Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 4/19/2016
Date: April 19, 2016
Guest: Jeff Weaver, Christine Quinn, Montel Williams, John Batchelor, Gabe
Sherman, Gay Talese, John Batchelor, Steve Israel
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: New York values!
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in New York, live from the foot of the
Brooklyn Bridge, where it`s very windy tonight.
In just two hours, the polls will be closed across the state of New York,
and both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are looking for big victories
Let me start tonight here with the Democratic race. The fight for this
state has been the hardest fought of the Democratic campaign so far. For
Clinton, a big victory will further clear her path to the nomination. For
Sanders, an upset could prolong this race to the convention, buoying his
national numbers still higher.
Secretary Clinton voted this morning, along with her husband, the former
president, Bill Clinton, in their home town, acquired home town, of
Chappaqua. And last night, Secretary Clinton said she hoped a win in New
York would help her wrap up the nomination. That`s the key phrase, “wrap
up the nomination” – her phrase.
Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), FMR. SEC. OF STATE, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am
hoping to do really well tomorrow. I`m hoping to wrap up the Democratic
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
CLINTON: (INAUDIBLE) I`ve got to quickly add that before anybody has the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Wow. Anyway, nobody got the wrong impression. They know what
you meant, you`re going to got to wrap it up.
Anyway, Senator Sanders today greeted supporters on the streets of midtown
Manhattan. Here`s what he said when asked about Clinton`s grip on the
nomination and her reference to wrapping it up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Senator, Secretary Clinton implied that she could
wrap up the whole nomination today.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`m afraid she`s going
to be (INAUDIBLE) I think we`re going to do just fine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: “I`m afraid she`s going to be disappointed. I think we`re going
to do just fine.”
Anyway, the RealClearPolitics average of recent polls puts Clinton ahead
with a comfortable 12-point lead in New York state over Sanders, the
numbers going into tonight`s vote, 53-41.
While members of the Clinton campaign insist, quote, “a win is a win,”
whatever the margin, Politico points out that for Clinton, however, “a
single-digit victory in the state that elected her twice to the Senate and
where she beat Barack Obama by 17 points in 2008 would signal
I`m joined right now by former New York City Council speaker – and it`s a
big job up here – Christine Quinn – not every city has a speaker…
MATTHEWS: … anyway, who supports Hillary Clinton, and Jeff Weaver, the
aforementioned king of the Bernie Sanders campaign.
Let me go back to you.
MATTHEWS: You guys are – people can`t (ph) ask me – why is this campaign
getting so tough? You`re talking about her selling her soul. You know,
you`re going after the speaking fees. These are very personal things. How
do you take them back in Philly if you have to?
JEFF WEAVER, SANDERS CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Well, look, it`s not about taking
back. But let`s be clear…
MATTHEWS: No, you have to.
WEAVER: Let`s – let`s be clear – either candidate is far preferable to
what the Republicans have to offer. Either candidate would be – I mean,
just head and shoulders…
MATTHEWS: Do you have any other bromides to share?
MATTHEWS: That`s what everybody says!
WEAVER: Well, it happens to be true.
MATTHEWS: But it`s not relevant. You guys are still fighting the race.
WEAVER: Of course we are. Number one…
MATTHEWS: Well, tell me why you`re still fighting it so tough?
WEAVER: Because Bernie Sanders is running for the nomination. Hillary
Clinton is running for the nomination. Both…
MATTHEWS: But you`re trying to knock her head off!
WEAVER: Oh, that`s not fair, Chris. That`s not fair at all!
MATTHEWS: Well, when you say that she – you, Jeff…
WEAVER: I did not say…
MATTHEWS: No, but you…
WEAVER: Deal with the devil is what I said.
MATTHEWS: You said she had to…
CHRISTINE QUINN (D), FMR. NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL SPEAKER: So much better…
WEAVER: … metaphor.
MATTHEWS: OK, she has a deal with the devil. Isn`t that pretty direct?
MATTHEWS: … she`s bad?
WEAVER: Hillary Clinton`s campaign is funded by every special interest in
this country – Wall Street, the pharmaceutical companies…
MATTHEWS: That`s not what you hit hard. You keep hitting on the $200,000
per speech. You guys even put out the word it was only a 20-minute speech.
In other words, it was – it was a take. She grabbed the money and ran.
WEAVER: Well, look…
MATTHEWS: You`re saying that stuff!
WEAVER: She did not support $15 an hour for everybody else, and she takes
$200,000 herself? I mean, that`s just the facts, Chris! The facts are
MATTHEWS: And you`re hitting those hard.
QUINN: You know, look, I think –
MATTHEWS: This is getting rough.
QUINN: Look, this is a tough race, as all races for the Democratic
nomination are and should be. No question. And Secretary Clinton said it
very clearly when I was with her yesterday. She is taking nothing for
granted. We are going to fight this election for the next two hours until
the end and beyond.
MATTHEWS: You know, it looks (ph) like your accent…
QUINN: But look…
MATTHEWS: … by the way.
QUINN: It`s a good one.
MATTHEWS: Your accent`s up here. Is it ethnic or is it neighborhood?
QUINN: Mine is Long Island and Chelsea all together. But if you say dog
or coffee, it really comes out.
QUINN: But let`s not mess around. The Sanders campaign can`t throw the
kind of statements that they`ve thrown out there, and your statements have
clearly gotten more ratcheted up as the secretary gets more and more
MATTHEWS: But what`s (INAUDIBLE)
QUINN: I think that after tonight, it`s going to be very clear, and it
really was even going into tonight…
MATTHEWS: What`s your spread?
QUINN: … that it`s mathematically…
MATTHEWS: What spread wraps it up, as Hillary said? What spread?
QUINN: A win…
MATTHEWS: Double digits?
QUINN: A win brings us…
MATTHEWS: You know, I watched you during my opening there. You think a
narrow victory by Hillary, say in the single digits…
QUINN: Yes, but you…
QUINN: You said you had to win.
