IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 02/04/15

Guests: John Feehery, David Ignatius, Michael Kay, Irshad Manji, SusanMilligan, Susan Milligan, Sahil Kapur

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Grandmothers know best. Let`s play HARDBALL. Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington. That`s it. You just heard it right, grandmothers know best. That`s the word from Hillary Clinton. The recent secretary of state has served notice that she`s embracing her new family position with gusto and taking it on the road politically. When she signed off Monday night about the need for vaccines with that hashtag, #grandmothersknowbest, it was a statement meant to be noticed to friend and foe alike. Quote, "I am who I am," I think she was saying, And I think it gives me a vital status in taking this country into the future. I care about the future because our Charlotte -- that`s her grandchild -- and all the other children of her generation are going to be living in it. Well, joining me right now to talk about this interesting development, Republican strategist John Feehery, as well as Joan Walsh of Salon. By the way, here`s how Hillary weighed in on the vaccination debate on Twitter late Monday night. "The science is clear," she wrote. "The earth is round, the sky is blue, and vaccines work. Let`s protect all our kids. #grandmothersknowbest." Anyway, Hillary and Bill Clinton became grandparents this past September, but now some say Secretary Clinton`s new family status as a grandmother could soften her image and also disarm her critics over the age issue. As Politico reported today, quote, "Democrats see this rhetoric as a way to spin Clinton`s age to her advantage and as a chance to show off Clinton`s family life to female voters and her personal warmth to young voters." I`ll start with you, Joan. I think it`s a statement -- that`s why I`m leading with it -- the first time Hillary has come out of the box and said, Guess what? Here`s how I`m running this time...   JOAN WALSH, SALON.COM, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. MATTHEWS: ... somebody who cares about the future because I got a stake in it. WALSH: Right. And the age thing is something that people are going to use against her, Chris, so I think it`s really great to get it out there this way. I think it`s really -- it`s great to own it. She`s a grandmother. She`s proud of it... MATTHEWS: You mean the way that the Democrats said that Bob Dole was lurching around... WALSH: No, I never said that! MATTHEWS: ... lurching from position to position that way? (LAUGHTER) WALSH: Both sides can use age, I will admit that. But I think that it is something that people are a little bit afraid of. And I think this is a great way of her saying, I`m at this time of my life. I`m having the time of my live. I`ve got a granddaughter I adore. And I care. She did start with science. I do want to point out she started with science. It wasn`t entirely based on "grandmothers know best," but she -- she owned it. MATTHEWS: It was almost like a nursery rhyme, John, mothers know best... (CROSSTALK)   MATTHEWS: ... a certain rhythm to it. Your view about Hillary and the way she`s apparently handling her self-definition, because Al Gore once said -- not that he was the most successful politician, but he`s a smart guy -- he said, If you don`t define yourself early on, the other guys will. JOHN FEEHERY, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, it`s uncharted territory. We`re not quite sure how the American people will react. You wrote in a book many years ago that you put a spotlight on your problems or... MATTHEWS: Bobby Kennedy said, Hang a lantern on your problems. FEEHERY: Yes. And I think that -- that`s one of her biggest problems is she`s going to be 70 when she runs. That`s always an issue. When John McCain runs that -- that old, or when Ronald Reagan was that old, I mean, it`s an issue that comes up. I think that you`re right, she`s trying to define this in the most positive terms. And we`ll see how it works. MATTHEWS: How does it come up? FEEHERY: How does it come up? MATTHEWS: Yes. FEEHERY: Well, that`s a good question because... MATTHEWS: You just brought it up. FEEHERY: I think -- I think -- I think Republicans are going to have to tread very carefully on this because for them, you know, they`re -- they`re -- you have to be able to appeal to that voting bloc, older women... MATTHEWS: Who vote.   FEEHERY: ... who vote... WALSH: Right. MATTHEWS: ... and many times vote for Republicans. So they have to handle it... MATTHEWS: OK, let`s... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Let`s talk about what you just said because you`re a good guy, so I`m not going to jump on you like I normally would to somebody who just said what you did. But I could argue that you`ve just stepped into a trap. Just a minute. Mitt Romney is basically a grandfather... FEEHERY: Right. MATTHEWS: ... of many grandchildren. And it has never come up that this was a negative. He`s about the same age as -- look at his family there. Look at that progeny. WALSH: Right. MATTHEWS: That`s a statement. FEEHERY: Right.   MATTHEWS: That`s never been an issue. Jeb Bush is a grandparent. The idea that Hillary`s a grandparent, why would that be a potential negative? FEEHERY: Well, I -- I -- I`m not... MATTHEWS: Or her age even, just generally speaking, her age. Why is her age an issue with her, rather than with her peers? FEEHERY: Any time you`re around... MATTHEWS: Male peers. FEEHERY: Any time you`re around the 70 age barrier, it gets to be an issue, and that`s just... MATTHEWS: Well, why didn`t it ever come up with -- with -- with Mitt Romney? FEEHERY: Well... MATTHEWS: And he`s not running as of a week ago. FEEHERY: He`s not... MATTHEWS: A week ago...   (CROSSTALK) FEEHERY: He`s not -- he`s not near 70. He`s not going to be 70 when he runs. She`s going to be 70. I think that -- that is a big -- that`s a big age difference there. MATTHEWS: He`s six months older than her. WALSH: They`re... MATTHEWS: Let me -- why don`t you absorb that, John Feehery. FEEHERY: Well... MATTHEWS: He`s six months... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: He was running a week ago, and it never came up! WALSH: I think -- I mean, look, there is a double standard for women. We had Rush Limbaugh telling us and we had Drudge telling us no one wants to watch a woman get old before their eyes. I mean, it`s clear that we really have to endure more scrutiny. I don`t think you were bringing this up yourself. Karl Rove brought it up in terms of her health. Some of them would be very -- you know, very dignified concerns about her health. Does she have the stamina?   FEEHERY: It was an issue for Ronald Reagan when he ran at 70. It`s just an issue. I mean, now... MATTHEWS: No one wants to see a woman grow older before their eyes -- what is marriage, if it isn`t growing old together? WALSH: Well, he`s on his fourth -- Rush is on his fourth wife so, you know... MATTHEWS: He got the new model... (CROSSTALK) WALSH: If you just keep trading them in, you`re not stuck with that problem. