Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 5/2/2016

Francesca Chambers, Paul Butler, Robert Mrazek, Susan Page, Andrew Sullivan, Amy Klobuchar, Nina Turner, Andrew Ross Sorkin

Date: May 2, 2016
Guest: Francesca Chambers, Paul Butler, Robert Mrazek, Susan Page, Andrew
Sullivan, Amy Klobuchar, Nina Turner, Andrew Ross Sorkin

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: The Hoosiers bring closure.

Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.

Well, the stop Trump movement appears on the verge of collapse. Senator
Ted Cruz and Governor John Kasich formed an alliance and hoped to set up a
roadblock for Trump in Indiana tomorrow. But polls now show the New York
businessmen set to sweep the state.

The latest NBC News/”Wall Street Journal” Marist poll of likely Republican
voters shows Trump with a 15-point lead over Cruz in Indiana. That`s

Cruz is increasingly desperate, of course. Last week, he rushed out his
running mate selection, Carly Fiorina, and yesterday, he warned Indiana
voters to, quote, “not give in to evil.” Well! There was a last-ditch
scene (ph), by the way, at one of his campaign stops today when Cruz walked
over to a group of Trump supporters, well defined and identified as Trump
supporters, and tried winning them over.

Let`s watch this event.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`m running to be everyone`s
president. Those who vote for me…

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don`t want you.

CRUZ: Well, you`re entitled to your view, sir, and I will respect it. In


CRUZ: I will…

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do the math! You (ph) asked Kasich to drop out. It`s
your turn. You are the problem.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are the problem, politician. You are the problem.

CRUZ: Can I ask you something? Can I ask you something?


CRUZ: Out of all of the candidates, name one who had a million- dollar
judgment against him for hiring illegal immigrants.


CRUZ: Donald Trump…


CRUZ: OK. So you like rich people who buy politicians.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not you. Where`s your Goldman Sachs jacket at? We
know your wife works there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`ll find out tomorrow. Indiana don`t want you.

CRUZ: Well, sir, you are entitled to…




CRUZ: Sir, America is a better country…


CRUZ: Thank you for those kind sentiments. Let me point out I have
treated you respectfully the entire time, and a question that everyone here
should ask…

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you Canadian?


MATTHEWS: That – that was like this afternoon, Trump praised protester.
Let`s watch Trump now.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He actually said, How`s your
loan doing at Goldman Sachs? That was, I thought, the cool – whoever he
is, I thought he was very cool. I thought him and his friends because
they`re not going to be buffaloed by lies!


MATTHEWS: Well, Trump also mocked Ted Cruz for failing to come to the aid
of his 11th-hour running mate, Carly Fiorina, yesterday after she slipped
off the stage introducing Cruz today. Anyway, Trump called it weird Cruz
didn`t do anything to help. Watch.


TRUMP: Then he picks Carly. Carly is perfectly nice. By the way, she
fell off the stage the other day. Did anybody see that? And Cruz didn`t
do anything! I was – even I would have helped her, OK? I said, Wow,
that`s really cruel. She fell off – she just went down! She went down a
long way, right? And she went down right in front of him, and he was
talking, he kept talking. He didn`t even look like – that was a weird


MATTHEWS: Well, Andrew Sullivan is a contributing editor of New York”
magazine right now. His just out cover story for the magazine warns that
Trump is an extinction-level event in American democracy. Susan Page is
Washington bureau chief for “USA Today” and Jeremy Peters is a reporter for
“The New York Times” and an MSNBC contributor.

Jeremy, I loved your piece today. It as the main piece, actually, top
righthand, the top piece of the day, right? And I thought it was good
because it said something is basically happened, which is all the talk of a
“stop Trump” movement`s based upon the idea that Cruz would be the last man
standing. The trouble with that is there`s a dynamic there. When you
finally get to be the last man, that means that the other people have all
fallen and that the front-runner is just in galloping speed by then, and
you`re losing support every hour.

mean that people want to vote for you, and that`s been Ted Cruz`s problem
all along, and that`s the problem with the “never Trump” movement. It`s
“never Trump,” and then, OK, so who do we vote for? Falling in line behind
Ted Cruz is very difficult for a lot of these Republicans because he`s not
a very palatable alternative.

MATTHEWS: Did any of the candidates – I know this sounds facile or
whatever. Did any of the candidates exhibit any kind of charisma opposing
Trump for the nomination, Susan?



MATTHEWS: … just an accident this guy won. He was up against some of
the dullest, dullest politicians ever!

PAGE: He is – he is – of course, he is pretty exciting.


CRUZ: I mean, he`s pretty dynamic.


PAGE: Trump! Trump! Yes.

MATTHEWS: Yes, but nobody else…


PAGE: I actually think what`s happening with Republicans now is they`re
saying, He`s going to get nominated. Let`s make the best of it this year.
I think some Republicans are trying to think beyond – after Trump, what
happens to the party. And I think that maybe what Cruz is about to think.

MATTHEWS: Would anybody – you don`t want to make – you don`t want to
play this game. I`m getting a strong look here from you.

ANDREW SULLIVAN, “NEW YORK” MAGAZINE: Oh, no. I`m just looking at you.

MATTHEWS: I`m just – I`m just – Andrew, I just want to say…


MATTHEWS: There`s this thing called politics, and you have to have
charisma. You have to have – is any one of these guys capable of thinking
up a joke on the occasion, saying something witty, saying something
interesting even, ever?

Look, Trump at least is a stand-up guy. I don`t have to like him or
support him, certainly, but he`s a show, and these other guys have not been
a show.

SULLIVAN: Thank you. You`re right. We`re now – we`re not covering a
general election anymore. We`re covering reality…


SULLIVAN: We`re covering a reality…


SULLIVAN: Can I actually finish my sentence?

