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

Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 03/05/15

Guests: Anne Gearan, Michael Schmidt, James Clyburn, Steve McMahon, JamesLipton, Ryan Grim, Elahe Izadi, Steve Clemons, Keir Simmons

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Madam secretary, you`ve got mail. Let`s play HARDBALL. Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington. And "Let Me Start" tonight with Hillary Clinton`s counterattack on the e-mail story. After two days of front page focus in the big newspapers, she tweeted this just before midnight. "I want the public to see my e- mail. I asked State to release them. They said they will review them for release as soon as possible." What does that message on tweet (sic) actually mean? She wants us to see her messages sent on a private server that she set up? Will that kind of retort answer the likes of "The New York Times," "The Washington Post," "USA Today," the Associated Press, the House Select Committee on Benghazi? Will this whole inquiry get buried under 55,000 pages of self-selected e- mail? Let`s find out. Joining me right now is Michael Schmidt, the "New York Times" reporter who broke this original story, and Anne Gearan, reporter with "The Washington Post." See if you can, for the person who`s from Pluto right now, the Hillary lover, the Hillary hater -- there`s a lot of both out there. And people just want to know what this is about. What is the motive for setting up a separate server if you`re going to work at the State Department? Now, we`re told by the administration that there are rules you shouldn`t have this, you should use government e-mail. Why would somebody for any nefarious reason set up a private e-mail system, in fact, create the server? MICHAEL SCHMIDT, "NEW YORK TIMES": Well, I don`t know what the intentions were, but let me tell you... MATTHEWS: Well, why is it important, then...   (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: ... intentions are? SCHMIDT: It shielded her e-mails for a significant period of time from Freedom of Information Requests and from Congress because it wasn`t being searched when the State Department was asked for documents. It was not on their servers. It was on her personal server, so they couldn`t get to it and they couldn`t hand it over. MATTHEWS: But the policy of the administration, according to your paper, is that they should have their communications -- not their letters home, Are we having chicken tonight, not that, but the professional business is all supposed to be on e-mail that could be in the possession of the U.S. government. ANNE GEARAN, "WASHINGTON POST": Right. I mean, the State Department is splitting hairs here. They`re saying it was the policy to do government work on government e-mail, but there was no prohibition at the time that she was secretary against using private e-mail or commercial e-mail... MATTHEWS: Well, did somebody come to her... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: ... Madam Secretary, congratulations, you`re now the secretary of state, you have to do everything on e-mail -- government e- mail? Did anybody ever tell her that? GEARAN: We don`t know and State won`t say. We think that it would have made -- only made sense that any number of people whose jobs it was at the State Department to run the place and to render legal opinions on how it should be run would have or should have weighed in. But there`s no paper trail that we`ve got yet, and State hasn`t yet said whether that happened or who did it or what was the result. MATTHEWS: Is the toothpaste out of the tube in terms of anybody, "The Washington Post," "The New York Times," any congressional committee, the FBI -- is it possible now to retrieve all the e-mail that was sent by Secretary Clinton and received by Secretary Clinton of official business when she was secretary of state, or once she got it in her possession, she was allowed to delete what she wanted, and it`s permanently deleted? SCHMIDT: Well, the...   MATTHEWS: Can you get to the bottom line here, or is it lost now? SCHMIDT: No. The closest thing you could get to was to be -- would be to have access to her entire account. Remember, she gave 50,000 pages to the State Department... MATTHEWS: Out of how many? SCHMIDT: Well... GEARAN: We don`t know. SCHMIDT: ... that she said were related to her work as secretary of state. MATTHEWS: Who decided what was... SCHMIDT: She chose. MATTHEWS: Personally? SCHMIDT: She -- they said to her, Give us your e-mails related to your work, and she came in, October, December, said, Here are 50,000 e- mails from my account related to my work. Here they are. It wasn`t, Here`s my personal account, go find the stuff that relates to my work. You do it. MATTHEWS: Well, that proves -- that just demonstrates the fact that she had power over what information to give to anybody.   GEARAN: Right. Right. So I mean, the... MATTHEWS: Well, everybody would want that. GEARAN: The two central questions I have are why was it set up this way, what was the purpose of it, and when State asked her for the relevant e-mail, who decided, and on what basis, what was relevant to turn over? We know that 55,000 pages was turned over. That`s not the individual e-mails, that`s pages. And we know as of today that about 90 percent of that was between Hillary Clinton and people who worked at the State Department, who had e- mail addresses that end in -- that`s according to an aide for Hillary Clinton -- that about 10 percent was between Hillary Clinton and other people. Those are other government addresses, White House addresses, other agency addresses and people who did not have government addresses or who weren`t using... MATTHEWS: So there`s no record of that. GEARAN: What we don`t know is what -- how many pages beyond the 55,000. MATTHEWS: OK. From the -- from the -- just before we get into the sharpshooting here from the Republicans, I want to get to the objective people. Hillary Clinton was critical of the White House when she was first lady. She was critical of Karl Rove, actually, when she was secretary of state, critical