Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 4/29/2016

John Brabender, Colleen McCain Nelson, Jeremy Peters, Heidi Przybyla, Sabrina Siddiqui, Dana Milbank, Neve Campbell, Josh Stamberg, Robin Bronk, Michael Kelly

Date: April 29, 2016
Guest: John Brabender, Colleen McCain Nelson, Jeremy Peters, Heidi
Przybyla, Sabrina Siddiqui, Dana Milbank, Neve Campbell, Josh Stamberg,
Robin Bronk, Michael Kelly


Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.

The 2016 presidential election is shaping up to be the most contentious in
decades. Today in California, protesters swarmed around the venue of a
Donald Trump speech. Protesters crashed through a barricade, reaching the
doors of the convention hall where Trump was set to speak before the
California Republican convention.

Well, today`s demonstration followed clashes outside a Trump rally last
night in Orange County, California, where hundreds of protesters took to
the streets, blocking traffic, smashing car windows. Twenty people were
arrested by police last night.

It`s more evidence of the deep political divisions of the 2016 race,
divisions fueled by candidate who`s willing to go where no one has gone
before, at least rhetorically.

In talking about getting tough with radical Islamist terrorists, Donald
Trump last night repeated a dubious legend, a myth, if you will, about
American general John Pershing at the turn of the 20th century in the
aftermath of the Spanish-American war.

Here`s how, according to Trump, Pershing put down an armed Muslim
insurgency in the Philippines.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: General Pershing was a tough,
ruthless general. He wouldn`t do well today because he was too tough.

They caught 50 radical Islamic terrorists! They caught them! They took
the 50. They lined them up. They took a pig, and then they took a second
pig, and they cut the pig open, and they took the bullets from the rifles,
and they dumped the bullets into the pigs, and they swashed it around. And
then took the bullets and they shot 49 of the 50 people.


TRUMP: And the 50th person, they said, Take this bullet and bring it back
to all of the people causing the problem and tell them what happened
tonight. He took the bullet. He brought it back, that 50th person, and
for 42 years, they didn`t have a problem with radical Islamic terrorism,



MATTHEWS: Well, the Web site Politifact rated Trump`s version of that
story false – false – when he first told it back in February. But it
again shows that while most candidates tread softly on delicate issues,
Donald Trump marches in combat boots.

When it comes to his likely Democratic opponent, Trump is now trying to
deny Hillary Clinton any credit for potentially becoming this country`s
first woman president. Trump, who on Tuesday night said Clinton was –
well, has achieved her victories because of her gender alone, again
attacked the former secretary of state for, quote, “playing the woman card”
last night.

Here`s Trump on Fox.


TRUMP: I mean, it`s fact. She`s playing the woman card. It`s the only
thing she`s got going. That`s it. And–


TRUMP: – she`s playing it as much as she can. I mean, I`ve been watching
it. I mean, all she does, every time she raises her – if you raise your
voice, it`s, like, Oh, look what he`s saying and look at the way he talks.
Give me a break. I mean, she raises her voice much more than I raise mine,
believe me.


MATTHEWS: Well, Donald Trump last night called Secretary Clinton an
enabler of her husband`s infidelities and is threatening a similar line of
attack again, tweeting, quote, “Crooked Hillary Clinton, perhaps the most
dishonest person to have ever run for the presidency, is also one of the
all-time great enablers.” That`s his new word.

I`m joined right now by Republican strategist John Brabender, Colleen
McCain Nelson of “The Wall Street Journal,” and Jeremy Peters of “The New
York Times.”

John, what do you make of this?


MATTHEWS: Because I think he – I – I think Trump has a notion of what
he`s doing. What do you think it is?

BRABENDER: He does, but here`s where I think the fall comes. What he`s
doing is great for Republican primary voters, which is–

MATTHEWS: Red meat.

BRABENDER: – small numbers that show up, red meat, to get – he doesn`t
have to get 50 percent, you just have to win the states. And he`s doing
well at that.

The problem is, he has to start expanding that base if, indeed, he`s going
to beat Hillary. And there problem – there`s a lot of people who within
the party that say, Look, I think he`s going to win. I want to sort of get
on board. But every time this happens, all the press goes to them and say,
Well, do you agree with this, and they`ve got to distance themselves.

And I think that it doesn`t help him politically, but then again, you got
to give him credit. I don`t think he sits there and says, Is this the
politically correct thing to do?

MATTHEWS: Colleen, he`s clearly targeting Hillary Clinton now and doing
all the things that most Democrats are careful not to do. One is don`t
blame Hillary for her husband`s misbehavior.


MATTHEWS: And he says she – well, the word “enabler” is available to all
of us. Usually, if you have an alcoholic spouse and you let them keep
drinking all the time and you sort of encourage it – he`s making that
charge openly against Hillary without any real evidence. He`s just doing

NELSON: Right. And it`s an interesting question. Are voters actually
going to blame Hillary Clinton for her husband`s transgressions?

MATTHEWS: For being cheated on.

NELSON: Right. Exactly. Is that her fault? Does that make her
unqualified to be president? And I mean, Trump obviously has a couple
different strategies with this. One, he wants to rattle Hillary Clinton.
He wants to get under her skin. He also wants to remind kind of some of
that ugly chapters of the Clinton administration and remind folks that when
Bill Clinton was president, when the Clintons were in the White House, it
was complicated.

