Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 5/18/2016

Colleen McCain Nelson, Dana Milbank, Francesca Chambers, Barbara Boxer, Nina Turner, Tad Devine, John Stanton, Ruth Marcus, Ralph Nader

Date: May 18, 2016
Guest: Colleen McCain Nelson, Dana Milbank, Francesca Chambers, Barbara
Boxer, Nina Turner, Tad Devine, John Stanton, Ruth Marcus, Ralph Nader

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Whose party is it?

Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.

Bernie Sanders is on the attack against the Democratic Party. Last night,
he went after the party`s leaders while a crowd of his supporters booed
that leadership.


to the leadership of the Democratic Party!


SANDERS: It can do the right thing and open its doors and welcome into the
party people who are prepared to fight for real economic and social change!


SANDERS: I say to the leadership of the Democratic Party, open the door,
let the people in!



MATTHEWS: Well, the insurgency of Bernie Sanders is for real. This
weekend, the Nevada state convention descended into chaos when Sanders
supporters shouted down state and national leaders. The chair of the
Nevada party, Roberta Lange, told me the scene turned ugly.


There was – there were people calling for my death out in the crowd.
There were scuffles. There were people that were going against the decorum
rules that were set out by the attendees at the convention. It was pretty


MATTHEWS: Well, the party chair in Nevada also said her workplace received
harassing calls, and she herself received death threats like this one.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi, Robert Lane. This is a citizen of the United
States of America, and I just wanted to let you know that people like you
should be hung in a public execution to show this world that we won`t stand
for this sort of corruption.


MATTHEWS: Should be hung – anyway, correct term “hanged,” if you`re going
to talk like that, as gross as it is.

Anyway, in a statement yesterday, Sanders said, “Our campaign, of course,
believes in non-violent change, and it goes without saying that I condemn
and any and all forms of violence, including the personal harassment of
individuals. But,” Sanders added, “if the Democratic Party is to be
successful in November, it is imperative that all parties treat our
campaign`s supporters with fairness and the respect that they have earned.
Unfortunately, that was not the case at the Nevada convention.”

One of the more disturbing scenes from the Nevada convention was Senator
Barbara Boxer, a Hillary Clinton supporter and a liberal lion in her own
right, being booed. Here.


SEN. BARBARA BOXER (D), CALIFORNIA: The future of the country is at stake,
that when you boo me, you`re booing Bernie Sanders. Go ahead. You`re
booing Bernie Sanders.


MATTHEWS: Well, Senator Barbara Boxer joins us right now. Senator Boxer,
I`ve known you a long time, and I`ve always thought that the one great
thing about – two great things about you. First of all, you`re where you
want to be politically. You`ve always been on the progressive side of
things, consistently so, pretty hard progressive at times. And you win.


MATTHEWS: You put those two things together which seems to be fairly
important in politics, to have a point of view and succeed with it.

Anyway, there they are. Did they even know who you were over the weekend?
Do they know who Barbara Boxer is?

BOXER: Oh, sure.

MATTHEWS: Did they? Oh, sure. Absolutely. This was all planned. And it
was – it was – you know, I talked to Bernie yesterday, and I told him,
Bernie, the vast majority of your people were respectful. They were fine.
They were sitting in their seats.

But 50 to 100 of his people were down at the base of the stage. You see it
there. And I – I – it`s very hard to describe to you what the scene was
because it was beyond chaotic. It was crude. It was gestures. It was
words. It was awful. They knew exactly who I was.

And you know, I`ve been in situations that were difficult before and have
always been able to calm things down. So what I did was tell them that I`m
Bernie friend and Bernie had asked them to be civil, that Hillary had asked
everyone to be civil, and that if they kept on booing, they were literally
booing Bernie.

It didn`t matter. This was all planned. It was disruptive.

And you know, I – Bernie says he has to be let into the party, his people
have to be let into the party. Bernie Sanders has never been a Democrat,
and yet we welcomed him into this presidential fight. So I find it really
bizarre, someone who`s actually run against Democrats before, someone who`s
never been a Democrat, now saying we`re not letting him in.

The fact is, whoever gets the most votes and the most delegates is going to
win. That`s it.

MATTHEWS: Well, you`re pretty good at interpreting crowds. What were
those people looking you in the face? There`s apparently a lot of menace
there among those 50 to 100 people up front in the – right near the dais.


MATTHEWS: What were they thinking of you? What were the – what was the
message, they didn`t like the fact he was – lost a couple of delegates or
– or that he`s losing the fight against Hillary? What is the menace
about? What do you think the anger was about?

BOXER: I think it`s intimidation of those who are supporting Hillary
Clinton. And I guess they don`t know us. She is the toughest person I`ve
met. Look what the woman has been through. And yet she`s still standing.
I`m still standing.

And if they want to be standing, they shouldn`t be fighting with us. Let`s
all work together for the good of this country. This isn`t about a
political party. This is about the America that we all love and making
sure that Donald Trump, who has torn us apart and goes after everyone,
doesn`t get into the White House. That`s what it`s about.

MATTHEWS: Well, let`s assume that Bernie Sanders is able to stop this kind
of tactic…


MATTHEWS: … from showing its face again. Let`s assume that. Is there
something on the table to negotiate between the Sanders faction and the –
and the perhaps victorious Hillary faction? Can you the rules, no more
closed primaries? Can you get rid of some of these tactics like these
questions of superdelegates? Is that all room for reform or not?

BOXER: I think everything is on the table when there`s a negotiation. And
I wouldn`t take a thing off the table. But again, when Bernie says – he
starts attacking the Democratic Party that welcomed him into this primary,
when he`s never run as a Democrat before – I find it very odd.

