinton. Whatever his behavior, we know what it is or how bad it may have
been.

She is consistently loyal. She is a Democrat without a hyphenated
Democrat. And she is pretty traditionally a moderate Democrat. Her whole
life makes sense to me. Your thoughts. I don`t understand the whole lie
thing.

COSTA: Based on my reporting, most Republicans think Trump`s ability to
politically bludgeon Secretary Clinton and to take her on, on multiple
fronts will initially get the party base enthused.

But there`s a lot of concern that if it continues at this kind of pace, and
at this kind of rhetoric, it could have consequences down-ballot and it
could create a tenor and tone for the campaign that at first gets everyone
excited on the Republican side, then becomes drastically divisive day after
day.

MATTHEWS: It`s one thing when Bernie Sanders` campaign manager says she
sold her soul to the devil and now this stuff. This is frightening.

Anyway, thank you, Michael Steele. Thank you, Robert Costa.

STEELE: You got it.

MATTHEWS: Up next: John Kasich says he is up against the – he is doing
it again – the darkness of his rivals, Trump and Cruz. Kasich supporter
Montel Williams is coming here with a case for the Ohio governor, the third
man.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MILISSA REHBERGER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Milissa Rehberger. Here`s
what`s happening.

A day after top U.S. health officials warned the Zika virus is scarier than
they feared and spreading faster than they first thought, the White House
is criticizing Congress for failing to act on their request for funds to
fight that disease, calling it quite a disappointment.

And North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory signed an executive order giving
residents the right to sue in state court for discrimination, undoing a
portion of the controversial so-called bathroom law that some say is anti-
LGBT – now back to HARDBALL.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Two paths. One choice,
the path that exploits anger, encourages resentment, turns fear into
hatred, and divides people. This path solves nothing. It demeans our
history, it weakens our country and it cheapens each one of us.

It has but one beneficiary. And that is to the politician who speaks of
it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: That`s John Kasich.

Welcome back to HARDBALL.

That was Governor John Kasich today warning the Republican Party faces. He
cautioned voters from following what he calls a path to darkness. Though
he never mentioned his rivals, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, by name, they
were clearly the focus of what he said.

He criticized proposals to create religious tests for immigration, to
monitor neighborhoods based on religion, to deport 11 people, and ripping
up trade agreements abroad and laws here at home. Kasich also called out
the gloomy and angry rhetoric used by Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KASICH: We have been told that because of all this change, America has
become dark, that we have succumbed and that we are no longer strong.
We`re told that we`re no longer respected in the world. In fact, we`re
even told that foreign governments are actually controlling our destiny,
because they have become smarter than us and tougher than us.

Some who feed off of the fears and the anger that is felt by some of us,
and exploited, feed their own insatiable desires for fame or attention.
That could drive America down into a ditch and not make us great again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, on Thursday, John Kasich will be my guest at a special
town hall on Long Island, New York. That`s coming up two days from now.

Joining me tonight, a Kasich supporter, talk show host Montel Williams.

Mr. Williams, thank you for joining us.

(CROSSTALK)

MONTEL WILLIAMS, FORMER TALK SHOW HOST: Thanks for having me.

I do wish I could be there Thursday. Unfortunately, I have got a speech in
Dallas. I would be there with you, Chris, on Thursday, because I think
it`s that important. Yes, sir, go ahead.

MATTHEWS: Well, let`s talk about this guy.

WILLIAMS: Sure.

MATTHEWS: He`s – it`s late in the race. It`s the last month or two. And
he is talking about the high road.

Now, Trump talks nationalism. But he doesn`t talk the values of this
country. He doesn`t talk about the values of bring me your tired, your
wounded, your sick, none of that, your long – you know. He doesn`t talk
about freedom of speech or freedom of religion, all the good things.

He talks about tough nationalism.

WILLIAMS: Divisiveness.