MATTHEWS: Only after you get me right. We`re covering elections, and the
voters are voting for this guy. It`s not just a reality…


SULLIVAN: It is a TV reality show. That`s how you`re presenting it.
That`s what we`re looking at here on the TV…


MATTHEWS: Who`s going to win Indiana, the TV show?


MATTHEWS: And how does that work, exactly? People go in the voting booth
and say, I`m voting…

SULLIVAN: Trump has changed…

MATTHEWS: … for a TV show?

SULLIVAN: Trump has the rules.


SULLIVAN: All these presidential debates turned out to be television
reality show episodes.

MATTHEWS: Have they ever not been?

SULLIVAN: Yes, they have.


SULLIVAN: When they`ve actually had reasoned deliberation, arguments back
and forth. He hasn`t put forward a single sane argument or been rebutted
by one because he`s been able to completely change the rules of the game.
This is entertainment now. Every fun (ph) he can have, every joke he


SULLIVAN: Meanwhile, his platform…

MATTHEWS: I guess I missed most of American history because I remember
Ronald Reagan when he debated against Jimmy Carter by saying, “There you go
again,” and flattening him with that line. If that wasn`t show business,
what was?

SULLIVAN: That was one line in the debate. He`s only got one-liners.

MATTHEWS: It knocked him about. How about Mondale said, “Where`s the
beef” to Gary Hart? That knocked him out. There is a lot of theatrics in
this business.

SULLIVAN: There are, but not all theatrics. And Trump is all theatrics,
and when he isn`t all theatrics…

MATTHEWS: And you think people vote for him because they`re entertained by

SULLIVAN: No, I think they vote for him partly…

MATTHEWS: Because of his message.

SULLIVAN: … because they`re frustrated.

MATTHEWS: And what`s his message?

SULLIVAN: His message is there are people to blame for your plight…


MATTHEWS: And who are they?

SULLIVAN: Well, it depends on the day. China is raping us. Mexican
immigrants, illegal undocumented aliens are the reason for your problems.
We`ve got to actually round up and deport 11 million of them.


SULLIVAN: And Muslims are your problem. That`s what…


SULLIVAN: … American history.

MATTHEWS: Who has been effective in terms of protecting the American
manufacturing base? Who can say, I protected the American manufacturing

SULLIVAN: Obama can.

MATTHEWS: … that`s been disappearing?

SULLIVAN: There`s more…

MATTHEWS: That`s been disappearing.


MATTHEWS: Carrier`s leaving now.

SULLIVAN: Manufacturing output in this country is the highest it has ever
been. The question is not about manufacturing…

MATTHEWS: Sure because of productivity but not workers` jobs.

SULLIVAN: Yes. Well, no…

MATTHEWS: Not jobs. That`s what people care about.

SULLIVAN: I know they care about that.

MATTHEWS: And they`re disappearing.

SULLIVAN: They have been disappearing to some extent, yes.

MATTHEWS: Who`s responsible?

SULLIVAN: The – trade is responsible. The…

MATTHEWS: That`s what Trump says.


SULLIVAN: … of the global economy. Yes, and Trump`s solution is what?

MATTHEWS: OK, which politician…

SULLIVAN: A trade war.

MATTHEWS: … is serious about stopping illegal immigration? Name one.

SULLIVAN: I think – I think…

MATTHEWS: Name one.

SULLIVAN: I think…

MATTHEWS: Besides Trump.

SULLIVAN: … Cruz (ph) could be. I think…

MATTHEWS: I don`t know anybody.


MATTHEWS: Lindsey Graham, Chuck Schumer and the late Ted Kennedy were
serious about a comprehensive – a comprehensive immigration bill. But…


SULLIVAN: … Barack Obama. They can`t actually stop or (ph) build a wall
or have…


MATTHEWS: Look, the frustration that is explained here by Andrew is real.
It isn`t theatrics. Trump is doing well because people are frustrated,
like you`re frustrated by his success, but a lot of people are frustrated
by the reality. They don`t see anything getting past the Congress on
immigration, comprehensive, liberal, conservative, anything. Nothing gets

And by the way, Boehner`s one of the reasons for it, wouldn`t even bring it
up to a vote. They see nothing happening in their goals, which is getting
rid of “Obama care.” I don`t want to get rid of “Obama care.” I like it.
But they don`t see their goals being reached. There`s frustration, which
is person (ph) in him.

PAGE: No, I would agree that Trump…

MATTHEWS: It`s not show biz.

PAGE: … is a showman in some ways, but the reason he succeed is because
he has a message that resonates with voters who are so frustrated with the
way things are going on. He`s had – you know, he`s railing against trade
deals, for instance, talking about building a wall, which goes to
immigration. I mean…

SULLIVAN: Hold on a second. Building a wall. It`s a fantasy, right?

PAGE: But it`s a way of talking about…

SULLIVAN: It`s a complete fantasy.


PAGE: … trying to do something…

SULLIVAN: So you`re saying that his platform, his actual proposals are
mere negotiating position.

MATTHEWS: What`s Hillary say about immigration?

SULLIVAN: I don`t know. She`s a useless candidate, I don`t know what…


MATTHEWS: I`m just asking. It`s – it`s an empty farce…


SULLIVAN: It`s very easy to demagogue it.

MATTHEWS: Everybody – it`s demagoguery, of course. And your piece
accused Bernie of demagoguery.

SULLIVAN: He is a demagogue, railing against billionaires as if – as if
that`s the real problem. The real problem is we have a difficult, shifting
global economy, in which, by the way, the United States is doing better
than almost any other country on the planet. And yes, there are winners
and losers…


MATTHEWS: … growth rates.