And when I spoke to Bernie, we had a very warm conversation. And I just
said, Bernie, you`ve got to get control of the situation. I feared for my
safety. If I didn`t have seven or eight security people up there, I don`t
know who would have thrown what at me.

They knew exactly who I was. I was there to represent Hillary Clinton.
Nina Turner was there to represent Bernie, and everyone knew we were
coming. So this wasn`t a surprise.

MATTHEWS: So where`s this going to end up? We`re showing these pictures
because video lasts forever. Is this going to still be going on in Philly
when you get to the convention itself?

BOXER: I would hope not. I mean, I take Bernie at his word. Bernie said
his main priority is making sure Donald Trump does not win. If he means
that – and I believe he is a man of his word – then he`ll work with us
for the good of the country.

This isn`t about political party. It`s about all of our people being able
to reach their potential. It`s about freedom and justice and equality and
– and saving the planet and making sure there`s world peace. It`s all on
the table, in addition to the rules that he`s interested in working on. Of
course, we`ll work with him on anything he thinks is important to take a
look at.

MATTHEWS: Senator Boxer, thank you so much for getting through that and
for coming here tonight. Thank you so much.


MATTHEWS: I hope you feel better now. What an experience.

BOXER: I`m fine.

MATTHEWS: What an experience.

Anyway, well, last night, the chair of the Democratic National Committee,
Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, told me that Bernie Sanders needed
to take personal responsibility for what his supporters did out there in


Chris, we are all personally responsible, absolutely, including Senator
Sanders, for separating frustration over the process and the way it unfolds
and ensuring that you condemn and prevent your supporters from engaging in
violent intimidation. There is a way to deal with frustration over

But the fact that the Sanders campaign has issued a “but” in between
condemnation of violence and frustration over the process seems to excuse
their supporters` actions, which is unacceptable.


MATTHEWS: Well, there she was.

Anyway, I`m joined right now by Nina Turner, she was just mentioned ago
(sic), the former Ohio state senator and a Bernie Sanders supporter. She
spoke at that Nevada convention, as did Barbara Boxer. And Tad Devine is
senior adviser to the Sanders campaign.

Senator, let me ask you this. Do you think, as a principle, that the
candidate of the people there and the Sanders people is responsible for
their behavior?

NINA TURNER (D-OH, FORMER STATE SENATOR: No, I do not, I mean, no more
than the secretary would be responsible for the behaviors of her
supporters. And you know, Chris, it`s just a total…

MATTHEWS: Well, who is responsible then?

TURNER: The individuals…

MATTHEWS: Who`s the leader?

TURNER: The individuals themselves. Look, Senator Sanders…

MATTHEWS: They don`t have a leader? OK, let me ask you this because
there`s some particular things that I`m concerned about. When you find out


MATTHEWS: Well, don`t hem and haw. If a person`s a political leader and
they have a job that they support their family with and people start
calling up that place of work and start harassing the people that work
there, threatening them, going around destroying their reputation and
trying to bring down the business itself, that to me is beyond normal
political argument. Do you agree?

TURNER: Chris, I would agree, but Senator Sanders condemned that behavior.
But I will say this. Until they present the people`s whose voices was –
were on that e-mail – which was totally wrong. You don`t attack anybody.
You don`t threaten anybody. What happened to the chairwoman in terms of
those voicemail messages were absolutely wrong.

But how do we know whose supporters those were? People calling those so-
called Bernie Sanders supporters, we don`t know if those were Senator
Sanders supporters or not, Chris.

And that is why – I was in that room, and I have the utmost respect for
Senator Barbara Boxer. They should have not booed her. Let me go on the
record and say that they should not have booed her. Senator Bernie…

MATTHEWS: Who`s responsible for that?

TURNER: … Sanders has been saying all along that you do not do that to


TURNER: You don`t do that. But also, I was in that room, Chris, before
that happened and I was in that room after it happened. I was in that room
for eight hours. There were no threats to anybody. Yes, people were
emotional. It was tense in that room because, as you know, the chairwoman
called for a vote – a vote – a vote by voice, a voice vote, and then the
nos had it. And then she went another way and she stifled debate on the

So people were upset. But Chris, those were nurses. Those were teachers.
Those were blue collar workers. Those were students…

MATTHEWS: Yes. Let`s get to the heart of this, though.

TURNER: Those – those were not outrageous people in that room, Chris!

MATTHEWS: I`m just tying to figure out this so we don`t have it happen
again. I don`t like this as tactic, as a fear tactic. Oh, we`ll do this
if we have to. If it gets to it, we`ll do it. I don`t accept that
argument, do you?


TURNER: Who`s using that as a tactic? I don`t believe that it was
planned. I absolutely do not believe it was planned. But I will tell you
this. I was in the room. I`m not Monday morning quarterbacking this. And
I guess what happens in Vegas does not stay in Vegas.

This is what I`m saying, Chris. Stephen Covey (ph) once said, First seek
to understand and then to be understood. There has to be some
understanding and acknowledgement…

MATTHEWS: OK, I`m asking you this…

TURNER: … among the supporters of Senator Sanders that there`s tension
and stress among…


TURNER: … what is happening at the DNC and what happened in Nevada, by
the way, which is the only state that something like this happened at a

MATTHEWS: OK, I`m asking – I don`t want to argue because you got a point
of view and I have – I`m trying to figure this out.

TURNER: We`re not arguing! We`re just debating.