of the fact that they had this sort of under -- under -- underground e-mail system there. So if you`re watching this show and you`re pro-Hillary, you must have been pro-Hillary when she was taking shots at Karl Rove for doing the thing that she`s accused of doing now, or is doing now, right? SCHMIDT: Correct. MATTHEWS: So in other words, both sides, R`s and D`s, Republicans and Democrats, have when it was in their political interests, pointed out there`s something wrong with having a private e-mail subway, basically, to run stuff by. Isn`t that an objective statement? GEARAN: Right. Yes. Absolutely. MATTHEWS: That`s what I`m trying to get to. Anyway, Republicans -- now we get to the Republicans because they have their own plans. Republicans are circulating comments that Hillary Clinton made in 2007 when she criticized the Bush administration`s use of private e-mails when it was discovered that Karl Rove, an enemy of most Democrats and others in the administration, were using RNC, Republican National Committee, accounts for official business.   And here`s Secretary Clinton. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HILLARY CLINTON, FMR. FIRST LADY: Now people feel invisible. And not only do they feel invisible, they have reason to believe that they are being rendered invisible. You know, our Constitution is being shredded. We know about the secret wiretaps. We know about the secret military tribunals, the secret White House e-mail accounts... (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Anyway, they`ve also dug up a State Department inspector general report during Clinton`s tenure which criticized the U.S. ambassador to Kenya -- I believe he`s a political appointment -- for bad behavior, including his use of e-mail, private e-mail. That led to his resignation as ambassador to Kenya. It says, quote, "He drafted and distributed a mission policy authorizing himself and other mission personnel to use commercial e-mail for daily communication of official government business. During the inspector, the ambassador continued to use commercial e-mail for official government business. It was a flouting of direct instructions to adhere to department policy." Department policy... GEARAN: Yes. MATTHEWS: ... State Department policy. GEARAN: (INAUDIBLE) ordered that a private e-mail system and private computer system be installed in his bathroom so that he could use it in parallel to the one at the embassy because he thought the one at the embassy wasn`t sufficient. He was fired for that and other things, but... MATTHEWS: Did Hillary -- did Secretary Clinton, his boss, know that he was fired for that reason? GEARAN: Of course, I would think. I mean, he was a high-level political appointee. He was a friend of President Obama`s. She was -- I`m sure she knew him and would have known exactly why he was fired. One of the stated reasons was misuse of e-mail. So clearly, there was a policy, and clearly, it was being applied.   MATTHEWS: It`s not -- it`s one of these stories about her -- I know you guys write front page stories, and you`ve got to be antiseptically nonpartisan. But if you were looking at this from a distance, you`d say, This is another one of those sort of -- look at this blotch on this map, on this piece of paper. What does this mean? And a lot of people will look at this story and say Hillary is obsessed with secrecy, with privacy, she doesn`t trust the public with her information, she will go around the system so she can have her own -- an entire e-mail system of her own that she doesn`t share with the public, even if it`s against the rules. Others will say, What`s this -- you guys` problem with the media? People around here, some of them say, What`s the media obsession, front page story writers, about Hillary? What do you say... SCHMIDT: Well... MATTHEWS: ... when the ombudsman comes to you... SCHMIDT: ... the narrative... MATTHEWS: ... with these questions, if there is one? SCHMIDT: Well, it`s a story, and we just have to move with the story. MATTHEWS: I have to explain that to people around here. SCHMIDT: It`s just (INAUDIBLE) MATTHEWS: Sometimes, when your eyes catch a story, you go with it. Anyway, "The Washington Post" ran this headline last night, and Clint -- the Clinton -- "Amid the Clinton controversies, Democrats yearn for an alternative"? I think they`re ahead of their skis on this. One of the vice president -- that`s Vice President Biden`s biggest supporters, former South Carolina party chair Dick Harpootlian, sees an opening for the field."   He wrote (ph) to "The Post," "There`s always another shoe to drop with Hillary. Do we nominate her, not knowing what`s in those e-mails? She`s going to die by a thousand cuts on this one. I`ll tell you this, he ain`t got no e-mail problems" -- he`s talking about Biden -- "He ain`t got no foundation problems," like the Clinton Foundation. "What you see with Joe is what you get, and there`s nothing hidden there." Well, that`s sort of down home talk. Anyway, meanwhile, to put things back in perspective politically, a new Quinnipiac poll shows Hillary Clinton with a dominant lead over the field. She`s at 56 percent. Her nearest challenger isn`t the vice president, it`s, of course, Elizabeth Warren. Anybody watching this show knows that. So this story is interesting, but what it says to me is -- how hard have you fought to get Hillary, and who do you talk to when you want reaction before you go to deadline at night? Who do you try to get to with these questions you`re raising? SCHMIDT: Well, we tried very hard to get to her spokespeople... MATTHEWS: Who is that? Nick Merrill (ph)? SCHMIDT: Right now, it`s a guy named Nick Merrill. And they really didn`t want to engage us that much. And I don`t think that they totally either appreciated the story or wanted... MATTHEWS: Who`s "they"? SCHMIDT: ... to talk to us. MATTHEWS: Who is the "they" in the Clinton circle now, can you tell? Who`s in the room with her? SCHMIDT: I`m new to Clinton world. This is my first experience... (CROSSTALK)   MATTHEWS: ... who bunch of people -- what happened to Philippe Reines (ph)? He`s always been there. How