Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 4/27/2016

Mark Penn, Liz Mair, Matt Schlapp, Bob Corker, Chris Murphy, Jeff Merkley

Date: April 27, 2016
Guest: Mark Penn, Liz Mair, Matt Schlapp, Bob Corker, Chris Murphy, Jeff

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Ted picks Carly.

Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.

After Donald Trump`s sweeping victory in five East Coast states last night,
the Republican primary is quickly moving to its end game. Trump declared
himself the presumptive nominee and said Ted Cruz and John Kasich should
get out of race.

Cruz today threw a political Hail Mary, naming Carly Fiorina to be his
running mate, and Trump gave a major foreign policy speech. In it, he
accused Hillary Clinton of dereliction of duty the night of the Benghazi

Meanwhile, Trump and Clinton seem to be moving into general election mode.
Trump accused Clinton of playing “the woman`s card” and mocked her for –
get this – shouting. We`ll get to it all.

We begin with the question of today. Was the sound we heard last night
from the death rattle of the Republican establishment? Is it finally ready
to lay down and accept defeat?

Matt Schlapp is the chairman of the American Conservative Union. Howard
Fineman`s the global editorial director for the HuffingtonPost and an MSNBC
political analyst. And Joan Walsh is national affairs correspondent for
“The Nation” and an MSNBC political analyst .

Joan, tell me this. Is that the sound of death we heard last night?


death. He`s almost certain to get over the delegate threshold. And if he
doesn`t, Chris, he`s going to get close enough that they cannot, they
simply cannot deny him.

And you know, looking at that Fiorina press conference today, I just
thought – I thought you have because I thought you often say this –
Doesn`t anybody know how to do this anymore?


WALSH: Doesn`t anybody know how to play this game? I mean, first we had
Cruz-Kasich, the pact. That failed. Now we have…

MATTHEWS: Oh! That marriage was only a three-day marriage…


MATTHEWS: Stay with it. We`ll be right back here. We got to go watch
Cruz destroy – or Trump destroy Cruz.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: … because we had 11 debates
that I was in and won every single one of them, according to Drudge and
“Time” and all of these great places.


TRUMP: And – won every single one. But I was with my wife and I`m
watching and I`m watching his stuff. I can`t watch him for long periods,
you know? We will this – oh, the flourish. Ay-yi-yi! I have such a
headache! You get a headache watching this guy. Boy, it`s terrible.

But I said to my wife, It`s terrible that he can get away with it, where
say everything I said, exactly the opposite. And some people believe it.
And I said, Isn`t that terrible? She said, Nobody believes it, darling.
Really, nobody – they`ve heard your speech before. Believe me, they don`t
believe it.

He said even I`m not going to build the wall! Can you believe it? He
said, He`s not going to build a wall. Folks, we`re going to build the
wall. Believe me. Believe me.


TRUMP: We`re going to build that wall. Oh, we`re going to build that
wall. And you know who`s going to pay for that wall?


TRUMP: Not even a question of a doubt. You know, they called me over
after a debate, some of the politicians a few weeks ago, when we had some
left. Now we`re down to two stragglers. Let`s be nice, two stragglers!
They`re straggling along! But they called me over and they said – you
know, six months ago, they said, Donald, you know you`ll never be able to
build a wall. I said, Of course you can.

You know, China – you know the story, a 13,000-mile wall 2,000 years ago.
We have 2,000, of which you need one because you have a lot of natural
barriers. And we`re talking about $10 billion, and they owe us – if you
look at the trade imbalance – just take a look at it, not only with China
where it`s $500 billion a year – we`re going to end that, folks, very
quickly, OK?


TRUMP: But Mexico – Mexico – with Mexico, we`re talking about $58
billion a year, OK? I mean, on trade. On trade, $58 billion, right? They
do better. They have the good side. We have the bad side. You know what
that means. So they`re doing very well. That doesn`t include all the
drugs that are being sent across the border and poisoning our youth.

Now, I have respect for Mexico. I have respect for the Mexican leaders. I
love the Mexican people. I`m leading in certain polls. You saw in Nevada,
I was leading in polls with Hispanics.

And the reason is, I`m going to bring jobs back. We`re bringing jobs back
to our country. We`re not going to let Carrier leave. We`re going to take
numbers. We`re going to do numbers. There are consequences when you
leave! And we`ll talk about Carrier because – say what you want, Indiana,
I`ve been talking about Carrier now for four months, right, before I even
knew that we were going to be coming here, I mean, literally from the day,
literally from the day.

So with all of the things that are going on and with everything that we`re
seeing and with all of the people that we`ve seen, there`s nobody that`s
going to be able to do what we`re going to do together as a movement.

We have a movement going on. Nobody`s seen – nobody has seen anything
like it. And when I can get somebody like Coach Knight and when we get
other people – we have tremendous people supporting us.

You know Jeff Sessions, OK? Now, when Cruz gets up, he always talks about
– he doesn`t anymore because about four weeks ago, he endorsed me, so he`s
not – but the man he most respects in the United States is a great man,
Senator Jeff Sessions from Alabama. And he came out and endorsed Donald
Trump. And I don`t believe he`s ever endorsed a presidential candidate


MATTHEWS: We`re back with Joan. Let me, Joan – let Joan finish her
thought there because Trump is now doing what we – what we do is we cut in
for his substance…

WALSH: Right.

MATTHEWS: … when he makes something that sounds new. And then we
recognize he`s going back to the shtick which everybody`s heard before.
You know, consult your local app or whatever, get back (INAUDIBLE)
somewhere available on line, but it`s been said before.