MATTHEWS: I`m trying to figure something out. Was it the responsibility
of the people running the convention out there, Roberta Lange, the party
chair and the others who were running it, and the way they called that
vote? Is that the cause of the 50 to 100 people treating Senator Boxer the
way they did? Is that the cause of it? Or is it the manner of the people
– that they were disrespectful to her and that in itself is wrong? Which
is – what`s the cause and effect here?

TURNER: They should – there`s a lot of cause and effect here, Chris.
They should not have done that to Senator Barbara Boxer. But at the same
time, that chairwoman of that convention has a responsibility to run that
convention in a very transparent way. That did not happen.

Chris, quite frankly, I believe it`s all bigger than what happened in that
room on Saturday.

MATTHEWS: What`s that?

TURNER: That what happened on Saturday is a build-up of tension that has
been happening all along this contest. And it`s funny to me that you would
have the chairwoman of the DNC without even trying to get the other side of
the story immediately take on the side of the Denver…

MATTHEWS: Well, no, that`s not fair.

TURNER: … of the Nevada convention.

MATTHEWS: Last night…


TURNER: That`s exactly what happened.

MATTHEWS: No, we had Angie Morelli on last night, who was on before or
right at the same time as we had Wasserman Schultz. We had them both on
last night. We have you on tonight. We`ve got Tad on tonight.

TURNER: Chris, I didn`t say you. What I`m saying is that our chairwoman
has a responsibility to say, You know what? I`m going to get all sides of
this story. Yes, you condemn those voicemail messages. There is no

MATTHEWS: Yes. Good.

TURNER: … that whoever did that, they were cowards, Chris. No doubt
about that. But at the same time, as the chairwoman of the DNC, you don`t
take one side over the other and then you condemn all of Senator Sanders`
supporters? Everybody is violent. It`s a convenient narrative, Chris, and
I guess…


TURNER: … what happened in Vegas didn`t stay in Vegas this time.

MATTHEWS: OK, well, lets – here`s Angie Morelli, by the way. She`s a
Sanders supporter, as you know, who was there Saturday with you.


MATTHEWS: She explained what happened in the room. Let`s hear her account
and see if you agree with it. (INAUDIBLE) in here, too. Let`s watch.


is we had 4,000 of the most passionate people in this valley who got in a
room together, and you put them in this confined space for 15-plus hours
and you – who have little access to food and had three bars outside of the
convention center that were put there specifically for us. And I don`t
know in what other situation where that wouldn`t have created high


MATTHEWS: Tad, I`m not sure what to make of that. But if you put…


MATTHEWS: I mean, lack of food I can understand is frustrating. And too
much alcohol is obviously – can be a problem. But the idea that somebody
did that on purpose to create – that – just – that cause and effect, as
I was just talking with the senator – I don`t believe the cause and effect
there is clear at all. Your thoughts.

think that`s what she was trying to say. I think she was trying to say
that – and as Senator Turner is saying, too – you know, there was a lot
of hostility in that room. And I think we can all try to figure out what
the causes are.

But let`s put this in perspective. You know, we`ve had state conventions
all across this country. We`ve worked with officials at the national level
of the party, and we`ve had very good relations with them and very good
outcomes. You know, we`ve had some great events.

Unfortunately, on Saturday in Nevada, a lot of bad things happened.
Barbara Boxer is a great leader of our party, you know, and she was
disrupted and booed. And that`s unfortunate when that happens.

And Bernie Sanders has condemned, you know, any threat of violence or an
act of violence. He totally is against that. That`s the opposite of
everything he stands for.

So I think we should all take a step back and just understand. I think
this is a one-off situation.

MATTHEWS: Let`s hope.

DEVINE: It`s unfortunate that it happened.

MATTHEWS: Let`s hope.

DEVINE: But you know, we should – we shouldn`t let it hang us up and
think that this is going to characterize the Democratic Party. I don`t
think it will.

MATTHEWS: Good. Anyway, according to TalkingPointsMemo, Josh Marshall –
he said Senator Sanders is the person personally responsible for upping the
tension and acrimony of this campaign.

Marshall wrote, quote, “The burn-it-down attitude, the upping the ante,
everything we saw in that statement released today by the campaign seems to
be coming from Sanders himself, right from the top. What I understand from
knowledgeable sources is that in the last few weeks, anyone who has tried
to rein in – or rein it in is has basically stopped trying and just
decided to let Bernie be Bernie.”

OK, there`s a charge that Bernie Sanders is angry about the way things are
going, embittered, if you will, the way this campaign has ended up or is
ending up, and is responsible for the anger of the people out there being
unleashed. Your response, Tad.

DEVINE: My response is he is not bitter. He`s not angry. And he`s the
same person at the end of the campaign as he was at the beginning, someone
determined to fight for fundamental change in this country, someone who
understands that when you take on the establishment, the economic
establishment, the political establishment of a country, there`s going to
be a lot of blowback, OK? He gets it.

But you know, I think what Bernie is fighting for is exciting people.
Listen, we`re registering literally millions of people…

MATTHEWS: I`m with you.

DEVINE: … in California right now.


DEVINE: And they`re going to be part of the Democratic Party because of
Bernie Sanders.

MATTHEWS: Well, I had a proposal last night for party reform, and I hope
we can see it get somewhere because a lot of this stuff doesn`t strike me
as democratic, upper case of lower case democratic. There`s a lot of
things that happened herd. Superdelegates should be gone. I agree with
that. There`s no reason why somebody should have an automatic ticket at a
convention where they actually have a vote they never earned, OK?

