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Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 01/27/15

Guests: Chief William Pittman, Gov. Dannel Malloy, Jason Samenow, ChristinaBellantoni, John Brabender

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Escape for New York. Let`s play HARDBALL. Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington. And the sprint to 2016 has picked up its clip this week. Republicans are piling up at the starting game, with Wisconsin`s Scott Walker joining Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney and Chris Christie in the quartet of governors. The Catch-22 for Republicans, unfortunately for all of them, stares us in the face tonight. Many of them think the only route to the nomination is the clown car, riding through a crap storm of right-wing politics. They`re just back from a right-wing summit out in Iowa hosted by a crazed U.S. congressman who says most immigrants are drug mules with calves the size of cantaloupes. So at this minute, we`ve got two big stories for you tonight, the politics of nasty weather, of course, and even nastier weather of Republican primary politics. Parts of New England right now are buried in close to three feet of snow, with some of the heaviest snowfalls coming late today. Authorities urged evacuations among several coastal areas. Wind gusts near 80 miles an hour were recorded on the island of Nantucket. And those are hurricane-force winds, of course. The seawalls have been breached up there, leaving coastal towns under seven feet of water and without power. And it`s not over yet up there. The storm had expectations in New England, but the big surprise, as I suggested in the cold open, is that it missed the main target in New York. Gotham was braced for up to three feet of snow, but saw only a seven inches. Philadelphia braced for more than a foot, but saw only a couple of inches. An official at the National Weather Service publicly apologized for those bad forecasts. Well, last night, we showed you what happened when mayors don`t prepare for a blizzard, that history was fresh in the minds, obviously, of leaders last night, perhaps, when they shut down the entire New York metropolitan area, making travel illegal, all for what turned out to be less than eight inches of actual snow. We`re watching some surprisingly nasty politics following all this good news, actually. For the latest on this storm, I`m joined by NBC`s Miguel Almaguer (ph), who`s up in Worcester, Mass, where the snowfall is historic.   THank you so much, Miguel, for joining us from where I spent four cold winters as a young man at Holy Cross. But go ahead. What`s happening in Worcester? MIGUEL ALMAGUER, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Chris, good evening. Yeah, record snowfall here, 31 inches and counting. They`re going to beat a record here tonight. This is, as you know, the second biggest city in all of New England, but right now, we are in the middle what should be rush hour. Instead, all you can see behind me is this huge snow drift. It`s more than 20 feet high. The issue here and across so many cities in this region is what do you do with all this snow once it stops snowing? That`s not going to happen here until tomorrow morning. Well, as you mentioned, in places like Nantucket, they have other worries. That area has been completely cut off. Folks can`t get in our out. They`re facing tidal surges, as well as the loss of some vital communications systems, like 911. So they are bracing there as this storm continues to batter the region. Meantime, in cities like Boston, also a record, more than 18 inches of snow, the snowfall still falling there. We were there with doctors earlier today, who were brought into the hospital by police escort. One doctor even skied in. Today, there was a birth of a baby boy during the storm, his mother telling us she didn`t even know this storm was happening during the birth, and she was thrilled to have missed it. Certainly an epic storm here, many of folks glad they missed it. For the good news, the storm has not been devastating. Many of the cities here are shut down, but the services will likely reopen tomorrow. But it`s going to take a long time for so many of these coastal cities here to dig out, Chris. MATTHEWS: Let me ask you, what`s your assessment out there in the bitter cold of Worcester, that Worcester got all the snow, and so did Nantucket, but New York City, Gotham, as I just called it, somehow whisked right by this whole thing. ALMAGUER: Yeah, it`s brual in Worcester. It`s very cold here, wicked cold, as they would say. As you mentioned, yeah, New York and New Jersey seemed to kind of just be breezed and bumped by this storm. It was snow, of course, across the area, but it was not what officials had predicted, which was several feet of snow. Instead, it was more of a dusting. They shut down major transportation hubs, of course, a major issue in New York City. And the storm never really materialized. Of course, the big debate-- should the governors and city leaders have done all of that since the storm wasn`t a major impact. They say yes, they should have, because if they didn`t and this storm had pile-drived into that city, as it did not, there would have been chaos there. So they say they made the right moves here in Worcester. Things are shut down for a reason. It`s cold and snowy out here, Chris. MATTHEWS: Miguel Almaguer telling us the great story up in Worcester, Mass, one of my favorite cities. William Pittman is the police chief out in Nantucket, 28 miles out into the ocean. And that town has suffered some of the worst damage. Chief Pittman, what`s it like up there on the island? CHIEF WILLIAM PITTMAN, NANTUCKET POLICE DEPARTMENT (via telephone): Well, it`s cold and it`s getting colder. The wind`s still blowing out here, and the snow`s coming down, and the winds are still, I`m guessing, up probably in the 30s steadily at this point. And so we`re getting a lot of blowing and drifting snow. And we still don`t have power restored to a lot of areas on the island.   