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Oh, great, you know? A lot of mileage (INAUDIBLE) (LAUGHTER) (CROSSTALK) FEEHERY: Listen, I`m not saying it`s an issue. I`m not saying it`s an issue.   WALSH: No, you`re not. FEEHERY: I`m saying... WALSH: You`re one of the good guys. FEEHERY: ... she`s trying to define it in a most positive way. She`s the one... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: I think -- I think -- I think -- I do -- two things go on in politics. One is self-definition. You have to define who you are. WALSH: Right. MATTHEWS: Look, we`re Americans. You start with that. Then you go with, I`m a conservative or a liberal or whatever. Then you define that. And then you say, What offices have you held? You help the people out here, step by step. And one of them is, Look, if you noticed, I`m female. Number two, if you noticed, I`m of a certain age. Anyway, Ross Baker (ph) -- I`ve known him forever. He`s a professor at -- he writes a lot of columns. He presented a different view in "USA Today" actually this week on how Democratic women affect their party. Joan, you`re going to jump on this baby. "Women have assumed dominant" -- I love that word, "dominant" -- positions and have scared off serious male challengers. Take Hillary Clinton and Representative Nancy Pelosi. Both are towering and intimidating figures who have sucked the oxygen out of the spheres they dominate. True, they have successfully promoted the candidacies of women, championed issues that appeal to women and generally been rewarded with their support. But the very elevation of these extraordinary women has placed male Democrats in a position of being unwilling to challenge them." WALSH: Oh...   MATTHEWS: Although Steny Hoyer did run against Hillary. (sic) WALSH: Steny Hoyer ran against her! MATTHEWS: Against Pelosi. WALSH: And in 2008, a whole bunch of guys ran against Hillary Clinton, and one of them beat her. I mean, this is just preposterous. But I do want to thank both of you guys for manning up and showing up here with me tonight and not being intimidated and not letting me suck the oxygen out of the room. (LAUGHTER) WALSH: There`s still room for male pundits at the table. MATTHEWS: Oh, God! I can`t breathe! I can`t breathe! (LAUGHTER) (CROSSTALK) FEEHERY: The interesting thing about Nancy... WALSH: It`s ridiculous.   FEEHERY: The interesting thing about Nancy Pelosi is no one can beat her as leader because she is really where the heart of the Democratic caucus is because she`s liberal and -- as the caucus is liberal and she raises the most money. (CROSSTALK) FEEHERY: It`s all about the money. MATTHEWS: And your party`s been knocking off the moderates now for years. WALSH: Right. FEEHERY: And I -- and I still don`t think that Hillary Clinton -- I still think there`s a chance that someone is going to knock off Hillary, and it might be... MATTHEWS: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa... FEEHERY: It might be a male. MATTHEWS: Place your bets. You`re on television. We`ll hold the tape for you. What is it? Who`s going to beat her? FEEHERY: Well, to be determined. I`m not sure... (CROSSTALK)   MATTHEWS: ... Martin O`Malley... FEEHERY: I`m not sure. MATTHEWS: ... Bernie Sanders? FEEHERY: It could be Jon Tester. Who knows? I mean, somebody could beat her. And she might not run. It`s a possibility. You`ve got to lay it out there, and then, you know, who knows what happens. MATTHEWS: So how`s your guy doing? How`s Bush doing? In a question and answer session after the economic speech he gave today in Detroit, Jeb Bush actually addressed his biggest -- (INAUDIBLE) he made the change. It was last week it was Mitt. Now it`s Jeb. Here he is. He talked about his last name, the Bush name. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JEB BUSH (R), FMR. FLORIDA GOVERNOR: I love my dad. In fact, my dad is the greatest man alive. And if anybody disagrees, we`ll go outside unless you`re, like, 6-5 and 250 and much younger than me. Then we`ll negotiate. (LAUGHTER) BUSH: I`m still not going to change my mind, for sure. And I love my brother, and I think he`s been a great president. It doesn`t bother me a bit to be proud of them and love them, but I know for a fact that if I`m going to be successful going beyond the consideration (ph), then I`m going to have to do it on my own. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Your witness, John. That was the first time he...   (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: ... self-definition. He`s now joined the question. WALSH: Right. MATTHEWS: How do I -- how do I get to be a new Bush while I`ve got the baggage of the old Bushes? FEEHERY: The Bush -- the bumper sticker is not going to be Bush. It`s going to be Jeb. And I think that Jeb... MATTHEWS: Like Hillary. FEEHERY: I think Jeb has got to identify -- define himself, which I think he can easily do, as opposed to his brother. He`s going to chart a new course. And I think that he`s -- with his authentic kind of approach to politics, he`s going to be much more appealing than anything we have... MATTHEWS: You (ph) are a spy on the Republican Party. You`re a centrist Republican, I think. Let me ask you this. Is he going to be more his dad, who most of us really like, or is he going to be more like W. as a hawk? FEEHERY: I think he`s going to be a pirate (ph). I think he`s going to be secretly conservative, unlike his dad, who was actually secretly moderate, but he`s going to be campaigning more as a moderate... MATTHEWS: Will he be a hawk? Will he be a hawk? FEEHERY: I`m -- I -- I think he`ll be...   MATTHEWS: Going into new countries with armies! FEEHERY: I think he`ll be... MATTHEWS: Banner flying! FEEHERY: ... much more towards his father than his brother. MATTHEWS: Good. So his people won`t be a bunch of neocons. FEEHERY: I don`t think his people (INAUDIBLE) Although he will -- he will have neocons that support him. MATTHEWS: No, I was hoping he`s going to bring in people like Richard Haass and reasonable Republicans. FEEHERY: And Brent Scowcroft and guys like that. (CROSSTALK) FEEHERY: And I think he`ll do that. I think he`s going to have a far more... MATTHEWS: I think that`s the number one concern of people of my politics, sort of center-left...   WALSH: And it`s... MATTHEWS: ... that they ever -- or even in the center, who think they might vote for him because they like him, they just like the guy -- their fear is not his education policy or his immigration policy because they like that and they like Common Core. What they fear about him is, as moderate as he seems domestically, all those cowboys, all those right-wing hawks... WALSH: And that is... MATTHEWS: ... are going to come after him. WALSH: I think he does need to get out there and talk about what is this Bush doctrine and... MATTHEWS: Here he is. Here he is. