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Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 01/05/15

Guests: Jackie Kucinich, Val Demings, Mike Paul, Jack Kingston, RonChristie

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Republican leadership in the hot seat, too close to David Duke. Let`s play HARDBALL. Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington. Well, the Republican Party, which begins the new year firmly in control of Congress, does so with a brand-new burden. Its chief whip in the House of Representatives admits to speaking at a meeting of white supremacists, a group founded by neo-Nazi and international Holocaust denier David Duke called the European- American Unity and Rights Organization. Well, Congressman Steve Scalise of Louisiana stands now as the party`s entrenched evidence that its promise to reach out to other groups will now be challenged by those who see Scalise as proof the party still looks the other way, to the farthest right, when it comes to issues of race in this country. Meanwhile, tonight, we look at a new film and whether it gives President Lyndon Johnson the historic respect he earned in pushing the Civil Rights Act in 1964 and the Voting Rights Act a year later, or does it make him a symbol of white resistance? How far can a movie director go in manipulating historic fact? And an even bigger question, what would justify doing such a thing, especially to a president many consider the greatest civil rights advocate in American history. Well, joining me right now, former U.S. congressman Jack Kingston of Georgia and Ron Christie, former adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney. Let me ask you this. Well, anyway, after their losses in 2012, the Republican National Committee came up with a new strategy to appeal to minority communities called the Growth and Opportunity Report. Here`s what Chairman Reince Priebus said of that strategy before the National Association of Black Journalists just last summer. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REINCE PRIEBUS, RNC CHAIRMAN: Last year, after the Growth and Opportunity Report, we said we have to engage in every community across America. If we work like dogs day in, day out, you know, instead of getting 6 percent of the black vote across America, we work hard, we can do a lot better. And that`s our goal.   (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: "That`s our goal." Now comes the news that the third highest- ranking Republican spoke to an organization founded by David Duke, neo- Nazi, international Holocaust denier, that puts that goal certainly in jeopardy. Greta Van Susteren of Fox News spoke about that dilemma for the GOP on ABC`s "This Week" on Sunday. That`s yesterday. Here was her advice to the party. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST, FOX NEWS "ON THE RECORD": The Republican Party wanted to send a message out there, and I don`t know whether it`s fair to Congressman Scalise or not fair to him or whatever, but associating with David Duke is -- you know, is grossly unwise. I mean, everybody -- there`s no secret who David Duke is. If you want to send a message to the American people, Republicans and Democrats, this would have been the opportunity to say, He should have -- you know, step aside, whether it`s fair or not, and send a message that, you know, We`re not going to have this distraction, we really do want to have everybody on board. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, Scalise says he didn`t know he had spoken to the neo-Nazi- founded group 12 years ago. Quote, "I spoke to many different Louisiana groups as a state rep trying to build support for legislation that focused on cutting wasteful state spending, eliminating government corruption and stopping tax hikes. One of the many groups that I spoke to regarding this critical legislation was a group whose views I whole-heartedly condemn. It was a mistake I regret." Congressman, what do you make of this story? Because it seems to me that you always know who you`re talking to. And if you walk into a group called Euro-something, it`s not Euro Motors to fix your Mercedes. It`s a group with an ethnic point of view, and you would soon find out that it had been organized by David Duke, a neo-Nazi, and you would immediately say, I should never have spoken to that group and not waited for 12 years to be caught -- JACK KINGSTON (R), FMR. GEORGIA CONGRESSMAN: Well, I think -- MATTHEWS: -- which he has been caught. KINGSTON: Well, I think, number one, he has said he`s sorry. He regrets it. And he did --   MATTHEWS: When did he begin to get sorry? He got 12 years later? KINGSTON: You know, I don`t think it was relevant until the last couple weeks. I mean, I think if somebody came up to him -- MATTHEWS: Well, when did he find out he had done it? KINGSTON: I don`t know. I will say this, Chris. Having been a member of the state legislature in Georgia, we did not have staffers. And sometimes you do end up talking to groups that, you know, somebody pulls you in. As I understood it, this was -- there was some common membership with this -- the group he actually spoke to about taxes and with EURO. I don`t know. I did talk to his office. I got a little bit of information. But I tell you, what`s -- what is important is I know Steve Scalise. He`s a man of fine character. This is not part of a pattern. You know, Democrat Louisiana member Cedric Richards has come out and said he`s of high character. MATTHEWS: Sure. But if you`re a Republican leader trying to build a party that`s going to include, as I think Reince Priebus fairly said -- that wants to get beyond 6 percent of the black vote, the average guy out there is going, Wait a minute. What are these guys doing consorting with people like that? Your thoughts, Ron. RON CHRISTIE, FORMER VICE PRES. CHENEY AIDE: Well, I think this looks bad, Chris. I think it`s a distraction. Whether or not he spoke to this group and knew that they were a neo-Nazi group or he didn`t, the fact of the matter is, the three of us have given hundreds of speeches. You know when you walk in the room, if the group says "Euro" something, you might scratch your head and say, Does this sound right? Does this pass the laugh test? But in Mr. Scalise`s case, for what I know, for what you know, he`s a man of fine character. But the question is this. The question is, did he knowingly go to a group that was a neo-Nazi group and speak before them? If he did, I think he needs to go. If he didn`t, I think he needs to be given the benefit of the doubt. He says he didn`t know -- MATTHEWS: So if -- if he knew it was connected -- we all grew up -- we knew who David Duke was. CHRISTIE: Yes. Sure. MATTHEWS: He was this incredible figure in the world.   