MATTHEWS: Am I looking at Main Street here? Where is the flooding going on up there? PITTMAN: The flooding happens down around the harbor area, down Easy Street, Broad Street, North Beach Street area. Those-- they run parallel or around the harbor. As the winds come up and the tide comes in, the storm surge on top of it brings it over the seawalls and floods the streets. MATTHEWS: Permanent damage? What will it be, anything? PITTMAN: Not really. We got a couple of houses that probably have some damage. They had water a couple feet up the walls in the interior down on Washington Street. But most of the damage has caused just tree limbs and power lines down. MATTHEWS: Well, it`s one of the most beautiful parts of our country, Nantucket, Massachusetts. Thank you very much, Chief William Pittman of the police force up there on the island. Anyway, politicians down in New York, as we said, and New Jersey, are battling criticism that they overreacted by shutting down all transportation and making travel actually illegal. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) QUESTION: There are going to be a lot of critics saying that perhaps there was too much done for this storm. What would your response be to that? GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Well, my response would be we were listening to all of you. MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK CITY: My job as a leader is to make decisions, and I will always err on the side of safety and caution. You can`t be a Monday morning quarterback on something like the weather. GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: We had a storm several weeks ago where I believe the forecast was for a relatively modest amount of snow. And we then had seven feet of snow in Buffalo. I do not criticize weather forecasters. I learn.   (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Wow. Dan Malloy, of course, is governor of Connecticut and Jason Samenow is with me here in Washington. He`s "The Washington Post`s" weather editor. Governor, I am completely on the side of politicians who play it safe. You know, better safe than sorry, we`re told when we`re 3 years old, and I think after blasting the hell out people like Lindsay over the years and Michael Bilandic (ph) out in Chicago, and of course, Mayor Barry down here, and the new mayor down here because she got 1 inch wrong, basically, in her first action as mayor-- it was-- it was two inches of now, rather than one. She didn`t have the plows out, so she got blasted for that. And now people are out blasting people like Cuomo and de Blasio. I don`t want to blame them. And by the way, Christie ought to just keep quiet. Attacking the media`s the dumbest thing I ever heard of. We didn`t create the weather reports. They come from the weather bureau. Anyway, your thoughts? (LAUGHTER) MATTHEWS: Is it better to be safe than sorry? GOV. DANNEL MALLOY (D), CONNECTICUT: Well, I agree with you. It is. You know, I`ve been through a bunch of these, Irene and Superstorm Sandy and unbelievable weather storms. We had on 40 inches February 13th in parts of our state. You should always err on the side of caution and safety. That`s why I closed our highway system down at 9:00 o`clock last night. But it also allowed us to clean up a lot quicker than we otherwise would have been able to do. You learn as you go along in these things, and you always should err on the side of safety. And listen, let me say this to the meteorologists. Thank you. You know, you`re giving us the best information you have available. We need to act on it as leaders. It`s not just public safety, although that has to be the largest portion. It`s about how quickly you can recover after the fact, as well. You know, I`m sitting here listening to you talk about Worcester. You know, I played a lot of rugby against Holy Cross when I was at Boston College. I have a nephew and a niece who live on Nantucket. He`s an orthopedic surgeon out there. And of course, I was a prosecutor in New York City. These are vital places. They have-- the people deserve to be protected. That`s our job. That`s what we get elected to do.   MATTHEWS: Let me go to our expert here right now from "The Washington Post." Jason, how good is weather-- I mean, I never-- my mom used to stay up all night waiting for the weather. I said, What are we, farmers? We`re going to-- I still have to go to school. Dad`s got to go to work. Why do we check the weather? But people do it out of-- how good is-- what is it, 50 percent right, 70 percent right? I mean, how do you-- JASON SAMENOW, ``WASHINGTON POST``: Well, I think it`s a lot better than that. I mean, weather forecasting has made tremendous progress over the last few decades. For example, about three decades ago, a three-day forcast three decades ago is as accurate-- a one-day forecast is a lot more accurate than a three-day forecast was several decades ago. MATTHEWS: Really? SAMENOW: Yes. MATTHEWS: I think you meant to say that backwards. A three-day forecast is better than what a one-day-- SAMENOW: Yes, exactly. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: I get it. So but were there two models out there last night for the politicians to look at, the governors and the mayors, like Governor Malloy? Were they looking at two possibilities or a range of possibilities or what? What led Governor Cuomo to shut everything down at 11:00 o`clock last night? SAMENOW: Right. So there was a lot of differences in the various weather models that we look at. Some forecasts were showing up to three feet of snow in New York City. Some were showing closer to a foot. And I think what politicians did-- MATTHEWS: It`s 8. SAMENOW: Yes, I know.   MATTHEWS: Eight inches. SAMENOW: I know. The models were wrong. They-- our science is improving, but sometimes, especially when storms-- we`re right on the edge of a storm, the modelds can be just a little bit off. And it was a difference of just about 60 miles. Eastern Long Island got almost 30 inches of snow, whereas New York City just got 8. So that`s a very fine line. And so it`s a really tough call for forecasters in that situation. So what forecasters were doing, they were looking at this information and telling the officials, that, Look, this could be really bad. We could get up to three feet of snow in New York City, crippling the most populous city in the entire U.S. MATTHEWS: So what`s going to be the message to figure politicians, when Lindsay made a fool of himself, and so did Bilandic out in children and Marion Barry for the hundredth time? Is the message going to be now, Be careful, don`t be on the too cautious side, Governor? Or is it going to be the message of-- (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: --better be smarter than you are? Nobody`s smart enough to predict the weather. You just admitted it. You can`t predict the weather. You can`t. You can`t. MALLOY: You can`t, but I`ll point something out to you real quickly. They actually had the type of snow right this time. They told us what it would be and that it would be a lighter snow and there`d