QUINN: You said you had to win!
WEAVER: … elected senator here twice! If she comes (INAUDIBLE) here
with a single-digit win, my God, it`s an embarrassment!
QUINN: No, look, we`ve…
MATTHEWS: Bernie Sanders won Vermont with 86 percent of the vote!
QUINN: We`ve heard a lot…
MATTHEWS: So the headline in “The New York Times” (INAUDIBLE) tomorrow
will be “Hillary wins, embarrassed.”
QUINN: Now, wait a minute, Chris.
MATTHEWS: It`s not going to be that!
WEAVER: Jeff, you can`t…
MATTHEWS: It`s going to be…
QUINN: You can`t flip around on this. You and the campaign, and you
personally, have said probably 25 or 26 times you need to win. You didn`t
say you need to lose in single digits.
WEAVER: No, no, no, no, no…
QUINN: You didn`t say…
WEAVER: We have no “must win” statements.
QUINN: … if you lose by 5, you…
WEAVER: You will not find me having said that even once!
QUINN: The campaign said it 25 or 26 times.
WEAVER: There are no must-win statements.
QUINN: So let`s not move the goalposts.
WEAVER: We got to win most of them, but we don`t have to win – there`s no
QUINN: The campaign…
WEAVER: And if we split delegates here, essentially, that`s a huge win!
MATTHEWS: Donald Trump…
QUINN: But how is it a win?
MATTHEWS: … is (INAUDIBLE) you guys, and he`s – like all politicians
do, they take the shots from the other side and they use them. He`s
already going after Hillary using what your guy`s been saying, what you`ve
been saying, that Hillary Clinton`s crooked. Crooked!
WEAVER: Look, Chris…
MATTHEWS: He`s borrowing that from you.
WEAVER: Chris, come on!
MATTHEWS: Well, why…
MATTHEWS: You can say, “Come on,” but why is he doing that?
WEAVER: Bernie Sanders has been – Bernie Sanders – this has been a
really tame campaign compared to what`s going to happen in the general
election. You know it! (INAUDIBLE)
MATTHEWS: But your guy`s (INAUDIBLE) he said, I don`t do this stuff.
WEAVER: We don`t do it. Wait until we get to the general election.
MATTHEWS: You accuse her of selling her soul to the devil! You said you
don`t go negative!
WEAVER: It was – look, the point was, is that when all these people give
you money, they don`t give it to you for nothing. They want something in
MATTHEWS: Why did they give Hillary Clinton $200,000 a speech?
WEAVER: I don`t know. Let`s see…
MATTHEWS: Tell me! You keep raising it.
WEAVER: If we knew what was in the speeches, we`d know!
MATTHEWS: Tell me what it – no, tell me…
WEAVER: What`s in the speeches?
MATTHEWS: Why is it an issue?
WEAVER: Why won`t she release the speeches?
QUINN: Look, let me just…
MATTHEWS: What`s the worst that could be in there?
WEAVER: I have no idea. Maybe there`s nothing. But you would – leads
you believe there`s something!
WEAVER: Leads you to believe (INAUDIBLE)
QUINN: Do you know what I think?
WEAVER: Let`s you to believe there`s something!
QUINN: I think the clear answer to your question came up at the debate.
When Senator Sanders was asked to give one clear example of where he saw a
campaign contribution leading to a policy position of Secretary Clinton`s,
he couldn`t answer the question.
So we can go back and forth here, but that spoke volumes. That silence on
the senator`s part spoke volumes. But let`s talk here about…
MATTHEWS: Argue with him, not me.
WEAVER: That`s not the way the pernicious – that`s not how money works in
QUINN: Your candidate…
WEAVER: People get access!
QUINN: … couldn`t answer the question.
WEAVER: People – people – people…
QUINN: So give me an example.
WEAVER: … go easy on…
WEAVER: How about the bankruptcy bill that Elizabeth Warren pointed out
that Secretary Clinton flip-flopped on after she started representing Wall
QUINN: There was no – but let`s – you want to talk about flip-flops?
Let`s talk about Senator Sanders on this gun issue. There is probably no
issue that is as critical…
MATTHEWS: Why do you think he`s pro-gun rights?
QUINN: I think he`s – that`s a question he`s going to have to answer.
But very clearly, he said for a very…
MATTHEWS: You think he`s on the take?
QUINN: No, I would never say that…
WEAVER: Hillary Clinton (INAUDIBLE)
QUINN: … about Senator Sanders.
WEAVER: … takes gun lobby money in this race, not Bernie Sanders!
QUINN: But Bernie Sanders is also the only one who said the gun lobby
should not be up to be sued, as every other industry in America is! That
is an issue that is a New York issue.
WEAVER: So why are they (INAUDIBLE) her?
MATTHEWS: Let me bring in some other voices.
QUINN: That`s ridiculous to say!
MATTHEWS: Secretary Clinton`s chief strategist – that`s Joel Benenson –
today responded to charges made my the Sanders campaign that Clinton,
Secretary Clinton, has broken campaign finance rules. In doing so,
Benenson compared Sanders to Ralph Nader, who cost Al Gore the White House
in the year 2000, suggesting that Sanders`s attacks could hurt the
Democratic Party come November.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOEL BENENSON, CLINTON CAMPAIGN STRATEGIST: It is a desperate, false
attack by a campaign that is on the brink of losing in a state that they
said was a must win state for them. And I think the real challenge here –
is Senator Sanders going to stop delivering destructive attacks? Is he
going to really try to support the party that`s in favor of protecting
voting right, women`s rights, economic justice, or is he going to turn
himself into someone who`s going to do what he said he wasn`t going to do
and be a Ralph Nader and try to destroy the Democratic Party when it comes
to defeating Republicans in November?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WEAVER: It`s ridiculous. Bernie Sanders is running in a Democratic
primary, pledged to support the eventual nominee of the party, whoever it
is. That`s not – Ralph Nader was running as a third party candidate.