SULLIVAN: No one else is doing as well as the United States. No one`s
manufacturing sector…

MATTHEWS: We`re more ambitious than the rest of the world. We`re more

SULLIVAN: And we`re doing better than anybody else.

MATTHEWS: I think – I think Trump has got a real – I think when you`re
going to write the history books of this year, you won`t write down he`s a
great entertainer from “The Apprentice.” You`ll write down he appealed to

You can call it fascism. You can call it anything you want to call it.
The names don`t mean much now because we haven`t seen him in action yet.
But it appeals to something about nationalistic spirit. The country feels
frustrated. It feels the jobs are going away because our government`s not
fighting for them. This is all in the public rhetoric today. I`m not
making it up.

PETERS: A lot of it thought…

MATTHEWS: And it`s working for him.

PETERS: A lot of it is disingenuous and a lot of it is an illusion. Like,
for example, when we saw the guy attacking Ted Cruz, saying, Well, Donald
Trump self-funds – not really. Donald Trump says that he self-funds, but
he takes a lot of money from the people who donate to him.

MATTHEWS: Well, what about the Democrats? You know, politicians say

PETERS: He also…

MATTHEWS: … all the time that has a high BS quality.

SULLIVAN: But they don`t…

MATTHEWS: Raising the minimum wage is a good thing to do. But don`t tell
us it`s going to make a lot of people better off.

SULLIVAN: But they don`t demonize whole sections of the population. They
don`t discriminate on the basis of people`s religion. They can`t claim
they`re going to actually round up and deport…

MATTHEWS: That`s different than saying he`s an entertainer!

SULLIVAN: … 11 million human beings.

MATTHEWS: That`s definitely than saying…

SULLIVAN: No, he does them both, like any reality television (EXPLETIVE
DELETED), which is what he is – that`s the character he plays…

MATTHEWS: It`s live TV.

SULLIVAN: … he has a message as well…

MATTHEWS: We don`t use that word here.

SULLIVAN: He has a message, as well, but his style…

MATTHEWS: Yes, well, here`s the point…

SULLIVAN: … has completely dominated this election.

MATTHEWS: So what is he? Is he a comedian, a sideshow, or he`s a
dangerous fascist?

SULLIVAN: He`s a dangerous neo-fascist who is using reality television and
the modern media in a way that is leaving the rest of us in the dust. And
it`s terrifying to watch.

MATTHEWS: OK. Susan? You heard that voice lately, what you`re just

PAGE: He`s – you know, there are people who agree with you who see him as
a dangerous character, but he has tapped into something that has resonated
in a way that the 16 Republican candidates didn`t understand, and I`m not
sure some of the Democrats understand it, either.

And it goes to real frustrations with – with white Americans, especially
white men, who feel like they`ve just been dumped.

MATTHEWS: I think it has a lot to do with the sense of the country. He
talks about the country. The other guys talk about government and society.
Bernie`s got a piece of it, too, about society, but I think – I think –
we`re going to try to figure this thing out.

By the way, we all get to vote in November. You do, too?


MATTHEWS: Andrew Sullivan (INAUDIBLE) welcome.

SULLIVAN: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: Nice to have you aboard, immigrant from a great country, as
well, anyway, not (ph) as great. Anyway, Susan Page, thank you, Jeremy
Peters. And this is a live show, you know, but you have to be nice about
the words we use around here. I apologize for that.

Coming up – we`ve seen how Donald Trump has been attacking Hillary
Clinton. Now it`s Clinton`s turn, and she`s going right for Trump, his
jugular, in fact, reminding voters that Trump led that old birther movement
against President Obama. Remember that one? Well, that`s ahead.

Plus, the Obama legacy. The president says he doesn`t get credit for
rebuilding the American economy because his Republican opponents have spent
eight years denying that any progress has been made. We`ve already touched
on that tonight. And the highest-ranking conservative now admits that
those voter ID – you know, the photo voter ID laws, the ones Republicans
are pushing all across the country and gotten through in 33 states – that
the purpose of these laws is to elect more Republicans. Jim DeMint has
admitted it finally.

And finally, the HARDBALL roundtable tonight will be here, and they`re
going to tell me something I don`t know. I`ve already told you something I
didn`t know until recently, the Republicans admit they do this to keep
people from voting.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: It`s appearing more likely by the day that Hillary Clinton will
face off against Donald Trump in the general election this year. And
according to a new PPP poll, the two likely nominees are locked in a very
close race in the all-important state of Ohio. Let`s check out the
HARDBALL “Scoreboard” tonight.

It`s Clinton holding a slight advantage over Trump in the Buckeye State, 45
percent to 42 percent. That`s within the poll`s margin of error. Well,
1960 was the last election year in which the candidate who won Ohio lost
the presidency.

We`ll be right back.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Well, the general election fight is
already being sharpened between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Things
got heated over the weekend between the two after Trump tweeted, 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.”

Well, Clinton reacted in an interview with CNN`s Jake Tapper.


know, remember, I have a lot of experience dealing with men who sometimes
get off the reservation in the way they behave and how they speak. I`m not
going to deal with their temper tantrums or their bullying or their efforts
to try to provoke me. He can say whatever he wants to say about me. I
could really care less.


MATTHEWS: And here`s what Trump had to say about that.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: She said I`m used to dealing
with – and what was the word? Go ahead. She used a certain word,

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: “Off the reservation.”

TRUMP: Men that are off the reservation. And I said to myself, That`s a
horrible expression. Now, if I would have used that expression maybe in
the opposite form, it would have been a front page story. She uses it.
She gets away with it. That`s a very demeaning remark to men.