MATTHEWS: And that sounds good to a lot of working guys who say, I have
been shoved around a lot. Hey, Trump comes along and says, this country
has been shoved around. It`s not your fault.

It sells.

WILLIAMS: How about all those same people that feel like they`re being
shoved around, their children go to school every day, they raise their
hands and they say one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and
justice for all?

I want to say it again, indivisible.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

WILLIAMS: We have two candidates that are running in the Republican Party
that are the antithesis of the Ronald Reagan Republican Party, that
literally almost said in its essence, not the exact words, bring me your
huddles masses, which just says a Republican Party of Lincoln is not the
party of divisiveness.

We have two people running for office, and Donald Trump being the lead one,
trying to divide America, thinking that this will make America great again.
Remember, the only person in this entire race – I have been saying this
now for seven months – that is the adult in the room has been John Kasich,
because he is the only person who is looking ahead to America after
November 2, after the vote, when we all have to remember…

MATTHEWS: OK, you`re here. How does he get to be president?

WILLIAMS: How does – well, he gets to be president because I think, like
we all know, there is going to be a contested convention.

There is not going to be a 1,237 for anybody. So, therefore, when we get
there, got to go back to 1924. The Democrats did 103 rounds of voting
before they picked a candidate. There could…

MATTHEWS: They picked a loser, though.

WILLIAMS: Well, yes, OK.

(LAUGHTER)

WILLIAMS: But let`s also think in terms of Lincoln. Lincoln was picked on
the third round.

Very easily – and I`m not trying to suggest to Governor Kasich that he
already prematurely select his running mate, but I will tell you right now,
you throw John Kasich and Rubio on the same ticket in that convention, all
bets are off. All bets are off. I could care less what any pundit has to
say, because when you take a look at it, John Kasich has the best chance of
beating Hillary Clinton, the best chance.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: I know.

By the way, speaking of V.P., let`s take a look at this. This morning,
Kasich said he would not accept the role of Trump`s running mate. Let`s
watch him deny that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUESTION: Donald Trump says that he would consider picking you as his vice
presidential candidate. Would you run with him?

KASICH: Zero chance.

QUESTION: Zero chance?

KASICH: Yes.

QUESTION: What if that`s the best chance for the party?

(CROSSTALK)

KASICH: Zero chance. I am – look, I`m running for president of the
United States, and that`s it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Do you think that`s it?

WILLIAMS: I think that`s a fact. And it`s really pretty funny.

MATTHEWS: Why would he turn down the chance because of Trump? Obviously,
Trump is a crapshoot. He could – anybody can win a general election,
depending on what happens to Hillary. But Hillary is the favorite, I think
unless something happens with the e-mails.

But why wouldn`t a guy take a chance on that?

WILLIAMS: Did you see the position of the vice presidents we have had the
last three or four? Why would you second-fiddle to a person who is
completely diametrically opposed to everything you stand for?

MATTHEWS: Yes. Was Cheney second fiddle?

WILLIAMS: Huh?

MATTHEWS: Was Cheney second fiddle?

WILLIAMS: Well, I think he…

MATTHEWS: Come on. He was calling the shots.

WILLIAMS: Yes, that`s right. He wasn`t second fiddle. He was the guy in
charge.

MATTHEWS: That`s a terrible example, but I think he was.

WILLIAMS: Yes.

But I also think that completely diametrically opposed. John Kasich stands
for an America that is united. Donald Trump wants an America that will
allow him…

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: I`m so glad – I`m so glad you came on. And I`m so glad people
make this case, because there has got to be – there has to be a
counterpoint within the Republican Party to what Trump is selling.

WILLIAMS: If they go up online today, and just listen to John Kasich`s
speech this morning, I think most people would understand that we have got
the person that could…

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Well, I always say this about Kasich. Whatever you think of
him, he is who he is.

WILLIAMS: Yes, sir.

MATTHEWS: He`s no fraud. I have watched that guy for 40 years. That`s
the guy I have known for 40 years.