many of them are there? GEARAN: He`s not officially part of the campaign now, but... MATTHEWS: Well, is there a campaign? GEARAN: That`s part of the problem. There isn`t yet an official organization that has a whole kind of rapid response and would be on this, you know, two nights ago, and -- and... MATTHEWS: Well, who are these phantoms, that when somebody like David Axelrod, who`s a good guy, says something about how, you know, John Podesta will be good to get them to act together over there, and (INAUDIBLE) comes these unnamed sources, saying, He better watch himself. I mean, who are these people in Clinton world who speak without names? SCHMIDT: Well, what doesn`t make sense is that they have known about this for many, many months... MATTHEWS: Did they drop it? SCHMIDT: ... that the -- they`ve... MATTHEWS: They did it -- let me try a couple theories. Did you get this from oppo from the Republicans? SCHMIDT: No, this was... MATTHEWS: Did you get it from...   SCHMIDT: ... much harder... MATTHEWS: ... the Clinton people trying to put it out ahead of time? SCHMIDT: No. This was much harder... MATTHEWS: Just enterprise on your part. SCHMIDT: Yes, just... MATTHEWS: Just enterprise, sheer enterprise. SCHMIDT: Shoe leather. MATTHEWS: There`s nobody out there pushing the story. GEARAN: No, and there`s a -- there`s a narrative... MATTHEWS: Nobody pushing the story on the R side... (CROSSTALK)   GEARAN: Well, they are now that it`s out there. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: ... the information... GEARAN: No, I mean, that was a clean break. I mean, that was -- the Republicans had nothing to do with it, and that`s become a narrative now on the Democratic side, is that this is a manufactured story that the Republicans are pushing and that the media is biting on. And I -- that`s just not the way it happened. MATTHEWS: So David Brock and company are not right that you were pushed around by the right wing? SCHMIDT: The select committee has known about this for many months, and they haven`t done anything. MATTHEWS: That`s a hell of a story. I would never have thought a story like this would be front page for all these days, but thank you, Michael Schmidt of "The New York Times," and Anne Gearan of "The Washington Post." I must add something tonight, by the way. It`s important in my position here to be as transparent as possible with you, our loyal viewers, and I want to share a personal -- you can see I`m smiling about some political news that came out just this morning. People are always so kind when I -- when we meet out there at airports, anywhere else, about my wife, Kathleen, my queen. Well, last night, Kathleen decided she`s going to take a serious look at running for the United States Congress from where we live in Maryland. Our local congressman -- a very good guy, by the way -- just announced he`s running for the U.S. Senate. And this development is all unfolding very quickly. Kathleen and I have not had much time to talk about it. Right now, she`s on a business trip overseas, heading for Berlin to South Africa right now. But I know she`s been involved with public issues her entire career, from anchoring the news to serving as a top executive of Marriott. I know her commitment runs truly deep. In our nearly four decades together, Kathleen and I, I`ve always had the strongest belief in her judgment and values. I am proud of her and support her. And if she does indeed decide to run for Congress, then we will make sure we continue to fully disclose my relationship, which I`ve never denied, with her as part of our commitment here at MSNBC to be transparent and fair in our coverage. So for that.   Coming up, the 50th anniversary of the Bloody Sunday march in Selma, Alabama. The president will be in Selma this weekend commemorating the event that helped lead to passage, of course, of the great Voting Rights Act of 1965. U.S. Congressman James Clyburn will be here to talk about it. He`s going to join me in a moment. Plus, who are the genius actors of our time? Well, here`s a sample. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You talking to me? You talking to me? You talking to me? Then who the hell else are you talking to? Are you talking to me? Well, I`m the only one here. MERYL STREEP, ACTRESS: So you don`t read "Runway." UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. STREEP: And before today, you had never heard of me. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. STREEP: And you have no style or sense of fashion. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that depends on what your... STREEP: No, no. That wasn`t a question.   AL PACINO, ACTOR: Come back there, man! Get over there, will you? He wants to kill me so bad, he can taste it. Attica! Attica! Attica! (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: James Lipton, host of "Inside the Actors` Studio," will be here to give us his list of the greatest actors of all time. Also, a new poll shows that 62 percent of Americans support putting boots on the ground in Iraq to fight ISIS. Do you believe it? It`s grown. It turns out there are already boots there. They just happen to be Iranian boots. And finally, we`re going to have the latest on that vicious knife attack against U.S. ambassador to South Korea Mark Lippert. And this is HARDBALL, a place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Welcome back to Hardball. Thousands are expected to assemble this weekend in Alabama to remember the 50th anniversary of the marches on Selma when the American civil rights movement turned a corner. Prior to that march, in 1965, the organizers were asked, what would happen if the protests were stopped? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Ames (ph), what are you going to do if you get stopped? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What are we going to do if we get stopped? Well, we hope we won`t get stopped, and if we get stopped, we`re going to stand there and try to negotiate and talk them into letting us go ahead to Montgomery. We intend to march to Montgomery if it takes us a lifetime.   UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From Selma? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From Selma, Alabama. (END VIDEOTAPE) MATTHEWS: As we all know, it did not turn out very peacefully. This weekend, President Obama will also travel to Selma to pay tribute to - on the Edmund Pettus bridge of course, where hundreds of peaceful demonstrators were beaten by police in what became known as bloody Sunday. And that crucial moment in our nation`s history helped usher in the historic Voting Rights Act of 1965. Fifty years later, voting rights are coming under assault again by the state legislatures, and the courts, which begs the question, how much progress have we made since Selma? U.S. Congressman Jim Clyburn is a Democrat from South Carolina, the former House majority whip. 55 years ago, he was jailed for demonstrating against segregation in his home state. Steve McMahon is a Democratic strategist. Congressman Clyburn, thank you for coming on. What do you make of just your chance now to talk about Selma and the movie and everything, this whole commemoration, it`s coming back now, so strong? REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D), SOUTH CAROLINA: Well, thank you so much for having me, Chris. And congratulations to you and your lovely wife. I wish her well. MATTHEWS: Thank you. CLYBURN: Look, this is about celebrating 50-year-old issue of voting. Selma was all about the right to vote. You may recall, Selma came after the 1964 Civil Rights Act was passed. And President Johnson, thinking he had done enough with the Civil Rights Act, thought we could postpone voting for a while. But you know that old adage, you know, justice delayed is justice denied. And so John Lewis and others, James Forman, in spite of the fact that the movie "Selma" seemed to think that James Forman really didn`t want to do the march, he wanted to do the march. He just didn`t want to be overlooked for all the efforts they had been putting into Selma. Everything -- things were taking place for a long time before Bloody Sunday. And they were working, laying the foundation to try to get the right to vote. And after that march, the Voting Rights Act was passed and signed into law, I believe it was August 6.   So come August 6 of this year will be the 50th anniversary. And I have been working with John Lewis, trying to do what we can with Congressman Sensenbrenner and Congressman John Conyers. We are trying to fix what the Supreme Court seems to have dismantled with that 1965 Voting Rights Act. I`m hopeful that, when we leave that bridge on Sunday and go back to Washington in a week that all the 98 congresspeople who are there will all sign on to Mr. Sensenbrenner`s amendments, so that we can restore what the Roberts court has done to that 1965 Voting Rights Act. MATTHEWS: Well, Congressman, you have been through all this, from the hell of the past to what we have today. But what do you make of these Republicans who, even though some of them are going to show up with you as your colleagues this weekend down in Selma, they`re out pushing all these voter suppression efforts, these voter I.D. requirements in states like even Pennsylvania, where you have the leadership of the Republican legislature, which dominates the legislature, openly saying, we`re doing this to win votes, because if we can keep the African-American from voting, especially older people, it`s going to help us win statewide elections. I mean, that seems to me completely in violation of the purpose of the Voting Rights Act, this game they`re playing about voter I.D. cards. CLYBURN: It is violation. And, remember, just, as 50 years ago, it took the United States Congress to respond in a way that was favorable to the protection of people`s rights, it may take that again today, because, remember, these are 20-some-odd individual states who are doing those things. MATTHEWS: Yes. CLYBURN: I would hope that Congress would not just fix -- with the amendments, fix the formula, but I would hope that we will go further with John Lewis` bill, the Voter Empowerment Act, to take a look at all of these schemes that they`re now developing, schemes which, if you look at them, could be tantamount to poll taxes and other kinds of schemes that they used back in the `40s and `50s to dilute and deny people`s votes. MATTHEWS: Yes. Well said. Thank you so much. And it`s an important weekend. And I wish you well down there, Congressman Jim Clyburn going down to Selma. Thanks so much for joining us tonight, sir. CLYBURN: Thank you so much for having me.   MATTHEWS: Joining us is Steve McMahon. Steve -- let me ask Steve McMahon about this, a couple of those stories going. One is, why did the Republicans get away with it so far, this voter suppression, and doing it over and over again? Priebus and company are doing it? Number two, what do you make of Bibi`s speech? Did he win? And, third, for the trifecta question -- I`m pushing you here -- Hillary Clinton, is this something she can handle, or is it just going to bother her until she runs? STEVE MCMAHON, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, so, where do you want to start? MATTHEWS: Start with the beginning. MCMAHON: That`s a smorgasbord. MATTHEWS: Start with the beginning, voter suppression. MCMAHON: Voter suppression. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Why do Republicans get away from it? It`s a black/white issue largely, but the white people who push this thing, they don`t have any sense of fairness. MCMAHON: Yes.   MATTHEWS: People should all be allowed to vote. MCMAHON: People should all be allowed to vote. And you`re right. The Republicans are out there at every election trying to challenge people who are minority voters, trying to challenge people who they`re trying to frankly just keep from voting, because they care more about politics and winning elections than they do about civil rights. I think it`s great that there are 23 or so Republicans that are going down for the march and I think that doing these kinds of things is probably the best and maybe the only way to break down some of that resistance that exists within the party. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: OK, Bibi, who won? Do you think he will win at home now? Was it good politics in Israel? MCMAHON: It was good politics in Israel. MATTHEWS: That`s what I think. MCMAHON: And he`s trying to turn out the right wing of the Likud Party. I`m sure he`s going to do that. It`s good for him to be standing and fighting with the president of the United States, because he`s swinging up and he`s swinging up on behalf of the... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Did Boehner use that cover of all the excitement about Bibi so he could give in on the issue of the DHS funding? Did he use the cover of that as smokescreen? They`re all happy. They`re walking back. At 2:00 at that afternoon, he says, I`m throwing in the towel. And he got away with it. MCMAHON: Yes. Well, he seems to have gotten away with it.   The question is whether the Freedom Caucus, so-called, in the Republican Party... MATTHEWS: The right wing. MCMAHON: The right wing is going to actually let him get away with it. He`s gotten away with it for now. But every time he does this and he passes things with Democratic votes, he makes his problem on the far right worse. And, you know... MATTHEWS: OK. Hillary and e-mail. You have got mail, Madam Secretary. This thing - - I never thought it would be on the front page. But it isn`t going away. MCMAHON: It doesn`t seem to be going away. And one of the things it demonstrates is that the campaign is already very well under way. The Republicans understand who the Democratic nominee is. Even as liberals pine for somebody else and the press writes, will Elizabeth Warren or Joe Biden run, the Republicans know who is running and who is going to win the nomination. MATTHEWS: But they didn`t lead this fight. They`re exploiting it, but they`re taking the obvious -- wouldn`t you take the shots, the Republicans, if they`re front page of "the Times"? (CROSSTALK) MCMAHON: I watched the last segment, and apparently the Republicans aren`t behind this. But it is -- it`s curious timing, just before her announcement. And this is not something that Hillary Clinton or that campaign needs right now or wants right now.   MATTHEWS: Well, they have got to be a campaign first. And it`s starting -- they need tough people in there, men and women that can take a tough shot and get the information out you got to get out. Anyway... MCMAHON: They will have them. MATTHEWS: Thank you. MCMAHON: Thank you. MATTHEWS: Up next -- thank you, Steve McMahon. Up next: Who do you think should be on the list of the most genius actors of our time? James Lipton is coming here. We love lists in this country. He`s going to give us the top five U.S. movie stars of all time, the best actors, the geniuses, as part of this week. And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Well, there are many similarities between Washington politicians, if you think about it, and Hollywood actors, but if there`s one quality that moviegoers and voters in this country expect from both of them, it`s authenticity. Whether on screen or on the stump, you know it when you see it. As part of the 7 Days of Genius Festival this week, we`re exploring the people, ideas and leaders who have changed the world.   And tonight we look at movie actors who might be considered geniuses in their craft. I`m joined right now by an expert, James Lipton, host of "Inside the Actors Studio" on Bravo. James, thanks for telling us what a genius is in movie acting. So, what is a genius? JAMES LIPTON, HOST, "INSIDE THE ACTORS STUDIO": Well, first of all, I think a genius is -- it`s inborn. It can`t be taught. It`s in your DNA. That`s what you bring to the table. Craft is what you learn. When you have great craft, really well- taught craft, and you combine it with the talent, the genius, then you get, well, the people we`re going to talk about in a minute. MATTHEWS: Well, let`s talk your first choice for best actor in terms of. LIPTON: This is not necessarily in this order, but I would certainly say Marlon Brando. Brando, I think, is the perfect definition of genius in acting. You could never, ever outguess him. Every choice he made in every part was a surprise. Stella Adler, who was his teacher and mine, said the talent, that`s the genius, lies in the choice. His choices were utterly unpredictable and, in the beginning, often incredible and shocking, and ultimately they were inevitable, the only possible choices. MATTHEWS: Well, here`s a scene from -- I`m sorry -- here`s a scene from Brando in "A Streetcar Named Desire." (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE")   UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: You face and your fingers are disgustingly greasy. Go wash up and then help me clear the table. MARLON BRANDO, ACTOR: Now, that`s how I`m going to clear the table. Don`t you ever talk that way to me. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Wow. Next? LIPTON: Next would be Charlie Chaplin. He turned humor into high art. Take a look at his features, his short films. The quantity and quality of sheer invention that they contain has never, ever been equaled, not by anyone, not at any time in any medium. He is one of the great geniuses of the 20th century. MATTHEWS: Next? LIPTON: Next one would Al Pacino. When the impresario Sergei Diaghilev commissioned Jean Cocteau to design the sets and costume for a ballet, Cocteau asked him, what would you like me to do? And Diaghilev replied, astonish me. That`s what Pacino does in every moment of every role. Time after time, in the process of inventing the character, he reinvents the art of acting from the floor up.   