MATTHEWS: “Demeaning remark to men.” That`s interesting. But last night,
Clinton prevailed – or actually previewed general election attacks on
Trump, proving that she`s all ready to take him on, by reminding voters of
Donald Trump`s public record.


CLINTON: The leading Republican contender is the man who led the insidious
birther movement to discredit the president`s citizenship. And when he was
asked in a national television interview to disavow David Duke and other
white supremacists who are supporting his campaign, he played coy. We
cannot let Barack Obama`s legacy fall into Donald Trump`s hands!



MATTHEWS: Well, that was a great line. Clinton is referring, of course,
to Trump`s 2011 crusade to release President Obama`s official birth
certificate out of Hawaii. And here`s Trump taking credit for it.


TRUMP: I was just informed while on the helicopter that our president has
finally released a birth certificate. I`d want to look at it, but I hope
it`s true. I am really honored, frankly, to have played such a big role
in, hopefully, hopefully, getting rid of this issue. Now, we have to look
at it. We have to see, is it real? Is it proper? What`s on it? But I
hope it checks out beautifully.


MATTHEWS: I`m joined right now by Minnesota Democratic senator and Clinton
supporter United States Senator Amy Klobuchar.

You know, I don`t know what to say, but you know, he hasn`t talked about
that birther thing. But I always thought if anybody of sound mind and body
actually thought about what he`s saying is that a white woman from Kansas
married a guy from Kenya, and then went over to Kenya and had the baby and
then pretended that she was having the baby in Hawaii and had all the birth
certificates and everything faked and the hospital – and the newspaper
accounts faked so that she could make him president some day, this woman
who wanted her son to be president so she marries an African guy with the
name Barack Hussein Obama, names the kid the same thing, all with the idea
of making him president some – whatever your ideology is, whatever your
philosophy or good (ph) attitudes (ph), bad (ph) attitude (ph), it`s the
craziest, craziest conspiracy theory ever. And he sold it for, what,
years? Yes.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D), MINNESOTA: He did. That`s the journey through his
mind. And I have to say, look at how he did this effectively throughout
the Republican primaries. He – you know, low energy, you think of Jeb
Bush, low energy, “little Marco” Rubio, all those names, all the blaming,
all the finger pointing.

MATTHEWS: Big ears.

KLOBUCHAR: All those demeaning words…

MATTHEWS: Big ears.

KLOBUCHAR: All those demeaning words.

MATTHEWS: Big ears, even that.

KLOBUCHAR: And you know what she`s doing? And you – exactly.

And what Hillary Clinton is doing – and she started in no better place
than Indiana on Sunday – she`s going to hit back, and she`s going to
define him, because he has been literally branding people. He hasn`t been
talking about issues. He`s been running a marketing campaign. And the
American people deserve better.

MATTHEWS: Let`s talk about the argument we just had. I think you
overheard with Andrew Sullivan, who is very passionate, of course.

And he says that Trump is basically a showman, a guy who used television
values, obviously crazy lines like you`re talking about, shtick if you say
it in a show business sense, and he`s a good showman, and that is all he

And I wonder, is that the reason he`s winning the Republican nomination,
that he is a good show? Is that?


MATTHEWS: Your thoughts.

KLOBUCHAR: I think that we also know that a number of policies that they
have been pushing – and it wasn`t just him – there are other candidates -
- just aren`t in sync where the people of America are.

And so you look at where Hillary Clinton is, who has now won, what, three
million more votes, two million more votes than any of her other rivals on
the Democratic or Republican side, she`s been talking about the issues.

And the differences between her and Bernie Sanders are so small compared to
what we`re talking about with these guys. They are debating what the
percentage rate should be on student loans and how we can save money for
students. Some of their candidates have been talking about getting rid of
the Department of Education.

She`s talking about her approach internationally, her qualifications.
Donald Trump is talking about nuclear arms in Asian countries and building
a wall and not letting Muslims in this country. There is a major
difference between the two parties. And I think she just started laying
that out last night. And that`s what you`re going to see going forward.

MATTHEWS: Well, obviously, Democrats are eager to capitalize on Trump`s
history of remarks about women.

Arkansas Democrat and U.S. Senate candidate down there Conner Eldridge
released this Web video tying his Republican opponent to Trump`s behavior.
Let`s watch this.



I would look her right in that fat ugly face of hers.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN: He once sent her a picture of herself with the words
“The face of a dog” written on it.

TRUMP: The boob job is terrible. They look like two light posts coming
out of a body.

Blood coming out of her wherever.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, you treat women with respect?

TRUMP: I can`t say that either.


MATTHEWS: You know, we have heard all that, Senator, that I`m amazed and
dismayed by like everybody else, because I never thought you could get away
with that kind of public behavior. And it is public.

But look at the latest numbers from Ohio. He`s in a race with Hillary,
neck and neck. And that`s a wonderfully, what do you call it, bellwether
state. We know Ohio is for real. He`s doing well there. What is going
on? Women are voting in Ohio in this polls.

KLOBUCHAR: Well, again, we`re not in the general election yet, Chris.
Right? That ad is running right now down in Arkansas. We`re not even
close to being able to put this stuff out here.

And when women do hear those words, when they hear about him talking about
the women card, it demeans not just Hillary Clinton, really all women who
have tried to get ahead in their lives, not just in politics, in business,
at their workplace.

And I think that is going to be a major issue in this campaign. And when
people have gone too far with this, see what happened in Missouri when Todd
Akin talking about legitimate rape. The voters responded in two days when
they started hearing about that.

So, that`s why I think it`s going to be very important not just on the
economy and all these issues to bring them out, but also to bring these
words out, because I have seen this before. And when people go too far and
people feeling they`re demeaning not just the candidate, but demeaning all
women, the women are going to respond to that. They are not going to take

MATTHEWS: What about having two women on the Democratic ticket? What do
you make of that as a way to really emphasize this issue?