Thank you, Montel Williams. Thank you.

WILLIAMS: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: Well, anyway, up next, we have got a New York roundtable coming
here tonight.

The candidates focus on the state primary just one week out now in the
media capital of the world. We`re going to talk about the tabloid war
going on here. As I said, we`re going to show you the front page of “The
New York Daily News” that`s from tomorrow endorsing Hillary Rodham Clinton
for president.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC ANCHOR: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

It`s no surprise Donald Trump has a big lead in his home state of New York,
where a week from today, he hopes to make up for his loss in Wisconsin.

Well, “The New York Times” yesterday pointed out yet another reason why
Trump enjoys a home field advantage here. The New York tabloids, quote ,
“Mr. Trump is reuniting with the president corps he knows best, a
boisterous tabloid culture that spawned and nurtured the outsize Trump
personality known – now known worldwide.”

Any way, asked for comment, Trump`s campaign told “The Times” that, quote,
“The tabloids never stop. But one thing I will say with great certainty,
they are far more honorable than the political press.” We`ll see what that
means.

Aside from their sensational headlines, which have been many, the tabloids
have already had a big influence on 2016. A recent example was Bernie
Sanders interview with “The New York Daily News”, which “The Washington
Post” said was pretty close to a disaster for the candidate. That sounds
like Larry David.

Anyway, they also made a splash with this cover after my interview with
Trump last month when he said women should be punished for violating an
abortion ban. Anyway, and late today, “The Daily News”, as I said, look at
that, “Why we choose Hil”, with one L, “over Bernie”, for the Democratic
primary, saying, quote, “Clinton`s proposals are shaped for the world in
which we live, not the world in which we might wish to live.” I guess
they`re knocking Bernie`s socialism.

I`m joined right now by the roundtable, Tina Brown is a founder and CEO of
Tina Brown Live Media. Harold Ford, I drop my H`s everywhere, is former
Democratic congressman from Tennessee, and Kate Brower has the franchise of
a lifetime in the literary world. She`s longtime White House correspondent
who`s out now with yet another great new book, “First Women: The Grace and
Power of America`s Modern First Ladies,” which everybody will read.

Let me ask you about the power of the tabs. I think one thing people don`t
get about New York is that even sophisticates like yourself who read “The
New York Times”, “The Gray Lady”, they also, because he`s a friend of mine,
Walter Shapiro once said, you can`t just start with “The Times” in the
morning. It`s too much. It`s too congested with ideas. So, you`ve got to
start with “The Post”.

Read the tab, you get your revving up and then you can read – a lot of
smart, sophisticated business people, business women and cultural leaders
read “The Daily News and “The Post”.

TINA BROWN, TINA BORWN LIVE MEDIA: Absolutely. I do. I read the –

MATTHEWS: Why would you read something that`s clearly not reliably true?

BROWN: I read the tabs like a run –

(CROSSTALK)

BROWN: I just pick them up and I think –

MATTHEWS: But it`s not reliable.

BROWN: It doesn`t matter. It`s part of coffee. It`s a caffeinated life
and you need your little –

MATTHEWS: What do you think if you think of the tab, if “The Post”, “The
New York Post”, do you think that`s Murdoch talking, or who do you think is
talking?

BROWN: It`s all part of the cartoon of being in New York City. It`s part
of the rough and tumble, the brashness. You don`t really absorb it and
really sort of take it into account seriously but for the 20 seconds when
you`re reading the story, it`s what you need to wake you up. It`s a New
York attitude.

MATTHEWS: I can tell that “The Post” likes Trump, “The Daily News” is
Democratic. Mort Zuckerman is just endorsing Hillary today, tomorrow
morning. They`ve taken sides. It`s like the old days of journalism. Like
in Boston, you could always have “The Globe”, and you have “The Herald”.