CHRISTIE: Yes. MATTHEWS: I mean, he was a Nazi. He said so. Tim Russert classed -- he said, What made you hate America so much you became a Nazi? I mean, it`s not about having a certain racial problem. A lot of people have a certain racial problem, a little tribal. CHRISTIE: Right. MATTHEWS: We have that problem in our history. CHRISTIE: Right. MATTHEWS: But to be a Nazi! Anyway, Democratic National committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz slammed Congressman Scalise today. Here she is. Quote, "As the new Congress begins, nothing discredits Republican claims of outreach and bringing people together more than their decision to keep Steve Scalise at the top tier of the elected leadership of their caucus. Anyone living in this century should have known better than to attend and speak at a white supremacist event,. particularly one founded and led by David Duke. And Scalise`s explanation that he wasn`t aware is incredible by a long shot." Pretty well said there, I thought. Anyway, it`s true that by 2002, when Scalise spoke to that group, David Duke was a known entity in this country, not just in Louisiana -- I went down there and covered that race when he ran for governor -- but nationwide. "The hateful views he espoused and later tried to disown," close quote, were widely covered on TV, in print and political ads, especially for a politician like Scalise. This stuff was out there. Just take a look. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DAVID DUKE, FORMER KKK WIZARD: There`s plenty of other places in this country that I could live maybe with some Negroes that are integrationists. But what are we talking about? I don`t want to live with Negroes.   The Jewish people have been a blight. I mean as a whole, not every Jew, and they probably deserve to go into the ashbin of history. And I think the best place that (INAUDIBLE) resettlement someplace (INAUDIBLE) someplace where they can`t exploit (ph) others. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are quoted as saying that, "America is being invaded by hordes of dusky third world peoples, and with each passing our, our economic wellbeing, our cultural heritage, our freedoms and our racial roots are being battered." Do you believe that? DUKE: Yes, sir, I do. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you still think that Adolf Hitler is the greatest genius -- DUKE: See, that`s the problem -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Excuse me. Do you think he`s the greatest genius in the world? DUKE: I`ve never said that. I -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, you did. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: David Duke led the Ku Klux Klan as an adult. DUKE: There`s no more truly representative symbol of the white race than the fiery cross. It is our symbol. White (ph) victory. (END VIDEO CLIP)   MATTHEWS: (INAUDIBLE) he`s given the Hitler salute to -- he`s mixing it all up there, the burning cross, Hitler salute, the whole thing. And this guy, Scalise, who`s a state rep, didn`t know who he was? KINGSTON: Well -- MATTHEWS: He didn`t know his group was -- he was meeting with his group? KINGSTON: You know, I -- I think what he -- MATTHEWS: First of all, do you believe gentlemen believe that? Do you believe a guy would walk into a group of these characters, these Klansman types, and didn`t know on walking into the room what the hell was going on, they`re with this EURO group? KINGSTON: I -- I think -- MATTHEWS: Is that -- is that credible? KINGSTON: Well, I think, as Ron said, if there`s something else that we find out that shows that, Hey, you did know, or there`s another shoe that fall that, Hey, you contributed, or they contributed to you, or, Hey, here`s a copy of the speech, where you endorsed part of their platform -- I think we need to get one more something, another shoe. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Let`s get off the moral train. None of us are equipped for it anyway. Let`s get on the political train here. Everywhere the Republicans go now, they`re going to have to carry Scalise with them. Every time he speaks -- he`s not going to speak at the next Republican convention, I`ll bet you right now. He ain`t getting any primetime speeches. He is now known for this, and this only. This is all anybody knows about Steve Scalise, is he went to a meeting that was organized and spoken to at that event by David Duke, who was speaking at that group that day. It wasn`t like some guy way off in the distance, he was speaking to them from Moscow or wherever the hell he was that day. They love -- by the way, Putin loves this ethnic crap. Your thoughts. CHRISTIE: Well, my thoughts --   (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: And by the way, will they ever be able to -- I think he`s Jonah and the whale. I think as long as he`s on that boat, that boat`s in trouble. Do you disagree? CHRISTIE: Well, I think the congressman`s right. I think -- MATTHEWS: No, is he -- is the Republican leadership sound right now with Scalise aboard? CHRISTIE: Yes. Yes, they are. MATTHEWS: Aboard. They`re sound to have him up there? CHRISTIE: They`re sound to have him up there. MATTHEWS: He`s the counter -- he`s the chief vote counter for the Republican Party. CHRISTIE: Listen, we do not have any -- MATTHEWS: Is that OK? CHRISTIE: We do not have any evidence that he knowingly went to a group --   MATTHEWS: I`m asking you! (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: I`m asking you. Do you want -- (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Well, let`s ask you this question preliminarily. Do you honestly believe he didn`t know? CHRISTIE: I have a very hard time believing, of all the speeches we`ve all given, that you wouldn`t know who you`re speaking to. I just personally have a hard time believing that. Now, that`s what his excuse is. And if that`s what he says and that`s what -- MATTHEWS: Then you buy it. CHRISTIE: Yes. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: How can you buy it? You just said you couldn`t! CHRISTIE: Let me get to the politics. You wanted to get to the politics.   