KLOBUCHAR: Well, I think, you know, Chris, there is some history in the


MATTHEWS: Somebody like you – somebody like you on the ticket with
Hillary Clinton.

KLOBUCHAR: There is some history – OK – there is some history in the
United States history here of one-gender tickets, like every single one of
them. That`s one.

However, I think Hillary is going to pick whoever she thinks is best. And
there`s a lot of good names out there, a lot of good names that she could
look at, a lot of good people with good experience. And I`m sure she will
pick the most qualified person.

MATTHEWS: The reason I say you is because you`re enormously popular.

Thank you so much, Senator Klobuchar.


KLOBUCHAR: Thank you, Chris. It was great to be on.

MATTHEWS: Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, thank you.

Nina Turner is a former Ohio state senator. And she is backing Bernie
Sanders right now.

Ms. Turner, here is what Senator Sanders said yesterday about the
Democratic contest.


when I win a state by 70 percent of the vote, and superdelegates in that
state vote for Hillary Clinton because they`re part of the Democratic
establishment. That`s unfair.

What is unfair is, before I even get into the campaign, Hillary Clinton has
some 400, 500 superdelegates who are on her side. That is unfair.

It is virtually impossible for Secretary Clinton to reach the majority of
convention delegates by June 14 with pledged delegates alone. She will
need superdelegates to take her over the top at the convention in
Philadelphia. In other words, the convention will be a contested contest.


MATTHEWS: Senator, usually, in a debate, you agree on definitions before
the debate starts, but here`s Bernie Sanders, your candidate, saying there
is a new definition of a contested convention.

It`s not having a majority of the delegates. It`s a majority of the
pledged delegates. Well, that`s a new definition. I know why it suits his
purposes, but can you change the definitions right in the middle of a
campaign, in fact, in May of an election year?

NINA TURNER (D), FORMER OHIO STATE SENATOR: Well, Chris, I think what he`s
primary talking about is the fact that we still have 10 contests within the
United States, and we have a few, you know, four others, D.C., Guam, et
cetera, and That every voice needs to be heard.

And so we want to make sure that, throughout this process, that no one
should be trying to push Senator Sanders out of that contest if there are
more pledged delegates to earn, and it`s not over until it`s over. And at
this point, Secretary Clinton has a little over 1,600. And Senator Sanders
has a little over 1,300. So, it`s not over yet.

MATTHEWS: Do you think his campaigning of late is helping Hillary Clinton
or anybody win the Democratic – having a Democratic victory this November?
Is helpful to the Democratic effort?

TURNER: I think so, Chris.

This is a disruption election, and I know that you have critiqued and been
involved in many elections. This is like none other that we have seen
certainly in the…

MATTHEWS: I agree with you on that, Senator, totally. It`s a totally new

TURNER: Yes, in the 21st century.

And people are crying out on both the left and the right. They don`t want
status – they do not want status quo politics as usual. And Senator
Sanders is really speaking to that on the left.

And I think a robust debate is helpful for the Democratic Party, but more
importantly, Chris, I think it`s helpful for America, so that we awaken the
sleeping giants right here in this country and to get people to start to
pay attention to the process and to get involved and engaged in the

MATTHEWS: OK, last question, yes or no. It`s pretty tough.

Was your candidate, Senator Sanders, right or wrong to give Hillary Clinton
a bye on the e-mail issue?

TURNER: Well, Chris, that was his decision. He was running.

MATTHEWS: Give her a pass. Are you with him on that? Was that the right
decision? Or should he have exploited that?

TURNER: Well, Chris, it was his decision, so I don`t want to prejudge his
decision. It was his decision.

MATTHEWS: I`ll tell you, I will post-judge it.


MATTHEWS: It was a signal to me he was running as a protest candidate, not
as a guy really willing to win.

TURNER: I know you have been saying that, Chris, but you know Senator…

MATTHEWS: Because, when you want to win, you take every advantage you can
get. That`s how you win your elections. You take every advantage.


MATTHEWS: He`s going after her on the speeches. He`s hitting her every
day on the speeches.

TURNER: Well, that was…

MATTHEWS: So, he`s willing to play tough. So, don`t kid me about that.
He`s not a softy.

TURNER: Well, I`m not, Chris.

But what I`m saying is, is that was his decision. Whether it was right or
wrong, it was his. He`s the candidate. But I understand exactly where
you`re coming from.


MATTHEWS: We agree again. It was his decision, and, politically, it was
probably the wrong one.

Anyway, thank you, Senator Turner. Please keep coming on and we will keep

TURNER: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: Still ahead, legacy building. The jobless rate has fallen, the
stock market is up certainly, doubled almost, and the deficit is down, so
why isn`t Barack Obama getting more credit? Why isn`t he getting more
respect? Remember the comedian who used to say that?

Anyway, I will speak with a reporter who sat down with the president on
this very topic. And that`s coming up next.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.



final appearance at this unique event. And I am excited. If this material
works well, I`m going to use it at Goldman Sachs next year.




MATTHEWS: Does anybody look as good in a tux? He obviously has a valet at
the White House. The guy has got the pocket square. Everything is right.

Anyway, welcome back to HARDBALL.

That was President Obama joking about leaving the office at the White House
Correspondents Dinner on Saturday night. It was a big night for him.

As he nears the end of his second term, it was a chance to poke fun at his
legacy, of course, as well as the candidates who hope to succeed him.

Here is how the president accounted for rising approval rating over the
last couple months.


OBAMA: In my final year, my approval ratings keep going up.

And here`s the thing. I haven`t really done anything differently. So it`s
odd. Even my age can`t explain the rising poll numbers. What has changed?
Nobody can figure it out.