So let`s go to the new stuff. And of course, the new stuff is he got a
great boost from Bobby Knight, who`s a hero, of course…

WALSH: Sure.

MATTHEWS: … like Arnold Palmer of a different era perhaps in
Pennsylvania. Everybody loves Bobby Knight out there. But he`s also known
for throwing chairs and choking players and all that stuff.

WALSH: Right.

MATTHEWS: It`s all part of the appeal of Donald Trump…

WALSH: Right. It`s like…

MATTHEWS: … in a way, roughhouse…

WALSH: … a Trump rally.


WALSH: You know. Yes, it`s a very similar dynamic. And you know, you saw
those cheers for building the wall and making Mexico pay for it, and you`ve
got people who are very excited by this.

And I look at – you know, you asked me about the Republican Party. I have
a tiny bit of sympathy for the Republican establishment – they don`t
deserve it, but I feel it anyway – because they don`t really know what to
do with this.

These are their voters, Chris. This is a majority of their voters. He`s
now – we`ve said it. I know I`ve said it. I was wrong. He`s at 25, he
won`t get to 30. He`s at 30, he won`t get to 40. He`s now over 50. He`s
at 60.

You know, this is who this party wants. And it`s going to be very, very
hard to deny it to him if he gets close, and certainly if he gets over the

MATTHEWS: Well, Ted Cruz isn`t giving up, whatever that means. Of course,
he may have given up in his brain, but he`s not giving up in his physical

WALSH: Right.

MATTHEWS: Anyway, he made a major announcement today. I call it a Hail
Mary, an effort to gin up some excitement to make the scoreboard light up
at least for his campaign.

He picked Carly Fiorina, who came in, like, 10th in this election, as his
potential running mate. She, of course, lost her job and Hewlett-Packard.
She lost statewide in California. She lost in the race for president,
three-time loser. And now he`s puts her on the ticket. I don`t know what
it brings.

Anyway, He highlighted her ability, he said, to stand up to Donald Trump,
which she did do, I must say. Let`s watch.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Over and over again, Carly
has shattered glass ceilings. She is careful. She is measured. She is
serious. She doesn`t get overly excited. She doesn`t get rattled by
whatever is getting thrown at her.

We all saw that, when in one of the earliest debates, Carly confronted
Donald Trump.

One of the great principles of bullies – they feed off of fear. And they
don`t know what to do when a strong, powerful women stands up and says, I
am not afraid.



MATTHEWS: Isn`t there a bigamy situation here? Didn`t he just over the
weekend marry Kasich?


MATTHEWS: What`s going on here? How many marriages in a week?


MATTHEWS: These are desperate. These are chapels in Las Vegas…


ANALYST: He rolled out – he rolled out the Kasich thing a few days ago.

MATTHEWS: Saturday night!

FINEMAN: I think it was Saturday.

WALSH: Right.


FINEMAN: And they pledged their troth. But then the problem was that the
next day, Kasich said, I don`t know what you`re talking about. I want
people to vote for me.


FINEMAN: No mas. I want people to vote for me.


FINEMAN: He spent one night with Cruz, and that was enough.


FINEMAN: He sobered up. So then that was that. And that didn`t work.
And look, everybody has said, If you`re going to keep this thing going at
all, which I`m dubious about, it`s got to be Indiana. It`s got to be
Indiana, got to be Indiana, got to be Indiana.

The only thing Cruz had left was to cash the one bargaining chip that he
might have had if, by some chance, he got to the convention, which was to
offer the veep to somebody in Cleveland. But he played that card now,
which is…

MATTHEWS: OK, let me…

FINEMAN: … idiotic! Idiotic!

MATTHEWS: (INAUDIBLE) and this is – I hope you know how to defend your
party because this is so hilarious. This is ridiculous! This is picking
vice presidents on the fly and really to get you through the night,
bluntly, just to get you through the next couple days…

FINEMAN: Or at least Indianapolis.

MATTHEWS: He just married Kasich and said, We`re in this together. And
now he`s going to her. And you know – if I were her and he did end up,
you know, typing (ph) Marry Christmas (ph), winning now and – in Indiana,
winning in California big-time, somehow winning on the second or third


MATTHEWS: … she ain`t coming (ph) anywhere near him!

SCHLAPP: Look, what happened is, is that Trump had a huge night on

MATTHEWS: Five for five.

SCHLAPP: I think…

MATTHEWS: Every county, every C.D.

SCHLAPP: You know, if you look at that podium, there was no Cruz-Fiorina
placard. I think they had to up their timeframe because it was such a big
night for him on Tuesday, and Indiana polls are changing so fast that the
Cruz team said, If we`re going to do this thing later, let`s do it sooner.
Let`s do something to change the dynamics. It used to be about California.
It`s now about Indiana because it`s all getting front-loaded.


FINEMAN: Well, here`s the thing. Indiana is an open primary in the sense
that you don`t have party registration there. People can come and vote.
Donald Trump, through people like Bobby Knight, is going for the same loose
change of unaffiliated or not strong necessarily Republicans to add to his

MATTHEWS: And everybody`s a Bobby Knight (INAUDIBLE)

FINEMAN: And that`s – so in that sense, that`s helpful. And that`s what
Trump needs. Cruz will be well organized, but it probably won`t be enough.

MATTHEWS: Joan, I want you in on this. Here we go to the general election
matchup. That is going to be a matchup, by the way. That`s not going to a
marriage made in heaven, but it is going to happen. That`s Hillary versus
– versus Donald.

Anyway, the upcoming general election all but certain to be fought by
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Last night, Trump again accused Hillary
Clinton of playing “the woman`s card.” Let`s watch.