MATTHEWS: God, it`s showing. Here he is in one of the great scenes, I think, ever, the restaurant scene in "The Godfather." LIPTON: Would you like to know what he told me about that scene? MATTHEWS: I would love to know, because it was the one that won him the part after he had gotten the part. He had to win the part with that one, yes. LIPTON: Exactly. Exactly. They were going to fire him, and Coppola moved that scene up in the shooting schedule, so that he shot the scene, and they showed the -- they showed the dailies to the company. And the studio said, he`s got the part. But they were really going to fire him. He didn`t know whether he had that part or not, but he did know when he played that scene that it was live or die. MATTHEWS: I think, in one movie, two of the greatest scenes was that and the hospital scene, when he goes into the hospital and realizes there is nobody is protecting his dad and he has to fill that hospital with protection. Anyway, thank you. Let me -- let`s go to De Niro in "Taxi Driver." You -- what about him? LIPTON: When I`m asked what I admire most in an actor, my answer is a very simple one: risk. Nothing sums up De Niro`s work better than that single word. When he`s at his best, he`s on a tightrope over the Grand Canyon at risk of revealing his naked soul. Scorsese knew that when he shot the famous scene in the mirror. MATTHEWS: Yes. Here he is, De Niro as Travis Bickle.   (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "TAXI DRIVER") ROBERT DE NIRO, ACTOR: You talking to me? Well, I`m the only one here. Who the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) do you think you`re talking to? Oh, yes? Huh? OK. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: I think everybody who`s ever been scared on a subway in the middle of the night identifies with the desire to be able to just take on the guy that`s coming at you and win the fight. LIPTON: You talking to me. MATTHEWS: One last, a woman, finally, sir, one out of five, not bad, although a little out of date. LIPTON: It`s not my fault. MATTHEWS: One out of five. (CROSSTALK) LIPTON: That`s the way the movies stack it. MATTHEWS: OK. OK.   Let`s go, Meryl Streep, of course. LIPTON: Meryl Streep. MATTHEWS: What about her? LIPTON: With her record-breaking 19 Oscar nominations and three wins, I`m sure I will sound demented when I say that she is one of the most underrated actors of our time. She is so agile, so facile, that she makes the craft of acting look easy, so easy that some people would swear she`s not even acting. That, of course, is the perfect definition of acting genius. Well, here`s a clip from "Kramer vs. Kramer," 1979. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "KRAMER VS. KRAMER") MERYL STREEP, ACTRESS: I came here to take my son home. And I realize he already is home. Oh, I love him very much. I`m not going to take him with me. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Wow. LIPTON: Wow is right.   MATTHEWS: Is it true that Jean -- Jean Arthur taught her at Wellesley? LIPTON: Taught Meryl? MATTHEWS: Yes. LIPTON: First of all, Meryl was a product of the Yale Drama School. MATTHEWS: I thought she went to Wellesley. I thought she taught at Wellesley. (END VIDEO CLIP) LIPTON: No, no. No, she may have gone to Wellesley, but she was a product -- she had her master`s degree from Yale. And she was taught by Robert Lewis, who came out of the group theater and who was one of my teachers. And, interestingly enough... MATTHEWS: Well, we will check that out. I`m a buff, not a great -- not an expert or genius, like you. But I really do think there`s a Jean Arthur connection. (LAUGHTER) LIPTON: When did I qualify as a genius in this? I`m just a commutator.   (LAUGHTER) MATTHEWS: You`re great. And thanks so much for coming on, James. I love all those scenes. And I still want to carry a lot candle in my pocket -- I will light it up right now -- for Cary Grant, although people say he`s not a great actor. I must have seen 20 great movies that made me really happy starring Cary Grant. LIPTON: Chris, he was a great, great, great movie star. There`s a slight difference, I think. Just my opinion. MATTHEWS: OK. Up next -- thank you so much, James Lipton of the Actors Studio. (CROSSTALK) LIPTON: You`re very welcome. And this was a pleasure, always a pleasure. MATTHEWS: Thank you. Up next, 62 percent of Americans right now are for putting boots on the ground, U.S. boots on the ground, to fight ISIS in Iraqi and Syria. Do you believe it? And guess what? Iranian boots are already there and kicking some butt. You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.   (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (NEWSBREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: When it comes to Iran and ISIS, the enemy of your enemy is your enemy. (APPLAUSE) (END VIDEO CLIP) CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Welcome back to HARDBALL. That was, of course, Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu this week in the Congress with a warning for the United States, and yet, the reality on the ground over there shows Iran is playing a stepped-up role in fighting ISIS. As Helene Cooper wrote in "The New York Times" today, President Obama is becoming increasingly dependent on Iranian fighters as he trying to contain the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria without committing American ground troops. American war planners have been closely monitoring Iran`s parallel war against ISIS through a range of channels, including conversation on radio frequencies that each side knows the other is monitoring and the two militaries frequently seek to avoid conflict in their activities by using Iraqi command centers as an intermediary. Vali Nasr, a former special adviser to the president, put it bluntly, "You can`t have your cake and eat it, too. The United States strategy in Iraq has been successful so far largely because of Iran." Wow, I`m joined tonight by our roundtable. "The Atlantic`s" Steve Clemons, "The Huffington Post`s" Ryan Grim, and "The Washington Post`s" Elahe Izadi.   