HAROLD FORD, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Look, “The Post” took Trump on early when
he made the comments about John McCain not being a war hero. They`ve taken
them on numerous times, but what really hurt Cruz is when he challenged and
attacked New York values. If there is anything in the morning, it wants –

(CROSSTALK)

FORD: It wants to be the morning snapshot of New York values. You pick
that up and I would agree with Tina`s assessment, you`ve got to read it
during coffee, you catch it as you`re catching the subway, you catch it as
you walk by your newsstand, wherever you live in the city, at that moment,
that`s the theme, the quote of the day.

And Donald Trump has realized, he`s caught it at the right time. Cruz has
made terrible comments about the city.

MATTHEWS: He`s got “The Post”.

FORD: So, he`s got – but he`s got the mood of the city on his side.

(CROSSTALK)

BROWN: “The Daily News” –

MATTHEWS: It`s almost like the guys, you know, go home. The headlines
seem like they`re leading the cheers of the people walking by. Nothing
about New York unlike other big city. Everybody walks to work eventually
when you get to the city, whenever you come, train, whenever you get here,
when you get here, you have to walk up and down the street. You still have
kiosk – you still have the New York kiosk with the big front pages of the
tabs.

BROWN: “The Daily News” brought in this election, I have to say, “Drop
Dead, Ted”, and “He Said, She Said, She Said” over Bill Cosby. They`ve
been doing some great –

MATTHEWS: Will you get a call from Zuckerman for that?

All that stuff goes on here.

BROWN: You know what –

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Anyway, look here, “The New York Post” reported yesterday the
scoop from Kate Brower`s book, that First Lady Michelle Obama hoped Vice
President Joe Biden with launch a White House bid against Hillary Clinton.

Here is the quote from “The First Women”, the name of the book, just out.
“The 2008 presidential campaign left deep and lasting scars on both the
Clinton and Obama camp, and they are still shockingly fresh. One Obama
aide said that Michelle would have liked to see Vice President Joe Biden
run against Hillary Clinton for the 2016 Democratic nomination.”

In response, officials for the first lady`s office have said those
assertions are unequivocally false. Of course, that`s what she would say.

KATE ANDERSEN BROWER, AUTHOR, “FIRST WOMEN”: I mean, I think that, you
know, just look at what happened in 2008 –

MATTHEWS: You`re standing by. You got the scoop.

BROWER: Yes, absolutely. There are, the Obamas see the Clintons as this
political dynasty that came before them. I was told that Michelle Obama
looks down her nose at Hillary Clinton to a certain extent –

MATTHEWS: Yes, but they don`t want to be the Clinton sandwich. I know
that. That means, you know, they stuck with the two of them.

BROWER: Yes, yes.

MATTHEWS: But they need, don`t they need Hillary Clinton to carry on the
legacy, protect the accomplishments, root for the president?

BROWER: Yes, I mean, probably, yes. But I mean, they would have been
happy if he had –

MATTHEWS: Oh, if he had won.

BROWER: Yes, and if he had run, because the Obamas and Bidens are really
close. She was happy for him –

MATTHEWS: Is that a Jill and Michelle connection?

BROWER: Yes. I mean, they`re very close. Yes.

MATTHEWS: What do you think of that? Do you think Michelle is rooting for
Joe to get in there and mess it up for Hillary?

FORD: I take the first lady – I take the first lady at her word and I
take the author at her word that someone probably told her that as well.

I think, to your point, the president wants to see the legacy continue.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

FORD: I think if you would ask someone a year ago what Mrs. Clinton, the
core of the campaign right now be defending the Obama legacy as
aggressively and as unapologetically as she is, I think a lot of people
would have said that`s probably not going to be the case in May. Good for
her. Good for this president. Hopefully good for his legacy that she`s
doing it and wins.

MATTHEWS: That`s a great picture of Michelle.

Do you believe all this? Do you think Michelle is rooting for –

BROWN: I think that no love lost between the Clintons and Obamas, really.
You know, I think Barack Obama is so appalled probably at what he sees on
the Republican side, and he knows that Hillary is somebody who is
pragmatic, and could actually protect the legacy. But I don`t think
there`s any personal love lost between Michelle Obama and Hillary.