MATTHEWS: That`s what (INAUDIBLE) CHRISTIE: I think the Democrats are being disgraceful in the way that they are playing the race card with this. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, you saw Josh Earnest, the White House press -- (CROSSTALK) CHRISTIE: The Democrats are dividing this country on race -- MATTHEWS: OK -- CHRISTIE: -- and they`ve been playing this race card. I`m sorry. If you want to talk about the Grand Kleegle (ph) -- MATTHEWS: Well -- (CROSSTALK) CHRISTIE: You want to talk about the Grand Kleegle, who was the number three in the Senate Republican leadership (sic) -- (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Bobby Byrd. Bobby Byrd. And it`s clear the White House smells blood in the water. By the way, a member the Supreme Court once was, but I think Nazi --   CHRISTIE: Hugo Black. MATTHEWS: I think Nazi`s a little further up on the chain. Here`s what press secretary Josh Ernest said of Scalise earlier today. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Who they choose to serve in their leadership says a lot about who they are, what their values are, and what the priorities of the conference should be. Mr. Scalise reportedly described himself as David Duke without the baggage. So it will be up to Republicans to decide what that says about their conference. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: OK, let`s just talk turkey. If you`re John Boehner and you`re sitting with this group of people in his loop that have to make these decisions, do you keep Scalise aboard and hope this burns out? KINGSTON: I think you have to -- MATTHEWS: Just let it burn out. Don`t do anything about it. KINGSTON: Chris, we`ve all seen these scandals. You never know how deep the water is. As it looks right now, I don`t think it`s going to be there a week from now. I really don`t. CHRISTIE: I think he`s right. And I think, of course, the White House and our friends in the Democratic Party are trying to capitalize on this, more division, more diversion. MATTHEWS: Well, we`re going to find out who`s right because if the Republican Party sticks with this guy and he hangs in there and everybody forgets about this, you`re right. I don`t think they will. Anyway, thank you, Jack Kingston. Thank you, Ron Christie.   Coming up, a battle for history. The new movie "Selma" presents Lyndon Johnson as a president who had to be dragged into supporting civil rights. Why is the film dramatizing this division in the civil rights effort? And what`s the agenda behind trashing LBJ? This is HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Well, tomorrow, John Boehner`s up for reelection as speaker of the House, and he`s facing two long-shot challenges from his right flank. Florida congressman Ted Yoho and Texas congressman Louie Gohmert have both announced they`ll run against Boehner tomorrow. And while Speaker Boehner will no doubt prevail, the results of tomorrow`s vote could expose the hard right`s desire to distance itself from Boehner. We`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Well, the new film "Selma" has won praise for its portrayal of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and one of the Civil Rights movement`s iconic moments, the confrontation at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. But a growing number of critics are calling the film`s depiction of President Lyndon Johnson and his relationship to Dr. King problematic. The film portrays Johnson as reluctant to back King`s actions in Selma and tentative even to push for voting rights measures as quickly as Dr. King wants him to. Let`s watch a clip from the film. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want federal legislation granting Negroes the right to vote unencumbered. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, that`s fine, but most of the South is still not desegregating. Let`s not start another battle when we haven`t even won the first. This voting thing is just going to have to wait.   (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, many historians take issue with that portrayal. Mark Updegrove, the director of the LBJ library, of course, wrote in Politico, quote, "This characterization of the 36th president flies in the face of history. Why does the film`s mischaracterization matter? Because at a time when racial tension is once again high in this country, from Ferguson to Brooklyn, it does no good to bastardize one of the most hallowed chapters of the civil rights move by suggesting that the president himself stood in the way of progress." Joseph Califano was a top White House aide to President Johnson. He`s the author of "The Triumph and Tragedy of Lyndon Johnson. And James Peterson is the director of Africana Studies at Lehigh, and of course, an MSNBC contributor. Gentlemen, thank you for joining us. Mr. Califano, thank you for joining us. I am with anybody who believes in preserving history as it actually happened. Tell me, did this moment ever happen when Lyndon Johnson said, Slow down, guys, we`re not going -- we`re going too fast on voting rights? Anything like that ever happen? JOSEPH CALIFANO, "THE TRIUMPH AND TRAGEDY OF LYNDON JOHNSON": No, it didn`t. Lyndon Johnson -- this was the greatest bill he passed. He said that many times. Indeed, he told Nick Katzenbach in December of `64 to start drafting a voting rights bill. He and Dr. King met in December of `64. Andrew Young has talked about that meeting -- he was there, I wasn`t -- in which he said they were partners. These two men, Lyndon Johnson and Martin Luther King, were partners. They worked closely together. Dr. King -- Lyndon Johnson in January of 1965, called Dr. King. They talked on the phone about a lot of things, and LBJ said nothing will be more important than giving them the vote, giving blacks the vote. And Doctor -- which he called Dr. King -- I want you -- you can contribute to this by you and your leaders finding the worst place in the South, get it on the radio, get it in television, get it in the pulpits so that a guy on a tractor in the Midwest will say, That`s not fair. That`s not fair. You do that, and I`ll be able to shove this bill through up here in Washington. MATTHEWS: Actually, the middle part of the country was very good on civil rights (INAUDIBLE) part. Anyway, Civil Rights leader Andrew Young was with Dr. King, as you say, in the White House that December of `64. He said the tension portrayed in the film didn`t happen. Let`s watch him. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ANDREW YOUNG, MARTIN LUTHER KING AIDE: President Johnson did not say that it had to wait. He said that, I have a great agenda and I can`t just -- I just got through -- remember, this was December. The Civil Rights Act of `64 had just passed in July. So we`re coming six months afterwards. And we did not expect him to commit. But we did expect him -- we were really kind of letting him know that we had to pursue voting rights. At the time when we met with President Johnson in the middle of December, neither Dr. King nor President Johnson had thought of Selma.   (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Professor, why -- what do you think about this, getting something wrong like this? And I believe it is wrong. People are saying it`s wrong, like Andrew Young, it didn`t happen. There wasn`t tension in the room. LBJ was not an obstacle to voting rights. He just wasn`t. He was a champion of voting rights. JAMES PETERSON, LEHIGH UNIVERSITY: Well, Mr. Young`s comments also include the fact that President Johnson was interested in prioritizing other things at the time. That doesn`t mean he was necessarily against it, but the entire country in some ways, particularly white America, was reluctant and measured about these issues because of the tension in that particular moment. But I have to say, Chris, that for me, this was an unremarkable aspect of the film in many ways because the film is not about LBJ. And in fact, the film maker, Ava Duvernay, has said that she doesn`t want to make another, quote, unquote, "white savior" film, which is her sort of hearkening back to the ways in which history has gotten reported in films like "Lincoln" or "Mississippi Burning." And so she is deliberately pivoting towards the collection of leaders, and I think that`s what`s most important, Chris, that this is a film that`s not just about MLK. This is a film that`s about Coretta Scott King`s role -- MATTHEWS: OK, well, I -- (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: That doesn`t sound like an academic view to me. PETERSON: It`s about -- it`s about -- MATTHEWS: You can`t call LBJ -- (CROSSTALK) PETERSON: Chris, this is an academic view, that the way that we report history -- first of all, the way we report history is often multiple narratives and competing narratives and competing interpretations.   MATTHEWS: That doesn`t sound like an academic view to me. PETERSON: It`s about -- it`s about -- it`s about -- (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: You can`t call LBJ -- (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: OK. PETERSON: Chris, this is an academic view, that the way that we report history -- first of all, the way we report history is often multiple narratives and competing narratives and competing interpretations.   MATTHEWS: Sure, but are you arguing that there is a legit.. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Let me go to Joe Califano here. Is there a legitimate argument that LBJ didn`t support the Voting Rights Act? I don`t think if there`s a contributing narrative at all, because the director of this film will not come out on the record and actually say what the history was. She says it`s her movie. But there`s no argument on facts, it seems, even from the professor. There`s no argument over facts. LBJ was a supporter of voting rights and civil rights, the greatest champion we had. Why have we changed this? (CROSSTALK) PETERSON: He was, Chris, but there is some -- (CROSSTALK) CALIFANO: Give me a chance. (CROSSTALK) PETERSON: We can argue about the reporting of history.   (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Just a minute. Joe Califano, please. (CROSSTALK) PETERSON: Because that is what history is about. CALIFANO: Give me a chance, please. Let`s be clear on this. There were three great civil rights bills. Voting rights was one of them. First came the Civil Rights Bill of `64, when LBJ`s staff right after Kennedy`s assassination said, don`t go with that bill. You`re going into an election year. And LBJ said, what the hell is a presidency for? And he went with it, and he got it passed. Voting rights was on his agenda. Sure, education was. In that conversation with Dr. King, he points out there, will be billions for your people for education. There will be billions for health care. But the most important one is voting, if they get the vote. And the day after -- when we came back from the White House that day in the car -- back from the Hill that day, he signed it in the car. LBJ said to me, get on the phone, call Katzenbach, who was the attorney general. I want suits filed. We got to end the poll tax. We got to end the literacy test in the Southern states. And I want federal examiners. And we sent hundreds of federal examiners into virtually every county in those five Southern states that week. I mean, this was the -- and in later years and at the end -- later in his presidency, LBJ said, the -- we passed a lot of bills, Medicare, Medicaid, this and that, but the most important bill we passed was the voting rights bill. PETERSON: Well, the film doesn`t dispute that piece.   (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Well, after the images of Selma were beamed around the country - - let me go on and show some pictures here, where President Johnson delivered one of his most significant and moving addresses to the country. In it, he uses the language of the civil rights movement to push for voting rights. He also pushes for the country to embrace the civil rights movement as a whole. Let`s watch LBJ. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) LYNDON BAINES JOHNSON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Even if we pass this bill, the battle will not be over. What happened in Selma is part of a far larger movement which reaches into every section and state of America. It is the effort of American Negroes to secure for themselves the full blessings of American life. Their cause must be our cause, too, because it`s not just Negroes, but really it`s all of us who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice. And we shall overcome. (APPLAUSE) (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: James, the Democratic Party lost the South because of that kind of statement. PETERSON: That`s right.   