TRUMP: I think the only card she has is the woman`s card. She`s got
nothing else going. And frankly, if Hillary Clinton were a man, I don`t
think she`d get 5 percent of the vote. The only thing she`s got going is
the woman`s card. And the beautiful thing is women don`t like her, OK?


TRUMP: And look how well I did with women tonight!


MATTHEWS: What a set of numbers he`s come up with. I`m not sure that`s
true at all.

And Clinton, by the way, reacted, Secretary Clinton, to that charge. Let`s
watch this.


other day, Mr. Trump accused me of playing the, quote, “woman card.”


CLINTON: Well, if fighting for women`s health care and paid family leave
and equal pay is playing the woman card, then deal me in!



MATTHEWS: Well, on “MORNING JOE” today, Donald Trump was asked to respond
to her comments, Hillary Clinton`s. And let`s watch what he said.


TRUMP: Well, I haven`t quite recovered, it`s early in the morning, from
her shouting that message. And I know a lot of people would say you can`t
say that about a woman because, of course, a woman doesn`t shout. But the
way she shouted that message was not – oh, I just – that`s the way she
said it. And it`s – I guess I`ll have to get used to a lot of that over
the next four or five months.


MATTHEWS: What do you make of that?

WALSH: You know, when I heard him last night and then again this morning,
Chris, I thought back to the early days of his campaign when some
Republicans worried that he was a Clinton plant – remember Bill Clinton
had a phone call wit him and told him to run? – because I think he is
going to help Hillary Clinton possibly change the map.

I mean, this is a polarized country, and I admit that. But when women hear
what Trump says about not just her but Carly Fiorina, you`re going to have
women, Republican women for Hillary movement in this country. She is going
to mop the floor with him. This is going to turn out women like nothing

MATTHEWS: We will – we will keep track of what you predict.

WALSH: OK. I know you do.

MATTHEWS: Of course, I think it`s about 9 points now. I still think
you`re right, but you never know. Right now…


MATTHEWS: Matt Schlapp, do you think that Trump will definitely go down
the toilet if Hillary is up against him?

SCHLAPP: No. Absolutely not. I think – look, I think the chances are –
I`d rather have…

MATTHEWS: Who`s got the odds?

SCHLAPP: She`s got the odds.


FINEMAN: (INAUDIBLE) no question. First of all, she`s historic, first
woman candidate, easier, I think, for Democrats to get (ph) through (ph)
these days. And Trump is so unconventional.

But the idea that these general election polls mean anything right now is
garbage. And I think Trump has the chance to get there. I think there`s
no question about it.

MATTHEWS: What states does he pick up? (INAUDIBLE) usual list.

SCHLAPP: Look – look, we just saw…

MATTHEWS: No, give me some states.

SCHLAPP: Look what we just saw…


MATTHEWS: Name some states.

SCHLAPP: New York, New Jersey…


WALSH: Matt, come on!

MATTHEWS: Wait a minute. (INAUDIBLE) follow you there. Howard, would you
break this up?

SCHLAPP: What about Pennsylvania?

MATTHEWS: He just said Hillary Clinton`s going to lose New York to Donald

FINEMAN: I think that`s unlikely. But I`ll say this. The one big thing
that Hillary needs to worry about here is that Donald Trump is a
professional political wrecking ball who`s out to topple every
establishment in the country politically. And that`s how he`s succeeded so
far. That`s his whole…

MATTHEWS: How does he topple the women majority vote?

FINEMAN: Wait. Wait. It`s his whole message. And he`s going to – he`s
going to try to portray Hillary and Bill and the Clinton Foundation and the
Democratic Party…

WALSH: That`s right.

FINEMAN: … and Washington, D.C., as the center of everything corrupt and

SCHLAPP: And lots of women voters don`t like Hillary!


WALSH: There are Republican women who don`t like her, but Democratic women
love her.


MATTHEWS: I think this is going to be fairly easy election to vote in.
You`re going to know your side fair clearly. I doubt there`ll be a lot of
minds changed, but those 5 percent in the middle will decide it.

Thank you, Matt Schlapp. I was surprised by your answer. You`ve come
around, haven`t you, to…

SCHLAPP: I haven`t come around. No!

MATTHEWS: You guys are accepting him now.

SCHLAPP: No! I like democracy. Look what`s happening. I think the
results mean something.

MATTHEWS: Would you tell that to Reince Priebus?

SCHLAPP: I will tell Reince Priebus.

MATTHEWS: OK, thank you, because he`s not familiar with that form of
government called democracy.

Anyway, Howard Fineman, as always.

FINEMAN: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: Thanks for you maturity and seriousness.

FINEMAN: Oh, you`re welcome.


MATTHEWS: (INAUDIBLE) sermon (ph). And Joan, it`s great to have you.

Coming up – Donald Trump`s move to the general election continued today
with a major speech on foreign policy, but does Trump pass the commander-
in-chief test? What do you think? We`re going to ask two members of the
Senate Foreign Relations Committee right now, one a Democrat, the other a

Plus, terms of surrender. With Hillary Clinton now all but certain to
clinch the Democratic nomination, what`s Bernie Sanders out to gain by
fighting on? He says he`s going the distance. What`s it going to take for
him to bow out and give Hillary some breathing room before the fight with
Trump? She may need it.

And the HARDBALL roundtable tonight is here with its reaction to the latest
Ted Cruz stunt – stunt – naming Carly Fiorina his so-called running mate
one day after getting trounced in five states. Does Cruz, now caught in
quicksand, realize that the more he struggles, the faster he sinks?

