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Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 04/13/15

Guests: Sen. Debbie Stabenow, Sen. Bob Corker, Brian Grazer, Steve McMahon

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Hillary crosses the Hudson. Let`s play HARDBALL. Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in San Francisco. She left New York state yesterday, heading west to Iowa. Like Simon and Garfunkel, she`s gone off to look for America, to listen to the people who will next year pick a new president for our country. For Hillary Rodham Clinton, her future is now. Will the people embrace her and decide she`s one of us, or will they wait for the great battle to come, watching to see who prevails when she contests a Republican nominee in November 2016? This promises to be a match-up of economic philosophy, with Hillary Clinton carrying the old banner of populism, of gender, with the GOP candidate most probably a male, and perhaps, given the entry of young Senator Marco Rubio today, one of generation, as well. And how much of this fight for 2016 will focus on foreign policy, with the fight already launched over President Obama`s hope to strike a deal with Iran on its nuclear program? Tonight, we talk with the top Republican challenger on that front, Senate Foreign Relations chairman Bob Corker of Tennessee. But we start tonight with Hillary Clinton`s two-day road trip, heading to Iowa from her home in Chappaqua, New York. She`s been meeting with people all along the way and tweeting photos. She was even spotted ordering from a Chipotle. Yesterday, her declaration video featured a diverse array of people. There was a gay couple planning a wedding, another young couple getting ready for a new baby and a new job. Hillary`s message -- she wants to be a champion for everyday Americans.   (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), FMR. SECRETARY OF STATE, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Americans have fought their way back from tough economic times, but the deck is still stacked in favor of those at the top. Every day, Americans need a champion, and I want to be that champion so you can do more than just get by, you can get ahead and stay ahead because when families are strong, America is strong. So I`m hitting the road to earn your vote because it`s your time, and I hope you`ll join me on this journey. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, you can sure tell from that ad, everybody watching the show right now, that it`s a Democratic candidate running for president. I don`t have to be specific, but every picture you saw said Democrat. I`m joined right now by Robert Gibbs, former press secretary for President Obama, and Eugene Robinson, a columnist for "The Washington Post." Both are MSNBC political analysts. What I meant by that, Robert and Gene, is if you go to a Democratic convention and look out into the crowd, it`s a different looking-crowd than a Republican convention. It just is. And that ad, I thought, Robert, said that, I`m one of you. Your thoughts about that ad. ROBERT GIBBS, FMR. OBAMA PRESS SECRETARY, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think absolutely, there`s a broad diversity in that ad. And obviously, there is a pretty sharp economic rhetoric from her in that ad, probably the economic rhetoric that not many people are used to hearing from her, that I think sets the tone for where she wants to stake out her rationale in this race. MATTHEWS: Is she Elizabeth II here? GIBBS: I don`t know if she`s Elizabeth II, but she is demonstrating the pull of the Democratic Party from progressives, and I think probably also underscoring what role income inequality is going to play in this election and in the proposals that she and others come up with.   MATTHEWS: Gene, I thought there was more of that than -- I agree with Robert. I think there was much more of that than we`ve heard before from Hillary. I thought I heard, They win, we lose, rather than, All boats rise with the tide. It wasn`t the more familiar centrist voice of the Clintons than we`ve heard before. It was much more like Elizabeth Warren. EUGENE ROBINSON, "WASHINGTON POST," MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: No, it was less Democratic Leadership Council than it was, but -- but it was a new tone from Hillary Clinton. It reflects, I think, the luxury she has, frankly, of being able to run essentially unopposed for the Democratic nomination. She can go anywhere she wants. One of the places she needs to go is to secure not just the grudging votes, but in fact, some passion and some loyalty and some enthusiasm from the left of the party because those people are going to go out and they`re going to work and they`re going to motivate people to come out and vote. Those people have to come out and vote if she`s going to be president. MATTHEWS: And I think there`s a millennial aspect to that. People that don`t have a good job yet, if they`re going to get a good job, people are still struggling in their 20s and maybe early 30s economically. A lot of them out there now don`t have even families yet. They`re still struggling to get a place in society. I think she`s also talking to them. Anyway, today president -- president -- there`s a mistake -- not intended at all. Senator Marco Rubio announced he`s running for president, and he called the election, quote, "a generational choice" about what kind of country we will be. Let`s watch him. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Just yesterday, a leader from yesterday... (BOOS AND APPLAUSE) RUBIO: ... began a campaign for president by promising to take us back to yesterday. (BOOS AND APPLAUSE)   RUBIO: Yesterday is over. (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) RUBIO: Before us now is the opportunity to author the greatest chapter yet in the amazing story of America. But we can`t do that by going back to the leaders and ideas of the past. We must change the decisions we are making by changing the people who are making them. (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, that`s tough. Let`s bring in Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan. Boy, he was -- he looks young and good-looking and all the good things and nice and fresh, and yet there he was the ugly stick going right after Hillary Clinton. SEN. DEBBIE STABENOW (D), MICHIGAN: Right. MATTHEWS: I mean, that shot was directed at her. There`s no doubt about it. STABENOW: Right. MATTHEWS: Your thoughts, Senator.   STABENOW: Right. Absolutely. Well, Chris, first of all, let me say it sounded like it was a nice speech. But two weeks ago, Marco Rubio and every single Republican in the Senate voted for a budget that dramatically cuts Medicare and Medicaid, does away with health care, cuts education in favor of the wealthy and the well-connected one more time -- you know, not closing loopholes that send jobs overseas, and at the same time, keeping the big Bush tax cuts going. You know, by the way, Hillary voted against those tax cuts when she was a senator. And every Republican including, Marco Rubio, would like to see more of them, that would do nothing but increase the -- the -- what`s happening in terms of the gap, in terms of wages, and so on. So speeches are nice, but I`m focused on working with folks every day on the Republican side that are voting against working people, and they don`t seem to be worried at all about it. MATTHEWS: If you had to calibrate for Senator Clinton, Secretary Clinton, former first lady Clinton -- if you had to calibrate for her somewhere between the center point and all the way to the left, say Bernie Sanders -- I don`t think he`d mind me saying that -- over there... STABENOW: Right. MATTHEWS: ... maybe de Blasio, the mayor of New York. I think he`d like me to say that -- where would you put her, somewhere center-left or a little bit further left or where -- would you put her closer to Sanders than you would to the middle, closer to de Blasio? STABENOW: Well... MATTHEWS: Because she sounded a bit like -- I kidded, Elizabeth II, but your other colleague, Elizabeth Warren. STABENOW: Well, you know, Chris, I think that she`s always been a progressive. This somebody who uses a lot of common sense, willing to negotiate to be able to move forward, but is progressive. You know, I actually met her 30 years ago on a national panel in Detroit when she was an attorney was fighting for children who had been abused. And then I remember being in 1995 in Beijing when she made that speech. And I`ll tell you what. That was not easy to make. The Chinese were going crazy when she made that speech about "Women`s rights are human rights." So I have seen Hillary for a long time. I`ve worked with her in the Senate. This is somebody who really embodies the heart and soul of where the majority of Americans are in terms of wanting to, you know, have a fair shot to get ahead.   MATTHEWS: You`re the only woman in the panel so far so, Senator, so you`ve got to respond to this. I`m going to hear from the guys on this. How will Hillary Clinton navigate the question of the role her gender`s going to play this time around? And how are Republicans going to handle it? One indication -- here was Republican strategist Ana Navarro this weekend arguing that Clinton could overplay the gender card. Now, this is going to be very partisan. I want to warn viewers with tender ears. Here it comes. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ANA NAVARRO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Hillary Clinton on this women`s think I think is lacking subtlety. I don`t need her to drown me in estrogen every time she opens her mouth. I don`t need... UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t think that`s going to happen. (CROSSTALK) NAVARRO: Every time she opens her mouth, it`s about the granddaughter and Chelsea`s wedding and the yoga routines. You know, Hillary Clinton needs to stop being focused-grouped to death and be Hillary Clinton. She doesn`t need to have a sign that says, "I am woman, hear me roar." (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Drowning in estrogen. I have to tell you, I warned the viewers about that graphic. Your thoughts, Senator. I haven`t heard that kind of talk before. STABENOW: Well, you know... MATTHEWS: Go ahead.   STABENOW: Chris, I have to say, fact -- Hillary Clinton is a woman. Fact, Hillary Clinton is a mom and she`s a grandma. She also was an incredible secretary of state who, unlike her Republican opponents, knows every world leader, has talked to the world leaders, has negotiated on the world`s stage. This is somebody who has the experience, the toughness, the savvy, the intelligence, and hey, great, extra points, she brings an experience we haven`t had in the White House. And I think a little estrogen might be a good thing. MATTHEWS: Well said. Thank you very much, Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan. Let`s go back to the guys, Robert Gibbs and Eugene Robinson. This is an odd thing to see somebody like Navarro come out and just make a -- really, a graphic comment about someone`s gender. Let`s be blunt. She`s blunt. GIBBS: Well, look, I think that