MATTHEWS: Those are the pictures they showed in the room there at the

Anyway, time will ultimately tell how the Obama legacy ranks in history, of
course, but as Hillary Clinton pointed out, on a more serious note, his
legacy will also be shaped by whoever follows him into the White House of
course next year.

Once again, here is Clinton yesterday.


Obama`s legacy fall into Donald Trump`s hands.


CLINTON: We can`t let all the hard work and progress we have achieved over
the last 7.5 years be torn away.


MATTHEWS: Well, President Obama recently smoke with Andrew Ross Sorkin of
“The New York Times” about his legacy and why he doesn`t get much credit
for rebuilding America`s economy.

This is from the piece: “How people feel about the economy, Obama told me,
giving one part of his own theory, is influenced by what they hear. He
went on: `And if you have a political party – in this case, the
Republicans – that denies any progress and is constantly channeling to
their base, that things are terrible all the time, then people will start
absorbing that.`”

I`m joined right now by the author the piece, Andrew Ross Sorkin of “The
New York Times.” He`s also of course on CNBC and he`s co-creator of
“Billions,” a fascinating show on Showtime.

Andrew, thanks for joining us.


MATTHEWS: Now, how much – just get – let`s get to the political part
before we get to the numbers

How much does Obama – I have heard him say this before about the power of
television and negative advertising. He once said to me or some of other -
- some of us – that the reason Obamacare had a hard time starting was you
had $200 million in negative advertising thrown at it.

Does he believe that just repetition…

SORKIN: Oh, yes.

MATTHEWS: … the big lie, if you will, if you want to get really brutal
about it, has power?

SORKIN: Absolutely.

He believes that we have heard over and over again that the country is
going to hell. We have been told this from – frankly, from both political
parties, but in particular the Republican Party, and, as he said, you
absorb it.

If you look at polls, by the way, some of the best-off folks in America,
people making $250,000 and more, if you ask them how the country is doing,
they poll – purely on the poll will tell you it`s worse frankly than
people at lower tiers.

So there is no question that the message is a big piece of this.

MATTHEWS: Well, let`s start at the top, Donald Trump.

He is a rich guy. People think he knows the economy because he has made a
lot of money and they think he knows what he`s talking about. So, when he
keeps saying everything – but he does find those iconic things, like the
loss of Carrier to Mexico, that they`re dropping perfectly for him to say
we have got to keep these highly skilled jobs in this country.

They`re not Third World jobs, if you will, the kinds of jobs you figure
anybody can do without any training. They`re jobs that require skill and
training and they pay pretty well. They are the jobs we have to keep, I
think, and that`s the kind of thing that I think hurts people`s feelings
about the future, the hopes.

SORKIN: Well, I think there`s a couple things going on.

First of all, Donald Trump will tell you repeatedly that we`re a Third
World nation, which, of course, we are not.

MATTHEWS: Of course.

SORKIN: And he says that on the stump regularly.

But, more importantly, there is very much truth to the fact, by the way,
that there are people in this country that are hurting. That`s absolutely
true. But when you`re going to measure this man`s legacy – when I say
this man, President Obama`s legacy – and to whatever degree you think can
a president can control or influence the economy, to me at least, and I
know to him, you have to do it on a relative basis.

You have to say to your self, where we were when this started? What did it
look like when we felt like we were about to go off a cliff into the abyss,
and where are we now? And, by the way, what happened during this period,
which is to say, not only are we at 5 percent unemployment, when at one
point we were at 10 percent unemployment. We have created all sorts of

And even though it may not feel like that all the time – and I know
there`s a lot of people out there who are going to watch this and say,
what, are you crazy? This country really is going to hell.

But – and wages are an absolute issue. But on a relative basis to where
we could have been – and I know it`s a counterfactual, but that – it`s
the hypothetical. It`s the counterfactual which the president effectively
is going to always be playing against, because he was – his job was to
effectively get the country off the gurney.

And now we`re sort of in rehab. And – but people don`t like that. And
it`s hard to measure that on a relative basis.


Well, as I said, you`re one of the creators of the hit show “Billions.”
It`s about a charismatic hedge fund manager played by Damian Lewis – he of
course was “Homeland” – and his adversarial relationship with a crusading
U.S. attorney who is played brilliantly by Paul Giamatti. Here is a clip.


PAUL GIAMATTI, ACTOR: Out there, you guys always talk so tough, but you
always end up in here. Why is that?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Because he knows he`s a crook.

GIAMATTI: Innocent people will never take a hit like that.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Beyond the pale. My client…

DAMIAN LEWIS, ACTOR: You got me, Rhoades – $1.9 billion, that is going to
hurt, but not like a shark bite. It`s more like a, what, a bee sting.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Bee sting? No. That hurts. More like a horsefly.

GIAMATTI: One of those little green horseflies.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Yes, a nasty nip.

LEWIS: No, more like an ant, like a red another.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Yes, stings for a minute, but doesn`t ruin the picnic.


MATTHEWS: Are U.S. attorneys as smart as the businessmen they have to

SORKIN: Well, I actually would argue they are. I would argue they are.

But, of course, what this show tries to do in many ways is sort of play
with that sense of gray at a time when so many in this country have this
very black and white view of all of this. But when you get inside the
room, of course, you feel the vision gets a little bit more blurry.


Anyway, Andrew Ross Sorkin, a sophisticated gentleman who covers Wall

SORKIN: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: Up next: Here they go again. Another Republican admits voter
I.D. laws actually help conservatives. Big surprise. We have always
thought that. Now the top guy, Jim DeMint, at Heritage is admitting it.
We had a couple Pennsylvania guys do it already for us.