Finally, “Let Me Finish” with this dishonorable game of picking vice
presidents just to light up the scoreboard for a minute.

And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.



DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My foreign policy will always
put the interests of the American people and American security above all
else. America first will be the major and overriding theme of my


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Calling for an “America first”
approach to international engagement, Donald Trump today outlined his
foreign policy vision in a major speech here in Washington. Trump said
this country had been rudderless under President Obama, slamming this
administration on its usual themes, of course, his themes, immigration,
trade and the nuclear deal with Iran.

Trump did not offer any new specifics about how he would defeat ISIS, but
said his strategy is to be, quote, “more unpredictable.”


TRUMP: And then there`s ISIS. I have a simple message for them. Their
days are numbered. I won`t tell them where and I won`t tell them how. We
must, as a nation, be more unpredictable. We are totally predictable. We
tell everything. We`re sending troops, we tell them. We`re sending
something else, we have a news conference. We have to be unpredictable.


MATTHEWS: Well, Trump also took aim at his likely general election
opponent, Hillary Clinton, accusing of her being AWOL, derelict in her
duties, as secretary of state during the 2012 attacks in Benghazi.


TRUMP: After Secretary Clinton`s failed intervention in Libya, Islamic
terrorists in Benghazi took down our consulate and killed our ambassador
and three brave Americans. Then, instead of taking charge that night,
Hillary Clinton decided to go home and sleep. Incredible! And by the way,
she was not awake to take that call at 3:00 o`clock in the morning!


MATTHEWS: Well, in making that personal charge of character, of course,
Trump dismissed statements made by Secretary Clinton about her location on
the night of those attacks. As Jonathan Allen reported in his book, “HRC,”
quote, “After 1:00 AM in Washington, Hillary left the State Department for
her home on Whitehaven Street, where she stayed up to work until 4:00 AM.
Clinton also told the House Benghazi committee in October that she remained
in communication from her home and did not sleep at all on the nights of
the attack.”

Here she is.


I had other equipment that kept me in touch with the State Department at
all times. I did not sleep all night. I was very much focused on what we
were doing.


MATTHEWS: I`m joined right now by the chairman of the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee, Republican Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee.

Senator, what do you make of this charge that Hillary Clinton was derelict
in her duties, that she went home and went to sleep, basically didn`t try
to save the life of her friend Chris Stevens, our ambassador in Libya, and
then of course – and then he went onto say she didn`t even answer the
phone call when it came at 3:00.

Now, we know the facts of that night, that our ambassador was confirmed
dead by 2:30 in the a.m., D.C. time, and that she went to bed at 4:00. I
don`t know how she is derelict in her duties or that she was asleep, when
she clearly wasn`t, or else she is lying.

What do you make of it? One of these two people is lying.

SEN. BOB CORKER, R-TENNESSEE: Yes, well, my assignment, as I understood my
assignment, tonight was to talk about the overall speech and…

MATTHEWS: Well, he said that in his speech, Senator. He made that charge.

CORKER: Yes, he did. I would just say, look, I was very…


MATTHEWS: What did you make of that charge when you heard it? When you
him say Hillary Clinton was asleep, she had gone to bed, rather than try to
save her ambassador, didn`t answer the phone, what did you make of Trump`s

CORKER: Yes. Well, I really wasn`t thinking so much about some of the
political comments that were made, but what I did think about was the wide-
ranging nature of the speech.

And, to be honest, after the kind of campaign we have had over the last
umpteen months that had been pretty painful to watch, I was very pleased
with what I heard. I thought it was a great step in the right direction.
I thought it was full of substance. I thought it laid out a vision for

Obviously, some details need to be filled in. But I thought it was very,
very good and was pleased at what he had to say.

MATTHEWS: What did you make of his promise he would be unpredictable?

Now, I put it together with what he said to me when I interviewed him a
while back not too long ago, when he said I`m not going to take use of
nuclear weapons off the table either in the Middle East or in Europe. And
now he`s saying I want to be unpredictable.


MATTHEWS: It reminded me of the old Nixon setup. Make them think I`m a
mad bomber because they might buckle if they`re really afraid of me.

What does it say to you when he says unpredictable in terms of use of
weaponry or whatever?

CORKER: Well, look, I think that why you see is, you have got a candidate
who is evolving, who is drinking out of a fire hose, like all of us who run
for public office.

I think, again, you`re seeing that evolution. I will say I will be
somewhat rhetorical myself. This week, I saw headline in one of the major
publications that you and I both read. And the headlines were foreign
leaders were afraid of Donald Trump.

And I have to tell you, rhetorically, it was kind of a pleasant surprise.
And if you think back during the Reagan era, many of the people around the
world that are our friends were really scared of what he might do. They
constantly called George Shultz, as she said many times, to ask him what
was going on.

So, again, I don`t – I looked more – I know you`re picking, as you do –
I understand that`s what you do on this program. But the fact is, if you
look at the broadness, at the vision, I thought it was a major step
forward. I was very pleased and said so in comments afterwards, as I`m
saying tonight.

MATTHEWS: Thank you. It`s great having you on, Senator Robert – Bob
Corker of Tennessee, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee of the
U.S. Senate.

I`m joined right now by Democratic Senator Chris Murphy. He also sits on
the Foreign Relations Committee.

Look, it`s hard for me to overlook it. I sit there watching the thing. I
listen to it in the car. I come in and read the script. And there he is
saying Hillary Clinton basically went to sleep when her friend and
ambassador was getting killed and didn`t even bother answering the phone,
just throwing these things out that aren`t established by fact, evidence,
or even testimony by either party.