Hillary Clinton is much more comfortable running the way she is now, accentuating her gender, than she was eight years ago, when, basically, she minimized it. So I think if you`re looking for who the authentic Hillary Clinton is, I think it`s somebody much more out front as being a mom, in talking about things like pay equity and gender discrimination, and as Senator Stabenow said, standing up on the international stage for women`s rights being human rights. So I think she`s much more comfortable where this is. Obviously, there`s going to be a line every time you talk about any issue, but I don`t think Senator Clinton is anywhere near that line. MATTHEWS: You know, Gene, years ago, remember Jack Germond, one of the old sages -- he said that no woman over 65`s going to vote for a woman for public office years ago. I think it`s the direct opposite right now. ROBINSON: Yes. MATTHEWS: I think people our age are going to vote for her if the other guy isn`t better than her. I mean, I think they`ll want to vote for her, want her to be the best candidate. They`re going to want this victory. ROBINSON: Yes, look, there -- this a historic opportunity, and I think a lot of voters will respond to that. And I think not -- not just women voters, but male voters, as well, will respond to the chance to make history, as some voters did in 2008 with Barack Obama. I mean, let`s face it, this hasn`t happened before, and it`s, frankly, high time that it -- that it happened. And if Republicans are stupid enough to go after Hillary Clinton on the basis...   MATTHEWS: I love the way you (INAUDIBLE) ROBINSON: ... of her being a woman, then she`s just got to say, Bring it on. I mean, that would be... MATTHEWS: Exactly! ROBINSON: That would be as close to suicidal as I can imagine. MATTHEWS: I would peel off some of those $2.5 billion she`s raising and I`d give it to anybody willing to throw those stink bombs -- just keep knocking me for being a woman because every woman hears it and says, You`re talking about me. Anyway, guys, thank you. It takes us a while to learn these lessons. Thank you so much, Robert Gibbs, knows what he`s talking about. GIBBS: Thank you. MATTHEWS: Gene, you`re always right. ROBINSON: Thank you. MATTHEWS: Much -- almost always right. Much more on the two top presidential campaign announcements from Hillary Clinton and Marco Rubio ahead in this hour. But up next, the Obama administration is now pushing very hard to keep Congress from tanking this deal with Iran -- ruining the thing, derailing it. And the number one target in the administration`s charm offensive is the guy coming up next, Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations committee, who wants Congress to have the final say over the deal. Senator Corker will join us -- very important interview coming up.   Plus, Marco Rubio is making a big issue out of President Obama`s policy on Cuba. But just look at where he made his announcement today. It`s an all-out play for that most critical of swing votes, Florida. And with Hillary off and running now off to Iowa tomorrow, get used to this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KATE MCKINNON, ACTOR: I am running because I want to be a voice for women everywhere. DARRELL HAMMOND, ACTOR: Did someone say women everywhere? (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) MCKINNON: Bill. Hello, Bill! HAMMOND: Hillary would make a great president. MCKINNON: Thank you. HAMMOND: And I would make an even greater first dude. (LAUGHTER)   (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: There is nobody like Darrell Hammond (ph) (INAUDIBLE) Even the president`s not as good as he is playing the president. Anyway, Darrell Hammond there, back playing Bill Clinton this past "Saturday Night Live." But that role will -- what will the actual role that Bill Clinton`s going to play? What`s the real guy going to do? We`re going to talk about that coming up in the show. This is going to be fun. Finally, "Let Me Finish" with Hillary`s listening trip to Iowa and why it`s going to do her some great good. And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: In presidential politics, age matters. Since 1992, the younger candidate has won the popular vote in every presidential election. In `92, it was Clinton over Bush, Sr. In `96, it was Clinton -- he defeated Bob dole. In the year 2000, Al Gore actually won the popular vote -- we all remember that -- but George W., thanks to the Supreme Court, two years older, won the election. In 2004, Bush beat John Kerry, who was two years older. And in 2008, Barack Obama beat John McCain, and then beat Mitt Romney four years later. We`ll see if that trend holds true in 2016. And we`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Well, the fight over the Iranian nuclear deal is nearing a breaking point. The U.S. Senate`s Foreign Relations Committee will begin work on legislation tomorrow to allow Congress to review, even reject a final deal.   The White House is warning that the legislation could derail the talks before we even get to a final deal. Meanwhile, Senator John McCain is calling Secretary of State John Kerry "delusional." Iran`s supreme leader recently declared that all economic sanctions must be lifted immediately if a final deal is reached, a position that goes against the White House`s core principles on a deal. But here`s John McCain on Hugh Hewitt`s radio show. (BEGIN AUDIO CLIP) SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: John Kerry must have known what was in it and yet chose to interpret it in another -- in another way. It`s probably in black and white that the ayatollah is probably right. John Kerry is delusional. And he came back, in my view -- I think you`re going to find out, that they had never agreed to the things that John Kerry claimed that they had. I think John Kerry tried to come back and sell a bill of goods, hoping maybe that the Iranians wouldn`t say much about it. But look, it`s delusional. (END AUDIO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, President Obama fired back at that this weekend. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When I hear some, like Senator McCain recently, suggest that our secretary of state, John Kerry, who served in the United States Senate, a Vietnam veteran, who`s provided exemplary service to this nation, is somehow less trustworthy in the interpretation of what`s in a political agreement than the supreme leader of Iran, that`s an indication of the degree to which partisanship has crossed all boundaries. (END VIDEO CLIP)   MATTHEWS: Well, joining me right now, Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee. He`s chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. You have one of the most prestigious positions ever in the United States Congress. I think of Fulbright, I think of the great chairs of that committee. Are we getting too partisan when a member of the Senate calling the other -- the secretary of state "delusional" and seeming to be siding with the ayatollah on the facts? SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: You know, Chris, I -- look, each -- there are a lot of things that are happening right now. I know tensions are high. My only focus is passing strongly in a bipartisan way a bill to give Congress the ability to, on behalf of the American people, know what`s in this agreement and to be able to say grace on it by having the right to pass a resolution of approval or disapproval, if we feel like that`s where it needs to go. So that is 100 percent my focus, the substance of what is in this deal. We won`t know until the end of June, likely, what the substance is. But I think the American people, because of all of these things that they`re hearing from differing -- differing areas -- they want someone -- they want Congress to understand what is in this deal and to ensure that it`s going to stand the test of time. MATTHEWS: OK, let`s get to the procedure. It gives you 60 days after a deal is signed by the president, agreed to with the Iranians to review it. At the end of that, if you do pass this and it gives the Congress that authority to do that, wouldn`t the Republican majority in the Senate use that opportunity to reject the deal? Just reject it. Here`s your chance -- you`re giving them the chance. And wouldn`t your colleagues in the Republican Party who are a majority in the Senate just say OK, we`re going to reject the deal? We have the opportunity, and we`re going to use it. CORKER: No, I think people understand that the best thing for our country is a strongly negotiated agreement. Everyone understands that. And I think that we believe -- people on both sides of the aisle -- believe that by Congress being that backstop, there`s much more likely to be a deal that has a substance in it that can pass muster. But look, certainly there`s partisanship. We have some folks on our side of the aisle, Chris, no matter what the president says, they`re going to be against it. We have some folks on the Democratic side that no matter what he says they`re for it. So I would say the large, mass majority of senators in the United States Senate want to look at this in a sober and thoughtful manner on behalf of their constituents. And ensure again that if we relieve these sanctions that have taken years to put in place -- and by the way, these are the congressionally mandated sanctions that got them to the table -- we just want to say grace over that before they are alleviated. MATTHEWS: OK. But if this deal goes down because the Congress uses its prerogative under this legislation to bring it down to reject it. Do you have confidence that the other powers in the world -- China, Russia, the Europeans -- would back stronger sanctions, which would somehow stop the Iranians from going nuclear in terms of weaponization? Do you think there`s some third option out there? The president says there really isn`t a third option. He says it`s either this deal or we`ll end of having to bomb them. Do you believe there`s another option?   CORKER: Oh, sure. I`ve said it multiple times. We have a JPOA in place right now, the interim agreement. It`s serving us well. If in fact -- MATTHEWS: Will it hold? Will it hold? CORKER: Well, I don`t know, Chris. But I mean, at the end of the day, you`re sort of fast-forwarding beyond where we are. First of all, we don`t have any idea if there will be a final agreement. All we`re saying is if there is one, we want the other P-5 plus one -- certainly the president and others who are negotiating -- we want them to know that Congress is going to play its rightful role on the congressionally mandated sanctions. That`s it. And I can`t play this out -- I don`t even know if there`s going to be a final agreement. But one position would be to keep the interim agreement in place as we are right now. MATTHEWS: Let`s suppose you succeed in getting -- maybe not a veto- proof, maybe 67 senators to support the idea that you, as the Senate, has the prerogative to vote up or down on whatever the agreement is. OK. What if that brings down the deal? What happens if the people in Iran say you know what? That`s not the way we saw this process. This is a different