They don`t have anything to say about this whole campaign finance thing
because they know it`s a problem. They had an emergency…
MATTHEWS: Can you explain it, by the way – you got the podium…
MATTHEWS: … because I don`t – it had something to do with a joint
effort by Hillary and (INAUDIBLE) campaigns and the Democratic Party
campaign. They pooled their effort. The ran a big front-runner out there
with George Clooney. What did they do wrong?
WEAVER: Well, this is what they do wrong. So in these joint front-runner
agreements, they go to rich people, they say, Give us a big check. The
first $2,700 goes to Secretary Clinton. The rest of it goes to the
But what this group does is it hands out money to Secretary Clinton. They
gave her $10 million. They gave the party $5 million. They retained all
this money. And instead of running low-dollar front-raisers and because
Secretary Clinton gets the first $2,700 of every contribution, she gets all
of that money, even though it`s being funded with money that was given
above the $,2700 limit! She`s either getting a loan from the DNC or she`s
taking contributions that are improper. It`s one of the two. Those are
the only two options!
MATTHEWS: Who pays for the food at these fund-raisers, and the booze?
WEAVER: Well, it`s supposed to be – it`s supposed to be proportionate,
based on how much money you walk out of the room with.
QUINN: This is another…
MATTHEWS: What a business. What a business.
QUINN: … example of Sanders…
WEAVER: That`s the problem with the Democratic Party.
QUINN: This is another example of the Sanders campaign having nothing
substantive to say and…
MATTHEWS: Weren`t you grossed out by that money they raised? Somebody
paid $330,000 – $330 – that means you have to earn about $600,000 after
taxes to sit down at the table with George (INAUDIBLE) Amal Clooney and
Hillary Clinton. Doesn`t that – doesn`t that bother you?
QUINN: There is no question – and it was one of my biggest issues when I
was speaker – that we need to reform campaign finance. But the question
here is, again, why is the Sanders campaign throwing out baseless attacks
WEAVER: … or you can do it, which is what Bernie Sanders (INAUDIBLE)
MATTHEWS: OK, it`s July – it`s July at the convention. Hillary Clinton`s
got problems with indictments perhaps…
QUINN: That`s absurd.
MATTHEWS: No, if that happens. If that happens. Subjective here.
Subjunctive – if it happens. Should Joe Biden come in and replace Hillary
Clinton as the nominee of the party?
WEAVER: I think that`s a crazy hypothetical.
MATTHEWS: I mean seriously!
WEAVER: I really do.
MATTHEWS: A lot of people are talking Joe Biden has to come in and save
the party, that Bernie can`t win the general.
WEAVER: Bernie is the strongest candidate in the general election!
QUINN: Well, that doesn`t bear out in the polls, either.
MATTHEWS: Good luck tonight, both of you.
QUINN: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: Good luck tonight. It`s great race.
WEAVER: Thanks, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Only in New York – New York – what county – what borough is
New York? Anyway – anyway, we`re here…
QUINN: You need to work on the accent, Chris!
MATTHEWS: Anyway, Christine Quinn, a great pal of mine, and a future pal
of mine, Jeff Weaver…
WEAVER: Maybe. Maybe.
MATTHEWS: … a flatlander from Vermont!
Coming up, just as Hillary Clinton is looking to win big in New York
tonight – she is – Donald Trump has a chance to take all the marbles
tonight, all the delegates in the Republican race, inching him closer to
the nomination in Cleveland – not as cool a city as Philly. But the “stop
Trump” forces aren`t going down without a fight, I guess.
This is HARDBALL, live from Brooklyn, New York, for the primary tonight.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL, live from Brooklyn. As you can see,
the bridge is right behind me.
And according to recent polls, New York state is set to give its hometown
candidate – that would be Donald Trump – a major boost tonight. The New
York businessman is leading by double digits right now in the polls and
could score the lion`s share of the state`s 95 delegates by midnight..
Earlier today, he picked up the support of former New York mayor Rudy
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI (R), FORMER NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: Trump is clearly the best
choice. He`s the best choice for New York. He`s the best choice for the
country. And he`s the one who can beat Hillary Clinton.
Cruz is a straight overhand fastball for Hillary Clinton. She`ll knock him
out of the park. Trump, she`ll have no idea what to do with. He`s coming
at you like this!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wow!
GIULIANI: She`s coming at you – Cruz is coming at you like this. And
Democrats have been hitting very, very right-wing Republicans like Cruz out
of the ballpark for years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Pretty smart talk there from Rudy Giuliani, but one thing he
didn`t do is completely admit (ph) himself as part of the Trump campaign.
Why the differencing? Why the distancing? He said he wouldn`t endorse,
then he`s endorsed, but he still says, I`m not part of the campaign.
What`s he afraid of?
Anyway, another prominent New York City Republican, Congressman Peter King
– well, wait`ll you hear what he said. He voted for John Kasich today, he
said, and he made it clear he wasn`t fan of the third man in the race.
Listen to this language. This is what Peter King, in typical, well, Long
Island fashion, said about Ted Cruz. You don`t hear this often.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: First of all, in case anybody is confused,
am not endorsing Ted Cruz. I hate Ted Cruz. I think I`ll take cyanide if
he ever got the nomination.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: “I hate Ted Cruz. I`ll take cyanide if he gets ever the
nomination.” That is Peter King with a trademarked comment.
Anyway, Ted Cruz has derided New York values, of course, and tonight, New
York will deliver its response.
Robert Costa is national political reporter for “The Washington Post” and
an MSNBC political analyst, Montel Williams is former talk show host and a
supporter of John Kasich, who`s looking pretty good up here today, and John
Batchelor is a great radio talk show host.
I want to go to Robert Costa, as I often do. I think the message coming
out of New York state tonight, without getting into numbers, is that you
can`t call a place Sodom and Gomorrah one week and then come back and say,
I love it, the next. That is Ted Cruz`s problem.