SEN. CHRIS MURPHY, D-CONNECTICUT: Yes, we sort of live in a post-truth
world today if Republicans can`t call him out on what is a bald-faced lie.
He knows it`s a lie, right?

And what he anticipates is that by telling it enough that people will stop
paying attention. And so I love Bob Corker. He`s a great leader of our
committee, but he`s got to call Donald Trump out when he`s saying that
Hillary Clinton was sleeping when she was actually trying to lead our way
through this crisis. And this is what`s so dangerous about Trump.

MATTHEWS: What did you make of that? Just to be fair to the senator, he
said he likes the idea that Trump will keep them guessing.

MURPHY: Yes, well, this idea that foreign leaders are scared, they`re not
scared that the United States is going to beat them in some global
competition. They are scared that Donald Trump is going to ruin the world
around them. Right? That`s a different kind of scared.

MATTHEWS: Well, I would think that the comment he made to me on this how,
when I asked him about the use of nuclear weapons, he said I won`t take
them off the table even in the Middle East.

I can`t conceive of where we would use a nuclear weapon in Europe to kill
ISIS people. How do you use a nuclear weapon to attack a band of people
that infiltrate and are hiding as sleeper cells all over Europe?

MURPHY: No, that`s why foreign leaders are scared, because of this sort of
casual approach to the use of nuclear weapons. These aren`t tactical
approaches to the problems.

And I think this speech is really wild in how stunning the contradictions
are within it. He does have this section where he says that we need to be
more unpredictable. But then the back end of that speech talks about one
of the failings of the Obama administration being a lack of consistency.

And so he finishes by saying that America has to be more consistent in the
world. It`s really amazing that in a 20-minute speech, he managed to
contradict himself in so many different ways.

MATTHEWS: Along those lines, Senator, I can`t tell whether he wants to
build up our role in the world or pull back, because he says we`re going to
make – avoid nation-building. Fair enough. That`s a popular view. Let`s
stop trying to create democracies.

But as somebody said to me today, how do you keep people in Syria where
they were born and probably you can belong and keep them from racing to
Europe and eventually here, if they don`t have a decent country to live in?
We have to make some effort to make those countries habitable, don`t we, or
not? Or else they will come here. That`s one alternative, bring them all

MURPHY: No, absolutely.

And, listen, he doesn`t know whether he wants to engage with China, which
is what he talks about in one part of the speech, or whether he wants to
start a trade war. He doesn`t know whether he wants to work with Muslims,
in which he spends some time in the speech, or whether he wants to keep
them out of the country.

He just has no idea which way he wants to go. The speech was sort of like
20 different people wrote a photograph or two and threw it all together.
And it ended up coming out of his mouth.

MATTHEWS: Do you think we`re weak right now? Do you think that President
Obama is weak?

MURPHY: No, I don`t think we`re weak. I think we`re weak in the minds of
people who view American power as simply the extension of our military

There`s nothing about the Iran nuclear agreement that suggests the United
States is weak. There`s nothing about the Paris climate change agreement
that suggests America is weak. We`re expressing our power through
diplomacy today, rather than through the projection of military force.
That`s a different kind of strength that may be a little hollow to
neoconservatives in the foreign policy establishment here in Washington.

MATTHEWS: Well, Trump is not a neocon, but he does talk about strength and
being bully, being tough.

And I always wonder. Can you avoid – once you push a country like Putin,
how do you know you don`t push them too far and you get into a fight? You
can`t be a bully and not have fights once in a while.

MURPHY: And when you get into that fight, you need your friends. And so
by walking away from NATO, you`re in trouble.

MATTHEWS: It`s great having you on, Senator Murphy.

And thank you having on Senator Corker as well.

Up next, terms of surrender. Just how will Bernie Sanders actually
eventually bow out of this fight for the Democratic presidential
nomination? And what is he looking to extract? Let`s face it. There`s a
deal at the end of this from Hillary Clinton.

And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.



Philadelphia in July, we`re going to have the votes to put together the
strongest progressive agenda that any political party has ever seen.



MATTHEWS: That`s pretty strong.

Welcome back to HARDBALL.

That was Senator Bernie Sanders earlier today saying, even if he`s not the
Democratic nominee, he implied he wants some say in crafting a progressive
party platform. In fact, he said he`s going to do it.

But a senior aide for Hillary Clinton tells MSNBC that after Clinton`s wins
last night in four of the five states – she only lost Rhodey – there`s no
indication she`s planning to adopt major parts of Sanders` platform.
That`s a negotiating position, obviously.

Now Senator Sanders is sending out – letting out – letting go hundreds of
staffers from his campaign team. No more payroll for those guys and women
anyway after last night`s string of defeats.

Anyway, Sanders told “The New York Times” today: “We don`t need people
right now in Connecticut. That election is over. We don`t need them in
Maryland. So, what we`re going to do is to allocate our resources to the
14 contests that remain. And that means that we`re going to be cutting
back on staff.”

Just to get it straight, it`s not 14 states that are left. There`s some
territories and stuff like that. I think there`s nine states and D.C. that
you would think of as states of the union. Anyway, in an interview – who
have electoral votes.

In an interview today with my colleague Chris Jansing, Senator Sanders says
his rounds in the ring with Clinton are good for her. Hmm. Somebody
should tell her that considering what is coming in the fall if she`s not –
he`s warming her up apparently as a sparring partner. That seems to be his
case. Here he is making it.


SANDERS: They will go after Hillary Clinton, by the way, in ways that I
have never, ever gone after Hillary Clinton, things like the Clinton
Foundation or things like e-mail situation. I don`t talk about that. I
have never talked about it one word on this campaign.