Number two, I don`t like caucuses because in the end, they`re just a few
people percentage-wise showing – it`s not one person, one vote.

Why don`t you make a real compromise that Bernie Sanders can have his name
on, the Sanders deal (ph) reform. You get rid of all the superdelegates.
You get rid of caucuses and state conventions. You have to vote to pick a
candidate for president. Every Democrat should be allowed to vote in every
state, and every vote should count, period, and they only should count

What`s wrong with that as a compromise? Get away some of this stuff that
the more passionate people like, like caucuses, but get rid of the
superdelegates, screw the conventions that work only for the insiders.
What`s wrong with that a compromise? Just do it, one person one vote.

Nina, Senator, what do you think of that idea?

TURNER: Well, Chris, I don`t necessarily disagree with that, especially
when it comes to the superdelegates. But we`re not…

MATTHEWS: But what about the other end? You got to compromise here. Get
rid of these stupid caucuses.

TURNER: Well, the caucus process is long, let me tell you, and God bless
anybody on either side that stays all day. That is something we`re looking
into, but we`re not at that moment because Senator Bernie Sanders is still
in this race!


TURNER: And he`s still running!

MATTHEWS: Well, he`ll be at the convention, though.

TURNER: Why are people trying to discount that fact?

MATTHEWS: I`m not trying to discount it. I`m saying either one way or the
other, win it or lose it, he`s going to be at that convention, at that
bargaining table over rules. He can fix this and make this a democratic
Democratic Party.

Anyway, thank you, Nina Turner, Senator Turner, and thank you, Tad Devine.
You`re so calm, Tad.


MATTHEWS: Coming up, a stunning ignoramus, a chimpanzee`s level of
understanding, reckless – those are just a few of the words veteran
Republican strategist Mike Murphy has used to describe his party`s
presumptive nominee, Donald Trump. Trump`s trying to make over his image,
meeting today with Henry Kissinger and releasing a list of people he`d
consider for the Supreme Court as he looks ahead to the general election.

Plus, Dana Milbank warns that Bernie Sanders could be the 2016 version of
Ralph Nader, that Sanders is now campaigning against the Democratic Party
itself, much as Nader did in the 2000 general election against Al Gore.
I`m going to ask the man himself, Ralph Nader, tonight about that

And remember this exchange I had with Donald Trump in our HARDBALL town


MATTHEWS: Do you believe in punishment for abortion, yes or no, as a

there has to be some form of punishment.

MATTHEWS: For the woman?

TRUMP: Yes, there has to be some form.


MATTHEWS: Well, now Trump says he didn`t mean what everyone heard him say
about abortion. We`ll dig into that in the HARDBALL roundtable tonight.

Finally, “Let Me Finish” with a test of leadership for the Democrats.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: We have got new polling on the general election matchup between
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

Let`s check the HARDBALL Scoreboard.

In New Hampshire, one of the key battleground states, Clinton starts off
with a two-point lead over Trump in a new poll from WBUR. It`s Clinton 44,
Trump 42 in the Granite State.

In Arizona, a red state that could be in play in November, Trump leads
Clinton by four points. It`s Trump 45, Clinton 41 in a new PPP poll.

And we will be right back.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

Well, Donald Trump released the names of 11 prospects he would consider for
the United States Supreme Court in order to fill the vacancy left by the
death of Antonin Scalia.

He`s put the names and faces out there. The names consist of six federal
appellate court justices and five state supreme court judges.

John Stanton is Washington bureau chief for BuzzFeed. And Ruth Marcus is a
very opinionated opinion writer for “The Washington Post.”

We were in the makeup room here, and you were hot to trot. Tell me about -
- what is the impropriety that you feel is gross here by Trump in putting
out these names?


Trump put out these names for a clear reason, which is, there are lot of
conservatives who aren`t sure, for good reason, that he`s one of them. And
one of the things they care a lot about is the Supreme Court. So,
therefore, feed the beast, give them some names that will calm them down.

I don`t think that the Supreme Court should be a sort of bargaining chip in
this way. It`s one of the most serious things that a president does. What
does Donald Trump know about any of these 11 people?

MATTHEWS: Well, do you know? Do you know they are all hard-right people?
Are they hard-right justices?

MARCUS: No, there`s a bunch. There`s a range. And there`s serious
people. But has he studied them?


MATTHEWS: I thought he might have grabbed it off the American Bar
Association list or something.

MARCUS: There`s a Heritage Foundation list that he got a bunch from, OK?


MARCUS: And that just shows what his aim is.

MATTHEWS: You`re saying he is as bad as Ted Cruz.

MARCUS: I think he`s putting these judges in a bad position, because now
everything they decide they will get attention as, oh, potential Supreme
Court nominee ruled this way on this case, this way on this case.
Obviously, he or she did it because he or she wants the job.

MATTHEWS: Does this grab you, John?



STANTON: One of them actually has spent quite a bit of time on Twitter
trolling Donald Trump for being clownish in his policy positions, the guy
from Texas.

MATTHEWS: That`s the way you get attention from Trump.


MARCUS: So, they gave a lot of attention to it, yes.


MATTHEWS: We`re not going to have a Supreme Court justice until, what,
next March or April or something at the earliest, whoever gets in?

MARCUS: Unless Merrick Garland is confirmed in a lame-duck session after
Hillary Clinton is elected.

MATTHEWS: It`s fascinating, because it`s the best the right will do.

MARCUS: Correct.

MATTHEWS: And they will give him 60 votes.

Anyway, Donald Trump says he wants to rehabilitate his image and publicly
explain his recent behavior. That`s according to a reporter in “The
Washington Post.”