MATTHEWS: Well, Trump campaign spokeswoman Katrina Pierson said on MSNBC
today that thee`s more about the Clintons that Trump would be willing to
bring up. So they`re teasing more material. They got more dirt. Let`s


KATRINA PIERSON, TRUMP SPOKESWOMAN: If Hillary Clinton or her team wants
to go after Donald Trump as a sexist, then he will absolutely bring up that
topic because there is a lot to discuss that was not brought out into the


MATTHEWS: I`m not sure what she`s talking about. Do you, Jeremy? Or do
they even have to have something, or they just allude to something?

JEREMY PETERS, “NEW YORK TIMES”: No, I think all this game that they like
to play. It`s – it`s diversion. It`s stirring up these – these – you
know, these unfounded allegations. I think John is exactly right. What`s
happening here is he`s trying to close the deal. He needs to win in
Indiana and he needs to knock out Ted Cruz because this can`t go to second

MATTHEWS: How is this–


MATTHEWS: – that he needs?

PETERS: It gets him the victory because I think – well, look where he
was. He`s in Indiana. He`s in a very red state. He`s perpetrating this
dubious tale of Muslims being shot with bullets dripped in pig`s blood. He
knows that the media is going to raise a firestorm about this, and that`s
exactly what we`re doing now. We`re talking about it.

MATTHEWS: Well, like he says “America first.” He knows these history – I
think he knows enough of history–


MATTHEWS: – to know what that means. It means he was an appeaser back in
the – a person who didn`t want to get into World War II.

PETERS: Well, you`re exactly right when you say that he knows – he knows
what he`s doing. I think we need to dispense with this notion that Trump
somehow stumbles into these gaffes. This is very calculated. He knows the
buttons he`s pressing and the coded language that he`s using.

MATTHEWS: Well, Trump also said during that – today, that that – that
beating Hillary Clinton would be easier than beating his Republican
opponents so far in the primaries. Look at this.


TRUMP: And when I can focus on Hillary, as I say, crooked Hillary – when
I focus on Hillary, she`ll go down easier than any of the people we just


MATTHEWS: So we got “little Marco,” “lyin` Ted” and “crooked Hillary.”
Now, the thing about “crooked Hillary” which fascinates me is he doesn`t
even have to point to case of her being crooked. He just says it. He just
dictates the connection.

And you can free associate that with – I guess with – I guess with e-
mails. That`s – I wouldn`t call that crooked. (INAUDIBLE) something,
misjudgment or something. I wouldn`t call it crooked. And he`s trying to
find (ph) out where was – he`s going back to Whitewater?

What is he talking – and that was nothing. Where`s the crooked part? I
mean, Hillary Clinton – oh, she took the speech money. Does that make her

I mean, what is it – the beauty of it is just start saying it. Just start
saying it. And then I noticed that Peggy Noonan this week said she was a
criminal. I mean, it`s amazing how it`s catching on!

BRABENDER: And you just said it.


BRABENDER: You repeated it. How`s that?

MATTHEWS: Well, I recited it.

BRABENDER: Right. Right. But we`re talking about – I mean, this is the
whole paradox of Donald Trump. And I sit there as a consultant, who`s done
this maybe longer than anybody on the planet, and everything he does, I
said, That makes no sense to me, and he goes up in the polls.

I mean, our home state of Pennsylvania – he won every county last week.
Now, this was–


MATTHEWS: – every county in all five states he ran in.

BRABENDER: Right. Which, number one, tells you there`s a lot of closet
Cruz – or sorry, Trump voters.

MATTHEWS: I agree with that.

BRABENDER: And number two–

MATTHEWS: Why would – explain why there would be so many wouldn`t tell a
well-spoken, perfect English caller, Would you be for Donald Trump, or
would you – semi (ph) – I always think if you talk a little more street
corner language – yes, I`m with that guy, Trump. Yes. Right. Are you
with that guy, Trump? Yes, I`m with that guy Trump.

BRABENDER: But evidently–

MATTHEWS: (INAUDIBLE) on the phone–

BRABENDER: – there`s people–


BRABENDER: – with him but won`t say it.


PETERS: It`s, like – it`s the classic example of asking, OK, well, would
your – a pollster asking, Would your friends do this? Would your
neighbors do this?


PETERS: It`s a trick, and of course, there – I think there are a lot more
supporters. Somebody – somebody said to me once, great analogy, the Trump
voter is like the guy who gets drunk on a Friday and swears he`s going to
go in on a Monday and tell off his boss but then doesn`t do it. The
problem is, though, I think a of those guys are going in and telling off
the boss now.

MATTHEWS: Well, you don`t have to actually confront your boss in the
voting booth. Let me ask you – you`re the only woman here of four of us.
There should be more, of course. There always should be half.

But let me ask you about the woman thing. There`s old Marquess of
Queensberry rules, well learned in the wrong way by Rick Lazio, Don`t go
confront, go into somebody`s space, especially if they`re a woman. George
Bush senior referred to, I`m going to kick – I kicked her butt, talking
about Geraldine Ferraro. We all know what sounds terrible afterwards.

Trump seems to break every one of those rules. He walks into the china
shop and carries it around with him, basically, and smashes it up.

NELSON: Right. And so far, that`s worked for him. And you know, a lot of
political strategists will say, Well, don`t go after someone`s weakness.
You want to go after your opponent`s strength and make it into a weakness,
and much like–

MATTHEWS: OK, two things. I always say I hate conflation. We fight about
it all the time. Iraq was not 9/11, blah, blah, blah. WMD is not nuclear.
But the right wing is particularly good at conflating.

Saying that Hillary Clinton is somehow running on her card – now, there`s
two ways that can be interpreted. I want you all to delineate what is
actually a fair shot and now a fair shot.