be a lot more wind pushing it around, and that sort of thing. Listen, err on the side of public safety. You`re going to get blamed for a lot of things as a mayor. I was a mayor for 14 years. They`re going to forget that you kept them safe, and they got mad about that. They`re going to remember if you don`t pave the road, if you don`t plow the street, if you don`t pick up the garbage. Those are the things that people remember on election day. MATTHEWS: Why do politicians wear those-- what do you call them, foul- weather gear costumes, when they`re inside? I`m just-- I was watching Cuomo the other day, Governor, and every-- you`ve got your shirt, your tie missing, that`s fine. But every-- they look like they`re off the Grand Banks, the George (ph) Banks. They`rek, like, out there catching fish. All they`re doing is walking outside for a few minutes for a presser and they dress accordingly. It just-- is this to identify with the people, identify with the working guy out there who`s shoveling snow? What is it about, the costuming? MALLOY: It`s-- well, first, the people who are home watching, you know, that`s how they`re dressed. I suppose that`s part of it. I`ll also tell you, it`s fun. I mean, you know, we got to wear ties all the time and to have an excuse not to wear a tie is not such a bad deal. MATTHEWS: Yeah, I thought Governor Cuomo should have had a harpoon with him last night. Anyway, thank you, Governor Dan Malloy. Congratulations. We rooted for your reelection. We`re glad the people chose you again, sir. Thank you.   MALLOY: Thank you. MATTHEWS: And Jason Samenow, for that very interesting admission now that you say that you can predict three days out as well as you used to be able to predict one day out. SAMENOW: That`s exactly right. MATTHEWS: But you didn`t get one day out yesterday. SAMENOW: Well, that`s right. But can I make one more point? MATTHEWS: Sure. SAMENOW: So what I want to say is that forecasters also have to accept some responsibility here just in that there were a range of possibilities, and I don`t think we did necessarily the best job at communicating the uncertainty, that there could be this huge spread. I think there was too much focus on the worst-case scenario. And so we have to do a better job at presenting the range of scenarios so public-- so that public-- MATTHEWS: The politicians are still going to have to make a call. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: --because if it comes out high, they`re dead. Now it comes out low, they`re surviving. None of these guys-- none of these guys are going to get beaten because they overreacted. Anyway, thank you so much. SAMENOW: You bet.   MATTHEWS: Much more politics-- Governor, again, thank you, sir. And lots of news out here tonight on the 2016 race for president. That is clipping along there. The right-wing clown car chugged into Steven King`s confab out in Iowa over the weekend. What a joke that was, and I mean it. Meanwhile, President Obama is at 50 percent in another new poll. So he`s creeping up past the 50 marks, which is going to mean a lot to a lot of people. It`s called success. That`s good news if your name is Hillary Clinton, who`s going to definitely latch onto, I think, the second term Obama. Plus, there`s a hot debate raging over the latest movie (INAUDIBLE) that`s just grabbing this country. I saw it. I think it`s a good movie, "American Sniper." Big question-- does it glorify war? I have an opinion. Or is it anti-war? It may be a little of both, but I think it`s more the first. Anyway, the answer may depend on your politics. And people who like politics are watching here. And can any of four of these Republican governors beat Hillary Clinton? They may have the best chance among the GOP contenders. You`re looking at them. Finally, ``Let Me Finish`` with the International Holocaust Rembrance Day, which is today, a day to never forget. And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Well, a Texas judge ruled late today the case against former governor Rick Perry can proceed. District Judge Burt Richardson (ph), a Republican, denied a motion to dismiss the indictment against Perry. Well, last year, a grand jury in Austin indicted Perry on charges of abuse of official power and coercion of a public servant. Perry`s accused of publicly threatening and then carrying out a veto of state funding for public corruption prosecutors after the unit`s Democratic district attorney refused to resign following a conviction for drunken driving. What a mess down there! And we`ll be right back after this. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)   MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Well, over the weekend, the Iowa congressman, of course, the one we talk about a lot, Steven King, who gave us the unforgettable imagery of calves the size of canteloupes-- he`s talking about immigrants there-- and the new noun ``departoble,`` as in that guy`s a deportable, to describe the children of illegal immigrants-- he was the man to see this weekend for a host of Republican 2016 hopefuls. Congressman King presided over the Iowa Freedom Summit, he called it, considered by many to be the starting gun of the 2016 Republican race. Let`s listen to Congressman King and the potential contenders. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. STEVE KING (R), IOWA: Do you believe that the next president of the United States is going to be speaking from this stage to you today? (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) KING: As do I. SARAH PALIN (R-AK), FMR. GOV., FMR. VP NOMINEE: Hey, Iowa, can anyone stop Hillary? Yeah, and let`s borrow a phrase. Yes, we can! SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: In a Republican primary, every candidate`s going to come in front of you and say, I`m the most conservative guy to ever live. Gosh darn it, boo (ph) diddly (ph), I`m conservative! Well, you know what? Talk is cheap. CARLY FIORINA (R-CA), FORMER SENATE CANDIDATE: Like Hillary Clinton, I too have traveled hundreds of thousands of miles around the globe, but unlike her, I`ve actually accomplished something. (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: I think people like the direction they`re headed. Maybe that`s why I won the race for governor three times in the last four years.   