“The Post”`s Robert Costa and Phil Rucker write that Trump will do this by
publicly addressing head on some of the most controversial episodes of the
campaign. “The presumptive Republican presidential`s nominee strategy is
fueled by a desire to persuade voters that he`s nothing like the monster he
believes his political adversaries and the media have portrayed him to be.”

This is great stuff. Trump started last night with an interview with FOX
News anchor Megyn Kelly, with whom he feuded with for months.

Let`s watch this.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You would be amazed at the ones
they don`t retweet.


D. TRUMP: Well, that was a retweet, yes. Did I say that?

KELLY: Many times.

D. TRUMP: Ooh. OK. Excuse me. Over your life, Megyn, you have been
called a lot worse. Is that right? Wouldn`t you say? You have had a life
that`s not been that easy. And…

KELLY: It`s not about me. It`s not about me. It`s about the messaging to
young girls and to…


D. TRUMP: It`s a certain amount of fighting back. It`s a modern-day form
of fighting back. It really is.

KELLY: You going to stop that as president?

D. TRUMP: Well, I`m going to stop it about you now, because I think I like
our relationship right now. So, I`m certainly not going to do it with you.


MATTHEWS: So, he`s vetting journalists. I like you right now.

Trump`s daughter Ivanka was on CBS this morning refuting some of the
negative stories about Trump, her father`s behavior toward women. Let`s
watch that.


QUESTION: There`s another woman who was quoted in the article that says
that Donald Trump groped her at a meeting, at a business meeting.

IVANKA TRUMP, DAUGHTER OF DONALD D. TRUMP: Well, yes, look, I`m not in
every interaction my father has, but he`s not a groper. It`s not who he
is. And I have known my father obviously my whole life. And he has total
respect for women.

QUESTION: He`s called women crazy. He`s called them crooked. That`s what
he calls Hillary Clinton. He has even used the words bimbo. Do you ever
look at those tweets and say, dad, tone it down?

I. TRUMP: I have certainly thought that certain things should be toned
down, but not necessarily in relationship to that.

When I think about myself as a feminist, it`s important that women are
treated equally. And he treats women and men equally.


MATTHEWS: I just wonder about pure politics here. A little bit of good
and evil is all right occasionally. We do that here too.

Ivanka, a businesswoman, daughter, smart move, right?

STANTON: I guess, to a certain degree.


STANTON: Have her go on to say, he`s not a groper, it`s like his wife
going out and saying, he`s not Hitler. Those are things that you shouldn`t
have to go out and say.


MATTHEWS: What do you think of this renewal? What is this, what do you
call it, remedial effort? Do you think it`s smart to be remedial or just
stick to who he is?

MARCUS: No, it`s crazy.

MATTHEWS: He can`t be remedial.

MARCUS: I think, if you`re explaining, you`re not campaigning.


MATTHEWS: That`s my father-in-law. Never explain, never complain.

MARCUS: I`m not a crook. He`s not a groper.

Honestly, if your father were a groper, you probably wouldn`t know he was a

MATTHEWS: OK. Groper was in the question, OK, from Norah. So, she
couldn`t avoid that maybe, but go ahead.

MARCUS: Well, she could have avoided it.

STANTON: Do you really think – it doesn`t sound like – the way he talks.
He says, oh, I`m going to address this head on and explain it, but then
it`s basically by doing the same thing he`s always done.

He`s always said, I`m a good guy.

MATTHEWS: Did you read Maureen this weekend, Maureen Dowd this weekend?
We all read her. She says, are you going to change? And then he says,
Elizabeth Warren, Pocahontas.

MARCUS: Pocahontas.

MATTHEWS: He didn`t change. That stuff comes out of the synapses. It
doesn`t go through some deliberative process.

STANTON: No, not at all.

He`s just doing the same thing he`s been doing, just saying he`s now going
to explain what he was doing.

MATTHEWS: OK. Last question to both of you. Smart people. You first.

With all the problems he has, 30 percent of the country are minority, and
he`s almost X`ed them off as people he`s got in his constituency, a lot of
them. And he`s still running roughly even in the national polls.

Who are these people? Women are mad at him, supposedly. Minorities are
mad at him. Hispanics are mad at him. And yet he is running roughly
even. Is he like sweeping the white male vote like 75 percent? How do you
do well as he`s doing in these polls?

MARCUS: He`s sweeping a lot of the white male vote, especially the less
educated white male vote.

MATTHEWS: He loves the less educated. He said that.

MARCUS: Indeed. And he will keep explaining that too. There`s a lot of
unhappiness out there, Chris. I don`t need to tell you that. And people
want a vehicle for their anxiety.

MATTHEWS: I like the way you smile when you say unhappiness.

MARCUS: Anxiety and anger.


MATTHEWS: Columnists Gene and you of “The Washington Post” are the people
I almost boringly agree with when I read your columns.

Yes, John, why does he still do among white males – somebody is voting for
him in these polls?

STANTON: Because they look around themselves and they see a world that is
completely different than what they want it to be. They have this sort of
idyllic notion of a past that never existed, but that they were on top.
Right? And they`re no longer on top.

MATTHEWS: Were they? Were these guys on top?


STANTON: No, they never were. But they think that they were.


MATTHEWS: Rust Belt guys?

STANTON: No, they weren`t. They never were.

But they have been told at one point you were on top, and now you`re not,
and it`s because of these people.


MATTHEWS: I think there is something going on here. It`s fascinating. Or
else people are lying to pollsters. But I think a lot of people are
denying they`re for Trump, too. A lot of women who are Republicans are not
going to vote for Trump that may say, yes, we`re Republicans.