First of all, she didn`t get to be a graduate of Yale law for being a
woman. She didn`t go to – well, Wellesley`s a girls` school – a women`s
school. I guess (INAUDIBLE) that`s one place where it`d help.

She – every since the beginning of `91, when I first saw (INAUDIBLE)
Regency Hotel on Park Avenue back in `91, they were running as intellectual
and political equals. They walked out on the stage. She spoke for – so
the idea that Hillary became prominent because she`s a woman per se, that`s
not true.

The fact – but lately, she has been saying – pushing the woman thing.
This is chance to – is one shot unfair in the way it`s been tugged (ph)?
I mean, what he does is say she wouldn`t be here–

NELSON: Right.

MATTHEWS: – if she wasn`t a woman.

NELSON: Right. Well, and I think it`s worth remembering that when Bernie
Sanders suggested that Hillary Clinton was unqualified, that didn`t go
well. I mean, people pushed back and said, Well, she`s clearly qualified–

MATTHEWS: Why did that hurt him? Because he`s – he`s running in the
Democratic primary–


MATTHEWS: – where they`re more sensitive to that.

NELSON: But I mean, if you look at–



NELSON: If you look at her resume from a gender-neutral perspective, I
mean, clearly, she`s qualified. But you can question whether she has done
a good job, whether she has the best ideas. Clearly, she has necessary
experience to run for this.

MATTHEWS: I think her star quality owes something to Bill. Bill was a guy
– I`ve always said Bill occasionally – you get two and two, you get five.

NELSON: Right.

MATTHEWS: Occasionally, you get three, too. With her, you get two and two
and four. It`s not as – no, it`s not as wild as Bill.


MATTHEWS: Bill was a movie star politically.

PETERS: The strategy – and John can probably speak to this some more, but
the strategy behind this seems so shortsighted. Good luck winning the
election without–


MATTHEWS: How about independent married women? Can he get that category
of women?

BRABENDER: I mean, it seems – it seems really difficult at this point.
And even if he had them, it`s not clear to me that the Republican – given
the demographics, the Republican nominee could win in 2016. I mean, Mitt
Romney lost by five million votes and he still won white women.

MATTHEWS: Do you think the – (INAUDIBLE) strong here, but I think I got -
- I opened the show, what we call cold open, “Bully`s pulpit.” Can being a
bully work in this country? Have we ever elected somebody who really does
come across as a guy – I`m going to shove back. I`m a – I`m going to
bully in (ph) the world. I`m going to be tougher than Putin.


MATTHEWS: Does that sell?

BRABENDER: Here`s what people I don`t think fully understand. The success
of Donald Trump is not Donald Trump. It`s his supporters. I don`t think
Donald Trump has figured that out, quite frankly. I think–

MATTHEWS: You and I are on the same page.

BRABENDER: Now, the reason I think that that`s so important is that he
gets to play by different rules. We first saw that when he criticized
McCain, a great American war hero–

MATTHEWS: You`re so right.

BRABENDER: – and nothing happened. And everybody–


MATTHEWS: – discounting the edge of the craziness and said, No, but I
like the heart of what he`s saying, which is, I`m mad, like you are, or–

BRABENDER: No! They`re saying he has a big megaphone. He`s authentic.
And boy, he`s going to say what he`s going to say and it`s got to be better
than what we have today.

PETERS: And you liberal media elite are not going to tell me how to vote.

BRABENDER: Absolutely!

PETERS: That`s important.

MATTHEWS: Oh, yes. Boy, we laugh at that because we think that`s a

PETERS: No, but it`s true. People don`t like–

MATTHEWS: When he says–


MATTHEWS: – and those lying media people – we laugh at him because
that`s buffoonery, but the audience is cheering him.


MATTHEWS: Anyway, this is new. There are no experts.


MATTHEWS: I said you can`t be an expert at something that hasn`t happened
since – well, I don`t want to compare this to some other people, but in
America, OK?

Thank you, John Brabender – it`s great to have you back – Colleen McCain
Nelson and Jeremy Peters.

Coming up, there are poll numbers and projections out there that make
Democrats optimistic about a general election match-up with Donald Trump,
as we`ve been hearing here. They show Hillary Clinton with real shot to
win big, picking up states Democrats didn`t win in `12, at least one state
they haven`t won in 20 years.

For his part, Trump is hoping to put blue states like Michigan, Wisconsin,
even Pennsylvania in play. Who`s got the edge heading into the general

Plus, this is a year you can`t tell the winning candidate from the loser on
election night. That`s because the losers don`t make concession speeches
anymore. They make victory speeches even when they get beat. So answer
the question. Why do the losers always sound like they`re winning? I owe
this question to Frank Bruni of “The New York Times.”

And tonight, on the eve of the White House correspondents dinner, we`ve got
actors Neve Campbell and Michael Kelly of “House of Cards” and Josh
Stamberg of “The Affair” with us tonight. All three are going to play

And coming up on Tuesday, MSNBC will have live coverage of the Indiana
primary. I`ll join Brian Williams and Rachel Maddow for results and
analysis starting at 6:00 Eastern. And then get ready for this. Stay up
late. Have a coffee, 11:00 Eastern. Join me for a special edition of
HARDBALL that night on Tuesday night as we marquee what now looms as the
battle for November.

And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: After a surprise stop in Iraq to visit American troops, Vice
President Joe Biden traveled today to the Vatican, seeking to focus the
global community`s attention on cancer research.

Biden and his son, Hunter, received an audience from Pope Francis, and in a
speech at the Vatican, the vice president touched on his personal
connection to the fight against cancer and thanked the pope for providing
him comfort in the face of family tragedy.


family what binds so many in this room together and all across the world,
how faith can turn loss into hope and hope into action. Holy Father has
given hope to so many people of all faiths in every part of the world with
his strong words and humble ways.