MIKE HUCKABEE (R-AR), FMR. GOV., FMR. PRES. CANDIDATE: I can give you a little bit of news about Mitt. Most of you know he and Jeb had a private meeting in Utah that was so private, it was on the front page of "The New York Times." And they called me late Thursday night after they had met and told me that both of them were dropping out and throwing their support to me. RICK PERRY (R), FMR. GOVERNOR OF TEXAS: Starting today right here in Iowa, let`s give it to them! GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: If I was too blunt, too direct, too loud and too New Jersey for Iowa, then why do you people keep inviting me back? (LAUGHTER) (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, it reminds me of tagging up in baseball. Candidates have to touch first base before rounding the horn, but is Steve King the base Republicans really want to tag? Joining me right now is John Brabender and Joan Walsh, editor at large for Salon. I got to start with the home team here, Joan. Excuse me, ladies second here. (LAUGHTER) MATTHEWS: But I think there`s a catch-22 in Republican politics, which is, if you want to win the presidency -- and these guys and women in the case of Carly Fiorina, all want to win -- you can`t win unless you get the nomination.   You can`t get the nomination if you straight-arm the right wing. You have got to go to the right wing, the evangelicals, the people on the -- perhaps the fringe even, to show you see will be their president, as well as other people`s. Isn`t that a problem? JOHN BRABENDER, FORMER SENIOR SANTORUM CAMPAIGN ADVISER: Well, it is. The paradox, as I always says, is what can get you elected can prevent you from being elected. That`s exactly what you were saying. And so I think there`s some advice that comes with that, too, is that whatever our -- whoever our nominee is this time has to go beyond just checking the boxes and -- on things like social conservative and so forth. The area and the target I think they have to be able talk to are hardworking families, middle-income families who feel like, to some degree, they have been abandoned by both parties, but particularly our party. I mean, most of our candidates don`t believe in the minimum wage. I think that`s outrageous. MATTHEWS: Yes. BRABENDER: So, whoever is going to win is going to fill a lot of different -- (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: So, there`s a lot more -- my argument, because my parents were among this crowd, there are a lot more cloth coat Republicans than mink coat Republicans. There`s a lot more regular people out there in the Republican Party than there are Bushes or Romneys. And yet you don`t hear from them now. BRABENDER: Here`s always been the case. In the Republican Party, there`s been boxes or buckets of votes, establishment and then the sort of -- sort of just anti-establishment. Then we added social conservative, then Tea Party and then libertarian. This time, there`s going to be two more voter boxes that didn`t exist last cycle.   Number one is going to be middle-income, hardworking families. There`s going to a real effort to say, look, we understand. And then the other that didn`t exist last time was national defense and terrorism. We`re seeing in polling data all across this country that what was a 2 percent issue is now creeping up to 10 percent, 11 percent issue. And that`s where a lot of these candidates are going to have to show that they can also be commander in chief. MATTHEWS: You know, Joanie, the last three Republicans to win the presidency, which means win more of the people than -- except for W. -- more people than the other guy got, basically forswore all the social stuff. I mean, nobody thought Ronald Reagan was serious about abortion rights. He used to address it by public address. He wouldn`t even go to the pro-life rallies every year, certainly not the waspy Yankee George Bush Sr. He had nothing to do with all the abortion, anti-abortion stuff. JOAN WALSH, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. MATTHEWS: And same way W. basically said when he went in there -- you have to appreciate it -- he said the times aren`t right to revisit that issue. The people aren`t going to change. It would require a total change of heart. It`s not going to happen, so I`m going to leave it alone. It seems like the only way a Republican wins is to say, I don`t really take seriously a lot of the platform that`s written down by the party. I don`t -- I sort of promise you I`m not going to mess with it stuff. Like, same- sex, is somebody really going to go out there and run against same-sex in 2016? WALSH: I think you will see some people doing that. No, I mean, what George W. Bush did, he learned from his father`s defeat. He spent a lot of time courting social conservatives. You`re right. In the end on the issue of abortion, he didn`t do all maybe he could. I don`t know. I don`t know how much more he could have done. MATTHEWS: What did he do? WALSH: Right. Exactly. He didn`t -- he didn`t do very much.   But the thing that was different back then is, they had a kind of narrowcasting way of getting to their key voters that didn`t necessarily turn off everybody else who didn`t necessarily hear that message. Now you have got -- I really think it`s an incredible development that you have all of these people, including top-line contenders, going to kiss the ring of Steve King, which, again, it`s not just that he`s anti-immigration. That`s a point of view. It`s that he`s so mean about it. And if there was one thing that conservatives and moderate Republicans seemed to agree on after 2012 was, you know, to the extent something like John is saying, we really shouldn`t be talking to and about people this way if we want them to vote for us. MATTHEWS: Yes. WALSH: And here is Steve King, who said some of the worst things about immigrant families that I can think of on the national stage. Why? MATTHEWS: Isn`t it interesting? Joan, it`s interesting, and, John, it`s interesting. There`s a number of ways to describe someone in this country illegally. You can call them undocumented workers, which is what I think they prefer. That`s sort of a euphemism, you might say. You can call them people in the country who came here illegally. You can say that. Or you can call them illegals, which is pretty damned cold, because you`re saying that`s all they are is illegal. WALSH: Right. MATTHEWS: And the worst of these is deportables. It`s like collectibles. They`re not even people. Why would you call somebody a deportable, as if that was a human -- what is a deportable? Is that a situation? It`s not a human experience. A deportable isn`t a recognition of a person`s humanity. And they are human beings. WALSH: It`s cruel. It`s cruel.   