Anyway, the roundtable will able to look at these block the vote efforts.
Could they have an effect in 2016? They got to have an effect when you
make it harder to vote, because that makes older people and sometimes
minorities unable to vote.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.



Well, candidates tell us every vote counts, you heard that a lot, right?
Yet tough new voter ID laws make it harder for some voters to even cast a
ballot. During an interview with a conservative radio program on Friday,
however, former South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint now headed the Heritage
Foundation, a very conservative group, says the Republicans are reaping the
benefits of photo voter ID laws. Here they are.


something we`re working on all over the country because in the states where
they do have voter ID laws, you`ve seen actually elections begin to change
towards more conservative candidates.


MATTHEWS: Well, according to “The New York Times” and Ballot Media since
2006, 33 states have enacted voter ID laws. Just since 2006. That`s the
new thing. We never had it before. Texas is one of the states and its new
laws being challenged in court. Recently, Ted Cruz joined an amicus brief
for four restrictions that allow voters to use gun licenses as
identification at polling locations but won`t accept student IDs or even an
ID issued by Native American Reservation Authorities. I wonder why they
figure that one out.

With each restriction, states are making it tougher for minorities, older
Americans and disabled to get their votes to count. However, easy for gun

Joining me right now, the HARDBALL round table. David Corn is an MSNBC
political analyst and Washington bureau chief for “Mother Jones”, Francesca
Chambers is with “The Daily Mail”, and Paul Butler is a law professor at
Georgetown and a former federal prosecutor.

Paul, thank you for joining us.

Head this – I mean, it`s so flagrant. We had a couple guys up in
Pennsylvania, the party chairman, some other senator up, they just said it.
We did this to beat Obama, to beat the Democrats.

PAUL BUTLER, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: You know, these guys are accidently
telling the truth because the purpose behind these laws are supposed to be
prevent voter fraud. But guess what? We have a lot of problems in the
country. Voter fraud is not one of them.

The effect that these voter ID laws have voters especially strict laws like
Texas where you have to have certain kinds of photo IDs, they suppress the
vote, they suppress democracy, especially people of color, elderly folks –

MATTHEWS: Yes, explain though. Explain that for people. Why is it people
of color are hit hard by this?

BUTLER: You know, about 14 percent of all Americans don`t have the
appropriate IDs, but when it comes to people of color who are
disproportionate and poor, less likely to have things like driver`s

MATTHEWS: Yes, like a car.

BUTLER: Yes, yes. So they know that and that`s why, you know, the thing
Chris is, is not only the people who have the IDs, it`s the people who are
concerned they might get turned away so they don`t even show up. So, there
is no way of knowing –

MATTHEWS: It scares me. You know, David, I grew initially we lived in the
old part of the city of Philadelphia, in row houses. My grandparents –
until my grandfather decided t get a driver`s license at 65, never had a
car, because you can`t use a car. You took the subway. You walked to
church. You walked to the store.

There`s nowhere to park. They had to put the trash cans out when we came
to visit, you know, to keep a spot. It wasn`t like everybody owns a car.

People don`t know that, they live in New York, Philly or Chicago, people
don`t drive everywhere in New York, but they`re –

DAVID CORN, MOTHER JONES: Well, in urban environments and in very poor
environments –

MATTHEWS: By the way, parking is 30 bucks a night sometimes.

CORN: Urban environments and low income areas, you have fewer driver`s
licenses. It`s just a fact. And this is part of a bigger trend. The
Republicans are on the wrong side of the demographic shifts in America.

MATTHEWS: But they know what they`re doing here.

CORN: The only way they can maintain power at the state and local levels,
is to play with these voting rules. They do the same thing with early
voting, they do the same thing like not funding polling places.


MATTHEWS: OK, Francesca, they`re alternative, but the outreach program to
reach minorities and meet people that are, you know, incapacitated to vote,
or they can screw them out of voting. They seem to make their choice, to
be blunt about it. No Republicans out there raised – you raised the flag.
We raised the flag here. I never heard a Republican raise the flag and say
stop cheating. Our party should be the Party of Lincoln on this, at least.

FRANCESCA CHAMBERS, THE DAILY MAIL: Well, in 33 states that we`re talking
about with voter id laws, it seems to be realistically, though, that the
only way we can get those turned around would be through the state
legislature passing laws that overturn them, or it would have to go through
the courts. So, for the time being, the situation would be that if you`re
an outreach group, you are a group that reaches out to minorities and you
want those people to vote for your candidates and issues also be making
them aware of the fact that they need to have a voter –


MATTHEWS: I agree with that. That`s good grassroots work. But if you
look at a map here, I`m looking at it, it`s the same map as the partisan
map of the United States. The states that haven`t done this screwed people
out of voting are the Democratic states. It just is. And the Republican
states are the ones that are doing it. So, that`s what is going on.

The round table is staying with us.

And up next – I agree with you – local political people should be
teaching people how to get those licenses and that`s one thing we`ve lost
with the political machines that have become faded out.

We`ll be right back. They`re going to tell me something I don`t know.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: You want to tune in tomorrow, we bring you complete coverage, of
course, of the Indiana primary. That`s the big one tomorrow, at 6:00 p.m.,
I`ll join Brian Williams, of course, and Rachel Maddow for full results and

And then, at 11:00 p.m. tomorrow night, we`ll have a special edition of
HARDBALL for you as we look forward to the big fight. That`s going to be
coming I think tomorrow.

And my big prediction, we`re looking at Hillary Clinton versus Donald
Trump. Not a daring prediction at all. It looks pretty clear right now
that`s where we`re headed. It`s all coming here tomorrow night at 11:00
when we talk the big fight, the big one. That`s Hillary versus Trump.

We`ll be right back.