I suspect very much that Donald Trump and the Republican Party will go
after her in many, many ways that we have not.


MATTHEWS: True enough.

Joining me right now is Senator Jeff Merkley, who is from Oregon. He`s a
member of the United States Senate, of course. He endorsed Senator

Let me ask you about terms of agreement here. It seems to me that both
sides are staking out their position. Senator Sanders said I`m going to go
bring enough delegates to Philadelphia, the convention to write the
platform. Hillary Clinton or some staffer for her says we`re not doing
anything he tells us to do.

How does this thing get worked out at the end as part of a deal?

SEN. JEFF MERKLEY, D-OREGON: Well, it reminds me very much of eight years
ago, when Hillary Clinton said in June, she said, I want respect for
millions of people who supported the ideas I put forward.

That`s the position she took into the convention into the platform. And
that`s the position Bernie is taken now, that these are issues that have
resonated that he`s been talking about, and that those can be ideas that
can be part of the united movement going forward into the election in

MATTHEWS: Let`s take an example, one that grabs a lot of people, and not
just on the left, universal health care. I mean universal as a right.

The old term was a red right, not a blue right, as something you`re
entitled to for growing up in America, health care for life, Medicare for
life. Is that something you think that the Senator Sanders will insist
upon being in the platform?

MERKLEY: I think the types of things we`re going to see are huge emphasis
on global warming policy and pivoting off fossil fuels.

MATTHEWS: Well, that`s no fight with Hillary.

MERKLEY: Well, certainly, he`s certainly to draw her further than she`s
been comfortable going.

And I think that that is important.

MATTHEWS: Like no federal law against fracking, would he go that far?

MERKLEY: I think he may well push for that, absolutely. In the platform,
absolutely, I think that that may be a key part of – an example of
something you would do within that spectrum.

On trade, he is going to push her a lot harder on TPP.

MATTHEWS: He`s already done that.

MERKLEY: She said she`s against it, but she hasn`t laid out how she is
against it. Or, if it`s tweaked, is it OK then? Is she fundamentally with
him in terms of this agreement would eviscerate manufacturing jobs in the
United States and diminish the leverage of workers here? I`m sure he will
push on that front.

And I think campaign cash is another area where…

MATTHEWS: You think he might – and this is something that I think would
sound fantastic politically. I don`t know if he would do it or not, to say
the litmus test for the next Supreme Court nominee, the next associate
justice who Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders potentially would get to make
must be somebody who swears to God they`re going to get rid of Citizens
United. They`re just going to do it.

MERKLEY: I think that – I don`t know if he would quite put it in those
words. But that concept that we`re going to reclaim our Constitution…

MATTHEWS: How about the idea that money is votes, and the whole idea that
– George Will loves this, that somehow money is democracy, the richer the
person, the more votes they have, right? That`s what they believe.

MERKLEY: And it`s the complete opposite of what Jefferson and Lincoln…


MATTHEWS: I think Citizens United needs to go the way of nowhere.

MERKLEY: Absolutely.

MATTHEWS: Thank you, Senator Merkley. You`re great to come on. I love
the fact all you senators are coming over here to this place on Nebraska
Avenue. You`re not staying at that Capitol Building.

MERKLEY: It`s such a pleasure to be with you.

MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you so much.

Joining me right now is MSNBC political analyst Sam Stein. He`s the senior
politics editor at The Huffington Post.

Sam, help me out here, because terms – at the end of any war, there are
terms. You get to keep your horses. Remember? Lincoln was good on the
South when the Confederacy fell apart there, when they finally ran out of
ammo and everything else and trains and everything to build an army. He
gave them their horses back. He let people have a dignity in their defeat.

What does Hillary give Bernie Sanders?

SAM STEIN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Sure. Well, that`s the big question.

When I talked to top Sanders adviser Tad Devine last night, he was
mentioning some sort of firm commitments. I asked him what does firm mean?
He said that`s to be determined.

But you can sort of conjure up an image of exact language in the party
platform that gets decided at the convention, extractions of certain
promises, like the senator was talking about, with respect to TPP or
perhaps fracking policy.

But I also think you need to step back a little bit and recognize that
Sanders already has moved Clinton over far further than a lot of people
thought she was going to be during this primary campaign.

MATTHEWS: I agree completely.


STEIN: … come out and said TPP is not something she would endorse. That
was not something we knew at the beginning.

Keystone, for instance, and what you mentioned just now, Citizens United as
a litmus test for a Supreme Court justice, she has actually come out and
said she will not appoint someone to the Supreme Court who doesn`t want to
– who wants to keep Citizens United in place. These are big extractions

MATTHEWS: Last question. You have been thinking about this. Here`s the

STEIN: Sure.

MATTHEWS: Does Hillary have any call on this? Because just because she
has delegates bound to her in the first ballot, we have heard about that a
million times, are they bound to her on the platform or can Bernie go and
poach a lot of her delegates and vote his way on the platform?

STEIN: To be honest, I`m not totally familiar with rules of the platform

It`s my understanding that he could have some serious influence that maybe
outpaces what he does in terms of the pure delegate count. But keep in
mind, again, Bernie has not just moved Clinton, but the party writ large.
And so anyone who gets into the platform committee, looks at this past
campaign, recognized the extent to which Bernie has mobilized a grassroots
army and has fund-raised, which they are all very enamored with, and asks
themselves, well, is that the type of platform that we want to be
associated with?

And I think that they end up saying, yes, we do.