MATTHEWS: LBJ delivered to the white South the entire political history of the Democratic Party in the South because he stood for civil rights. Why take that away from him? Why is this seen as a zero sum gain by this film director? You can`t give Dr. King credit if you give LBJ any? They both deserve it. There`s only one guy that gets the holiday in this country`s history. That`s Dr. King. What`s the reason to put down LBJ to -- supposedly to help the legacy of Dr. King? I don`t get it. What`s the purpose? PETERSON: Chris, Chris, my sense of the film is that it does not put down LBJ. The things that you guys are pointing to, which are absolutely correct, are actually historical moments that are out beyond the scope of the thing that is in question in the film itself. But I don`t think this film is about LBJ and I don`t think it`s about MLK. I think it`s a dramatization of the events of Selma, so that people can better appropriate the collection of leaders that worked towards the civil rights movement. MATTHEWS: I`m going to watch it. I will tell you that. PETERSON: And that, in and of itself, is -- and that, in and of itself, for me, Chris, is a very important aspect of the film. MATTHEWS: OK. PETERSON: And so we can debate -- we can -- (CROSSTALK) PETERSON: Can I finish, please?   CALIFANO: Of course. PETERSON: We can certainly debate the timing and the ways in which LBJ supported civil rights, but this film is not about that. CALIFANO: One -- the most important thing about that whole story of Selma is, it was another example of an incredible partnership before this president that started out in the South, and this great civil rights leader. They were partners. What we would give to have partners like that today in this country -- MATTHEWS: I agree. Well said. CALIFANO: -- in the leadership and in the White House. MATTHEWS: Joe Califano, thank you, sir, James Peterson. Gentlemen, thank you for coming up. It`s a great debate. Coming up, police in New York City once again turn their backs on Mayor Bill de Blasio. When we come back, the latest on that rocky relationship and what the mayor needs to do, apparently, to turn things around. And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.   The relationship between New York police and the city`s mayor is on shaky ground tonight. Yesterday, the second police officer murdered on the job last month by an assassin who said his intent was to kill police was laid to rest. And just like in the first service, some police officers attending the service outdoors turned their backs when Mayor de Blasio spoke to protest what they say is a lack of support from the mayor. Late today, Mayor de Blasio announced year-end crime statistics that included a record low number of murders in New York and referred to the two slain police officers when he touted the police success. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BILL DE BLASIO (D), MAYOR OF NEW YORK: Thirty-five thousand people protect us, and as you`re going to see in a moment, they do it very, very well. These two brave men we lost, they contributed to this outstanding progress from last year. They didn`t get to see the end of the year, but they were part of that success. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, Mayor de Blasio also acknowledged the tension between City Hall and the police and called for improvement. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DE BLASIO: Rather than get lost in the daily back-and-forth by the loudest and most disrespectful voices, those that have been so loud in this debate in recent weeks, let`s talk about where we need to go as a city. Let`s talk about a positive vision. Let`s talk about what the people of this city want us to do together. And I will tell you, this is the vision I think we will see play out in the near future in New York City. (END VIDEO CLIP)   MATTHEWS: Where is all this heading? Mike Paul is a former adviser to New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. And Val Demings is a former Orlando police chief. Chief Demings, thank you. What do you make of this? This thing, you think it`s going to go away, and every time there`s a funeral now, there`s a protest by the police against the mayor. They are deeply, for whatever reason, deeply -- hurt sounds too sensitive perhaps, but definitely ticked off at what they see as the mayor`s position vis-a-vis the police officer on the beat. VAL DEMINGS, FORMER ORLANDO, FLORIDA, POLICE CHIEF: Well, Chris, you know, it is a very tough time for New York. And police officers see themselves, although 35,000 of them in New York, they see themselves as one. One force. One department. One thin blue line. One family. And what they do realize is that every day that they put on the uniform, what happened to officer Ramos and what happened to officer Liu could happen to any one of them. And so during a tough time in the city with protests, and we know many officers have been battered, the officers are also grieving. We cannot forget that. They lost two colleagues very tragically, that they`re grieving too. And when one of their leaders makes a statement, when he`s talking about his relationship with his biracial son, is that we teach them to be very careful when they have an encounter with the police, although I don`t think the mayor meant it the way it came out, but it hit them hard. And I think they did the only thing really that they can do at this point, and that was to turn their backs in silent protest. But you`re right. It is time now just to come together and move forward. And I think, you know, based on the stats that the mayor shared today, obviously, this was a department that has worked very hard all year. Something happened. I believe the change happened on the day the mayor made the statement. And just like we have to attack race relations in our country head on, I think the mayor and the police commissioner should sit down with the officers and talk about that day and that statement head on. MATTHEWS: Well said. Let me go to Mike Paul.   