ROBERT COSTA, “WASHINGTON POST,” MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Cruz has already
started to look ahead. He`s going to give his speech tonight in a few
minutes and start thinking ahead of those April 26th states because New
York has never been place where he`s really had an opportunity ever since
the “New York values” comment in that debate. He`s had a tough uphill
climb. This is Trump`s home state.
And Cruz`s organization is strong, but there`s just not enough of these
conservative activist areas in New York to put Cruz over the top.
MATTHEWS: Well, last night, Donald Trump accused Cruz of hating New York.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Tomorrow, we`re going to show
Ted Cruz, who hates New York – hates New York! When you look at that
debate and you see the way he talked about us and “New York values” –
here`s a man that turned down sending money for this state and plenty of
other money. We had lots of things coming into New York, and he voted
against. No New Yorker can vote for Ted Cruz!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, as a reminder, here is what Cruz did say back in January
about New York values. Let`s watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think most people know
exactly what New York values are.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m from New York. I`m…
CRUZ: You`re from New York, so you might not.
CRUZ: But I promise you, in the state of South Carolina…
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
CRUZ: … they do. There are many, many wonderful, wonderful working men
and women in the state of New York. But every one understands that the
values in New York City are socially liberal or pro-abortion or pro-gay
marriage, focused around money and the media.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: What do you think of that, Montel?
MONTEL WILLIAMS, FMR. TALK SHOW HOST: (INAUDIBLE) that`s part of the
reason why so many people are so disenfranchised with the Republican Party
because this is a party that`s left all of us.
I was a Republican until Ronald Reagan. But because of comments like that,
that`s why I`m an independent today. If he really reached out and said,
Look at the Republicans that are in New York – we`re the guys that go
around trying to get our soldiers out of prisons around the world, like
Amir Hekmati and Andrew Tahmooressi. We`re also the ones who are working
on traumatic brain injury for our soldiers right now. We`re the ones who
are working on things like biofuel.
Who is he talking about when he talks about New York City values and
blaming all Republicans that have some sort of misguided judgment? I`m a
Republican. I live in the state. That`s part of the reason why…
MATTHEWS: For college, we had to read “Lonely Crowd,” David Riesman`s
book. And it explained how – and it had – let me – I came to New York
for the World`s Fair here in the early `60s, the fabulous World`s Fair out
in Queens. And the cab driver (INAUDIBLE) How do you like our fair? How
do you like it? Some (ph) prideful of this city, not just the sports
teams, but the city itself. And for this guy to play to the yahoos out
there – that`s what he was doing. He was pandering to the country people,
trashing this city as Sodom and Gomorrah – payday tonight, huh?
JOHN BATCHELOR, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: The story for me is not Ted Cruz.
The story for me is Donald Trump here in New York.
I asked George Pataki, another Republican from New York, last week…
MATTHEWS: He`s for your guy. He`s for Kasich.
BATCHELOR: I asked him right after he endorsed Kasich, is Donald Trump a
Republican? The governor said he`s what he says he is that day.
The story here is that there`s no trust.
MATTHEWS: But Pataki was pro-choice. Pataki was on that side of that
culture fight when he was three-term governor here.
BATCHELOR: I`m following through with the governor. The doubt here –
this is a Republican primary. The doubt is the leader. And the doubt is
not just in New York. It`s across the country.
MATTHEWS: But why is he likely to get a huge plurality here tonight,
likely, based upon all the polling?
BATCHELOR: I heard him earlier today on WABC being interviewed by Rita
Cosby. And she – asked, how will you do tonight? And he said, I hope I
do better than 50 percent.
And then he lowballed the delegate count. I was surprised by that, because
I had heard in the 80s was going to be a good night. He said, if I do in
the 70s, it`s going to be a good night.
This is about delegate count coming out of here for the 1,237 we`re headed
to, Chris. You know that. This isn`t a New York story. It`s a national
MATTHEWS: I understand.
Let me go back to Robert Costa.
Robert, what do you think about the Republican fight up here? If Trump
gets over 50 today, can he roll all the way to Cleveland?
COSTA: He`s going have a little bit of a speed bump perhaps in Indiana.
That`s a conservative state. You got Mike Pence as the governor. It is a
state that looks friendly to Cruz`s politics.
But he continues to roll through the Northeast next week, Chris.
MATTHEWS: He can win five for five next week.
COSTA: He could.
MATTHEWS: I think Kasich is more likely to come in second tonight,
Pennsylvania for sure, probably in Delaware, probably in Rhode Island. I
don`t see Cruz doing well in any of the Northeastern states.
Montel, you get in.
WILLIAMS: I agree with you. And also I think that he – Donald Trump may
not do as well here in New York. The split may not be…
BATCHELOR: I agree with that. I think Kasich can win.
BATCHELOR: Yes. Yes. And I think he can be number two in about 10 of
WILLIAMS: There you go. I agree.
BATCHELOR: Back to the 1,237, we`re looking at tactical voting by the
Republican Party. Kasich and Cruz, they are not being viewed separately.
They`re a package to deny the 1,237.
MATTHEWS: You think voters are strategic like that?
BATCHELOR: Yes, I do.
And that will happen in Pennsylvania. It will also happen in Indiana and
California. The big fight, tactical voting in order to deny the 1,237 on
the first ballot, because everyone tells me that unless Trump closes the
deal in Cleveland on the first ballot, we`re going to someone else. And
the someone else could be the governor of Ohio.
WILLIAMS: And don`t let the Kasich-Rubio pack come together. And that`s
what is presented as the, I guess, saving grace, because, bingo bango, you
pull in all of Rubio`s candidates.
I disagree with both of you guys.
But I want to get Robert.
Robert, who is most likely right, me or these two guys, John or Montel?
They say it is not – it`s going to go to a convention, that Trump won`t
get it on the first ballot. I think he will. What do you think? What can
you say objectively?
COSTA: All this chatter about a contested convention and having Kasich
come in with a ticket or Cruz come in with a ticket, it`s before Trump has
a likely big win in New York.