Thank you all for joining us. This is a strange situation. We fought World War II with a lot of help from the Russians. You can say they took the brunt of that fight, Steve. STEVE CLEMONS, THE ATLANTIC: Oh, yes. MATTHEWS: And we wouldn`t have gotten to Hitler. By the time we got to the beaches of Normandy, there`s no more -- left. That`s a lot better to fight. Now, this war, we find ourselves with having defeated the Sunni government in Baghdad, we have set up a Shia-run government, which is very friendly to Iran, now we find ourselves fighting on the same side with Iran against ISIS. It`s a revolting development, as we used to say in the old days. But it is the development we live with. Can we beat ISIS without Iran? CLEMONS: The answer is, one, no. Two, we fought as well alongside Iran for certain key parts of stabilizing Afghanistan. So, what we did in 2003 with Iran, as forgotten by many people, so we have cooperated with this country before, they helped produce Karzai and Afghanistan for better or worse, but we were part of that. But the third part of this, we`re assuring another civil war inside Iraq by letting Iran put boots on the ground, because we`re convincing Sunnis throughout that region, in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere, but also in northern Iraq, that we are giving Iraq to Iran, and that -- they won`t bide by that. MATTHEWS: Didn`t they do that in 2002, 2003? CLEMONS: We`re doing it again. We`re reinforcing that. MATTHEWS: It seems like we turned over that government to Shia, who we used to hate during the hostage crisis of `79 and `80, remember? (INAUDIBLE) hated the Shia, and now we give them the government of Iraq and now we are surprised they have it.   RYAN GRIM, THE HUFFINGTON POST: The problem here is different things we`re doing is running at cross-purposes. The fundamental problem is that Iraq doesn`t even really exist anymore as a state, as we commonly understand them. So, to the extent we`re trying to bring together Sunni and Shia, we`re alienating Iran. But in order to take on ISIS, we`re working with Iran, and working with Iran alienates the Sunnis. So, there really is no way to both -- MATTHEWS: Who`s going to get the territory? If ISIS quit tomorrow, if they just put their hands in the air and walked away, they didn`t exist anymore, who would own all that land in Iraq? GRIM: It could be governed by the Sunnis who are there now. MATTHEWS: The locals? GRIM: Now, the problem -- MATTHEWS: There`s no government. (CROSSTALK) GRIM: The Shia totally dominated that area, and that`s why ISIS was able to come through there so quickly, because they were furious at the federal government. CLEMONS: Sunni tribal leaders would run and own the land up there, but they want to run Baghdad. They want they feel that they have been screwed by the Abadi government, just lake they were screwed by the Maliki government, and they are not -- despite what John Kerry has crafted -- feel that they have a real stake and real role in that government. MATTHEWS: OK. American people, I`m looking at all those numbers, people now support troops. A new Quinnipiac poll this week shows that by 2-1 margin, Americans are now in favorite of sending U.S. ground troops to fight ISIS in Iraq and Syria.   Elahe? ELAHE IZADI, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well -- MATTHEWS: It`s unbelievable that the American people are talking about a big heavy force of Americans going in and fighting a war again, after we just got out of Iraq. IZADI: There are a number of polls showing this shift among Americans, shifting toward supporting ground troops from October to now. But there`s also a Pew poll last week that showed support was kind of split. I think the polling is kinds of all over the map a little bit on this issue, but the point is there is growing support, and it`s coming amid more and more videos of ISIS atrocities, showing beheadings of Americans and aid workers. We have all those Egyptian Christians who were slaughtered on the beach, and I think more and more Americans are becoming outraged at this. But it`s another question of how strongly they feel about American involvement in the region. MATTHEWS: How about the people -- who are we fighting? We go into an area like we do with Vietcong or we did -- people were wrong -- the British were wrong about America. They thought they would come in and everybody would be on their side. Who`s going to be on our side -- CLEMONS: Well, if we go in, and we go inside, that on a temporary basis, a lot of the Sunnis may join us if we arm them, if we empower them, as long as we promise to leave, and as long we -- MATTHEWS: Who did we give the country to when we leave? Who wants to govern? CLEMONS: There are no good answers. What happens is the American public, why wary of getting involved, is nonetheless convinced that ISIS can come to their street corner, blow you will their mall, kill their children, their journalists, and they have changed the game. When we were going to attack Syria on the chemical weapons, the American public was not. It was Labor Day weekend and nobody wanted to go to war. So, ISIS has taunted us and invited -- MATTHEWS: I`m with most Americans, I`ve got a visceral, gut attitude about this. But what happens when we take territory back from them, block by block, we kill ISIS people. Will those people we liberate, will they be on our side once they see the Shia brigades come in behind us, the Shia militia come in behind us? Or they say, wait a minute, how did we get stuck here and they will be opposition to us again?   IZADI: Well, yes, and that`s a big concern, right? Even in Tikrit where there`s a being offensive happening, where you have Iranian-backed Shia militants, who are involved in that effort, comprising a huge -- a proportion of that effort. There`s concern that that`s going to turn into a sectarian bloodbath. CLEMONS: And right now, ISIS recruitment is surging, because of the Tikrit action. We`re calling the Tikrit action, Martin Dempsey is saying that it`s good thing that Iran is there and they`re striking. What is happening is Sunni tribes in the area are joining us en masse with ISIS, because they see that as their alternative. MATTHEWS: What I see is Bibi Netanyahu, because he has this antipathy, justified obviously, with Iran, that`s the war he wants to fight, the war the American people want to fight is fight ISIS. This is a cross-purposes situation, and the president has to make a decision. Apparently, he`s decided to fight ISIS, but not really. The round table is staying with us. And up next, the latest on the vicious attack against the U.S. ambassador in South Korea. North Korea called it a deserved punishment. We`re going to show you the visuals. It`s really dramatic. This is HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Edward Cardinal Egan, the seventh cardinal of the See of New York, died today of cardiac arrest. Cardinal Egan was appointed to in 2001 by John Paul II. He retired as archbishop in New York in 2009, but continued to work with the diocese while serving on a number of offices at the Vatican. Cardinal Egan was 82 years old. And we`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: We`re back with our roundtable, Steve, Ryan and Elahe.   