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Meeting your demand, Governor Bush unveiled what he calls his "reformed conservative agenda for America" out in Detroit today. It was a mix of economic populism and conservative doctrine. Here he is putting it out. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BUSH: The recovery has been everywhere but in the family paychecks. The American dream has become a mirage for far too many. So the central question we face here in Detroit and across America is this. Can we restore that dream, that moral promise that each generation can do better? If we can`t answer that question, look, no tax, no welfare program will save our system or our way of life because America`s moral promise isn`t broken when someone is wealthy, it`s broken when achieving success is far beyond our imagination.   So I`m getting involved in politics again because that`s where the work has to begin. The opportunity gap is the defining issue of our time. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: I can`t argue with that. I`ll tell you, that goes with community college, with educating kids... WALSH: Well, right. MATTHEWS: ... and all the good stuff. He didn`t fill that blank in, though. WALSH: I think it`s terrific that Republicans are talking about this now. I really do. If we can agree this is a big problem, we can solve it together. However, that speech had nothing about community college, earned income tax credit... (CROSSTALK) WALSH: How would he -- well, it`s time to fill it in. MATTHEWS: He can`t (INAUDIBLE) taxes for the rich and say he`s doing it to help (INAUDIBLE) FEEHERY: I think his biggest challenge... WALSH: We`ll see.   FEEHERY: His biggest challenge is going to be putting meat on the bone. WALSH: Yes. FEEHERY: What are the policies that fill this thing that are conservative that conservatives will embrace? His brother had two policies, No Child Left Behind and prescription drugs... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: They`re not letting him behind. That`s a Dianne Feinstein joke. The other night, she told that. Their policy is... (CROSSTALK) FEEHERY: I think Jeb would be a great president, but how you define policies... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Well, I hope he`s got a -- by the way, tell me, what`s a conservative to for a working kid in a bad neighborhood who wants to break out and get a real job and make a living? How do you help that guy? FEEHERY: Well, there`s a couple things. First you have to deal with crime control and you have to make sure that education -- that schools are -- are solid. And you have to deal with families. You`ve got to make sure the family structures... (CROSSTALK)   FEEHERY: ... and support of the family, all of those... MATTHEWS: I think it`s broad (ph) education in high school, real technical stuff, too, not just... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Thank you, John Feehery. We can figure it out right here at this table. Turn off the camera and get it done here. Joan Walsh, thank you. That`s the nicest thing you`ve said about Republicans in my hearing (ph) lifetime. And I really have a soft spot. I want to hear from Jeb. I`m not ready to put that guy down, and I hope I don`t have to. I hope he`s a real contender because of all that crowd running, you got to like him. Coming up: The horrific murder of a Jordanian pilot -- talking about horrific by ISIS. Jordan executed two ISIS prisoners today, and Jordan`s king is vowing "relentless war" against the terrorists. Is this the turning point that may rally the Muslim war against the bad guys? Plus, Chris Christie goes to London to try to build a foreign policy imagine out of nowhere, but he returns home in worse political shape than when he left Jersey. And why was President Obama so irritated after Mitt Romney called him to concede -- concede! -- 2012 the election? Obama didn`t like the sound of his concession on the phone! Well, that`s ahead with the roundtable. Finally, "Let Me Finish" with Secretary Clinton`s role in life, which is -- she`s defining it now. This is HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Confirmation hearings began today for Ashton Carter, President Obama`s pick to be secretary of defense. And things got hot over Syria. We`ll get to that in a minute, but right off the bat in his opening statement, Chairman John McCain took this shot at the White House.   (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I must candidly express concern about the task that awaits you, if confirmed, and the influence you would have on some of the most critical national security issues facing our nation. Two of your predecessors, Secretary Gates and Secretary Panetta, have severely criticized White House micromanagement of the Defense Department and over- centralization of foreign and defense policy. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, Mr. Carter vowed to work with the White House and the Republican-led Congress on smatter of national security and said he`d be a stickler for the chain of command. And we`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Well, Jordan, the country of Jordan, vowed to wage a relentless war against ISIS the day after that horrific video was released by the group showing a captured Jordanian pilot being burned to death while trapped in a cage. According to "The New York Times," quote, "The latest atrocity by the Islamic State was met with revulsion and outrage across the Arab world. Jordan immediately promised an "earth-shaking" response. Well, overnight, it executed two Iraqi jihadists, including a woman, an attempted suicide bomber. Influential religious leaders have also spoken out. The head of Al Azar University in Cairo, which is the top Muslim authority in Egypt and revered by Sunnis, called for punishing ISIS fighters. He said they should be, quote, "killed, crucified or their hands and legs cut off." David Ignatius is a columnist for "The Washington Post" and Michael Kay`s a former senior British officer. Irshad Manji is the director of the Moral Courage Project at NYU. Thank you all for joining -- David, you`re here. Anger over atrocities, whether it`s that beheading or -- we all feel it. We feel it for three or four days, and then we go back to the policy that made sense over time. Will the Jordanians or any of the other Arab countries, the Saudis included, take really up arms against ISIS? DAVID IGNATIUS, "WASHINGTON POST": We`ll have to see. They already nominally are part of the coalition that`s fighting ISIS. An important aspect of the anger that`s clear in the Arab world is that it gives cover for people like King Abdullah of Jordan, for the new leadership in Saudi Arabia, other Arab leaders to move forward with the U.S., not to be embarrassed about it.   