process than we agreed to. We`re going home. Who would be blamed then? Who do you think history would blame: the Republican leadership led by you in the Senate Foreign Relations committee, or the president? CORKER: Believe me, this is strongly bipartisan. Ben Cardin, Bob Menendez, Chuck Schumer -- this is not some Republican effort. This is strongly bipartisan. And Chris, I could say back to you, what if the P-5 plus 1 doesn`t reach an agreement? What if some of these things that are being said about the disagreement over what was even discussed in a verbal manner? I mean, again, I don`t want to speculate those things. What I do want, and I know the American people want, they want someone to go through these details, the classified annexes, all the things that someone like you who`s served up here knows exists and can ensure, again, this is something that stands the test of time. And by the way, that everyone is on the same page as to what the agreement is. MATTHEWS: Well, I hope you can get through this process without derailing it. I think that`s -- what I think you want and I think some people in the middle do want. I`m not sure everybody on the right wants this to be smooth sailing all the way to a deal and then have an up-or-down vote.   But that`s what you`d like to have: a deal, and then you decide whether it`s right or not. CORKER: That`s right. And Chris, in Switzerland, we know for a fact that the negotiators believe that Congress was going to play a role. We know for a fact that it was beneficial to our negotiators while we were there. We were the backstop that was necessary to keep this deal from going in another direction. So we`re going to play that constructive role, I hope, and I appreciate you having me on today. MATTHEWS: And I appreciate that you didn`t sign that letter of 47 senators. I think that went too far. But I appreciate what you`re doing here as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, sir. Thank you, Bob Corker of Tennessee. CORKER: Thank you, thank you, sir. MATTHEWS: Thanks for coming on. CORKER: Thank you, sir. Thank you. (END VIDEOTAPE) MATTHEWS: Up next, the power of simple curiosity. Brian Grazer, the Hollywood producer behind movies and TV shows like "24," "Apollo 13," "Frost/Nixon," says you can change your life just by asking questions. And that`s true for politics, too, I`m telling you. And he is coming here in just a minute to teach us something. This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.   (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "FROST/NIXON") FRANK LANGELLA, ACTOR: Look, when you`re in office, you have got to do a lot of things sometimes that are not always in the strictest sense of the law legal. But you will do them because they`re in the greater interests of the nation. MICHAEL SHEEN, ACTOR: Wait. Just so I understand correctly, are you really saying that, in certain situations, the president can decide whether it is in the best interests of the nation and then do something illegal? LANGELLA: I`m saying that when the president does it, that means it is not illegal. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. The man who produced that movie is here with us now, Brian Grazer. He is responsible for some of Hollywood`s most iconic films, like "Frost/Nixon" and "A Beautiful Mind," as well as hit TV shows, even, well, lots of things like Bill Clinton like to watch, like "24" and "Arrested Development," along with Ron Howard, his business partner of 35 years. His work has been nominated for 43 Academy Awards, 149 Emmys. And yet he says the secret of his success can be summed up in one word -- and this is the greatest of all graduation speeches -- curiosity. Since the 1970s, Grazer has spoken with thousands of accomplished people in fields all over the world in what he calls curiosity conversations. As part of a deliberate effort of his, he`s made to expose himself to new ideas and different perspectives. Now Brian Grazer is out with this book, a fabulous read. It`s called "A Curious Mind." You can zip through this baby in two or three sittings, a secret to a bigger life. It is about how the influence conversation in your life can change you.   He joins me right now. Brian, this book... BRIAN GRAZER, AUTHOR, "A CURIOUS MIND": Yes. MATTHEWS: I have read a few books in my life that have one central thought. One is Gavin de Becker`s "The Gift of Fear," about... GRAZER: Yes. MATTHEWS: ... about the instinct you have. If somebody is following you, damn it, act like they`re following you. Don`t go open that door to your house thinking they`re not right behind you. This book is much more positive. It`s about basic curiosity about the people you live with all your life and the big shots you meet. But everybody -- it is why people like Tip O`Neill succeed in politics. It is why Bill Clinton is liked by so many people. When he meets you... GRAZER: Definitely. MATTHEWS: ... he wants to know about you. Tell me about this book and why you got into it. GRAZER: Well, first of all, what got me into it was my grandmother.   