Well, “The Washington Post” already gave us a preview today of the way the
Republicans are going to attack. It looked like one of those Soviet era
communist posters. And they said, this is where the Democratic Party is
going to be attacked by if they run with the Bernie Sanders platform.

Anyway, I think everything Sam said is right. It`s going to be a hell of a
debate and hell of a – we`re going to watch that Appomattox Court House
scene. Everybody is going to watch that one.

STEIN: Definitely. Definitely .

MATTHEWS: Thank you so much, Sam Stein. And thank you, Senator Merkley
from Oregon.

How do you pronounce it again?

STEIN: Oregon.

MATTHEWS: Oregon. I`m working on it.

Up next – it`s not Nevada either. It`s Nevada.

Up next, Ted Cruz picks Carly Fiorina as this week`s running mate, even
though he`s way behind Trump. And, by the way, he named John Kasich as his
running mate over the weekend, didn`t he? When we come back, Trump`s
reaction to Cruz.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.



SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: One of the great principles
of bullies, they feed off of fear. They feed off of people who will cower
in the corner when they yell and scream and insult and holler and curse.
They don`t know what to do when a strong, powerful woman stands up and
says, “I am not afraid”.



That was, of course, Ted Cruz` latest effort to try to stop Donald Trump.
Cruz picked today, late today, Carly Fiorina, as his running mate, even
though he`s trailing Trump badly in the delegate ahead of Tuesday`s Indiana
primary. He`s in Indiana right there, by the way.

Just minutes ago, Donald Trump blasted Cruz for picking a running mate at
this point in the race.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Cruz can`t win. What`s he doing
picking vice president? He can`t win. He can`t win.

You know, on television, they say it nicely. He has no path to victory.
That`s a nice expression, right? No path to victory. He`s got no path to

He`s mathematically eliminated. It`s like if you`re playing in the World
Series and your team losses a game or a certain game, he`s mathematically

He has set a record though. He`s the first presidential candidate in the
history of this country who`s mathematically eliminated from becoming
president who chose a vice presidential candidate, OK?


MATTHEWS: I have to laugh sometimes at the hilarity – this absurdity in
our country.

Let`s bring in the HARDBALL roundtable. Mark Penn was Hillary Clinton`s
chief strategist during her 2008 campaign. Liz Mair is the founder of the
anti-Trump super PAC, at least one of them. And Perry Bacon is senior NBC
News political reporter.

Mark, it`s good to have you on. I`m amazed at this sort of promiscuous
naming of running mates. I mean, the guy is obviously doing a Hail Mary,
to give him at least to Terre Haute, at least in Indianapolis, or Indiana.
Who knows this weekend, he name his new dancing partner, was John Kasich?

What are we doing here? This is desperation politics.

look, Cruz had to change it up a little bit.

MATTHEWS: Is this a frantic hour?

PENN: It`s a hail Fiona pass, I mean, I think for sure. I think it
doesn`t seem like it`s working. She was not of the kind of stature that
would really be a game changer. He needed a game changer. I don`t –

MATTHEWS: Did he shop around, Liz, do you know, before?

But I actually disagree with Mark Penn. I think, first of all, it`s worth
remembering that Carly Fiorina does still have a lot of traction.

MATTHEWS: You`ve got the highest chair here, by the way.

MAIR: Well, that`s because I`m the tallest person.

MATTHEWS: OK, good. Go ahead. I`m sorry.

MAIR: I mean, what do you want –

MATTHEWS: I have to live with it.

MAIR: You have to. I`m bigger than you. You have no choice.

I also have very frightening heels on and you do not. So, you`re stuck
with it.

People for get that Carly has quite a lot of traction in California
Republican circles, and that is really one of the things he`s bearing in
mind. The other thing that if you go out and talk to Republican primary
voters in a lot of these states, basically the universal opinion is, well,
we really like Carly, we didn`t think she had a big enough name to win the

So, he`s picked somebody who has a tremendous amount of support amongst the
delegate pool who basically is universally liked by a lot of Republican
voters and somebody who might be the only person who can actually, apart
from his own effort, really help him win in California. So, I think it`s
probably a smart move.

MATTHEWS: Yes, how good are her roots out there? I know she ran

MAIR: Good. I consulted for her there. She won decisively in the
California primary.


MATTHEWS: She`s moved to Virginia. She`s voting there now. Does she
still have clout out there?

much clout, I would argue, in California, where she doesn`t live now. I
don`t think one thing she did in the campaign though, she was one of the
few candidates when she was running who would frontally attack Trump very
aggressively. I do think if she does that, if she can goad Trumkp into
saying a few sexist things, something he called –


MATTHEWS: There you are. I think that`s what`s going on.

Is this the role in basketball of fouling the player to get the ball back?
Is she going to – I`m looking for the metaphor. She`s going to get him to
attack her and then she wins and therefore, Cruz wins.

PENN: I think that`s absolutely right. I think Perry is right that she is
a great attack dog. She has the Christmas of Donald Trump when it comes to
searing attacks. I think Cruz is hoping to have that because Cruz sure

MATTHEWS: Well, can he resist? Remember he said one time. He took a shot
at her looks which was stupid to do in any political – any setting,

The other thing he did was, he just – why you always interrupting? Trump
is always – everybody interrupts. I interrupt. Why is he singling her


MAIR: Donald Trump interrupts everybody all the time, right?

MATTHEWS: She gets to him.

MAIR: No, women get to him generally.

PENN: I don`t know other candidate who could be baited more than Donald
Trump. And he knows that and she knows that.

MATTHEWS: Paul Manafort is now saying to Perry, don`t let her bait you the
next five days, right?