MATTHEWS: Well, Biden declared a “moon shot” project to cure cancer after
his son, Beau, succumbed to the disease just last May.

And we`ll be right back.



presidential sense doesn`t win anymore! You pick your standard cookie
cutters. I can tell you already, just give me the name of the person, and
I`ll tell you exactly what states he`s going to win and what states he`s
going to lose. I`m different because I`m going to win states that nobody
else can.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. With the prospect of a Clinton versus
Trump general election matchup looming for the fall, some numbers show
Hillary Clinton with chance to score big in the Electoral College.

The latest national poll of a Clinton-Trump contest shows the former
secretary of state with an 11-point lead. But Larry Sabato, a political
expert from University of Virginia, says if the election were held today,
Clinton would win 347 electoral votes – you only need 270 – to Trump`s
191. According to Sabato, Secretary Clinton would win all the states
President Obama won in 2012 plus the state of North Carolina. A poll out
of the traditionally red state of Arizona also shows Clinton with a seven-
point lead there over Trump. And “USA Today”`s Heidi Przybyla broke the
news today that Clinton plans to start shifting her staff, her campaign
staff, to general election swing states as the fall contest starts to take
shape, which it is. She`s hoping for a big electoral victory that looks
beyond the Obama 2012 map.

For more on this, I`m joined by the aforementioned Heidi Przybyla,
political reporter for “USA Today,” and also Governor Dean of Vermont, the
former Democratic National Committee chair.

Let me start with the author.

Let`s talk about how and November. It`s now beginning to be May. We`re
getting into May. Then we have the summer months. Then we have September
and October. So, it`s getting close. It`s less than six months.

How good can we project now what it will look like after six months of
Donald Trump smashing Secretary Clinton personally, in terms of her gender,
in terms of her marriage to Bill Clinton, really unusually vicious

HEIDI PRZYBYLA, “USA TODAY”: As you know, we can`t say what it will look
like in four or five months. What we can say is what it looks like for
certainty right now.

We have the polling data. And unless something really seismic happens,
Chris, what you do and what Larry did and what I think is fair to do is you
take that `08 map and you overlay it and then you assume, given the forces
that we know are in effect, like Trump`s effect on suburban women who may
come over and vote for Hillary–

MATTHEWS: Hispanics.

PRZYBYLA: Hispanics. The black turnout. Everybody is assuming that you
can`t top what Obama did in `08 and `12. Wrong. There`s a possibility


MATTHEWS: Well, you`re laughing. I know exactly what you`re thinking
about, which is the real October surprise is going to be President Obama
campaigning like he`s never campaigned before for Hillary Clinton.

Let me go to Governor Dean.

Looking at the map, sir, we just heard Donald Trump suggest what we all
heard he wants to do. I have referred to as the guys in the jobbers at NFL
games, at Bears games, Lions games, Eagles games, Steelers games, big white
guys, middle-class, not very well off, but tough, but an attitude. I think
Trump is looking at them to shake up the map his way.

But Hillary Clinton has North Carolina, she`s got Arizona. She`s got
Colorado, which is already there, but she could build a bigger map,
according to what Sabato is pointing to. Your thoughts.

HOWARD DEAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: This is really, really complicated
stuff. I think Heidi is absolutely right.

First of all, I do think there will be a much bigger African-American
turnout than most people expect, for a lot of reasons, one of which is
there`s a lot of people in this country who respond really negatively to
bullying. They are minority groups because they have been bullied plenty
and we`re not just talking about African-Americans. We`re talking about
Hispanics and we`re talking about Asian Americans who used to vote
Republican but don`t anymore because of all the anti-immigration stuff.

There`s never been a president elected on the Republican side with less
than 35 percent of the Hispanic vote. Trump is at 19. I think the closer
this gets, as long as Hillary stands up and is a little Margaret Thatcher-
like, I think she will do just fine and we could have a landslide.

MATTHEWS: How do you see it, Governor? You have been in debates yourself.
What do you see as a debate? Trump, he is not stupid enough to make fun of
her and call her an enabler of her husband`s transgressions to her face.


DEAN: I will bet you he does. I will bet you he does, Chris. Absolutely,
I think he will. He won`t be able to stop himself.

MATTHEWS: What does she do? Give me example of her defense, because I
have always thought in politics the best political maneuver there is, is
the attack from a defensive position. There you go again, Mr. President.
There you go again, Mr. Trump.

DEAN: That`s exactly right. Absolutely right. That`s exactly what you

You go, there you go again, Mr. Trump. I really believe in X, Y, Z and
some foreign policy and whatever she wants to talk about her message. And
then, Mr. Trump, you put several companies into bankruptcy. We`re not
going to let you do that to the United States of America.

MATTHEWS: That`s an aggressive shot. That`s not a defensive shot.

But, anyway, let`s talk about women, different kinds of women, different –
not different kinds. Women in different situations. Stations of life.
Independent women, do you have a sense that they`re willing to be a little
more wild, a little more Wild West with this guy, Trump? Married women put
up with a little more than single women?

Single women, I have seen politically, are very sensitive when some bully
comes around and say you can`t have abortion rights or you can`t have this
or that. They don`t like that at all, single women.

Married women seem to be a little more conservative, more traditional
historically. Where do they stand in this fight once he gets tough, once
he bullies her?

PRZYBYLA: I have talked to married Republican women who will not vote for
Donald Trump.