It`s interesting that Lieutenant Kaseasbeh, the poor pilot who was so brutally killed, is from a very tribal area of Jordan. He`s from a town in the south... MATTHEWS: He`s a Bedouin. He`s a Bedouin. IGNATIUS: He`s from the Bedouin area, and people in that part of Jordan and that part of the Arab world, when they swear revenge, they mean it. So people are angry and they`ll stay (ph) angry (ph). MATTHEWS: So you think they`ll go to war. IGNATIUS: Well, they`re at war. The question is whether they`re going to stick with it. And you know, we always say, Why don`t the Arabs speak up? Why don`t they say something? Why don`t they express anger? Today they did, from one end of the Arab world to the other, and I think that`s important. MATTHEWS: Michael Kay, how does this translate into reality and the fact that even when you listen to John McCain, who`s pretty hawkish, you don`t hear a coherent plan to beat ISIS, even over a reasonable period of time, or any period of time. You don`t hear it. How`s it work? How do you defeat a country, which now is a country, that has all of that land that it owns right now? MICHAEL KAY, FMR. BRITISH ARMY OFFICER: Well, John McCain`s got a very specific view about what to do with rebels and arming rebels. Let`s come to that in a second. The bottom line is, is that ISIS is a global threat, and with a global threat, it requires a multi-lateral response, and that isn`t just militarily, it`s holistically. Now, as already mentioned, Kaseasbeh was a devout Sunni Muslim. There are Sunni Muslims being slaughtered. There are Shias being executed in the hundreds. There are Christians, Yazidis. There are Jews, and from every part of the world. So everyone is at threat here from ISIS, so we can either take the fight to ISIS, or we can let them come to us. I suggest the former. Now, there -- the problem is, is that there are geopolitical problems going on around the world involving key players that we need to galvanize support from. Russia absolutely essential on the U.N. Security Council in the P5. We have got a big problem with Russia and the Ukraine at the moment. That is clouding a coordinated effort. If you look at Iran, there are negotiations going on about the enrichment of uranium and Iran`s nuclear problem. That is clouding a coordinated response. If you go to Saudi Arabia, the problem with Saudi Arabia is that the U.S. has home basing for its Predator drones in the southwest of the country which are being used in Yemen. That will effectively -- that will get in the way of conversations with Saudi Arabia. MATTHEWS: Yes.   KAY: Egypt needs to be harnessed because Egypt has made the decision that it`s a sovereign nation and it`s not going to be under the command of the Muslim Brotherhood. There are areas around the world which are clouding a coordinated response that we kind of need to get our head around before we move forward with what John McCain said, which is a military response, which is short-term. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Michael, let`s watch what -- because I think he`s pretty circumscribed for a hawk. Here`s John McCain and he was asked what the United States needed to do to combat ISIS. Let`s listen to his words. Very careful here. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I`m very much in favor of forward air controllers, special forces, some embedded trainers and others that literally make the difference between a fighting force that`s capable and one that is not. That does not mean, as the president always sets up the straw man, massive American troops. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: But, earshot, that is the question to Americans. As angry as I feel, as most people do, I don`t see, even in his words do I hear a call for another war, like to go in like we did with Afghanistan or Iraq twice, to go in there on the ground with a famous general leading the charge and kill everybody that gets in our way. I don`t even hear that even from him now. IRSHAD MANJI, MORAL COURAGE PROJECT: No. And there is no appetite in the United States for that, Chris. Even among moderate Republicans, there isn`t. I want to go back, though, to the point about, you know, whether various allies of the United States in the Middle East will sustain their membership in this coalition against ISIS. Look, that coalition is fragile and nominal at best. Let`s take a country like Jordan, which is, in all meaningful ways, a moderate Muslim country. A few years ago, my own entry visa to Jordan was pulled by the royal court. Why? Because they did not want to be accused by the Muslim Brotherhood of allowing somebody like me to come into the country.   MATTHEWS: I know. MANJI: That`s how skittish the Jordanian government is about being accused of allying itself with anybody who smacks of Westernism. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Well, that may have changed? That`s what I want to get to tonight. Did that change? MANJI: No. MATTHEWS: And the sight of a guy having gasoline poured on him, knowing it`s all going to happen to him, realizing it and watching this guy go through this horror? Anyway, many Jordanians rallied behind their country`s king, King Abdullah, of course. He was greeted with cheers when he returned from the U.S. yesterday, and today the king promised a long, hard fight against ISIS. He said: "We are waging this war to protect our faith, our values and human principles and our war, for their sake, will be relentless and will hit them in their own ground." David, can he hold the meds and the beds together in his country? Can he hold his country together facing down a neighboring Arab reality? IGNATIUS: He has a better chance, tragically, after this terrible event. Last week, there were a lot of people concerned in Washington and Amman that the family of this pilot, many people from -- were saying, why are we in this fight? This isn`t our fight. It`s America`s fight. I think there`s a lot less of that now. The point I would make for your viewers is, 90 percent of the Arab world, I think, was outraged today in the aftermath of this. The target audience of ISIS is the 10 percent who may not have been outraged.   MATTHEWS: And the hate. (CROSSTALK) IGNATIUS: Well, you know, the shock value. MATTHEWS: Why do they like this? IGNATIUS: Because this is shocking. It`s a scream in the face of the people who have been dropping bombs, in their view, on Arabs, they would argue, killing Arabs. That`s the way they set up this video before the horrible burning of the lieutenant. So, I think also there`s a kind of romance and adventure that ISIS projects. Join the fight. Be with us. And for the 10 percent, that`s powerful. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Go ahead, Irshad. MANJI: Yes, just quickly, that there is also blowback against ISIS among younger Muslims. I can tell you that there is plenty of commentary coming out of the Middle East written by young Muslims saying that this culture of vendetta and countervendetta has to end and that, in fact, the violence being perpetrated by ISIS, the barbarity, the savagery is pushing more and more young Muslims into speaking up and speaking out openly against the abuse of the faith. MATTHEWS: OK. OK.   