MATTHEWS: They broke the law to get in here, for good economic reasons, to get ahead. But you can`t dismiss them as they`re not people. Deportables? Why would this guy, Steve King, call them that? Well, why would anybody in your party who wants to get elected talk like that? (CROSSTALK) BRABENDER: But let me say this. First of all, if you watch the speeches, I thought they were pretty remarkable, because people didn`t get themselves singularly defined on the social issues, as sometimes as a party we force ourselves to do and spending so much time -- MATTHEWS: Give me an example. Who avoided that? BRABENDER: I think all of them. In fact, I would say I think Carly Fiorina was probably the only one that really spent a lot of time talking about the life issue, and also talked about Hillary Clinton. You know, you had candidates talking about, how are -- (CROSSTALK) WALSH: No, Chris Christie -- Chris Christie -- I`m sorry -- I will stop, John. BRABENDER: Go ahead. WALSH: Chris Christie and Scott Walker both said a lot about being pro- life.   And Scott Walker, who I think otherwise did a very good job there, felt that it was important to tell the country that he defunded Planned Parenthood. That`s not a mainstream issue. BRABENDER: He did. But Scot Walker didn`t -- wasn`t defined just by that. He went beyond that and showed how he created jobs. He created a story about taking on the unions, things that play well with Republicans. MATTHEWS: Why do you have to show your leg like that in the party? I mean, why is abortion such an issue in the party at this point? BRABENDER: We -- our platform is, we`re pro-life. And you have got to remember, just like your party, who shows up in primaries are the -- MATTHEWS: My party? You know, I have told you my voting record. It`s not that simple. But I will accept that. BRABENDER: Yes. Yes. Yes. All right. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: I am left of center. I am left of center. I will admit it. BRABENDER: Let`s be -- I`m a political consultant. All right? MATTHEWS: Right.   BRABENDER: I`m not a policy director, all that stuff. Who shows up in primaries, Democrat or Republican, are the most conservative and the more - - most liberal. And, frankly, these people know that and they have got to run that. But I will tell you -- (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: You know where I`m really against your party? And we`re into this partisanship little thing here, John Brabender. I can`t stand the fact you fight too many wars. I think the Iraq war was insane. And I think it was really bad for our country. And the attempt by your party, Reince Priebus all the way down, to repress black voting in this country -- voting rights are sacred. You wouldn`t mess with them. And you have got guys all over the country, Republicans, as Republicans, saying, we`re going to screw the black voter. That`s what you`re doing. So you want to get in this partisan game, I couldn`t defend that if I were you. BRABENDER: Yes. I think that -- MATTHEWS: And I don`t think you will. (CROSSTALK) BRABENDER: -- the Republican Party is very simple. If you`re right -- you have a right to vote, you should have a right to vote. (CROSSTALK)   MATTHEWS: Well, I wish you would act -- I wish you guys would act on that. BRABENDER: But I will tell you, this is now about things like shrinking wages under this president or stagnant wages. MATTHEWS: I`m with you on that. I`m with Santorum on that. BRABENDER: All those type of things, that`s what we need to talk about. MATTHEWS: OK. I have got to give Joan the last word. Joan, what do you make of the fact that the president now, who they have loved to say was under 50 percent, the latest poll, he is up at 50? I have a feeling he`s going to climb to -- if the economy gets back into shape again, real wage growth, which is the key, he will be up in the mid- 50s. He will be up in the mid-50s. Your thoughts? (CROSSTALK) WALSH: You know, that`s the trajectory. I don`t want to predict anything. But he`s up over 50. And people didn`t expect him to get there. There was a lot of talk about how Hillary Clinton is really going to have to distance herself, she can`t be the third term. She may want to be the third term by the time -- by the time the second term is through. So, it`s good for Democrats, it`s good for the president, it`s good for Hillary Clinton. And it`s also good for the country, because it is really around the issue of economic recovery. It hasn`t gone far enough, especially when it comes to wages, but it`s -- it`s -- things are better.   MATTHEWS: Well, as John Kennedy once said, and you know it well, victory has 100 fathers, and defeat is an orphan. Right now, the president is going to have 100 fathers, despite what Brabender tries to argue. (LAUGHTER) MATTHEWS: Anyway thank you, John Brabender. You get partisan with me, I come right back at you. BRABENDER: Yes. Yes. Yes. Wait until you see Obama -- (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Joan Walsh right now, thank you, Joan, as always. Up next: The Republican governor of Indiana is catching heat from both the left and the right for doing something that we usually see dictators do. He`s not that bad, but what he did is really awful. Anyway, this is HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART")   PERRY: America is looking for a new path forward, and starting today, right here in Iowa, let`s give it to `em! JON STEWART, HOST, "THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART": I mean, honestly, Governor Perry, why bother buying the smart guy glasses if the real affectation you`re going for is a big red moustache and a couple of six shooters aimed at a cartoon rabbit? (LAUGHTER) STEWART: We`re going to show them here in Iowa. Ba-bing, ba-bing. (LAUGHTER) (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL. I love that guy. Anyway, time now for the "Sideshow." That was Jon Stewart`s take on Rick Perry`s over-the-top performance at Congressman Steve King`s Freedom Summit out in Iowa on Saturday. Among the nine presidential 2016 candidates at that event in Iowa, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was especially well-received by conservative activists, but he`s now facing backlash from the band who wrote the music he used when taking the stage. The song, which was most famously used in the 2006 film "The Departed," is by the punk rock band the Dropkick Murphys.   