MARCUS: There`s some evidence of that in the polls.

MATTHEWS: Yes. I think it`s going to be fascinating.

Anyway, John – there`s going to be people going to the polling who don`t
even have their partners or spouses voting, although I think we will figure
that out in my family pretty soon.

Anyway, thank you, John Stanton and Ruth Marcus.

Up next, is Bernie Sanders willing to see the Democrats lose in 2016? I`m
going to ask Ralph Nader next.

And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.



JAMES CARVILLE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I`m going to shun him, and any good
Democratic, any good progressive ought to do the same thing. Don`t be rude
to him. Don`t do anything. Don`t – he`s an egomaniac. He`s self-
absorbed. He obviously cost us the presidency. I will not speak this
egomaniac`s name.



MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

That was of course James Carville 16 years ago speaking about third-party
candidate Ralph Nader just after Al Gore appeared to have lost the 2000
election to George W. Bush.

Well, many Democrats feel that Bernie Sanders might have the same effect on
the outcome of 2016. Sanders ramping up his attacks on the Democratic
Party itself, accusing the party of allowing Trump to capture the votes of
the working people of this country. Here is Sanders just last night.


incredibly, is allowing a right-wing extremist Republican Party to capture
the votes of a majority of working people in this country.


MATTHEWS: Well, columnist Dana Milbank of “The Washington Post” today
points out – quote – “The Vermont socialist is now running against the
Democratic Party.”

And of his recent attacks on the party, Milbank writes: “This was Ralph
Nader`s argument in 2000. There isn`t much difference between the two
parties. It produced President George W. Bush.”

I`m joined right now by former third-party candidate and consumer advocate
and my personal hero Ralph Nader, who is host of “The Ralph Nader Radio
Hour” and is host of “Breaking Through Power” to mark the 50th anniversary
of his landmark book “Unsafe at Any Speed.”

Ralph, thank you.

Tell us about this 50th anniversary of “Unsafe at Any Speed,” your book
about auto safety.


Well, it`s succeeded in making cars safer. It put into motion a lot of new
citizen groups. And that`s why we`re at Constitution Hall next week,
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. We call it the Super Bowl of citizen


NADER: And a lot of these leaders brought us safer food, safer cars,
protected pensions. Look at Sid Wolfe. He took all kinds of dangerous
drugs off the market.

These are the experts, movers and shakers that are off limits to the
election. Nobody wants to know their names.

MATTHEWS: Well, let me hear about it, because I knew a lot of them back
then. I knew them back – Mike Pertschuk and…


MATTHEWS: … Magnuson and Frank Moss and all those guys in the U.S.
Senate and the staffers who worked with you on truth in packaging, truth in
labeling it, all kinds of that good stuff, so you can eat a can of tuna
fish and it`s safe.

NADER: Yes. Yes.

MATTHEWS: And get on a plane – anyway, what happened to all that, that
reform? Is it still there?

NADER: Well, it`s still in place.

The Republicans tried to unravel some of it with their so-called
deregulation. The point is that elections today, the commercialization of
elections leaves democracy off limits. It`s like there`s a quarantine with
these citizen groups. Nobody asks their opinion. Nobody asks for their
involvement. Yet they`re the experts, movers and shakers who have actually
helped to change this country.

MATTHEWS: OK. Let me ask you about this choice people face now.

Bernie Sanders still has got a lot of zealotry behind him, a lot of passion
behind him. He`s losing in the numbers. It may be almost impossible at
this point for him to win. How should progressives end up this campaign?
How should it work to win the election against Trump?

NADER: Well, first of all, I think it`s going be fairly easy to win the
election against Trump, because he`s not only uncontrollable, he`s self-

It`s like a dust-up or an eruption around his ego every day. If you run
for president, it`s not all about you. It`s about the people. So, I don`t
think that`s going to be that difficult a victory. However…

MATTHEWS: But you don`t want to vote for Hillary, I heard, because

NADER: No, not a corporatist and a…


MATTHEWS: OK. So, how do you beat Trump if she`s the only alternative?

NADER: Well, she or Bernie could beat Trump. Bernie is ahead in the polls
against Trump. You know that.


MATTHEWS: But you – I know it all. But what about come to July when you
have to choose? What do you do? What do you decide?

NADER: My vote is one of conscience. I don`t disclose my vote. But I
never vote for somebody I don`t believe in. Obviously, I don`t believe in
Hillary`s militarism.

MATTHEWS: Yes. I think she`s more hawkish than Obama, certainly.

NADER: Yes. She scares the generals.

MATTHEWS: How far – do you think she`s more hawkish than Trump?

NADER: Trump is unknown quantity. First, he says he wants to negotiate
with adversaries in North Korea and Russia. And then he says he wants to
smash anybody who challenges us and threatens us.

It`s an extremely unstable situation, which is why the business community
is going nuts. They don`t know what to do.

MATTHEWS: Let`s deal with this, because you have been at war with General
Motors in the beginning 50 years ago and this corporate thing. Explain to
people who are not on the serious left here what is it about corporations
that are inimical to a democracy? What is the problem with corporations?

NADER: Because they measure their progress by the monetized yardstick of
profits, et cetera.

First, they want to control everything. Everything is for sale. They
strategically plan our elections, our military procurement. They plan our
tax system. They even commercialize childhood to sell kids things that
aren`t good for them.