I had a tiny little grandmother that at -- and when I was like 5 years old, I asked her the simple question of what goes faster, a car or a bee? She turned that into a real question and didn`t ignore it. And she said, with your questioning, Brian, curiosity will have the greatest role in your life. It will be a superpower in your life. And at 5 years old, I started to realize that that would be a thing that would be powerful for me. And I have used that my entire life, and then have created a discipline where I go every two weeks to meet somebody that is expert or renowned in anything other than show business, the world in which I live, which would be science, medicine, politics, technology, all art forms, from clothing to (INAUDIBLE) to painting, and so I have just -- architecture -- I have just done this for now 35 years religiously for every two weeks. MATTHEWS: You know, Brian, back when I was dating and drinking a bit, back in my 20s, I thought the best way to date somebody was to tell them how great I was. (LAUGHTER) MATTHEWS: This won`t surprise anybody. Then I discovered what Bill Clinton discovered and a lot of guys. The best dating principle is to listen. GRAZER: Wow. MATTHEWS: Listen. GRAZER: It`s so interesting, because the process of curiosity, when you really do it, when you really use it as a tool, it creates intimacy. So, as you just said, your very best date was the one where all of the questions were coming so naturally. And what emerged out of that was chemistry and that became probably, I`m sure, I bet, your very best date. MATTHEWS: No, actually, I learned it by default. I didn`t get it right.   GRAZER: Oh. MATTHEWS: Some of the other guys do it better. But Clinton -- I`m going to get to this at the end of the show. But talk about your principle here. Bill Clinton is a listener. I mean, every -- you have met him a number of times. He gives that you two minutes, at least, right, the blue eyes right in your face, totally attentive to you. GRAZER: Exactly. Well, it is brilliant. You have to be a great listener, because it is -- all of the breakthroughs, all of the good ideas, all the creation comes between the question and the answer. It is that gray area that lives in the middle, which all that stuff that is building between question and the answer becomes almost molecular. And, as I was saying, that`s what -- your very best date comes that way, or if you think -- I think of a lot of the greatest people I have met. They all axis on curiosity, whether it`s Steve Jobs or Michael Jackson or Princess Di or President Bill Clinton. MATTHEWS: Yes. GRAZER: It is -- it`s the -- all the stuff that is in the middle of the first question and the first answer. It is that building, that sort of biochemistry that happens where it really... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Well, let`s talk about -- let`s talk about Hillary Clinton. Hillary Clinton is in a van now heading west to Iowa listen. GRAZER: Yes.   MATTHEWS: And instead of coming out with a big speech -- she has a bit of a speech yesterday in that tape -- she is listening, just like she did when she got elected senator from New York. People seem to like it. And I guess, if you truly listen, it`s because you`re curious. You`re not pretending. GRAZER: Yes. It has to be a genuine thing. And I think -- I have met Hillary Clinton a few times. And it feels like a very genuine thing. She feels like she`s -- her spirit is in the right place and she does -- she really does listen. (CROSSTALK) GRAZER: I had an interesting moment, very quickly, with Hillary Clinton. We both were given an award. Mine was at the very beginning of the night. Hers was at the end, because she was the more important person. And she actually integrated in this tiny little sentence I said into her acceptance speech. And I thought, wow, that was listening. MATTHEWS: Yes. GRAZER: It was a demonstration of exactly what you just said. MATTHEWS: Yes. What about -- I think McCain -- I don`t think, what`s his name, W., I don`t think he is much of a curious guy. And I think that was his problem with the whole neocon, crazy, going to war. I don`t think he asked enough questions. I don`t think he was curious enough. And I think that`s what got us into that disaster.   GRAZER: Well, that`s why I watch HARDBALL, to find that stuff out, as far as politics goes. (LAUGHTER) MATTHEWS: OK. I`m going to sell your book, but thanks for selling me. The book is called "A Curious Mind." It is not a heavy lift. It`s about 200-some pages. I`m telling you, you`re going to start reading this. You`re going to go to the bookstore and you`re going to start reading it, and then you`re going to realize, I`m going to buy this book, because this is going to be the best graduation speech you ever heard in your life. This is about life. It is called curiosity. And if you don`t have that, you have really given up, haven`t you? Anyway, thank you. Hey, Brian Grazer, I have heard your name all my life. Now I met you. Thank you so much. GRAZER: Thank you, Chris. Really appreciate it. MATTHEWS: And I love it. I love those movies like "The Paper." What a great movie. GRAZER: Oh. MATTHEWS: And "Parenthood," I love that movie, and "Friday Night Lights." You have got some -- what a track record. Up next: Marco Rubio is off and running. He`s making President Obama`s normalization with Cuba an issue, a negative issue.   That`s ahead. You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) RICHARD LUI, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Hi. I`m Richard Lui in the MSNBC newsroom. Convicted murderer Jodi Arias has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. She was found guilty of killing her ex- boyfriend in 2013. Police are searching for the gunman who opened fire at Wayne Community College in North Carolina, killing a school employee. That suspect is a former student. And bad weather forcing SpaceX to delay the launch of a cargo capsule to the International Space Station. Another attempt is set for tomorrow. The ship is expected to deliver the first zero-g espresso machine to the space station -- now back to HARDBALL. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: This election is not just about what laws we`re going to pass. This election is a generational choice about what kind of country we will be. Yesterday is over. (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) RUBIO: And we`re never going back. (END VIDEO CLIP)   MATTHEWS: Wow. Welcome back to HARDBALL. Actually, former Senator Marco Rubio has been playing some hardball today. He announced that he is running for president just a few moments ago. Rubio, the son of Cuban immigrants to this country, made the announcement at Miami`s iconic Freedom Tower, which some -- says is that city`s Ellis Island because of the thousands of Cuban immigrants who passed through there as they escaped the Castro regime. Rubio, one term Florida senator, is the second Cuban-American to enter the GOP race for the White House. Texas Senator Ted Cruz is also the son of parents, at least one parent who fled Cuba. Their campaigns come in a unique time in American politics, of course, when the debate over relations with Cuba is certainly heating up and perking up. Rubio`s announcement comes on the heels of President Obama`s historic meeting with Cuban President Raul Castro this past week down in Panama, the first formal meeting of the two country`s leaders in a half century. Rubio and Cruz have been fierce critics of the president`s policy toward Cuba. When the president announced the deal to ease the Cuban embargo last December, Rubio accused Obama of betraying the Cuban people. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: Did they agree to freedom of the press? No. Did they agree to free and unfettered access to the Internet? No. Did they agree to elections? Absolutely not. Did they agree to independent political parties? No. Did they agree to freedom of assembly? No. What democratic opening are we getting here? None whatsoever. And so that`s why I`ve said this president has to be the worst negotiator we`ve ever had. And he has betrayed, betrayed those Cubans that have worked so hard and have sacrificed so much for the freedom and liberty of the island. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: And Cruz -- Senator Cruz blasted Obama for believing in -- there is a favorite word of theirs -- appeasement. Here he is.   (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Cuba is an ally of North Korea, it is an ally of Iran, it is an ally of Venezuela. It is an avowed enemy of this country. This president believes appeasement works. So, when it comes to dealing with tyrants and bullies, whether it is Putin, whether it is Khamenei in Iran, or whether it is the Castros in Cuba, he believes that a position of weakness is how we should negotiate. And that doesn`t work. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: That`s Ted Cruz speaking the old Joe McCarthy line again. Anyway, joining our roundtable tonight: Howard Fineman is global editor of "The Huffington Post", Michelle Bernard is president of the Bernard Center for Women, Steve McMahon is a Democratic strategist. I`ll start with you, Howard. There`s something old and tired about this debate. We all grew up with it. I sense now that the people of the Cuban-American community down in Miami, Little Havana, are very much mixed to the point, to the point where I think it`s probably a wash in that community. Your sense? HOWARD FINEMAN, THE HUFFINGTON POST: Well, Chris, all of us who cover politics spend a lot of time in Florida and always look at the Cuban community, and I trust the Hispanic pollsters that I know there who are telling me and telling me the country that there is a generational shift going on in the Cuban community as well. The old generation -- the older generation is very hard line and Marco Rubio is espousing their line. But the younger you get and the farther away from Little Havana you get, not just in Florida but certainly around the country with other Hispanics, the less this is a driving motivation issue.   The interesting thing to me is going to be to watch Jeb Bush who is also very hard line on this, join with Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz and seeing who can out-Cubano the other in the Republican primary, and that`s` going to drive them not closer to the Hispanic community in the rest of America but I think farther away. MATTHEWS: You know, Michelle, I`m not so sure that this is a matter of how much do you hate the communist Castro regime. I hate it. I mean, I remember it. I always thought if this Cold War had gone the other way, Castro in his fatigues would be standing there in Central Park where they shot all of us. He would have loved to have won on that side. But he lost. It`s over. The Cold War is over. The communists lost. They`re dead meat. And so, the question is, what can we do to improve relations for us and improve the life of the people in Cuba by opening the door or not? That`s to me the question. Your thoughts? MICHELLE BERNARD, BERNARD CENTER FOR WOMEN: You know, it is such a deeply emotional issue for so many Cubans. You know, I read something earlier today that said, particularly for anyone who emigrated from Cuba to the United States before 1980 or was born in the United States before -- was born in Cuba before 1980, this is deeply emotional. People remember fleeing the country. They remember all the human rights abuses, and they feel like they`ve been betrayed by the country. That being said though, you know, one of the things President Obama has said is we followed the same Cold War strategy for the last 40 years and it has got us absolutely nowhere. And