And they had a bone to pick, I would say, with the possible 2016 candidate -- quote -- "Governor Walker, please to the using our music in any way. We literally hate you. Love, Dropkick Murphys." Well, that was nice. Anyway, finally, documents obtained by "The Indianapolis Star" shows that Indiana`s Republican Governor Mike Pence wants to create -- you won`t believe this -- you will not believe this -- a state-run news organization, an outlet which is to be funded by taxpayer money and coordinated by the governor`s own communications director. According to "The Indianapolis Star," the endeavor will -- quote -- "make pre-written news stories available to Indiana media," specifically targeting -- quote -- "smaller newspapers that have only a few staffers." Well, needless to say, the endeavor has sparked backlash, not only real journalists, but also from small government conservatives. Dave Read of Indiana`s Coalition of Tea Parties told the conservative site Breitbart News this: "A state-run, taxpayer-funded news organization designed to compete with independent news outlets is a shocking develop to many rank-and-file conservatives. He might as well call Pravda." Boy, that`s for sure. Up next: the debate over the hit movie "American Sniper." Is it pro-war or anti-war? Well, it`s a Rorschach test, many think. It depends on who you are and how you look at it, also probably who you`re watching it with. You`re watching HARDBALL here, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) PAGE HOPKINS, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Page Hopkins. Here`s what`s happening.   While the snow totals fell short of expectations in some parts of the Northeast, other areas are still being punished by the blizzard of 2015. MSNBC`s John Yang is in Portland, Maine, where the snow is still coming down. John, what`s the latest? JOHN YANG, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Page, 18 inches on the ground. And, as you say, this storm still has a ways to go. It`s very slow-moving. The winter storm warning here doesn`t expire under Wednesday morning at 7:00 a.m. And at the same time, you have got wind gusts up to 40 miles an hour blowing the snow that`s already on the ground, covering streets that have already been plowed, creating a hazard for drivers, and that hazard will continue. Even after the snow stops falling, that wind will keep the snow blowing -- Page. HOPKINS: OK. Thanks, John, NBC`s John Yang in Portland, Maine. And now we`re going to take you back to HARDBALL. MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. "American Sniper" continues to dominate the box office, earning more than $200 million in the last couple of weeks. It`s also set up a debate about whether the film encourages war and even glorifies snipers. Michael Moore, for example, has been one of its most vocal critics, tweeting last week: "My uncle was killed by sniper, by a sniper in World War II. We were taught snipers were cowards. They will shoot you in the back. Snipers aren`t heroes, and invaders are worse." Well, he later tweeted: "What would Jesus do? Oh, I know what he`d do. Hide on top of a roof and shoot people in the back."   Well, that can be pretty rough. Anyway, Seth Rogen also took heat for a tweet last week. He said, "American Sniper" kind of reminds my of the movie that is showing on the third act of "Inglourious Basterds." Anyway, Rogen later tried to clarify that he wasn`t criticizing "American Sniper." "My comment about the movie was not meant to have any political implications. Any political meaning was ascribed to my comment by news commentary." Somebody else did it. Anyway, on Friday, Bill Maher criticized what he saw as the film`s lack of nuance. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER") BILL MAHER, HOST, "REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER": "Hurt Locker" made $17 million, because it was a little ambiguous and thoughtful. And this one is just, American hero, he`s a psychopath patriot, and we love him. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, on the other side, Sarah Palin this weekend slammed, well, who else, Hollywood liberals who have criticized the movie. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: You know why that movie is breaking records all over this great nation? It`s because America needs a hero again. And Chris Kyle has been that man. And screw the left in Hollywood, who can`t understand --   (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) PALIN: -- what it is that we see in someone like Chris Kyle and all of our vets. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, to discussing this issue of your left right, pro-war, anti-war is or panel tonight, former Vermont and presidential candidate -- former Vermont governor and presidential candidate Howard Dean, editor-in- chief of "Roll Call", Christina Bellantoni, and our friend, "Washington Post" opinion writer and MSNBC contributor, Jonathan Capehart. Jonathan, you saw the movie. (INAUDIBLE) people that saw the movie. JONATHAN CAPEHART, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Yes. MATTHEWS: Did you like the movie? CAPEHART: I loved it. It was a -- Sarah Palin makes my head explode. Sure, Chris Kyle was a hero, but a complicated hero. He is a flawed hero in this movie. This movie war -- it`s a war movie, it was a tough movie to watch. His first kill in this movie is a child. MATTHEWS: A child carrying a grenade. CAPEHART: Yes, a child carrying a grenade, but still a child. We, this nation, filled with all these people most of whom will never see war -- MATTHEWS: Would you shoot a child who you knew was going to throw a grenade at American soldiers?   CAPEHART: But the thing about -- MATTHEWS: Now, would you? CAPEHART: That would be my job. MATTHEWS: That`s exactly the way I looked at it. That`s why you`re there. CAPEHART: But the thing about that movie was that -- he didn`t see the child and say, OK, time to kill the kid. You saw the struggle that he went through. MATTHEWS: And he was calling in with his command. He was checking with people. He had a guy checking. It wasn`t sloppy. It was very professional. CAPEHART: Right. The point I`m trying to make here is about us in this country, I think it`s like 1 percent of the American population has been in the military, you know? If anything, it reminds us of the choices, the hard choices and the hard things that people in uniform -- MATTHEWS: SEAL training alone is frightening. How about SEAL training alone? That was pretty frightening. They`re basically tied down at the surf coming in. They`re basically being waterboarded by the in the surf. They`re just lying there in the cold, hours and hours and hours of it. And everything else they had to do to qualify to be a SEAL. CHRISTINA BELLANTONI, ROLL CALL: Yes, it`s a terrific film, those are great scenes. Part of it is the reflection -- what Jonathan is getting at is what this does to communities that are touched by war, and then what happens when people come home. And, you know, whether or not it ends up winning a war and people can talk about the importance of caring for our veterans and caring for people who do have mental illness. Even though we know what happened to him in real life, there he was ill and had some issues that he was grappling with. MATTHEWS: He killed 162 people -- BELLANTONI: Right. And so, that`s -- it`s a conversation the nation should be having. And if you disagree or agree with Palin or anybody else, part of it is that`s what we fight for in this country, right? We fight for the right to be able to speak.   