In other words, they don`t know boundaries. Every major religion in the
world warn their adherents not to support heavily the merchant class.
Beware, because they don`t know boundaries that protect other values. You

On this situation, we got a corporate state. The first thing corporations
want to do is control government and turn the government against the
people, because the government is the only counterweight now to these giant
global corporations who have no allegiance to any community or country,
other than to control them.

MATTHEWS: Yes. But what about the people? What do we to cheer on people
like Elizabeth Warren, Ed Markey, people like that?

There are still people like you in this government.

NADER: Yes. Well, they need infrastructure of active citizens.

That`s what BreakingThroughPower.org is all about. Want to come – people
come to Constitution Hall. They will see success. And they will say, look
how small these groups are. They improved our country over the years.
What if we were more engaged?


MATTHEWS: I want to give you the ad here.

Breaking Through Power next week in Washington at Constitution Hall.

NADER: Right.

NADER: BreakingThroughPower.org. Come one, come all. If they can`t pay
the ticket, they get it free on a scholarship.

MATTHEWS: Ralph Nader, thank you, sir.

NADER: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: There`s only one Ralph Nader. Thank you.

Up next, fortunately – just kidding – the HARDBALL roundtable on Bernie
Sanders` war with the Democratic Party, plus Donald Trump`s latest attempt
to gloss over the missteps of the primaries, including what he told me
about punishing women for having abortions.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.



Time for the HARDBALL round table tonight.

And joining us tonight, Colleen McCain Nelson, she`s White House
correspondent with “The Wall Street Journal”, Dana Milbank is the political
columnist with “The Washington Post”. Francesca Chambers is the White
House correspondent with “The Daily Mail”.

And as you all just saw in our last segment, we spoke with Ralph Nader, and
I asked him about Dana Milbank`s piece in “The Post” today that Sanders may
end being the Ralph Nader of 2016.

Dana, you wrote this, “This was Ralph Nader`s argument in 2000 that there
isn`t that much difference between the two political parties. It produced
President George W. Bush. Sanders said at start of his campaign that he
wouldn`t do what Nader did because there is a difference between the

Dana, where does it stand now, because that speech last night by Senator
Sanders was pretty much fox on both their houses?

DANA MILBANK, THE WASHINGTON POST: Right. I mean, I spoke with him before
he started this campaign, and he said there`s a difference between two
parties. He wasn`t going to do this.

I suspect in his heart he doesn`t want to do that. I think he can`t get
out of his own way right now for the moment. He says repeatedly, the top
priority is not having Donald Trump become the next president.

So, what he`s doing is contrary to that. I mean, he`s not going to be a
Ralph Nader in the sense of running independently. It`s too late for that
kind of thing. All he needed to do is say I`m not with her and you have a

MATTHEWS: He must be thinking, Francesca, now what fairness means. In the
end, it`s not about procedure. It`s about whether he got the votes he
deserves, if he got the numbers he got, based on delegates, based on the
number of voters who voted for him, right? And it`s a weird system to
start with.

They have caucuses. They have conventions. They have superdelegates. I
would just get rid of all these mishegoss, to use a great word, and just
have one person, one vote.

Sorry, no more caucuses. No more conventions. No more superdelegates.
You got to be voted anyway.

What does he want? Is it rule changes? Is it about open primaries so
independents can vote, like his people? Or is it particular things about
health care, student loans, whatever?

FRANCESCA CHAMBERS, THE DAILY MAIL: I think it`s all of those things.

MATTHEWS: But if he loses, can he dictate the platform if he loses?

CHAMBERS: Well, he`ll have a lot of – he`ll have a lot of sway at the
convention because he will have a lot of delegates there. But to go back
to what you`re saying, I think it`s all of these things. I think he wants
to get rid of the super delegate process that was a problem for him this
time and for Clinton a last time around.

MATTHEWS: Is he willing to deal on that?

CHAMBERS: Do what?

MATTHEWS: Is he willing to deal?

CHAMBERS: I think –

MATTHEWS: Get rid of the caucuses, along with the superdelegates.
Caucuses are not democratic.

CHAMBERS: Caucuses have been helpful to him. That`s the irony of this
entire thing.

MATTHEWS: That`s why he has to give up something that`s been helpful to

CHAMBERS: Have been helpful to him.

I think that he thinks the super delegates are undemocratic. I think he
wants to push out the convention. The thing he said about Medicare for all
and free college tuition for everyone. I think he wants all of those
things, too. He wants it all, Chris. He doesn`t have to give up anything.

MATTHEWS: But this word “fairness” is an interesting word, but it doesn`t
mean anything. Fairness means I get what I want, is that fairness? Then
you might as well win.


MATTHEWS: If you care about the progressive unity of, say, people a bit to
the left and far to the left agreeing so they have chance of beating the
other people in the country politically, what`s that deal look like?

definitely has a laundry list of things that he wants to have in the
platform. And beyond that, I mean, he`s kind of coming to terms with this
in real time. I mean, he`s been riding this wave of momentum and he`s
still held on to the beliefs that he could actually win.

And so, he`s trying to decide what that might look like. He wants his
movement to live on in some form beyond the convention. But I`m not sure
even he knows what that looks like. And Clinton advisers say they`re
willing to give him stuff at their convention.

MATTHEWS: Is this all rational now? He seems angry. I mean, always get
angry when you lose. There`s nothing weird about him.

NELSON: They`re running out of options.

CHAMBERS: I think he is angry, Chris. I do think he is angry. This was
talked about earlier in the show. He`s not angry. He`s not bitter.

Absolutely. How can you watch that speech last night and say he`s not
angry about the way he perceives he`s been treated which is unfairly?