He`s going to sweep through the Northeast next week. And the question is,
if Trump gets close, if he`s close to 1,237, but not close enough, and he`s
close to that threshold, do some of these unbound delegates start to move
toward Trump to try to avoid this kind of scenario where you have a second
ballot and chaos on the floor?
WILLIAMS: Or if he gets close, do more of them move away from him to make
sure he doesn`t get to 1,237?
BATCHELOR: Yes, yes, 1,237 is 1,237. It`s not 1,100. It`s not 1,200.
MATTHEWS: What is the gimme?
WILLIAMS: Twelve thirty-seven.
BATCHELOR: Twelve thirty-seven.
MATTHEWS: Then there`s no gimme.
MATTHEWS: But you`re talking with your hearts.
BATCHELOR: These are sophisticated actors.
MATTHEWS: You think it`s a disaster if Trump is the nominee?
BATCHELOR: No, I think it`s healthy for the party. This is the most
successful third party in the history of democracy. It goes through
WILLIAMS: I say that, if Trump`s the nominee, it is going to be a disaster
for the party for the next 16 years.
MATTHEWS: Are you with Hillary then? Are you with Hillary then?
WILLIAMS: I`m not with any other alternative.
MATTHEWS: What, are you going way in November?
WILLIAMS: No, I guess I`m going to have to really look really hard,
because I don`t know who is going to come out of that.
MATTHEWS: Please come back again. John, beautiful radio voice, you got
it. It`s so sophisticated.
BATCHELOR: Thank you, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Just like me. Just kidding.
Robert Costa, Montel Williams, and John Batchelor, what a group.
Up next: Bernie Sanders is vowing to take his fight all the way to the
convention in Philly. But in the meantime, is the Democratic duel between
Sanders and Clinton hurting the Democrats running for lower offices? That
should be interesting.
And this is HARDBALL live, the place for politics live from the foot of the
Brooklyn Bridge, for tonight`s primary.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (VT-I), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There is a Democratic
primary taking place in New York state.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
SANDERS: Now, the polls don`t close there until 9:00 p.m., so we don`t
know who is going to be winning or losing. But you know what? We`re going
to do a lot better, I think, than people thought we would.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: That`s so Bernie. “We`re going to do a lot better than most
people thought we would” with the finger up there. It`s great stuff.
Anyway, welcome back to HARDBALL live from the Brooklyn Bridge for the New
York primary tonight.
And that was of course Senator Bernie Sanders just moments ago, by the way,
at a campaign rally up in Penn State in Pennsylvania, of course. Next week
is the Pennsylvania primary.
With the increasing likelihood of Donald Trump becoming the Republican
nominee, believe it or not, Democrats see a chance for major gains in the
House of Representatives and possibly taking back the U.S. Senate. They`re
five votes shy right now.
But could the increasingly nasty tone of the Democratic race hurt the party
come November, the way the tone is going?
Joining me right now is the former chair of the Democratic Congressional
Campaign Committee, the guy in charge of getting Democratic victories, New
York Congressman Steve Israel. Keep going. Keep going. He`s supporting
Hillary Clinton. And with me now is one of the great American – leaders
in American letters, the author and former journalist Gay Talese, a Bernie
Let me start with Steve Israel.
Steve, this has got a real New York flair to it up here. I have always
said New York media needs to be refed every two hours. And they`re looking
for raw meat, red meat.
REP. STEVE ISRAEL (D), NEW YORK: Yes.
MATTHEWS: Every two hours, you got to say something nasty about your
opponent. And this debate between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders has
lived up to the need for red meat. It`s been a tough one.
ISRAEL: Well, you know, Chris, this a good old-fashioned New York street
brawl that we have in this primary.
But, in a few hours – I`m not going predict for you exactly what the
margin of victory will be, but I will predict with certainty this. Hillary
Clinton, who is already ahead by 2.5 million popular votes, will add to
that. And Hillary Clinton, who is already ahead by more than 700
delegates, will add to that.
The thing to look for tonight, I think, on both sides of the aisle is, does
Bernie Sanders overperform in the Hudson Valley, and does John Kasich
overperform on Long Island, where you have moderate suburbs? If Sanders
doesn`t overperform in the Hudson Valley, it means he doesn`t have appeal
to suburban voters that he needs throughout the rest of the Republican
And if Kasich doesn`t overperform in Nassau County, Suffolk County, where
his sweet spot should be, it means Donald Trump is the nominee and will be
running for president.
MATTHEWS: OK. OK. That`s of more interest to some of the experts around
here, who love this kind of stuff.
Let me just ask you the bottom line. You`re not running for reelection.
I`m surprised and a little disappointed you`re not.
MATTHEWS: But what do your fellow members of the House – who would they
run on the ticket with, Bernie or Hillary? Yes or no, Bernie or Hillary?
MATTHEWS: Who do they want to run – why?
ISRAEL: Hillary, because having Hillary at the top of the ticket is a much
broader appeal in the competitive districts that we have to win.
In those red to blue districts and those front-line districts, you want
somebody who can appeal to a broader majority of voters.
MATTHEWS: OK, let me go to Gay Talese, one of my heroes.
We just had Jeff Weaver here. He is one tough, rootin tootin campaign
manager. He says things like Hillary Clinton sold her soul to the devil or
he says – whatever he phrases it. He phrased it like that. They go after
Hillary for taking speech money. They say she`s basically on the take.
How do you reunite come Philadelphia in July, when they`re supposed to get
together and hold each other`s hands in the air, when you have said that
kind of stuff?
GAY TALESE, AUTHOR AND REPORTER: Well, I think you had me on the show. I
don`t know why you had me on the show. I`m not a political junkie.
MATTHEWS: Because you`re Gay Talese.
TALESE: Yes, but I`m not a political junkie.
MATTHEWS: OK. Talk about this city`s culture and what`s going on in the
city, Bernie with his New York, Brooklyn accent. Hillary, she`s an
arriviste to some extent. Let`s face it.