They`re on the record saying that. I guess you have to make the assumption
that since they make up a larger portion of the electorate than men do,
that they are going to change their minds. But then you drill down and you
look at the polling, Chris, that shows they don`t just have a unfavorable
opinion of Donald Trump. You know in poll-ese speak, they have a very
unfavorable view of him, which is a whole new level of persuasion that it
would take on his behalf to persuade them to vote for him.

I think it`s a very high bar to move those female numbers.

MATTHEWS: Governor, I think one thing. I`m not a woman, but I do try to
observe how people behave. I would think – somebody once said to me,
people don`t mind being used, they mind being discarded.

That`s about life too and relationships, obviously. You can think about
how obviously no one likes to be dumped. The idea that Trump I think has
with him is it`s not that he makes fun, not just makes fun, he seems to
dismiss them. He talks about women in terms of looks only, when he when
after Carly Fiorina, thereby dismissing any woman who is not the latest
model from Europe, that kind of dismissive behavior, like I`m not
interested in their minds, their thoughts, their souls, who they are
personally. I`m not interested them. I want to see them on a runway.

Really, that`s the way he`s come across. And he`s attacked women on their
looks. And I just wonder whether that is particularly stupid politically.
Just a thought, because it`s the only time he`s had to pull back in the
whole campaign.


DEAN: Yes, no, I think it is particularly politically stupid.

There`s two things that are interesting. One, this isn`t over yet. Cruz I
think by now has Mike Pence`s endorsement in Indiana, although Bobby Knight
is a much better endorsement than Mike Pence any day.


MATTHEWS: For the guys, I think so. Yes.

DEAN: Right.

So, let`s see. It`s not over yet, but I agree that Trump is likely to be
nominated. Now, you will get a kick out of this, because this is your
area. The collar counties of Philadelphia, that`s where all these
elections are won and lost.

I knew that Obama was going to beat the daylights out of McCain in the
collar counties of Pennsylvania. If you do that, those are the classic
Republican married women who are mostly pro-choice who swing on exactly the
kinds of things you and Heidi are talking about.


DEAN: I think you`re absolutely right.

MATTHEWS: Where you have the train stations where the Broadway plays are
advertised on. They`re very sophisticated. They`re big East, not in
basketball terms, but sophisticated. They read the paper every day. And
they know who Trump is.

PRZYBYLA: And it`s not just women.

You guys can weigh in on this here. It`s the Reagan Democrats. I think
this is overhyped, Chris. That`s why they are called Reagan Democrats,
because they switched a long time ago.

MATTHEWS: Yes. We will see. We will see. Anyway–


DEAN: The guys you`re talking about, Chris, these guys have not voted
Democrat for years and years and years and years. So, this is nothing new.

MATTHEWS: I think of the guys with the red faces, it`s so cold out, and
they`re rooting for a team that is going to lose most of the time. But
they have got that sort of attitude, attitude.

And I think they may be the Trump target.

DEAN: Right. Well, Trump`s got that.

MATTHEWS: He`s after them.

Thank you, Governor Dean. Have a nice weekend. Heidi Przybyla, you`re
getting to be really good on this show. And you`re a great writer and
reporter. And it`s very hard to do everything right. And you have been
doing it.

Up next, the art of losing. Why this year`s concession speeches have
sounded a lot more like the speeches of winning candidates. Can you tell
the difference? Why can`t anyone lose gracefully anymore? Frank Bruni of
“The New York Times” wrote a great column on this today.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


breaking news.

As we have been reporting, protesters clashed with police outside a hotel
where Donald Trump spoke to California Republicans earlier. The candidate
had to take an alternate route into the building because of the situation.
He acknowledged the tensions boiling over outside the venue in his remarks.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: That wasn`t the easiest entrance
I have ever made.


TRUMP: My wife called. She said, “There are helicopters following you.”
And we did. And then we went under a fence and through a fence. And, oh,
boy, it felt like I was crossing the border, actually.


REHBERGER: Trump left the hotel with a security detail shortly after his
speech ended.

The demonstrators remained on the scene long after the candidate left the
venue. Police in riot gear eventually moved in to disperse the crowd –
back to HARDBALL.

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

Why can`t anyone lose gracefully anymore? With more than 20 presidential
candidates at the outset of this 2016 battle and most state contests
completed now, we have heard quite a few concession speeches this year, but
often the losers sound a lot like they just won. Let`s take a look.


SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: This is the moment they said would never

For months, for months, they told us we had no chance. Tonight, I thank
you here in Iowa. I thank you because tonight we have taken the first
step, but an important step towards winning this election.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The votes are still being
counted. And the exact results are unknown.

But right now, it appears that we are effectively tied for third in state
of New Hampshire.


CRUZ: That was the result that all of us were told was impossible.
Together, we have done what the pundits and the media have said could not
be done.

backs. We have the momentum. I believe that when Democrats assemble in
Philadelphia in July at that convention, we`re going to see the results of
one of the great political upsets in the history of the United States.



MATTHEWS: Well, all of them were unbelievable. It started there with
Marco Rubio and his third-place finish in Iowa, Ted Cruz, who came in
behind Trump and Kasich in New Hampshire, and of course Senator Sanders
after a Nevada loss, loss that was to Hillary Clinton. In fact, often, the
losers this year don`t actually concede.

They get angry. Frank Bruni wrote this week about the cult of losers,
describing – quote – “All too often, contests don`t yield accepted
conclusions and a grudging acquiescence by those who didn`t get their way.
They prompt accusations of the very cries of illegitimacy and a
determination to neuter the victor, nullify the results or reverse them as
soon as possible.”

It hasn`t always been this way. What is about 2016 that everyone who is a
loser sounds like a winner?