MATTHEWS: We`re back with the HARDBALL roundtable.

By the way, the camera caught me talking to Francesca about how come
student IDs were not OK, but gun licenses were. We`ll have to figure that
out in a later show. It seems to be political maybe.

Anyway, David, tell me something I don`t know.

CORN: OK. We have this big fight coming up in California between Trump
and Cruz. It may not matter but what`s going to happen is it`s going to
continue to destroy the Republican Party of California. Eighty-seven
percent of Latinos in California have a negative impression of Donald
Trump. So in if he gets all this attention it`s going to make it even
harder for the Republican Party, which is in tatters in California.

MATTHEWS: Especially if he wins the primary out there.


CHAMBERS: Well, we know that Donald Trump has been saying Hillary Clinton
only has one thing going for her and that`s the woman card. She has seized
on that started giving woman cards to her donors. She raised $2.4 million
off of that woman card effort at the end of last thing.

MATTHEWS: OK, I think she`s on to something.


BUTLER: Barack Obama is cool with hip-hop, edgy racial humor. At the
White House Correspondents` Dinner, Larry Wilmore called him the “N” word
affectionately. The president was fine with that. He even made a joke
about CP time, colors persons time. There`s a concept African-Americans
can say things white people aren`t allowed to say. The president`s cool
with that. He`s kind of the Richard Pryor or Dave Chappelle of presidents.

MATTHEWS: Wow. A politically – well, an anthropological development in
our society. Anyway, I was surprised he liked it. I`ve heard different

Anyway, thank you, David Corn, and thank you, Francesca Chambers. And
thank you, Paul Butler, for Georgetown University Law School.

HARDBALL back after this.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

These days, politicians face some nasty critics out there. But in a movie
titled “The Congressman,” a lawmaker from Maine is caught on video by one
failing to stand, simply failing to stand and recite the daily Pledge of
Allegiance on the floor of the House. And here`s what happens next.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Congressman Winship, is it true you dissed the Pledge
of Allegiance?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you say dissed?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Diss – did you diss the pledge?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you know who wrote the Pledge of Allegiance?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. And it wasn`t etched on the tablets Moses brought
down from Mt. Sinai either.

The Pledge of Allegiance was written by a national socialist by the name of
the Francis Bellamy, who believed that the government should take over the
schools. He ordained the pledge should be recited while all American
schoolchildren stood and gave the so-called Bellamy Salute.

Have you ever seen the Bellamy salute?

No? Here it is. Cooler heads prevailed and that part of the pledge was
dropped after Hitler declared war on us.


MATTHEWS: Well, of course, she runs out and gets that Nazi – anyway, as
the incident snowballs in the movie, the congressman played by Treat
Williams retreats to Maine where he starts to answer the question of what
it means to be a real American.

Here to help me answer that is the film`s writer, co-director, and once
politician himself, former U.S. congressman for New York, Robert Mrazek.

Bob, thank you for coming on.


MATTHEWS: I thought it was the greatest portrayal ever of a real-life
congressman. Tell me what inspired you to do the whole thing about
Americanism and what it really is. It isn`t nationalism, about my country
right or wrong, it`s about?

MRAZEK: Yes, we live in very cynical times, Chris. And people have begun
to question the bedrock values of this nation – honor, sacrifice, courage.
We have people questioning whether John McCain was a war hero, after he was
shot down over Hanoi and imprisoned and tortured for five years in Hanoi

Our movie is a movie about hope, it`s about redemption, it`s about second
chances. It`s a throwback, I guess, like me in some respects. In that,
you know, it`s not bleak. It`s not cynical.

There are a lot of bleak and cynical movies out there. Our movie is about
the transition of a man who happens to be a congressman at a certain point
in his life. And facing the real question of what it means to be an

MATTHEWS: Well, it`s freedom and you have – I know you wrote it. So,
I`ll praise you for it. That speech at the end is amazing. It talks about
– don`t get me for not standing up and saluting, but giving the Pledge of
Allegiance, that`s a ritual. I know what this country`s really about and I
have – one of the things it`s about is not having to do that, ironically.
And the audience gets it.

MRAZEK: I hope so. I think so. We`ve gotten enough feedback from
audiences that they have appreciated the fact that even though the Pledge
of Allegiance has good words in it, and we`re not quarreling with those
words, we don`t need to recite them every morning to prove we love our

MATTHEWS: Let me sell the movie a little bit. What I have is the truth of
it all. First of all, you have the sleazy staff who has no loyalty to the
boss, and basically screws him, because he`s so ambitious to get the guy`s
job. The former type member, George Hamilton played the perfect sleaze,
the lobbyist on Capitol Hill, always the perfect tan, trying to get young
people to be seduced to his corruption. You`ve got all of that. And you
have the media exploiting this guy and making him into a Nazi because he
was honest enough to explain the derivation of the pledge and all that went
with it.

MRAZEK: Yes, I mean –

MATTHEWS: The young reporter looked like she could not wait to get on the
air with that.

MRAZEK: Right, exactly.

MATTHEWS: She thought she`d gone to heaven.

Robert Mrazek, great guy. You`ve got to see this movie if you care about
what it`s like to be a congressman. If you`ve ever seen “Mr. Smith Goes to
Washington,” this is the sequel, OK? This is “The Congressman”.

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

Tomorrow, I`ll join Brian Williams and Rachel Maddow for special primary
coverage starting at 6:00 p.m. Eastern.

And stay up all night. Actually, 11:00, if you stay up that late, we`re
going to have a HARDBALL edition at 11:00 tomorrow night. We`ll talk about
the future of the national election between Hillary Clinton and Donald
Trump. We`re going to be forgetting about the primaries for a while.

“ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES” starts right now.


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