TALESE: Yes, OK.
MATTHEWS: What does that – how does that measure up?
TALESE: Well, my attraction to Mr. Sanders is, he`s rather unconventional
When he says that Benjamin Netanyahu is not right all the time, you would
lose your job if you said that. There`s not a columnist in “The New York
Times” would – you can`t do that. This man does that.
MATTHEWS: Although Roger Cohen supported him today in “The Times.”
TALESE: Oh, did he?
TALESE: Well, you`re more informed than I am, then. But I think that was
– that takes some moxie, but an interesting guy.
MATTHEWS: Does he strike you as a man of principle? Because that`s not a
vote-getter, although it might be among some younger people.
TALESE: I`m struck. I think, in the city, it survives terrible
politicians generation after generation. I think the American people, by
and large, are people who come from bad governments to become Americans.
TALESE: And the bad governments they left to become Americans are not
necessarily much better than what they left. Yet the people are survivors.
The people are risk-takers.
Americans, by and large, are risk-taking people. They get on a little
barge and come over, God knows, through the sharks and get over here. It`s
a tribute to their fortitude, their personality, power.
MATTHEWS: You mean de Blasio, the mayor of this city, is not a little
better than Raul Castro?
TALESE: I`m not saying he`s better or worse.
MATTHEWS: I mean, really? Of course he is.
TALESE: But I`m saying that he`s the representation of a lot of
conflicting characters that are in his bloodstream.
This is an amazing city. We`re over here with the Roebling brothers
looking down upon yes, the guys that took a risk to build this bridge. And
we can see it probably in some of your films. People died to build this
People are so courageous in this city. And I`m not sure government guys
are that much. Here we are, the great junkie political show, yours, but I
don`t think the political system really gets down to changing the way
MATTHEWS: Let me go. Let me throw that at Steve Israel, who is a pro.
Steve, you`re a great writer, as well as this guy. Not in his league yet.
But you have written a hell of a book.
Let me ask you this. Could a mayor of New York do this, build a Brooklyn
Bridge, this fantastic structure built after the Civil War? It`s amazing
to walk under it today. All day, we have been up here. Just the
bridgehead at the Brooklyn end is amazing. And I think, do we ever do
anything like this anymore?
MATTHEWS: Do they just sort of meet the current debt and survive?
ISRAEL: It`s the biggest failure that we have, is that this country has
divested from infrastructure.
The reason that you`re in New York is because New York is considered a
world capital. The reason New York is considered a world capital is
because of the Erie Canal, which linked New York City to Buffalo, which was
in the western shore there.
And so one of the reasons I`m supporting Hillary Clinton is that she has –
as a senator, she was on the issue of infrastructure. She thinks we have
to go back into the business of building again. That is the foolproof
recipe for economic stagnation. You build bridges. You build canals. You
build roads. You modernize your Internet. And that`s why I`m supporting
And I hope one day to sell just a fraction of the books that Gay Talese has
sold, by the way.
MATTHEWS: Well, by the way, Pat Moynihan, the great senator from this
state, once said you arrive in New York in Penn Station, not like a prince,
but like a rat.
Penn Station is disgusting.
TALESE: It is.
MATTHEWS: Nice people that work there. And La Guardia Airport? Give me a
ISRAEL: All right, but there`s still great buildings going on. The city
is just – you can see the energy of the skyscraper builders, the
ironworkers. This Twin Tower, for God`s sake, I was there the other day.
And here`s a place that was destroyed in 2001. And today, it`s there.
MATTHEWS: Freedom Tower.
ISRAEL: The Freedom Tower, it`s an incredible building, incredible
building. And we built it. It wasn`t built by Chinese labor. It was
built by Americans of all kinds of backgrounds. Great story.
MATTHEWS: Well, I think that is the great story.
If Trump were smart, Steve and Gay, if he were smart, he`d stop talking
about all this stuff he doesn`t know anything about and talk about
building, because it is something he knows something about.
Steve, I hate to see you leave the Congress, but you`re headed towards
greatness, I think.
ISRAEL: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, U.S. Congressman Steve Israel from Rhode Island, and the
great Gay Talese.
TALESE: Thank you, sir.
MATTHEWS: What more can I say? Like Ernest Hemingway, you don`t have put
an explanation on it.
Up next, much more on the battle for New York tonight with a special
Brooklyn roundtable coming here. They are all going to be speak regular
American standard English, though. We`re all going to understand them.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics, live from Brooklyn, for
the New York primary.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
From Broadway, to Brooklyn, and Palm Ridge to Poughkeepsie, New Yorkers
headed to the polls today, also in Bay Ridge as well, and Sheepshead Bay,
and all over the city.
Anyway, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump need more than a win tonight.
They say they need to crush, Schwarzenegger, crushed. A big win for
Clinton, her adopted home state, could thwart the momentum Sanders had been
coming up to in this battle.
And on the Republican side, New York delegate sweep could put Trump closer
to locking in the nomination ahead of the Cleveland convention. I still
think he can do it.
Joining me right now is the HARDBALL round table, and what a roundtable it
Joy Reid, nation reporter for MSNBC, I love these titles. “The Huffington
Post`s” Howard Fineman is an MSNBC political analyst, and Gabe Sherman, the
great national affairs editor of “New York Magazine”.
I have to start with you, Gabe. “New York Magazine” is so impressive and
you`re an editor.
So, give me the sense of this. It`s not mishegoss here. It`s not
confusing. It`s very clear. You got two front runners who want to crush
their opponents tonight and end this thing.
GABE SHERMAN, NEW YORK MAGAZINE NATIONAL AFFAIRS EDITOR: In their
MATTHEWS: Yes, they want to end it.
SHERMAN: The symbolism for both Hillary and Trump is very important for
them to stamp their status as the front-runner.
MATTHEWS: Is this like the schoolyard when you get the other kid down and
bang their head into the cement?