MATTHEWS: Governor, you`ve been in a situation, Governor Dean, on "Real Time with Bill Maher" this week, you said, "People who go see this movie are people who are very angry." The actor Gary Sinise had a strong reaction to that. He wrote, quote, "You certainly have a right to make certain blank statements, suggesting that all people who see this film are angry, but how is that helpful, sir? Chris Kyle`s story deserved to be told. It tells the story of stress that multiple deployments have on one military family, a family representative of thousands of military families. It helps to communicate the toll that the war on terror has taken on our defenders." Your reaction. HOWARD DEAN (D), FORMER VERMONT GOVERNOR: I`ll tell you something which I almost never done in politics, I apologize for the veterans. I haven`t seen the movie, and I think it was wrong. I talk to a lot of people about it. I make no apologies to all the thousands of right-wing nut jobs who have twittering me with a nasty language. But I do apologize to the veterans. We owe them a lot and I think this movie was much more nuanced than I thought. MATTHEWS: But you would not take the word nut bags back? DEAN: No, I don`t -- the people who tweeted me all weekend and used a lot of bad language, they`re chicken hawks and I have not respect for them. MATTHEWS: We don`t like chicken hawks, like Dick Cheney. DEAN: I have a lot of respect for the people who serve this country and I apologize. MATTHEWS: Thank you, sir. Let`s go around the table. I think it was -- if you`re an 18-year-old kid, and you`re this would be a recruitment film. You don`t want to go in the military. Do you see it that way? BELLANTONI: I don`t see it that way. I think it was a dramatization of someone`s book based on their own personal story that Hollywood told a good story, getting at all the different ramifications of war. War is ugly.   (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: But it won`t encourage young men to join the military. BELLANTONI: I didn`t look at it that way. I mean, I`m a woman, but it certainly -- I think gets at some of the worst elements of it, what you`re leaving behind, your family -- (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: I think it would make a young guy think here`s my chance to be a guy. DEAN: I think people join the military because of the situation -- a ton of people joined the military after 9/11 because they feel patriotism -- CAPEHART: As did Chris Kyle. DEAN: I might get -- yes, mostly I think these films don`t make people join the military. I think that`s the circumstances of what happens to the country. MATTHEWS: I don`t like the way they called the Arabs in Iraq as savages, and I -- not because it may not have been accurate in some instance. Certainly, some woman who gives her son a grenade to take and throw and kill a bunch of people with, knowing the kid already shot is a savage pretty much, but the idea that Arabs, and somehow there`s a connection between 9/11 and Iraq? That`s something I will not accept. The Iraqis did not attack us. They had nothing to do with 9/11. That was the sales pitch to get us in that war. CAPEHART: But I think that gets to sort of the uncomfortableness, the messiness of war, the messiness of that situation. I mean, no, Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, but we lived through that, we saw what happened with the Bush administration and conflating 9/11 and Saddam Hussein. I mean, people went over to Iraq under false pretenses for --   MATTHEWS: Including that guy. CAPEHART: Including that guy, for the wrong reasons. And they went there, they had a job to do. It was horrible, it was ugly, it was messy. As Kristina said, they came back with problems. We have to remember, this wasn`t just one tour of duty that the Chris Kyle went through. He had four. If I have any fault with the movie, it is that the movie did not spend enough time talking about his transition after that last tour home. It was over within 10 minutes. MATTHEWS: The same thing with "Unbroken", the whole part of the story about the guy coming home a drunk, a miserable life, cut out of the movie. Anyway, we`ll have more with you, next. You don`t have to apologize in the next segment. (LAUGHTER) MATTHEWS: I don`t think I like apologies. I`ve been through them. DEAN: I don`t like them either. I don`t do them very often. But this one was worth it. MATTHEWS: You know, sometimes, I wonder if they even work. Anyway, the roundtable is staying with us. And up next, Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney, Chris Christie and Scott Walker, the new kid in the quartet, can any of those four Republican governors beat Hillary Clinton? My hunch is, unless you`re a governor, need not apply. You have to be an executive to out-credential Hillary Clinton.   And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Well, House Republicans are still investigating Benghazi. And in today`s hearing, frustrations spilled over on both sides of the aisle. Here`s Elijah Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the Benghazi committee. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D), MARYLAND: I`m saddened to report today that there are major, major problems with this committee and its work. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, Congressman Cummings says Democrats have been included from key parts of the investigation, including interviews with witnesses. Meanwhile, the Republican chairman of the committee, Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, fired back at allegations that he`s drawing out the investigation. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. TREY GOWDY (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: This is not a political exercise for us. We`re going to ratchet it up, because I need access to the documents and witnesses. And we need to be able to conclude our work.   (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, Congressman Cummings also said today that he`s spoken to Hillary Clinton about the possibility of her testifying before the committee. And according to Cummings, quote, "she did not hesitate for one second." Well, that would be quite a day when she`s back. And we`ll be back after this. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: We`re back. And today, another candidate tossed his hat into the 2016 ring and I think he has a shot -- Wisconsin`s Republican Governor Scott Walker. Walker took his first formal step toward a presidential run by filing paperwork to set up a committee which will officially help Walker explore a bid for the White House. Walker is the fourth big name governor signaling intentions to run for the GOP nomination next year. He follows the steps taken by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who`s all over the place, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, who is definitely back in, and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who we`ll all be looking to run. Back now with the former governor and who`s also ran for president, Howard Dean, and Christina and Jonathan. Governor, I want to ask you. You`ve been through this whole thing. I think beating Obama will require winning on the executive issue. DEAN: You mean Hillary. MATTHEWS: Well, beating the record of Obama, which they`ll really be running against. I think they`ll be running against Obama.   DEAN: If the election were held today, he`s got a 50 percent, he`s 50 for the first time in t eight months. MATTHEWS: It takes awhile to adjust. It will be all right. DEAN: Yes, I would be all right. I do think -- I mean, obviously, I`m biased. I think governors that executive experience, so that`s an advantage. The problem they have is there`s nobody with more experienced in the country than Hillary Clinton. Nobody in doing all of the things that president`s do. So, I do agree though. I think, you know, these four governors, and one of them will probably get the nomination. MATTHEWS: Yes. I just wonder if we want another talk or we had a very good president, he is a great talker, but I sense that gear is warn out right now. BELLANTONI: It all depends on how they do with voters and how they do on that debate stage with whatever the current events are, right? We never would have predicted that the 2008 presidential election would have turned on the economy. There was such little talk about the economy in any of those debates, and that ended up being the defining issue for voters in the election. MATTHEWS: In 2000 when? BELLANTONI: 2008. MATTHEWS: Yes. BELLANTONI: And so, you just don`t know. And I think that`s one of the great things about what we do is we get a chance to see all these candidates -- MATTHEWS: That`s why Mitt Romney --   (CROSSTALK) BELLANTONI: Forget the polls. These guys are well known because we`re covering them. MATTHEWS: What do you think of this Governor? I think Walker is a sleeper. I think he can win it. CAPEHART: Well, the good thing about this `16 crop so far, with these four governors, compared to `12, is that, say what you might want to say about Governor Romney, a race he ran, there are no clowns yet in the Republican field. MATTHEWS: Did you catch Rick Perry`s act this weekend? CAPEHART: Well, I mean, that`s Rick Perry. But we`re talking about the four that we just mentioned. These are four serious people. So, I look forward to seeing the debate that happens between them, I hope it`s serious. I hope it`s serious. DEAN: These are four serious people. It`s interesting. The best politician of the four of them is Scott Walker. He`s also got the worse record with the highest unemployment and the fewest jobs created. Given his age, I think most likely Romney or Bush will win the nomination. He`ll be a viable candidate for vice president. MATTHEWS: I thought he`s (INAUDIBLE) Ed Schultz had him on the run a couple of years ago and he came back. CAPEHART: Well, as he likes to -- as Governor Walker likes to say in his speech, you know, he`s run for governor three times in one term and he`s won. I mean, you got to have some, I don`t know -- (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: We agree he`s in the run, OK? We do?   Howard Dean, Christina Bellantoni, and Jonathan Capehart -- (LAUGHTER) MATTHEWS: Wait, I know who you are. We`ll be right back after this. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this: Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. I want to thank Martin Goldsmith for alerting me to this during his classical music program on serious radio over the weekend. Martin has written an important and evocative book on this subject called "Alex`s Wake", which chronicles his journey retracting that of his grandfather and uncle, their trip on the way to Auschwitz. Both of them could have been saved, by the way, from the Holocaust had the United States let them enter this country, had the ocean liner St. Louis been allowed to disembark back in 1939. I urge you again to get a copy of Martin`s book and join him on his journey of discovery. Quote, "I have come to feel a deep need to connect with that vanished generation", he writes. "With those members of my family who were murdered a decade before I was born." Well, to me, the vital point here is never to forget that the Holocaust truly happened. It happened in Europe. With all of its modernity, its science and Christian tradition, and that reality is something we are best to accept into our very souls, only by knowing that it truly happened can we guard all of us against any creeping back to that horror. My uncle George, my father`s older brother, I will always be proud to say was a tank commander who liberated one of the concentration camps. He told my cousins of the shock of him and the other G.I.s of what they saw, the starving survivors of Dachau.   I recommended everyone go right now to the United States Holocaust Museum Web site and watch the documentary there free on the Holocaust. It tells the stories of how the Nazis gradually isolated the Jewish people of Germany as they slowly tightened the nut around them. It was all down with cool, ruthless, meticulous precision. Again, take a look of it tonight on the Holocaust Memorial Museum Web site. No one should ever forget. That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with all of us. "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END Copyright 2015 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.>