MANJI: So, we very well may see that ISIS has its work cut out for them in recruiting even more young people a year or two from now. IGNATIUS: That`s the best news -- that`s the best news I have -- if she`s right, that`s a big thing. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Well, let me go to Michael, last question. Michael, briefly, it seems that Israel has had to live with a situation like this. Suppose 90 percent of people in the West Bank don`t want to kill Israelis. They just don`t want to. They want to their life, make a buck, survive, have their kids grow up in some kind of peace and middle-class existence. But the 5 percent or the 2 percent who are willing to go over there and be suicide bombers ruin any chance of that mattering. My question is, if most of the Arab and Islamic world say this is the most horrific thing they have ever seen a human do to another, but the 2 or 3 percent say, no, this is a good excuse for me joining up and going and joining the crazies over there, what matters? In the long run, what matters, the passionate few, the small percentage of hell-raising evil people or the grand number of people who would like to see peace? What matters most? KAY: Well, I think it`s the latter, Chris. It`s a no-brainer. But it takes -- it takes decisions like Egypt -- Egypt made the decision last week, an Egyptian court made the decision to actually rule the militant wing of Hamas as terrorists. That was -- that`s -- that`s unthinkable, given that Egypt in the past has been a power broker in between Palestine and Israeli talks. But let me just finish on the point that John McCain was saying in terms of what his recommendations are on the battlefield. There`s a serious issue here. John McCain is right in one respect, in that there needs to be fusion between a ground force and an air force in order to gain the maximum leverage militarily. But we had 160,000 coalition troops in Iraq with the most sophisticated and powerful air force in the world. Did we get success in Iraq? We also had the most sophisticated air force and ground forces, over 100,000, 300,000 if you include the Afghan national army. How did we get on in Afghanistan?   Training 5,000 rebels in Syria and 5,000 Iraqi troops in Iraq in order to tackle effectively what is ISIS isn`t going to cut it. We have got to find another way. We have got to find a political solution, a political alternative, and then we have got to fuse whatever the military solution is with what the political road map turns out to be. MATTHEWS: OK. And that`s a hopeful assessment. Anyway, thank you, David Ignatius. Thank you, Michael Kay and Irshad Manji. Thank you all. It`s been great to learn a terrible story, unfortunately. We will be right back after this. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL. Senator John McCain expressed his outrage last week when CODEPINK protesters disrupted a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing where former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger was about to testify. McCain called the protesters lowlife scum, a phrase that has found its way into a David Letterman parody. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN") DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, "LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN": NBC used the network time on the Super Bowl to tell about a show called "The Voice." We have a copy of it right here.   NARRATOR: The new season of America`s favorite singing competition is coming soon. Don`t miss the premiere episode featuring mind-blowing performances and special guest judge, Senator John McCain. MCCAIN: Get out of here, you lowlife scum. (LAUGHTER) (END VIDEO CLIP) (LAUGHTER) NARRATOR: Next: A debate over whether or not to vaccinate children against measles has been a hot topic this week. So it was only a matter of time before Jon Stewart of "The Daily Show" weighed in, making his point that vaccines only work when everybody has them. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART") JON STEWART, HOST, "THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART": It`s like America is in an isolated farmhouse and the measles are zombies. (LAUGHTER) STEWART: And for some inexplicable reason, they have risen from the dead and are looking for, oh, I don`t know, brains.   (LAUGHTER) STEWART: So, everybody in the farmhouse has been given a task of boarding up windows and doors in their area to keep out the zombies, because it`s well-established science that zombies have a very difficult time with wood... (LAUGHTER) STEWART: ... have trouble getting it. (LAUGHTER) STEWART: And you trust everybody`s going to do their job. And then you wake up and it`s 2:00 in the morning and there`s a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) zombie gnawing on your brain. And you`re like, what the (EXPLETIVE DELETED)? Who didn`t board up their window? And that`s when some lady from Marin County who you let into your farmhouse goes, oh, I read an article on a wellness forum... (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) STEWART: ... that says we shouldn`t sleep in boarded-up rooms because it (EXPLETIVE DELETED) you all up! And you know what you would say back to them? Brains.   (LAUGHTER) (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) (END VIDEO CLIP) (LAUGHTER) MATTHEWS: Finally, don`t look for a painted portrait of Congressman Jason Chaffetz of Utah any time soon. The new House Oversight Committee chairman says he won`t sit for some painting because the practice is -- quote -- according to him, "so 1800s." Well, "The Hill" newspaper reported last month that the Republican from Utah has removed the portraits of past chairmen from the committee room. He told CNN, "I just think this room should be inspired not by those who served as chairman, but by those we work for." Well, Chaffetz said the portraits are a waste of money. Hmm. Up next -- no comment there. Up next: Talk about a bad trip, if you will. Chris Christie may have wished he had stayed home. Nothing seemed to go right for the Jersey governor in his jaunt to London. You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)   MILISSA REHBERGER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Milissa Rehberger. Here`s what`s happening. The SUV that was struck by a passenger train in suburban New York, killing six people, has been removed from the scene of the crash. It`s the deadliest accident in the Metro-North system`s history. Taiwanese rescuers have lifted the fuselage out of a doomed TransAsia plane out of the river where it crashed; 31 people were killed when the plane went down last night. And in Boston, fans lined the streets to celebrate the Patriots` Super Bowl win. The parade took place a day later than expected due to a winter storm -- back to HARDBALL. MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Chris Christie is back on U.S. soil and his London trip, as we have seen as we have covered it, has been short of success or any success. Christie`s measles comments left him looking clueless at best, pandering at worst. A page one "New York Times" story on his champagne tastes headlined "Chris Christie Shows Fondness for Luxury Benefits When Others Pay the Bill" puts a ding in his regular guy persona And Christie reverted to form when he snapped at reporters. Here he is. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: No questions. QUESTION: In your meetings, did you discuss the Islamic State at all? CHRISTIE: Is there something you didn`t understand about no questions?   QUESTION: Governor, would you put troops on the ground to fight ISIS? QUESTION: Is there a reason you won`t take questions today? (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: And for the first time in New Jersey`s Monmouth University poll, Christie is viewed unfavorably by more people in his state than favorably. And joining me right now to talk about Christie, the HARDBALL roundtable tonight, NBC`s Perry Bacon, "U.S. News & World Report"`s Susan Milligan, and Talking Points Memo`s Sahil Kapur. Thank you all. Susan, I want you first there, because a lot of things went wrong on this trip. SUSAN MILLIGAN, "U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT": Yes. MATTHEWS: This was like a bad trip, as we used to say in the `60s, a bad trip, yes. MILLIGAN: Well, first of all, the whole idea that you can go to Great Britain and call that a foreign policy experience is sort of laughable to me, and the fact that it went so badly makes it even worse. MATTHEWS: They speak English over there still, don`t they?   (CROSSTALK) MILLIGAN: Yes, and have flush toilets and hard currency. It`s not a foreign assignment. He should have gone to Greece, actually. That would have been more useful. But what was interesting to me is that I think what we have all wondered is, are we going to see Chris Christie, the straight-talking guy who said get the hell off the beach during one of the storms that everybody liked, or are we going to see Chris Christie the bully? And I think what we saw in his interaction with the press was Chris Christie the bully. And it -- he was so -- you know, it was such a minor situation. It was -- it`s early on. And to say to somebody, you can`t ask me a question? I mean, you don`t want to answer it, don`t answer it. But his problem is that -- I have always thought is that when he -- if he goes to Iowa and he`s at a barbecue and someone asks him a question that he doesn`t like, and he starts saying, are you stupid? Are you stupid? Are you asking me that -- that`s going to be the end of it. He`s got to bring that under control. MATTHEWS: Yes. I think in the beginning, we all thought, I included, thought it was kind of charming to hear a guy speak straight, instead of the usual P.C. stuff. MILLIGAN: Yes, exactly. MATTHEWS: But this stuff of no comment and what`s wrong with no questions, like he`s bridling at the press. Just shut up. You don`t have to talk. MILLIGAN: Right. MATTHEWS: But you don`t attack the reporters, whose job it is to ask you questions about major national issues, international issues. PERRY BACON, NBC NEWS SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I don`t mind him not answering questions. Hillary hasn`t answered anything from anybody in a long time. So, that`s fine.   His attitude about it is not great. But the big problem was the measles comment was just wrong. I mean, you`re running for president. We want you to be the leader of the country. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: OK. Spell it out. Who is he talking to? BACON: I guess he`s talking to the conservative base, he`s talking to libertarians. MATTHEWS: OK. BACON: It doesn`t mattered. He got criticized. He made Ben Carson seem like the reasonable candidate. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Sahil, I want you to react. I want you to interpret what he says here. This is called meandering, somebody called it, "The Wall Street Journal" editorial page. He was over -- all over the place this week on vaccinations. At a press conference in London Monday, he suggested that parents should have more of a choice, more of a choice when it comes to vaccinating their kids against infectious diseases like measles. Watch this and tell me you can interpret what he`s saying. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)   QUESTION: Do you think Americans should vaccinate their kids? Is the measles vaccine safe? GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: All I can say is, we vaccinate ours and so, you know, that`s the best expression that I can give you of my opinion. It`s much more important as what you think as a parent than what you think as a public official, and that`s what we do. But I also understand that parents need to have some measure of choice in this as well. So, that`s a balance that the government has to decide, it depends on what the vaccine is, what the disease type is, and all the rest. So, I didn`t say I`m leaving people the option. What I`m saying is you have to have the balance in considering parental concerns because no parent, no parent cares about anything more than they care about protecting their own child`s health. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: So, I`m not saying give the parents an option but -- I`m telling you, I listened to that carefully. It was impossible. He was touching all the bases, hoping he wouldn`t offend anybody. He wanted the yahoos, whoever he thought they were, these people are working class not believing in measles. I mean, don`t believe in the stuff that we all grew up with. Everybody grows up with measles and mumps and other stuff, and you get vaccinated. That`s what you do. SAHIL KAPUR, TALKING POINTS MEMO: Right. A few things stuck me about that. First, I think it was the first time, you brought up "The Wall Street Journal" editorial, I think it was the first time that they had praised President Obama and criticized Chris Christie on something -- that was pretty extraordinary, the editorial board. But, you know, this idea that a lot of -- a number of Republican lawmakers, presidential hopefuls, have taken the position that I personally support the vaccine, I would do it for my kids, but I wouldn`t force it. We want to know if you would force it. It`s not really important what you would do personally. You`re a lawmaker. We want to know what laws you would make. And another thing to keep in mind here is, the Republican presidential candidates who are kind of sort of pandering to this anti-vax movement as we call it, are not doing it because they don`t believe in the science or they doubt the science, they`re doing it because in the conservative movement, it is borderline toxic to want to mandate anyone to do anything, even if it`s good for public safety, even if it`s good for public health indisputably. MATTHEWSD: Well, what about the Jon Stewart critique that if you leave one of the windows open, the zombies come in. I mean, that was an interesting metaphor because -- I went to Catholic school for 100 years, 16 years I`ll tell you. You always came home because the kids were packed together in classrooms, some kids had sniffles and some got worse. You got the disease and you come sick. If you got three or four brothers, one of you is going to get it. I had four brothers. You get sick all the time because not every kid was healthy -- and also the desire for perfect attendance was ridiculous. Do you remember? Get that kid to school. You want that perfect attendance badge. KAPUR: The science is unequivocal on this.   