SHERMAN: In your own backyard, yes.
MATTHEWS: In “Goodwill Hunting”, remember that scene? Stop it, you`re
killing the guy.
But isn`t that the idea, Howard?
HOWARD FINEMAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes.
MATTHEWS: And the opponent.
FINEMAN: Yes, it`s the idea. However unrealistic or irrational it may be,
given the opponents they face. But yes, Hillary has to maximize it here to
try to somehow tell Bernie that no, he`s not the revolutionary success
story that he thinks he is.
MATTHEWS: Does he have a set of ears that can hear that?
FINEMAN: No, he does not. He absolutely does not. So, no matter how much
Hillary wins by, Bernie is not going to stop.
And as for Donald Trump, yes, this is his town. He`s got Trump Tower.
He`s got to crush everybody especially Ted Cruz criticized New York values.
By the way, Ted Cruz, you couldn`t find him with the police squad – the
entire police department.
FINEMAN: He got booed in the Bronx or wherever, get the hell out of town.
You have not heard from Ted Cruz since.
MATTHEWS: Joy, young lady, great wisdom, the knowledge. You know when I
was growing up, Howard, you could tell the difference between a concession
speech and a victory speech. It was great. The guy would cry a little bit
and he`d lose. He would say, “I lost”.
Now, I know we`re going to hear from Cruz. It will not be a defeat speech.
What is he talking about? I just – is that going to be a problem with
Bernie? Is he going to take crushing defeat at Penn State tonight?
JOY REID, MSNBC POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I think that what they`re going
to do is they`re going to chalk it up to the establishment. If they don`t
win here tonight, you`re going to hear a lot about the closed primary
process. You`re going to hear a lot about –
MATTHEWS: Only Democrats can vote?
REID: Only Democrats can vote and millions of people were disenfranchised.
You saw him previewing that message as he walked –
MATTHEWS: If only Democrats could run, he wouldn`t have been in the race.
REID: It is a good point. But I think what they`ll do is they chuck it up
to his being locked out and people were disenfranchised. I don`t think
that Bernie Sanders will be down because he`s got the money to go on.
MATTHEWS: Yes, he is.
REID: And I think what will be proved her that Hillary won her home state.
I don`t think they will take that as a rebuke to his message. And if he
does better than expected, he can get the close to ten or even under ten, I
think they will spin it as a victory.
MATTHEWS: You know, there`s three races going on. New York primary
tonight, we`ll get actual numbers on that. The national numbers, Bernie is
in the passing lane. He`s moving ahead of Hillary. He closed a month ago
from nine a month ago to two now. At that speed, acceleration, he`s going
to go right past her.
The money game, the third fight. He`s making more money than her with
small donations, he wins nationally. She wins state to state, in the
northeast probably. This thing doesn`t end, does it?
SHERMAN: Well, for Bernie, it doesn`t. I think the super delegates will
decide when it ends. And there`s no sign they are moving in his direction.
So, he can keep running. But at the end of the day, he`s going to persuade
that wing of the party that he`s their guy. He`s not making that case.
FINEMAN: Chris, his whole aim here is to prove the system that might
reject him in the end to be corrupt and bankrupt, which means as Gabe says,
if all the super delegates stick with Hillary and it`s by in good measure
the super delegates who provide her the margin, he will declare the thing
MATTHEWS: I accept that – does he have a shot of beating in the pledged
REID: No. That`s got to be no. You remember that at this point in the
race in 2008, Barack Obama had a lead that`s half of what Hillary has now.
The math is not on Sanders side. But I think to Howard`s point, he`s
setting the stage to discredit the process, to say that the process itself
is corrupt and that what the demand will be at the end is to ultimately
change the process, including super delegates.
SHERMAN: I think for Trump, he`s going to make the message to the national
party that he has grown ups in charge now, as I reported today. Paul
Manafort, who is his convention manager is basically – hiss campaign
manager now. Corey Lewandowski has been –
MATTHEWS: And he decides where the money gets spent.
SHERMAN: He controls the budget. He controls hiring. He`s driving that
bus. So, Trump needs to say –
MATTHEWS: Is Lewandowski out?
SHERMAN: He`s not going to be fired. But he`s out – he`s the advanced
FINEMAN: He`s been layered.
FINEMAN: And the thing is that Paul Manafort, who is of our bent, I mean,
he`s a baby boomer. He`s been around for 40 years. I`ve covered him for
my entire career here. He`s an experienced guy at three conventions.
But now he`s been given a job bigger than any he`s had before, which is
basically to run the whole campaign. His last big campaign was running the
guy, the pro-Putin guy in Ukraine. I mean, he`s a global political
MATTHEWS: There`s a big PR firm in Washington, consulting, Black Manafort
REID: That is correct.
MATTHEWS: Who is Black with now?
FINEMAN: He`s with John Kasich.
MATTHEWS: Where`s Manafort?
FINEMAN: Manafort is on the inside.
MATTHEWS: Is this what change looks like?
FINEMAN: They`re other good buddy back then, one of them who`s still alive
is Karl Rove. And Karl Rove was tight with those three.
MATTHEWS: Who is he with?
FINEMAN: Well, he`s trying to play some kind of Mark Hannah figure long
after the idea of a Republican king maker.
MATTHEWS: Is he still walking down the aisle with the hallway with Megyn
Kelly trying to prove who won Ohio?
REID: I think it must say something about the new guard that his other
clients included (INAUDIBLE) and Ferdinand Marcos before he came on with
FINEMAN: Good practice for revealing what –
REID: I would say.
MATTHEWS: Well, (INAUDIBLE) was a mixed bag. He was a damn good Cold War
ally, I`ll tell you that.
MATTHEWS: Any way. The roundtable is staying with us. He used to start
with a huge bag of currency and he would divvy it up among the tribal
They`ll be back to tell me something I don`t know.
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: We`re back with HARDBALL roundtable here below the Brooklyn
Joy, under the bridge, tell me something I don`t know.