Mike, you know what stunned me? I was watching the funeral. I was out of the country. I was in Haiti, by the way. I can talk about that challenge facing that country on another night. But I tell you, I was so taken by Vice President Biden`s statement at that funeral, where he said they call it New York`s finest because it`s the finest police force in the world. At a time of all this tension and crap being spoken on both sides, here he comes out and says something profound about the institution itself and its history. I thought that was powerful, what Biden said. He didn`t have to say it. I don`t think it was taking sides, but it was basically saying, yes, there are problems, yes, people do things wrong, yes, there`s crime, yes, there`s tough -- cops that shouldn`t be doing certain things they did. We can see that in the case of Eric Garner. But this is a great police force. I thought it was powerful stuff. MIKE PAUL, FORMER AIDE TO RUDY GIULIANI: I think it is a great police force. And I think the majority of cops, by the way, nationwide are good cops. You know, this is a difficult issue for me. You know, I want to say I just came from Governor Cuomo`s wake, and we have a mayor that uses a phrase that Governor Cuomo used, which is a tale of two cities. And I still believe that`s true today. MATTHEWS: Yes. PAUL: But Cuomo was the originator of that phrase. And I bring that up because we need a mayor -- this isn`t just about the police force and the police commissioner and the mayor. We need a mayor that is a peacekeeper himself. We need a mayor that is a mediator. Mario Cuomo was that kind of mediator, ironically, before he ever became governor. And rest his soul today. MATTHEWS: For Forest Hills, yes. PAUL: Exactly, in Forest Hills.   We have a mayor that got in on a message of change, but we need a mayor that doesn`t just have a press conference. I`m a P.R. guy now. I don`t work in politics myself. So I understand what a press conference is all about. If he were my client or if I was an aide still working for City Hall, I would say, Mr. Mayor, with all due respect, it`s time for you personally to start rolling up your sleeves, not press conferences. By the way, those stats were announced already. This is the second press conference where he`s announcing those stats and a second press conference where he`s given a message to the cops. The way that you become a peacemaker and a mediator is, you stand in the gap between both sides, and you`re able to bring the police and their union, as well as, not just the mayor -- but the police union has had some strong very messages against communities of color and the protesters that have been out there. Those are the three sides that need to be sitting down at the table. And that has yet to happen. MATTHEWS: Well said. You know what I have to tell both of you? It`s so great to read in "The New York Times" today and other papers that it isn`t just a racial thing. Police officers have had various opinions. Some African-American police officers think that -- they are disgusted with the protests. They don`t like some of these protesters and the way they have been talking. PAUL: That`s right. MATTHEWS: On the other hand, you have white police officers who point very clearly themselves personally to the need for reform. It`s a great thing about our country when we stop operating always tribalistically when we actually come out and say stuff that we have been thinking through and have experienced. Anyway, thank you. PAUL: Amen. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mike Paul as well.   Chief Demings, thank you. It`s great to have you on as an expert. It`s great to have you on Up next: Mike Huckabee is joining the Republicans` three-ring circus for 2016. He`s in. He`s out FOX. But Huckabee may well be the pied piper. And this is the good news for Hillary, that makes Hillary election a cakewalk. When you hear what this guy really believes and wants to put on the table for the American people next year, Hillary will be eating it up. You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) RICHARD LUI, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Hi. I`m Richard Lui. Here`s what`s happening. Thousands lined up to pay their respects to former New York Governor Mario Cuomo, including Vice President Joe Biden and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. A private funeral will take place tomorrow. Cuomo died last week at the age of 82. Jury selection has begun in the trial of Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. He faces 30 counts related to the 2013 attacks. He`s pleaded not guilty. And the CDC says flu is widespread in 43 states. That is up from 36 just a week ago. Twenty-one children have died -- now back to HARDBALL. MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Well, the GOP`s 2016 field is starting to take shape. The three corners of the stool are slowly being built. Former Governors Jeb Bush of Florida and Mike Huckabee of Arkansas are the first ones to grab a leg. Jeb Bush, who represents the establishment leg, resigned from his corporate and nonprofit boards as he explores a presidential campaign. And over this weekend, another wing or another stool, actually, of the GOP, the evangelicals, received some good news when Mike Huckabee announced he was leaving his show on FOX News to explore a second presidential bid. Here he is.   (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MIKE HUCKABEE (R), FORMER ARKANSAS GOVERNOR: The honorable thing to do at this point is to end my tenure here at FOX. Now, as much as I have loved doing the show, I cannot bring myself to rule out another presidential run. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, evangelicals are Huckabee`s most devoted and loyal supporters. And they helped him score a major upset in the 2008 Iowa caucuses. He won that, launching Huckabee into a real race against the establishment front-runner that year, John McCain. If Huckabee runs and wins the nomination this time, he will be the first Republican in modern times, I believe, to run as a true believer. Huckabee, an ordained Baptist minister, doesn`t have to pretend to support the party platform. His staunch opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage make him the real deal, family values conservative all the way, heading into 2016. Joining me right now is tonight`s roundtable: MSNBC political analyst and "Washington Post" opinion writer Eugene Robinson, a great columnist, Pulitzer Prize winner; "Daily Beast" senior political editor Jackie Kucinich; and MSNBC political analyst and "Mother Jones" Washington bureau chief David Corn. Enough introductions here tonight. I think Huckabee -- DAVID CORN, MOTHER JONES: Our time is up. MATTHEWS: -- is what Hillary wants for lunch, because all the social issues where she has majority support, pro-choice certainly in first trimester, same-sex marriage, all those winning issues with women and gay people, it will give her a reason to run that she wouldn`t have otherwise. It`s a fantastic reason to run. This guy is going to try to roll back the clock. EUGENE ROBINSON, THE WASHINGTON POST: Yes, I think it would be great for her if he did win the nomination. But let`s remember that he lost in 2008. And it`s a formidable -- MATTHEWS: Is the party --   (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: OK, we`re going to tit-for-tat. Is the party more -- is the party more liberal now than it was back when he won? I think it`s more conservative. JACKIE KUCINICH, DAILY BEAST: No, but they have new conservatives too. There`s new models. There`s Ted Cruz, there`s other people to give your money to. Huckabee`s problem always was raising money. MATTHEWS: Yes. KUCINICH: And it`s going to continue to be raising money. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Do you think Ted Cruz is a reasonable bet to be the nominee? KUCINICH: You know, I don`t think so. MATTHEWS: I think Huckabee is. KUCINICH: I don`t know, I don`t know. He didn`t win Iowa -- or he won Iowa but nothing else. CORN: The thing about Huckabee, too, you know, the party is more conservative in a lot of ways. I`m not sure it`s more social conservative than it was eight years ago.   People like Ted Cruz. He is a social conservative, but not because he is a social conservative. It`s more of his Tea Party opposition to Obama, Obamacare, and the rest of that. So, I think, you know, Huckabee is really not moving with the tide at all. And if the party went for him -- MATTHEWS: Who could beat him? Assuming there are three, I think there are three legs to this stool. One is the establishment wing, the big money wing from the East Coast, who tend to be hawkish. ROBINSON: Right. MATTHEWS: And then you have the sort of the Tea Party people who tend to be libertarian. And the then the evangelicals, who are the opposite libertarian, they want big government to protect their social values. ROBINSON: So, which corner of that stool do you put Ted Cruz for on for example? MATTHEWS: He`s hard to figure. ROBINSON: Well, it is hard to figure. I mean, Marco Rubio, I mean, you put both of them on a Tea Party -- I think you need more legs for the stool. CORN: We have to get a bigger stool. MATTHEWS: Let`s try it this way.   (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: For whom is it bad news? It seems to me two people I think suffer if Huckabee gets in whole hog. One is Santorum who doesn`t have real justification for running anymore. And Ben Carson, the newbie. I mean, I don`t know if he can still run if Huckabee is in there because they`re running for the same -- CORN: I would give the edge to Ted Cruz, but if Huckabee gets in early and he has a few good moments, he`ll make it harder for Ted Cruz. MATTHEWS: He`s easier to take than Ted Cruz. CORN: He is easier to take than Ted Cruz. But Ted Cruz would rather just have to worry about Santorum. KUCINICH: Santorum who won Iowa last time, you know, belatedly, but he won last time. But he`s a true believer. MATTHEWS: OK, let me just say this. Minimally, I think Huckabee will have an impact if he really runs. I think he`ll get some votes. He got seven or eight victories last night when he ran. Not just Iowa, he won. If he gets to the point where he makes that platform mean something, these guys like McCain say, you bring up the platform issue with these guys like McCain say, I don`t believe that. Even Reagan didn`t believe it. But Huckabee will insist it is carried out. He`s this right-wing conservative cultural thing of his. ROBINSON: But here`s the question: does winning the evangelical wing of the Republican party mean more in 2016 than it meant in 2012 or in 2008? And I don`t think it does.   MATTHEWS: Well, I think Iowa matters. You lose Iowa to Huckabee he`s up there, he`s going to win in New Hampshire, of course. CORN: Which is what last time he didn`t do. Even though he had a lot of support in New Hampshire from home schoolers, he still ended up with 10, 11 percent of the Republican vote. It wasn`t enough. He did OK in South Carolina. But this field is going to be tremendous. And we`ll have a couple big- money candidates. If Jeb Bush is in there, Rand Paul will have a lot of money. KUCINICH: Rand Paul has been courting evangelicals in Iowa in particular as well. You know, while Huckabee has been doing his show. There have been people on the ground, making in-roads while he`s been doing other stuff. MATTHEWS: This sounds like a chaotic party. (CROSSTALK) CORN: Chaos with K (ph). ROBINSON: OK, look, half full, half empty. There`s a lot of ferment. There`s a lot of stuff going on in the Republican Party. You can look at that both ways, frankly. And I think Democrats would be foolish to say it`s just chaotic, it`s a mess. They`ll never get anywhere. Out of chaos sometimes comes creativity and energy. And there is a lot of energy -- MATTHEWS: You sound like a modern business school. That`s my daughter`s (INAUDIBLE). Disruption is apparently a big part of it. ROBINSON: Does this party coalesce around a single figure with any sort of fervor? And that`s a big question.   MATTHEWS: It`s going to be a hell of a circle to square because -- square to circle because somebody is going to have to believe in all the cultural values, being right-wing on foreign policy, which they are. What else? Good for business. Anyway, the roundtable is staying with us. Up next, ESPN`s Stuart Scott bridged the gap between sports and politics. It`s a sad story. He just passed away of cancer. This is HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Well, we`ve talked about how the Republican Party is becoming a regional Southern party. But take a look at this -- nearly a third of all committee chairs in the next House of Representative come from one state. Texas. Six of the 21 chairmanships will be held by members from the Lone Star State. As "The New York Times" points, that`s the most from any one state since 1979. And we`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) STUART SCOTT, ESPN: When you die, that does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and in the manner in which you live. (APPLAUSE)   So, live. Live. Fight like hell. And when you get too tired to fight, then lay down and rest and let somebody else fight for you. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: They`re going to be remembering that for a long time. We paid tribute tonight to a cultural icon, of course, Stuart Scott, the legendary ESPN anchor who transformed sports broadcasting and inspired so many who battled cancer. Of course, he died yesterday at the age of just 49 after fighting the disease since 2007. That`s seven years. Scott`s entry (ph) on American culture extends well beyond sports, of course. On one occasion, he bridged the gap between sports and politics. He interviewed Bill Clinton. He played hoops with President Obama during the 2008 campaign. He showed us the human side of politics. When Scott interviewed candidate Obama in 2008, we got a glimpse of something extremely rare. We got to see our future commander-in-chief clad in sweat pants and t-shirt, talking about politics like a regular Joe. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SCOTT: If your vice presidential candidate had to be an athlete, who would you pick? BARACK OBAMA, THEN-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I`ll tell you what? I mean, I`m a Chicago guy, so I`m thinking Walter Payton. "Sweetness". That guy had durability, he could block, as well as run. Michael. He doesn`t lose. And, you know, since I haven`t won the presidency yet, you know, that wouldn`t be a bad teammate to have. I`ll just keep on feeding him. I`d figure he`d hit the last shot. (END VIDEO CLIP)   MATTHEWS: Keep on feeding him and I`d figure he`d hit the last shot. President Obama mourns Scott`s death yesterday, saying, "I will miss Stuart Scott. Twenty years ago, Stu helped usher in a new way to talk about our favorite teams and the day`s best plays. For much of those twenty years, public service ands campaigns have kept me from my family -- but wherever I went, I could flip on the TV and Stu and his colleagues on SportsCenter were there. Over the years, he entertained us and in the end, he inspired us, with courage and love. Michelle and I offer our thoughts and prayers to his family, friends and colleagues." What do you make of that? Something else. KUCINICH: You know, he not only -- we can talk about how -- talking about sports really humanizes politicians. But he humanized sportscasting. I mean, he talked about it in a way that everybody talks about sports. I grew up watching him and I remember seeing him for the first time covering a Washington football team. And it was incredible. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Fine with me. KUCINICH: So, you know, I`m just saying, that he really -- it was so cool to see him, because he`s this icon. He was so positive. CORN: There are very few sportscasters, I think, if you look through the history of sportscasting, but a lot of them are great but few stand out doing something different. Howard Cosell, Marv Albert and Stuart Scott, they also brought their own style in. And, in doing so, they changed their relationship between the sportscasters, the fans and the players. He was, you know, he was marvelous in that way without the ego of, say, Howard Cosell and the problems of Marv Albert. He was just that great example. MATTHEWS: We got guys like that in Washington, your paper, Wilbon.   ROBINSON: Yes. MATTHEWS: You had some great writers. ROBINSON: Well, we had Wilbon. He`s gong to ESPN now. (CROSSTALK) ROBINSON: But, you know, the SportsCenter and ESPN. They`re always there, you know. And he`s always coming into our living rooms and into our bedrooms. And he`s such a sort of constant presence there. You get used to that. And you develop a relationship with the sports caster, as David said. MATTHEWS: Harry Carey, there`s the kind of guys over the years that become very close to you, very close to you. CORN: Yes. MATTHEWS: This guy, too. Anyway, thank you for talking about it. Something a little different than politics. Eugene Robinson, Jackie Kucinich and David Corn. When we return, let me finish with a tribute to a liberal icon, three-term New York Governor Mario Cuomo, one of my heroes. You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.   (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with an extraordinary moment in Democratic history. The year 1984, Ronald Reagan is president. The Republican hold on the White House appears impregnable. And, yet, on the night of July 16th in the Moscone Center in San Francisco, New York Governor Mario Cuomo takes to the podium and makes a truly powerful statement. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MARIO CUOMO (D), THEN-NEW YORK GOVERNOR: Maybe, Mr. President, if you visited some more places, maybe if you went to Appalachia where people still live in sheds, maybe if you went to Lackawanna where thousands of unemployed steel workers wonder why we subsidize foreign steel. (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) Maybe, maybe, Mr. President, if you stop in at a shelter in Chicago and spoke to the homeless there, maybe, Mr. President, if you asked a woman who had been denied the help she needed to feed her children because you said you needed the money for a tax break for a millionaire or for a missile, we couldn`t afford to use -- (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: What set that night apart was the clarity of his message. It wasn`t a nuance of differences that distinguishes, but something central in the human experience, a difference of commitment. His party, the Democrats, stood for the vulnerable, those excluded from the victory circle. It didn`t win an election, of course, but it served a great purpose that night. People need to know why they elect one party over another. In big cities like New York, that purpose is what gives a party its mission. In big countries like ours, it gives meaning to the voters` decision. Are you for the Republican approach of tax cuts or the Democratic approach of activist government?   Of course, not all liberals act as they speak or treat other people in a way that squares with their politics. We`re all too familiar with the big liberal who may be snotty or too snotty to act toward people the way he says mankind should behave. Yet, I remember the night I was assigned a speech for Mario Cuomo, to give it an earlier Democratic Convention. And around midnight, I got a call at home. It was Cuomo himself, "I think I have it together," he said. I could relax in other words and not kill myself working anymore in a speech that`s now been written. Well, very few politicians write their own speeches, even fewer bother to call up the guy who`s assigned to write it and tell him to take a break, that he`s done the work. Very few politicians are like Mario Cuomo, who thought the words really matter and treating people right, especially the people under him matters even more. 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