MATTHEWS: Well, it could also be he`s disappointed and that comes with
life. He said he was going to lead a political revolution and the turn out
has not grown. I mean, the younger people are voting but the poll turnouts
are not there.

MILBANK: I mean, he`s angry about one thing and that is that he`s not
going to be the Democratic nominee. He has every right to be unhappy it
didn`t happen. But he didn`t get the largest number of votes. He didn`t
get the largest number of votes in Nevada either, so which is what we`re
all having this kerfuffle about right now.

MATTHEWS: Why is he mad about Nevada if he lost there?

MILBANK: Well, and the whole thing is – even if he had his way, he was
going to get two extra delegates. He`s not getting the nomination no
matter what happens.

MATTHEWS: I`m never going to forget the phrase you said last night. The
reason they were angry is they gave him too much booze.


MATTHEWS: Am I watching an old cowboy movie here?

Anyway, Donald Trump is further distancing himself from some controversial
comments he made in March to me here on HARDBALL about punishing women for
having abortion if the procedure were it made illegal. Here is that
conversation from the town hall and then you`ll hear what he`s saying.


MATTHEWS: Do you believe in punishment for abortion, yes or no, as a

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The answer is that there has to
be some form of punishment.

MATTHEWS: For the woman?

TRUMP: Yes, there has to be some form.


MATTHEWS: And now, Donald Trump says he meant that women punish
themselves. In a piece today in “The New York Times Magazine” that comes
out this weekend, Trump tells Robert Draper, the writer, “I didn`t mean
punishment for women like prison. I`m saying women punish themselves. I
didn`t want people to think in terms of prison punishment and because of
that, I walked it back.” Well, I feel like Carly Fiorina, every woman in
America knew what he meant.

NELSON: Exactly. Exactly.

Well, and he did – he`s already walked it back seven times. I mean, he
walked it back one way. He walked it back a different way. I mean, this
is just the latest revision. This is the revision as he pivots toward the
general election.

I mean, he was trying to establish himself as a pro-life candidate when he
was still running against the Republican field.

MATTHEWS: He sounds like this kind of pro-lifer.

NELSON: Exactly. But now that he`s pivoting to the general, we`re hearing
yet another walk back from Donald Trump.

MATTHEWS: The round table is going to stick with us.

And up next, these three are going to tell me something I don`t know, which
is normal here.

And this HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie set another new low in
approval in his home state. And what`s worse? Jersey voters don`t want
him on the Republican ticket with Donald Trump. According to a new
Quinnipiac poll, two-thirds of New Jersey voters disapprove of the job
Christie is doing as governor and nearly three quarters, 72 percent, say
Trump shouldn`t pick Christie as his running mate versus just 18 percent
who say Christie should be on the ticket.

Well, that`s a big vote of confidence.

We`ll be right back.


MATTHEWS: We`re back with the HARDBALL roundtable.

And, Francesca, tell me something I don`t know.

CHAMBERS: Well, in 2008 around this time, everyone was saying Hillary
Clinton also needed to drop out when she was running against Barack Obama.
In the end, she won 23 contests that year. Already, Bernie Sanders has won
21. So, he`s on track to meet her or exceed her in the number of contests
he`s won.

MATTHEWS: So, he`s on the ticket?


MATTHEWS: Secretary of state?


MILBANK: What you may not know is we still have a Congress and it`s
functioning now but you might wish it weren`t functioning because this
week, the House is voting, and next week, the Senate is voting to send $500
million to Putin so that he can give us some Russian rocket engines to send
our Pentagon satellites into space.

MATTHEWS: That`s cooperation. It`s detente.


NELSON: A growing number of Democrats say they`re nervous that they`re the
ones who are going to have the disorderly and divisive convention in
Philadelphia. And part of the reason is if you poll the permits of people
who are applying to protest and demonstrate at the convention in
Philadelphia, there are a large number of Bernie Sanders supporters who
have applied for permits who are already organizing buses and rallies, and
promising a revolution at the convention.

And Sanders aides say they`re not sure that they can control what their
supporters do in Philadelphia.

MATTHEWS: We`ve been hearing that.

Anyway, Colleen McCain Nelson, Dana Milbank and Francesca Chambers.

When we return, let me finish with a test of leadership for the Democrats.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with a test of leadership.

We`ve all watched elected Republicans fail that test. We saw Speaker
Boehner let Donald Trump pipe up that birther theory of his. We saw
Republicans host a tea party all these years, letting them yelp and
filibuster and even stop the government. And we saw what all this
appeasement of the hard right has done. The party of Abraham Lincoln is
now the party of Donald Trump.

And all this happened because the elected officials of the party stood back
and bought peace at whatever price they could get it and the price has been
the Republican Party itself, now in bondage buried in the basement of Trump

The Democrats now face a similar test as the nominee battles those she
defeated. Does she accept of the agenda of the candidate she`s beaten and
act as if his positions are her positions? I think we all know the answer.
As the great Democrat Adlai Stevenson once said best, “It`s the duty of
leaders to lead”, and that`s the test Republicans failed. It`s what
happened to the people who could have, should have been setting the course
the past half dozen years rather than buckle and snuggle up to the Tea
Party, rather than shrink before the birthers and the wild ones, they could
have made their case for what could – what should be done. Rather than
pander, they might just have led.

Well, the battle of the Republican Party is over. The party has lost.
Trump has won.

The battle of the Democratic Party has begun between now and Philadelphia.
The question is whether it`s likely nominee has the fight to lead it.

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

“ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES” starts right now.


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