REID: Well, not only is New York one of the most restrictive voting states
in the country in 49 –
REID: No early voting, none of the other things that make it easier.
MATTHEWS: No souls to the polls.
REID: Nothing, right? But it also is a state that`s unique if in that for
the Democrats not only do the candidates run in the primary, but the
delegates also do, too. So, when you get your ballot as a Democrat, you
actually get six to seven Democratic options, one set of Bernie, one set of
Clinton. So, people have an opportunity if they want to maybe vote for
Hillary Clinton but vote for Bernie delegates or some Bernie and some
Hillary delegates and game the convention.
MATTHEWS: Can we make a message, a public service announcement here, if
you want to vote in a primary, register in that party. OK? Because being
an independent voter sounds really great, Ralph Nader and all, but you
don`t get to vote in primaries.
FINEMAN: Well, some of these Brooklyn districts here, right near where we
are, very important to Donald Trump, primarily because they`re virtually no
Republicans in them.
FINEMAN: And he can win three delegates with almost a handful of votes.
MATTHEWS: What we used to call Ruttenbergs (ph).
FINEMAN: And I can also tell you that the rumors we have earlier this
morning that some of these heavily Democratic precincts had no Republican
ballots because they weren`t used to having any Republicans vote.
FINEMAN: Well, that turned out to be apocryphal. They did eventually get
REID: And the Bronx.
FINEMAN: I wouldn`t just put it to hipsters but all over. But it turns
out they did get the ballots there and some Republicans trickled in, but
SHERMAN: So, tonight, we`re talking about Trump and Hillary and Bernie.
But I think tomorrow morning, Kasich is going to have a toughest morning to
wake up to because if he doesn`t have a good night tonight, how does he
make the argument to go on? In the cradle of Rockefeller Republicanism, as
a moderate, as an establishment candidate, if he can`t turn out any votes
MATTHEWS: That can help him or not?
SHERMAN: But it has to be a convincing second. I mean, if he gets one or
two delegates what`s the point?
MATTHEWS: You got the hot hand, let me ask about this, did you notice the
two most popular or at least unpopular candidates running for president are
the least really well known? He and Bernie Sanders.
And I said that about Bernie Sanders, although his name`s out there, he
hasn`t taken a lot scar tissue. People have not hit him on the right
because they`re waiting for him. On the left, they`ve been a little
nervous about hitting him.
SHERMAN: Yes. And so, you know, Kasich`s unfavorables are good, but he
just can`t – has no name ID.
FINEMAN: His unfavorables are good primarily because nobody knows who he
MATTHEWS: What`s he running for?
FINEMAN: He`s running on the desperate hope there will be an open
convention and that the good people of Ohio where he`s governor will rise
up like the fans in the dog pound at the Cleveland Browns games and make
him the nominee.
FINEMAN: And Gabe asked the right question. Tomorrow morning, what the
heck is he going to say?
MATTHEWS: If he stays in this fight, and he picks up a few delegates here,
a few delegates here, comes in second all over the Northeast, doesn`t he
basically own the VP nomination if he wants it? If he wants it?
SHERMAN: I don`t think so. Because what is he going to bring? Other than
SHERMAN: Yes, but Trump did well. Trump told me that he would have – if
he had several more days, he would have won Ohio.
MATTHEWS: I think he brings –
REID: And I think he`s going to have to wrestle Chris Christie to a mat to
get that, I think Chris Christie`s going to fight for it.
MATTHEWS: You think two Northeasterners?
REID: I think they do anything. I don`t think you count anything out.
Chris Christie is desperate for it.
FINEMAN: I don`t think geography means anything, I don`t think necessarily
voting record, you know, how many votes he gets means much. I think what
your point is the right one, which is that he would somehow – Trump would
somehow attempt to reassure people nervous about a Trump presidency in the
same way, ironically that people thought that George W. picking Dick Cheney
would bring sober judgment to the Bush administration.
SHERMAN: No one would think that Trump will listen to Kasich the way Bush
was run by Cheney.
MATTHEWS: Somewhere in Texas right now, George W. is thinking, why did I
pick Dick Cheney? Oh, I forgot, he was the head of the selection process.
Anyway, Joy Reid, Howard Fineman and Gabe Sherman, what a group. We`ll be
here all night, though.
When we return, when we do, let me finish with a correction of fact.
Watching HARDBALL, the place for politics live from New York.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with a correction of fact. Bernie Sanders
is running a TV ad right now that basically accuses those he calls
Washington politicians of taking $200,000 in speaking fees while opposing a
hike in the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.
Well, the fact is and Senator Sanders knows it`s a fact is that Washington
politicians, members of Congress, U.S. senators, are not permitted to
accept speaking fees to any amount. No member of Congress, no U.S.
senator, let me repeat, is permitted to accept a dollar or a cent for
giving a speech. That is the fact.
Now, listen to the Bernie Sanders ad.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AD NARRATOR: While Washington politicians are paid over $200,000 an hour
for speeches, they oppose raising the living wage to $15 an hour. $200,000
an hour for them, but not even 15 bucks an hour for all Americans.
Enough is enough.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: It even shows the U.S. capitol where congressmen and senators
So, if it`s not true, if Washington politicians, the people we elect to
send to Washington, don`t get money from corporations for giving speeches,
not even a dollar, much less in the hundreds of thousands, which is what
Hillary Clinton collected on a trio of occasions after leaving the State
Department, why on God`s earth did Senator Sanders paint all of Washington
with that brush?
I think what he`s doing here is attacking all other politicians with a
broad brush of corruption, while crowning himself as the one honest person
in national politics. Now, why would he do that? Why would we not just
run against Hillary Clinton? Why run against everyone else who`s been
elected to serve in Washington?
You`re as good a judge as I am. What I know is what he`s doing is saying
something that is simply not true. And that enough should be reason to
ditch this TV ad before it sells another citizen on something that is
simply not a fact.
And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
Our special coverage of the New York primary continues now.
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