Here with me is Dana Milbank, the satirist and brilliant columnist of “The
Washington Post.” I think it`s satire. And Sabrina Siddiqui of “The

Let me start with you, Dana. It seems to me that it really does start with
this ridiculous inability to just say, OK, bad night, bad night.

it starts – first of all, we have to blame America in general for the

MATTHEWS: We`re all guilty?

MILBANK: We raise our children where everybody gets a trophy.

MATTHEWS: Oh, I know. I know.

MILBANK: It doesn`t matter what happens there.

And, of course, as usual, the media are to blame here. It`s not whether
you win or lose. It`s whether you beat expectations or not. We set these
expectations. In a way, Rubio and Cruz are right to say, they said this
couldn`t be done. I couldn`t come in tied for third place.

MATTHEWS: You can say that about we because it`s a collective statement.

But, Sabrina, I grew up in politics as a kid watching wonderful concession
speeches. I saw it later as part of history. Stevenson`s, who lost to
Ike, saying – he quoted Lincoln saying, I`m too old to cry, but it hurts
too much to laugh. And wonderful lines like Ed Brooke of Massachusetts
saying, I didn`t cry in the mountain, I will not cry in the valley.

Emotion moments that were honest and the end of the night. You know kit
was over when the guy conceded.

SABRINA SIDDIQUI, “THE GUARDIAN”: I think Dana has a point.

When it comes to the modern kind of 24/7 environment, so much of
campaigning, as these elections are increasingly nationalized, has to do
with controlling the media narrative. And if you can create the sense of
momentum, then the idea is–


MATTHEWS: Are we that stupid, that you can just give a victory speech?

SIDDIQUI: Well, the media certainly played along I think with Marco Rubio
a great deal in the early states.

But also on the Republican side, there`s just been this deep-rooted denial
from the outset that Donald Trump will be the nominee.

MATTHEWS: It`s still there.


SIDDIQUI: A lot of this has to do with there`s no way that Republican
voters will choose Donald Trump to represent our party and we have to
remain relevant and seem like we have chance to actually defeat him.

MATTHEWS: A bit of this is theater review. And that`s OK. I enjoy it.

But there`s serious business here. One thing we notice, those of us who
read the papers, in developing countries, there`s a pattern. If you lose a
election, it was stolen, it was corrupt, it was rigged. You never admit
you lose. This is all over. And if you win, you arrest the guy you beat.

Trump says I`m going to arrest Hillary if I win. I`m going to put her in
jail. And he also says, every time they lose – Bernie now this in New
York and Brooklyn, oh, irregularities. People – nobody says, I lost
fairly. That`s not healthy.

MILBANK: I`m not sure, Chris – I`m not sure it`s that nefarious, nor is
it necessarily that new.

Remember, go back to the comeback kid speech, Bill Clinton, a long time ago
in New Hampshire.

MATTHEWS: He lost by eight.

MILBANK: He didn`t win the New Hampshire primary.

MATTHEWS: That was media manipulation.

MILBANK: But the problem is in the primaries there is not finality.

You will see these – John McCain gave a great concession speech when he
lost the general election. Remember Al Gore saying it`s time for me to go.

MATTHEWS: Good speech.

MILBANK: That was a good speech.

I suspect you see that when there`s finality. The problem with the
primaries is, we don`t get finality. It`s entirely ambiguous, so they can


MATTHEWS: You`re right about the Gore speech. That was one of the good
ones. I think – I don`t know who helped him with it. He gave it finally.
But that was a wonderful way to end. I`m not sure the other side would
have been as wonderful about it.

MILBANK: It was an ugly episode.


SIDDIQUI: And you also have to think about fact that the entire premise of
Donald Trump`s message, as well as that of Bernie Sanders, is that the
political system is rigged against the American people.

They can kind of use this line that this is rigged, because that is what
driving a lot of their support, an idea that the political system is
corrupt, that establishment is trying to cherry-pick candidates and


MATTHEWS: I do like the idea of civilization, though.


MATTHEWS: I think it works.

Anyway, thank you, Dana Milbank. I think there`s a certain quality to the
guy or the woman who says, you know what? I got beaten. I got beaten.

Sabrina Siddiqui, great having you on.

Dana, you`re always read well around here.

Still ahead, we have got a special Hollywood roundtable tonight here ahead
of this weekend`s White House Correspondents Dinner, actors from the hit
shows “House of Cards” and “The Affair” are coming here next. This is
going to be fun. that show “House of Cards” is something else.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.



prouder to put this birth certificate matter to rest than The Donald. And
that`s because he can finally get back to focusing on the issues that
matter, like, did we fake the moon landing?




It got worse there. That was President Obama getting the better of Donald
Trump in 2011. Well, it`s that time of year when Hollywood royalty crosses
the other coast to hang out with journalists and politicians at the White
House Correspondents` Dinner. It`s tomorrow night.

And the game change for the dinner came back in the 1980s when a journalist
brought Oliver North`s secretary, Fawn Hall, to that event. What was
unusual back then has become an annual event where actors mingle with the
Washington elite, such as it is, for the evening, and not only is Hollywood
descending on Washington, but they seem to be drawing more influence and
more story material from their work from their re-imagined drama within the

Think about the TV show on HBO, “Veep,” hilarious, “Scandal,” it`s great
stuff, and one of my favorite, the “House of Cards,” which I`m mostly
through the latest series.

Our special White House correspondents` weekend HARDBALL roundtable is here
to talk about the cult intersection between Tinseltown and Washington.

Joining me right now is Neve Campbell from “House of Cards,” right. Leann?