MATTHEWS: Nothing concentrates the mind like the thought of imminent
hanging. Any way, the round table is staying with us.

And up next, these three geniuses will tell me something I don`t know.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Well, you want to turn in Tuesday night on MSNBC for a night of
politics here, a big night. At 7:00 p.m. Eastern, my town hall with Ohio
Governor John Kasich, the one Republican a lot of Democrats are watching in
case they made up there.

At 8:00 p.m., Chuck Todd sits down with Ted Cruz at a town hall up in
Buffalo. Good for Ted. I mean, I should say, good for Chuck.

I`ll be back at 11:00 p.m. after the Democratic debate. I`ll have an hour
on the tonight`s key moments and full debate analysis of the Democratic
debate that night. It`s all coming up here on MSNBC on Thursday, and a big
Thursday night on MSNBC. So, get your popcorn ready.

We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: We`re back with the HARDBALL roundtable.

Tina Brown, tell me something – you know so many things I don`t know. So

BROWN: Well, listen, as a man who took down Trump over abortion, I got a
great abortion factoid for you from Cecile Richards. She was that woman –

MATTHEWS: Oh, yes. Of course, I know her.

BROWN: Since 2011 when Rick Perry, he`s the governor, began signing
legislation that closed down more than half the abortion providers in the
state, over 100,000 women in Texas have tried to self-abort.

MATTHEWS: No. To what effect?

BROWN: Well, sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn`t. I mean, it`s a
terrible, scary thing –

MATTHEWS: Yes, it`s so dangerous. Please don`t do it. Don`t do it.

BROWN: Don`t do it. But it just shows you can`t say exact cause and
effect but you can say it`s an ugly –

MATTHEWS: Kate Brower, the greatest living writer right now.

BROWER: Well, from my book, “First Women”, which is really about the
sisterhood of these women, and their friendships over a period of time.
One thing I learned is the new first lady comes for a tour. You know, the
presidents –

MATTHEWS: I know that. I`ve seen them on TV.

BROWER: Yes, during this tour, the new first lady will come into the
second floor into first lady`s dressing room and the outgoing first lady
will stand in front of a window and say if you look over here you`ll see
the Oval Office and this is where you can stand in the shadows watching
your husband which is the bond they share. They know how difficult this is

MATTHEWS: It`s like keeping an eye on the guy or a love relationship?

BROWER: Both.

MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you. Congressman, thanks for joining us. Thanks
to our roundtable, Tina Brown, Harold Ford, Jr., and Kate Andersen Brower,
love these impressive names.

The book, by the way, “First Women” is available in the bookstores right
now, and there are bookstores right now. That`s the goodness.

When we return, let me finish with Bill Clinton on the campaign trail today
with the Irish Americans here on Fifth Avenue.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with Hillary Clinton`s most committed
surrogate. I was up in New York today at the American Irish Historical
Society to catch former President Bill Clinton. He spoke positively
refusing to engage in the tit-for-tat between his wife and Senator Sanders.

In many ways, he`s the same Bill Clinton we knew as president. At today`s
Irish event, he could have given 15 or 20 minutes of general remarks and
people crowded into the room on Fifth Avenue would have been glad they
came. Instead, he gave economic facts arguing we could have a stronger
economic recovery with the right presidential leadership.

Here he is, the once and possibly future occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania
Avenue.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAM JEFFERSON CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT: She`s better qualified to be
president this time than I was when I ran, because of trouble around the
world. It`s not just the matter of going out, as you were so kind of give
me credit for and seizing an opportunity. The world`s in tough shape. And
one of the things that could stop us from rising together is the crisis
around the world. I want somebody there that had to figure it out. I want
somebody there that will instinctively know what to do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.

“ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES” starts right now.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
BE UPDATED.
END

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