Anyway, the United States ambassador to South Korea was attacked today, this morning by a man, reportedly angered over joint military exercises between the U.S. and South Korea. The attack happened at a breakfast forum not far from the U.S. embassy. NBC`s Keir Simmons describes the incident. And caution here, there is some graphic footage coming. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) KEIR SIMMONS, NBC NEWS (voice-over): Panic, just minutes after suffering a four-inch slash to his face. MARK LIPPERT, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO SOUTH KOREA: I need an ambulance past. Get me to the hospital. SIMMONS: Ambassador Lippert, a second cut to his arm, is bungled into a car. Moments earlier, the ambassador who served with the Navy SEALs calmly walks from the room where his alleged assailant was wrestled to the ground. Mark Lippert place setting still splattered with blood, a knife recovered by police. Later, the ambassador to South Korea was helped from an ambulance, bandaged and wearing hospital clothes. "I`m OK", he says. (END VIDEOTAPE) MATTHEWS: Ambassador Lippert received 80 stitches and two and half hours of surgery. President Obama called him earlier to wish him well. Lippert, a former Navy officer, he wasn`t a SEAL, previously chief of staff of the president`s National Security Council. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke about Lippert today.   (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: I talked to him a little while ago. REPORTER: How`s he doing? KERRY: He`s doing as good as he could be expected. And his spirit is strong. And he intends to soldier on. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, Ben Rhodes who, of course, is a deputy national security adviser, also spoke today about his friend and former colleague. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BEN RHODES, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: This is someone who served his country in harm`s way. He`s a tough guy. I expect he`ll be back on his feet and in his job as soon as possible. The tweet he issued today I think sends that message. And he has really taken to this job, he and his wife Robyn, have embraced the Korean people. They`ve gotten among the people. They`re very prominent there. He speaks Korean. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Eighty stitches and he just stood there and took it, and said -- he basically kept control of the situation, get me to a hospital, I need a doctor. Talking about cool, grace under pressure.   CLEMONS: Mark Lippert happened to be a good friend of mine and he`s cool like that all of the time. I mean, he was chief of staff of the Pentagon under Chuck Hagel. He keeps his staff in the biggest storms and he just demonstrated this in 3D form in front of all us. MATTHEWS: Elahe, is every post now diplomatically a dangerous post? It seems like it. IZADI: Well, I will just say that this incident underscores the dangers that diplomats, even in countries that are considered very safe face. This diplomat, he is known to take walks around, and just among people saying hello to ordinary Koreans, on his way. I mean, even someone like that in a country like South Korea could be attacked that way. CLEMONS: We think Asia is safe, and the Middle East is dangerous. It reminded me of Ed Reischauer, many people know that our ambassador to Japan, he was stabbed in the `60s and it was very unlikely because we thought that we were completely safe in a place like Japan. MATTHEWS: He is a great friend of Japan too. CLEMONS: But the bigger danger here, I think long term, is retreating behind calls all other the country. You can`t walk around -- MATTHEWS: Tell us about the embassies you visited. They`re all bunkers and outside of town. GRIM: Take Beirut for instance, yes, in the suburbs. The staff there are allowed to leave something like twice a week. And journalists and other NGO types who live in Beirut, are at the bars and restaurants every night. If you`re only out twice a week and you`re with armored cars and you`re with guards, what`s the point of even being there. MATTHEWS: Even if personnel have to hide, that is just a building. GRIM: Right, exactly. And so, what`s the point? How are you deriving local knowledge when you`re going to bars on the embassy and talking to people from northern Virginia or from suburban Maryland who are there for a year or two -- MATTHEWS: May make all of the applicants for visas wait outside the bunker. They have to wait aside in the sun or whatever, you know?   GRIM: Yes, for hours. MATTHEWS: Anyway, you know the guy, tell us about him. CLEMONS: Yes, Mark Lippert is a great man. As Ben Rhodes said, he was on the NSC staff. He moved from there to work for Chuck Hagel in the Pentagon and just left a short while ago. His dream job was to be the ambassador of South Korea. He speaks Korean, he`s just outstanding and serve in a real military and defense expert. That said -- MATTHEWS: You`re an amazing guy, Steve. You know everybody. I mean, I appreciate this fellow and thank him for his service when you see him. And a great guy, I love the way he kept calm, Hemingway, you know? Grace under pressure, he showed it. Steve Clemons, that`s an easy name, Ryan Grim, and Elahe Izadi, thank you. That`s an easy name once you grow up and learn it. I`ll be right back. CLEMONS: Thank you, Chris. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: That`s HARDBALL for now, and 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.>