MATTHEWS: Actor Josh Stamberg currently stars in “The Affair,” talk about
Murky, and also Robin Bronx, CEO of the Creative Coalition makes all of
this possible.

Now, I`ve got to talk to you guys about this Hollywood thing.

Tell me, you`re part of this. You grew up here.


MATTHEWS: What makes a town, for years, I would hear movie directors say,
you can`t sell a move that says it`s about politics. You have to say, it`s
a romance set in Washington or it`s a thriller! You can`t say, but today,
anything about politics is something. They`ve got Nixon and Elvis? Who
would have believed that? That`s opening up this weekend here.

STAMBERG: Inherent drama, right?

MATTHEWS: If you want to know what it was really like. A 15-hour photo op
and an hour and a half movie. Explain that.

STAMBERG: Tough one. I don`t know. What do you think?

MATTHEWS: What did you bring to Hollywood when you came out here? Your
mom`s Susan Stamberg.

STAMBERG: That`s right.

MATTHEWS: And we share the same Starbucks, so I know her well.

STAMBERG: I think the thing growing up in D.C., it`s not actually, the
people working in D.C. are not the people who are necessarily going to this
dinner, right? The people who are making the wheels spin. I think there`s
interesting, but I don`t know how intense that interest is, you know? I
think the Hollywood piece of it is, how do we take the really interesting
and dramatic world that is Washington, D.C. and turn it into even better

MATTHEWS: When I bring people here, I take them on my midnight tour. The
only thing besides money I can give people, because it`s easy to pay for
dinner if you`ve got some money, but hard to get them to stay out after
midnight on a weekday night. So, I take them on my crazy tour.

Do you know what I take them on? I show them the exorcist steps from the
movie. Where the priest fell down, right at the end.

CAMPBELL: That`s great.

MATTHEWS: That`s my idea of showing Hollywood what Washington`s really
like. So, Neve Campbell?


It`s fascinating. You know, I`ve only, here – this is my third time in
Washington, and each time`s only been 24 hours, and today, actually, I was
up on the Hill with the Creative Coalition.

MATTHEWS: With Robin.


MATTHEWS: What was her pitch?

CAMPBELL: Trying to raise some more money for the arts.

MATTHEWS: Federal government money.

CAMPBELL: Yes, absolutely.

MATTHEWS: OK, Robin, make your pitch.

ROBIN BRONK, CEO, THE CREATIVE COALITION: We`re trying to make this the
last arts advocacy day, because why do we have to be this special interest
group that advocates for more money for the country so we can be a better
country, more competitive country, and get our kids ready for the
workforce. And Neve and about 20 other leaders from Hollywood were with
us. We went door-to-door, literally in Congress, you`ve been walking
around since 8:00 a.m.

MATTHEWS: Did you meet any interesting congressmen? You had all senators,

CAMPBELL: No, I wasn`t on the team that had the senators. I was supposed
to be. I was on the orange team and none of the senators showed up.

MATTHEWS: Here`s a sample of Neve`s actual work, plotting as political
strategist, Leann Harvey. There`s a nice name, willing to do pretty much
anything to notch a win for the Underwoods in the “House of Cards.” It`s a
very dark story. Let`s watch.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s a stranger to us.

CAMPBELL: He`s the top data scientist in the country, maybe the world. He
was exploring behavior adoption and –

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop. We are talking domestic surveillance, Leann.
And the only theory I`m interested in is risk versus votes.

CAMPBELL: And he gets us the votes.


MATTHEWS: So, he`s trying to pass a gun safety bill and he wants to
identify voters like leads, leads that would tell who to make a phone call
to, who would then phone a congressman or senator, right?

CAMPBELL: Absolutely.

MATTHEWS: And that`s illegal, apparently? I don`t think it is, but in the
movie it is.

CAMPBELL: Yes, in the movie it is, exactly. Now, she finds ways to
manipulate things, to make things happen for the people she`s working with.

MATTHEWS: You look pretty good in the movie, because you come out as like
a gun for hire, but you don`t seem bad.

CAMPBELL: Well, we`ll see.

MATTHEWS: You don`t come off as bad.


MATTHEWS: Josh, “The Affair” starts with an affair, obviously, and all I
kept thinking about, this is the best argument against having an affair.


MATTHEWS: It is so complicated, it gets so bad.

STAMBERG: My married friends –

MATTHEWS: He has to really love this new young woman, because everything
in his wife is going away.


MATTHEWS: Let`s watch that, because he seems to have a really nice wife.
Here you go. Let`s watch.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you ever been left before? Have you ever been


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have. Many times, and I can tell you from personal
experience that people leave for lots of different reasons.


MATTHEWS: Wow. Philosophy.

STAMBERG: Yes, right? Deep, politics of friendship. You don`t see it a
lot between two guys, right?

MATTHEWS: Well, but you`re messing with his –

STAMBERG: Sleeping with his wife. And paid – it`s not great.

MATTHEWS: It`s not an act of friendship. It`s a smoky story. Smokey.

Robin, thank you. Good luck with the cause.

BRONK: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: Kevin Spacey and others, friends of ours who come around here.
And we really do believe that it`s good to back our arts.

The roundtable is staying with us. And up next, these three will tell me
something I don`t know. I cannot wait. This is the first time we`ve tried
it with civilians.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: You want to tune in on Tuesday night this week. I`ll be back
with my colleagues Brian Williams and Rachel Maddow for complete primary
coverage. That`s 6:00 to 11:00 Eastern Time Tuesday night.