SUSAN MILLIGAN, U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT: My mother was a nurse. I could never get away with pretending to be sick. And (INAUDIBLE) you`re fine, go to school. But, yes, everybody got sick. The thing is, look what Thom Tillis said earlier this week, where he said, well, maybe, you know, they shouldn`t have requirements that employees wash their hands, you know, at the restaurant. MATTHEWS: What is that about? Explain that. MILLIGAN: Well, I think that the idea behind it was that government shouldn`t be mandating that a business do anything like that. And as long as they put up a sign saying, we don`t require our employees to wash their hands and the market will take care of it, and people won`t go to this restaurant if people aren`t washing their hands. MATTHEWS: Well, hold on -- (CROSSTALK) MILLIGAN: Would you say, well, we dump our waste into the river and, you know, just don`t buy our product. MATTHEWS: I know that sign is aimed at me, not the employees. It`s aimed at the customers to know that the employees who give you your soup or your coffee or whatever else, a bacon and eggs, that they have clean hands. MILLIGAN: Yes. MATTHEWS: That`s what it is for. To make us feel better. I don`t want that on the door -- ha! KAPUR: No one does. It`s a perfect illustration of what I was talking about, what Thom Tillis said --   MATTHEWS: Who complains about having to wash their hands? KAPUR: Nobody. But they were complaining about what Thom Tillis was saying if you don`t like the mandate -- MATTHEWS: I watch everybody at the airport. I make sure I watch everybody who has -- and if somebody doesn`t wash their hands, everybody knows it, you know? MILLIGAN: And I`m not shaking Senator Tillis` hands again, I`ll tell you. PERRY BACON, NBC NEWS: Exactly right. MATTHEWS: Anyway, Governor Christie has crossed the significant line and it`s not good (ph) with New Jersey. His unfavorable numbers as of now are more than his favorable. The New Monmouth University poll has 38 percent of New Jersey residents with a favorable opinion of Christie. That`s 38. But 40 in unfavorable. In June, Christie was still above water at 45 favorable, 38 percent unfavorable. Even last February, with the bridge-gate scandal in full swing, Christie`s favorables were higher than the unfavorables, 42-37. Well, these things matter. Is this normal? Maybe it`s normal. Is it normal for a politician on his way up to be noticed taking leave from the state that he was elected to govern? BACON: The polls are showing people know what`s going on. Christie is done with Jersey, and the polls are showing that they understand that. Ultimately, Christie cares about a poll in Iowa, but that also is not looking for him right now. MATTHEWS: Yes. But they`ll be asking the citizens of Iowa who read every newspaper, what we`re saying, I hear they don`t like it back home. Sahil, I`m always impressed by the knowledge base of the person being polled. And we`ll be polling here, showing the polls, good polls on all these candidates on the Republican side. You know, there`s a dozen of them. Everybody has an opinion on every one of them.   KAPUR: Right. MATTHEWS: How can everybody know -- or is it just a fake? Do they say, oh, yes, I`ve got a very strong opinion about Ben Carson? I have no idea what you`re talking about. KAPUR: And Chris Christie scenario, he`s coming off a year after -- you know, since he got elected, he spent I think something like 40 to 50 percent of his time outside the state. I read this in "The New York Times". And, you know, he`s taken steps that are clearly suggests that he`s looking at the presidential election, that he`s not really thinking about New Jersey. MATTHEWS: What was he doing in London? Running for president. Anyway, the roundtable -- KAPUR: Foreign trips. MATTHEWS: I don`t think you announce that you`re home by going to London. Anyway, the roundtable is staying with us. He`s lucky about the snow, I guess. And up next, why was President Obama irritated at Mitt Romney when Mitt Romney called him to concede the 2012 election? This is HARDBALL. This is a great way to end the show today. This is so fascinating, by sensitivity and awkward statements. Anyway, the place for politics. Back in a minute. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)   MATTHEWS: Well, President Obama`s getting back at congressional Republicans with a PR offensive on the each of immigration, of course. Republicans are trying to undo his executive actions on immigration by tying him to funding measure for the Department of Homeland Security. We know about that. Well, today, the president hosted a half a dozen DREAMers at the White House. They`re all young immigrants that would be subject to deportation if the Republican bill gets passed. The president accuses the Republicans of ignoring the human consequences of their legislation. We`ll be right back after this. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: We`re back. Well, today, "The New York Daily News" released an excerpt from a new book written by President Obama`s political guru, David Axelrod. It`s coming out next week, which reveals the president`s displeasure during the election night, a concession call he got from his 2012 opponent, the defeated Mitt Romney, writing that Obama was shocked and irritated by that phone call. According to Axelrod in the book, Obama was, quote, "unsmiling during the call and slightly irritated when it was over". And Axelrod wrote, "The president hung up and said Romney admitted he was surprised at his own loss." Quote, "You really did a great job of getting out the vote in places like Cleveland and Milwaukee. In other words, black people, Obama said, paraphrasing Romney. That`s what he thinks this was all about." This is Obama being described, interpreted, of course, by Axelrod. But late this afternoon, Romney`s former body man, that`s the guy who gets you your cookies at night, Gary Jackson, disputed Axelrod`s claims, tweeting saying that "Mitt called Barack Obama from my phone. I was right next to him when he conceded. I know for a fact he didn`t say what Axelrod claims." Well, Jackson also told CBS, quote, "I just hope this lie," that`s the word he used, "is the work of David Axelrod and not the president. It`s ridiculous. I was very disappointed he would make that up." Well, back with the roundtable, Perry, Susan and Sahil. Perry, first of all, the president`s sensitivity to the line, not just the line, but the two parts he said it, he said you did great in Cleveland and Milwaukee. Now, I wouldn`t think of Milwaukee as an African-American dominated area. It`s just a city that people are liberal in, or Democrat. But the president apparently saw it as an ethnic jab.   