BACON: He`s only going to win this Indiana primary, and basically, it`s
over for Trump. But I don`t think (ph) Megyn Kelly baits him. Hillary
Clinton baits him. Trump seems to have trouble with women who sort of
tweak him in a certain way. This is a value for Fiorina.

MAIR: When I started an anti-Trump super PAC, he went on a Twitter spree
and started calling me a whacko. He has a problem with women who
challenged his authority and his position. So, you know, I think that
picking Carly is really smart for that reason, too.

The fact of the matter is, she`s probably one of the best, if not the best
communicator within the Republican Party. Cruz isn`t. She`s better. I
think that`s going to be very useful in addition to the baiting.

And with regard to the California point, I do think she still has a lot of
traction there. She`s not living there. She`s not voting there. But at
the end of the day, she won the California Senate Republican primary
decisively, very decisively.

BACON: In 2010.

MAIR: Don`t forget even though she was a much more conservative, less
well-funded and seen as less delectable candidate than Meg Whitman, she
outperformed Meg Whitman by quite a lot in that general election.

MATTHEWS: Anyway, the roundtable is sticking with us.

And up next, these three will tell me something I don`t know. They`re
already doing that. This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert has been sentenced to 15
months in prison. It follows a hush money case that stemmed from
allegations he had sexually abused four teenage boys while working as a
high school wrestling coach. The judge today called Hastert a serial child
molester. He ordered Hastert to pay a $250,000 fine and enroll in a sex
offender treatment program.

Hastert apologized to those he had, quote, “hurt and mislead”. Those were
his words. He had previously pleaded guilty to making illegal bank
withdrawals in order to hide payments that an accuser said were part of a
settlement between them.

And we`ll be right back.


MATTHEWS: Back with the HARDBALL roundtable.

And to Perry Bacon?

BACON: The hidden strength of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, Donald
Trump particularly I`m surprised by moderate voters, the parties are going
further and further away, more and more partisans. but Hillary and Trump
state after state do well among this moderate vote and that`s where Sanders
and Cruz are losing this campaign.

MATTHEWS: I`m with you and it makes me happy.

MAIR: I don`t disagree with this.

MATTHEWS: Any moderates here? I`m just asking.

MAIR: I don`t know. I`m a libertarian, so I think that automatically –


MATTHEWS: Notorious moderate.

MAIR: Yes. Notorious libertarian crazy.

My fun fact, last night, Bill Schuster, incoming congressman in
Pennsylvania, who has been working on FAA overhaul, happens to be
legislation that`s endorsed by his girlfriend`s employer, managed to eek
out a primary victory with 50.5 percent against some unknown Tea Party guy.

MATTHEWS: OK, great. I was surprised it. Chaka Fattah beaten by
(INAUDIBLE), who happens to be a good guy, I think.

Go ahead.

PENN: My prediction, I think Hillary is going to look a lot wider for a
vice presidential choice. I think she`s going to look for somebody who has
a reputation for honesty. And I think there`s going to be a big fight for
the center. I think an Evan Bayh type –


MATTHEWS: How about Joe Manchin?

PENN: Joe Manchin, I think he might be a little bit too far to the right.

MATTHEWS: We`re talking moderate now.


PENN: – West Virginia, but, you know?

MATTHEWS: You think Tim Kaine is too far over.

PENN: Tim Kaine I think is a realistic possibility.

MATTHEWS: I think Hillary Clinton will look at the electoral map.

MAIR: I think that helps Tim Kaine.

MATTHEWS: Perry Bacon, Liz Mair, thank you. And Mark Penn, please come

And we`ll be right back.


MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with the bipartisan fact that a selection
of a vice president has become an too many cases a joke. The first George
Bush or somebody on his team picked Dan Quayle. Nobody took it seriously,
certainly not Bush`s secretary of state, James Baker and most certainly not
after they observe Quayle`s juvenile reaction to his own selection.

John Kerry, a serious man in most other circumstances, picked John Edwards
as his running mate. Nobody took Edwards seriously. No one at all. I
remember interviewing Edwards on his bus out in Iowa that year and
noticing, how could you not, that there was not even a piece of writing
paper or paper in sight anywhere. No newspapers, not briefing papers, not
even a novel to pass the time away.

What was this guy reading to be a heartbeat away from the president? What
had he ever read?

What`s this thing about the vice president? John McCain, someone I respect
most of the time, picked Sarah Palin. Sarah Palin, what was he doing here?
Was the governor of Alaska really the best pick to be a heartbeat away?
Who thought so?

She did not even possess the maturity to finish her one term as governor.
Why not? It was never clear why she left the office.

Inevitably, these laughable choices of veep are less serious and therefore
less honorable than the portrait we see on HBO`s “Veep”, a hilarious show
that has the right to be hilarious. Why? Because it`s not meant to be

And now comes Carly Fiorina. In announcing his frantic hour selection of a
veep, to travel with him from South Bend to the California Southland, Cruz
is probably not expecting a longer trip, he pointed to the advantage she
brings to his one-way ticket. He said, it`s the country knows her by her
first name. Carly, he said, is sufficient to ID her.

Well, this is how bad it`s gotten. We pick veeps not for the history
books, not as a backstop to a chief executive`s mortality, but something to
get us through the week. When we`re packing up in Terre Haute, by the way,
next Tuesday, will we honor this mating with Fiorina any more than we do
last weekend`s feverish, last night coupling of Cruz and Kasich? Remember
that one?

Well, this is HARDBALL. Thanks for being with us. And it`s this crazy.

“ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES” starts right now.


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