And 11:00 p.m. that night, a special edition of HARDBALL. Full complete
Indiana results and a look ahead toward the general election. That`s going
to be our topic at 11:00.

And we`ll be right back.


MATTHEWS: We`re back with the HARDBALL roundtable.

Neve, tell me something I don`t know about the correspondents` dinner
tomorrow night.

CAMPBELL: Well, it`s my first time, so I`m very curious. I`m curious to
see what Obama does with the roasting, because it`s his last year.

MATTHEWS: He`ll take a shot at trump, don`t you think?

CAMPBELL: I think so. But I don`t think he`s going to be there.

MATTHEWS: He`ll be there in absentia.

CAMPBELL: I think so.

MATTHEWS: Anyway, tell me, Josh.

STAMBERG: White House correspondents` dinner president, 1975, Helen Toms.
1973, any idea?

MATTHEWS: Susan Stamberg?

STAMBERG: No, Edgar A. Poe. No idea who that is. But a pretty good name.

MATTHEWS: Well, that was a stumper. But has good news value.


MATTHEWS: But go ahead, Robin.

BRONK: Never discount being a bystander at that dinner. My greatest
moment was I got to be – watch Lori David and Sheryl Crow teach Karl Rove
about global warming. I swear, Lori David had a whiteboard in her evening
bag. She pulled it up, Sheryl had the statistics and I saw Karl doing that
– hmm.

MATTHEWS: Let me tell you something, I can tell you with authority, he`s

Thank you, Neve Campbell, Josh Stamberg, and Robin Bronk.

Still ahead, we knew him as White House chief of staff Douglas Stamper.
Actor Michael Kelly is coming here. Beware.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.



MICHAEL KELLY, DOUG STAMPER: Where are we with Leann?


KELLY: I refuse to believe that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Doug, if our campaign manager bites the dust, that
hurts us.

KELLY: I gave you a task.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I`ll keep at it.


MATTHEWS: Scary stuff.

We`re back. His role as Doug Stamper, that`s a great Dickensian name,
Stamper, on “House of Cards.”

Actor Michael Kelly plays a ruthlessly efficient political operative whose
Machiavellian tactics often run afoul of the law, through four seasons of
the show now, we`ve seen how his loyalty to President Frank Underwood,
that`s Kevin spacey, knows no bounds.

I`m joined by Michael Kelly of “House of Cards”.

Now, I have to – you have to explain to people that you`re not that guy.
You`re not Doug Stamper when you walk down the street. Are they scared of

KELLY: Certainly in D.C., no, it`s pretty crazy. Never – I don`t think
I`ve ever taken more selfies than here in D.C.

MATTHEWS: Do you ever when you read a script, before an episode, think, my
God, how bad am I going to get? Because you`re killing people one after
another. And it`s always done with great deliberation. There`s nothing
impulsive about it. You decide, this person must be eliminated.

KELLY: Yes, it`s bad for the greater good. He`s just got to do his job.
That`s the way he looks at it.

MATTHEWS: Have you figured out what – because I`ve always liked loyalty
in politics, to a point. And you carry it beyond that, of course. Because
I like the old idea that you serve the boss, get him elected, and unless
he`s doing something actually criminal, you cover for him.

KELLY: Right. You know, obviously, we take it to a criminal level on our
show, but I love it too. And I actually understand my character. I
understand Doug Stamper. It makes sense to me.

MATTHEWS: What do you make him so almost dog-like loyal?

KELLY: I think it`s a lot of things. Addiction. A lot of it`s addiction
for him, you know, the alcohol addiction, the job addiction. He wants to
be the best he can be at his job.

MATTHEWS: And he wants the approval and administration of boss.

KELLY: Of course. Some of the loyalty is a bi-product of him being so
focused on what he does. But, yes, he definitely wants the approval of the

MATTHEWS: So, you`re up in Baltimore doing this incredible series and
there`s another year coming up. It just keeps going.

KELLY: Season five.

MATTHEWS: Do people come up to you and say, I just watched three of your
episodes last night.


MATTHEWS: Rob Reiner, I know a bit of, he said, the first series, the
first year, he watched the whole thing on a rainy weekend.

KELLY: Yes, yes, I`m amazed sometimes. I mean, as soon as the season
comes out, someone`s tweeting, 13 hours later, done. I`m like, oh, my
gosh, you just watched the whole thing, straight through. I can watch two
episodes of something. That`s about it.

MATTHEWS: Well, last night, Kathleen and I were watching it and I had
fallen asleep, because we had been doing this week of politics, and I said,
she`s going to bed, she looks back through the door and says, want to watch
another one? I`m like, I`m exhausted! I got to get up early today.

I think you`re responsible for a lot of people being up way too late at

KELLY: That feels good.

MATTHEWS: OK, let me ask you about – is this going to encourage people,
young men and women, to run for office, if they see Frank Underwood`s lust
for power?

KELLY: You know, I hope so. I hope it encourages people to get informed
in politics and learn more about politics. That`s certainly a nice by-
product of our show. But really, at its core, the show`s about power,

MATTHEWS: It`s about the husband and wife who have – don`t seem to have a
real loving relationship anymore. They have something, but when they go to
the window and they share the cigarette, it`s like an old 1930s movie, you
know, Betty Davis and Paul, having a cigarette, to sort of represent their
love making, to celebrate their conniving.

KELLY: They`re definite sex scenes.

MATTHEWS: It`s all simulated.

Hey, Michael Kelly, I`m a really big fan of this guy.

KELLY: What a pleasure.

MATTHEWS: Because there`s no doubt when you watch him, you think, it`s
him, it really is him that`s doing the killing.

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

“ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES” starts right now.



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