BACON: Remember, Romney did make a comment about that. There was a conference call after the election where Romney said Obama won because he gave, quote-unquote, "gifts" -- (CROSSTALK) BACON: Gifts to minorities and young people and Hispanics. So, we know Romney -- MATTHEWS: You linked to something we had on a conference call, with campaign donors, just one week after losing in 2012, Romney blamed his loss to President Obama on what he called big gifts, that`s the word, to loyal Democratic constituencies, especially African-Americans, Hispanics and young people. Here it is. (BEGIN AUDIO CLIP) MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It`s a proven political strategy, which is give a bunch of money from the government to a group and, guess what, they`ll vote for you. (END AUDIO CLIP) MATTHEWS: There you go. They bought it. They bought the poor people and minorities. That`s why they won the election. MILLIGAN: Well, I mean, obviously, none of us was there. So, we don`t know exactly what was said. But this is very much in sync -- MATTHEWS: We know what he just said there. MILLIGAN: Right. But it`s very much in sync with what his campaign was saying in late November, after the election in 2012. Everybody trooped up to Cambridge and sat at this event in Harvard University and they spoke very frankly about the campaigns. At one point someone said, did you really think that everyone else`s poll was wrong and yours were right? They said, we think our polls were right, we think we just didn`t get out enough of the white male vote.   At which point, we all looked at them and said there isn`t that much of the white male vote anymore in this country that you can rely on it to win a national presidential election. So, I don`t think they really fully understood what the demographics of a presidential electorate is. And that comment, this idea that -- well, we would have won but you whipped up the vote in these, quote unquote, "ethnic areas", that actually makes sense to me. MATTHEWS: Let`s talk turkey. If you`re backroom pol talking to your pollsters, talking or campaign, you`re talking about the big city vote. You may call it the urban vote with all the nice euphemisms, but you`re basically talking the base of the Democratic Party. The African-American votes have been the most consistent supporters of the Democratic, with 90- some percent. In fact, they grow with Obama, of course, for loyalty, yes, the same community. So, what`s wrong with saying it a little differently, saying, you guys did a hell of a job turning out the vote in Cleveland and Milwaukee? Why is that offensive in itself? KAPUR: Well, it could be perceived in two different ways. One is that the Romney campaign was genuinely baffled at the Obama team`s ability to turn out the low propensity, low income voters, especially in the cities. They pointed out, Paul Ryan pointed out -- MATTHEWS: See, you got all the terminology, low propensity, how else to throw in low knowledge. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: That`s how sophisticates talk in the back room. KAPUR: The other point which is that, it can also be seen as a dog whistle, they`re pointing out that you won because of African-American voters and minorities. And President Obama is very sensitive to this idea of the sentiment that he`s the president of black America. He doesn`t want to be seen that way. He`s not that person. So, I think that`s the way he put -- MATTHEWS: By the way, that`s an argument that`s fair on his part because the African-Americans are always pro-Democrat, with the Clintons, it will be that again. (CROSSTALK) PERRY: Also, Chris, Iowa, New Hampshire. Not a lot of black people in those states. Obama won those just fine.   MATTHEWS: My hero Jack Kennedy had the same complaint against the great beloved Walter Cronkite, after the Wisconsin primary of 1960. That night, Cronkite said he only won because he got the Catholic vote, and Kennedy went steaming out of that room. He said, you have just taken away my victory -- now I have to go to West Virginia because you`ve taken away my victory saying I won because my peeps showing up. MILLIGAN: But also, Chris, why would you say anything other than congratulations, Mr. President, it was a tough fight and it was an honor running against you? Why do you have to come up with excuses as to why he beat you? It sounds just a little petty. MATTHEWS: Well, you know, the first Nixon-Kennedy debate before they started debating, Kennedy said, Nixon said to Kennedy -- no, Kennedy said to Kennedy, Nixon said to Kennedy, you had a great turnout in Ohio, because Nixon carried oil (ph). Anyway, thank you, Perry Bacon, Susan Milligan, Sahil Kapur, thank you, for "Talking Points Memo". When we return, let me finish with Secretary Clinton`s new role in life, which has become sort of a political identification in her life. You`re watching HARDBALL, a place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with Secretary Clinton`s role in life. Many people pull back from the title of grandparent. They come up with nicknames. My wife Kathleen likes to be called Magya (ph), I`m Bobey (ph), both are Swazi names I brought back with from the Peace Corps over there in Swaziland. Well, Hillary Clinton is going with the more traditional. She`s a grandmother and has no problem with the name and I presume the idea is where she is in life who wants the world to know there are certain strengths and a serious amount of wisdom that comes with being a parent of a parent. I think there are good politics in the position she`s probably claimed, of course, that a grandmother, by my lights, it puts her out there looking over the horizon to the world, her grandchild is going to live in, rather than make it with someone holding on when another generation is pushing to take over, she`s leapfrogging to the future by talking about the world that`s coming for, in her case, granddaughter Charlotte. Look, we never know how much thought goes into a comment from a politician. Sometimes they speak without deliberation and say something brilliant. And sometimes they speak without thinking and say something we call a gaffe.   But having paid attention to Secretary Clinton over these recent months, watch her discipline, see how she keeps her own counsel and the preparation I assume she`s making for a presidential run, I don`t think she made this grandmother reference blindly. Someone, smart ones, said that if a politician doesn`t define himself or herself early, his enemies well. Secretary Clinton is letting it be known that she`s proud of her position and her family and her generation, and in her country, and she knows its strengths. I take what she said very seriously. I mean that in a political sense. And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with 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.>