when you see so many people, so many Cubans, Cuban-Americans today coming forward saying we agree the president on this issue, we believe in the normalization of relations with Cuba so that we can be closer to our family members that are still there, the tied has turned. MATTHEWS: Well, according to that poll we just got from Cuba, I know there`s a problem with that, Steve. And you know about polls more than I do. How do you conduct a poll in a communist country? But the people that were willing to participate were all out for opening relations. STEVE MCMAHON, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: That`s right. The ones willing to participate wanted to open the relations. And the ones who are here and have been here for some period of time, as Howard points out, are the only ones who want to hold to the hard line and, frankly, there is a notion in polling called cohort replacement. And as older generations die, they`re replaced by younger generations. You can see with it marriage equality in this country. How young people don`t see any problem with gays and lesbians getting married and older people still in many cases object. Those cohorts are being replaced on that subject, just as they are here in Cuba too on this subject. You can see it. It`s moving. It`s moving quickly. The president is on the right side of this one. It`s not going to cost him many votes. And it`s not frankly going to get Marco Rubio any votes in the general election, although it could help in the primary distinguish himself -- a young man without very much experience talking about foreign policy. He is actually -- he`s actually hitting with the big boys now on this one.   BERNARD: Can I also ask -- MATTHEWS: Yes, go ahead. BERNARD: I think that what`s important for Marco Rubio on this is that he realizes what the polls are saying. And one of the things that allows him to stand out from other Republicans, whether it`s 2016 or people who have run in the past. He`s come out and said, I don`t care if 99 percent of the American public disagrees with me on this issue. I believe it`s wrong and here`s the reason why I believe it`s wrong. And I think it is important for a politician to show that he`s going to stand by his guns and actually stand for something. MATTHEWS: I like the Peggy Noonan argument. She wants to see Castro on his dying breath look out the window of his room and see a young kid an iPhone and saying, I think I lost. Anyway, the roundtable is staying with us. And up next, what`s Bill Clinton`s role in the Hillary Clinton campaign? This is HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Amid the flurry of presidential announcements over the past 24 hours, we learned today of another one on the horizon. Dr. Ben Carson, the retired neurosurgeon, says he`ll announce his presidential campaign early next month. That would be early May. Carson will make the announcement on May 4th in his home town of Detroit. We`ll be right back after this.   (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am running because I want to be a voice for women everywhere. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did someone say women everywhere? (CHEERS) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, Bill. Hello, Bill. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hillary would make a great president. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I would make an even greater first dude. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: We`re back.   Of course, that was Darrell Hammond. Hillary Clinton is now out there campaigning for the presidency. So, what should her husband`s role be this time around? Well, President Clinton caused some gaps in 2008 that warranted damage control. But some strategists argue that Hillary Clinton didn`t deploy Bill enough in 2008. It`s a long way to 2016, of course, and with Hillary Clinton having circumnavigated the globe as secretary of state, the worry that Bill could overshadow his wife does not seem as plausible today, hardly. Former First Lady Laura Bush was recently asked what role our president should assume as president if his wife won the White House. Here`s her advice. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) INTERVIEWER: What`s your advice for the first gentleman? For the first first gentleman? LAURA BUSH, FORMER FIRST LADY: Stay in the back and be quiet. I don`t know. It will be interesting when it finally happens what the first gentleman will do. I hope they`ll take on men`s health, perhaps. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, that`s turning the tables. Take on the men`s health issue. Howard Fineman, they`re back, Michelle and Steve.   This is something I know we`re going to be talking about for the next year-and-a-half. We might as well have another run at it. I start with you, Michelle. This Bill Clinton thing. Notice that she started off Hillary Clinton, her campaign, her road show, if you will, yesterday. And is going to go through -- she`s moving west to Iowa by tomorrow with her campaign events. He`s staying back in New York. He isn`t running, holding her hand, that sort of thing that spouses always do. What`s that say? Is that just obvious at this point in their marriage? They`ve been married a long time. There`s no reason for them to be, you know, doing everything together. BERNARD: Well, I think what it says is that Hillary Clinton is her own woman. And if she`s going to win the White House in 2016, she`s going to do it on her own terms. I think it would be an enormous mistake for her to try to have her husband this early in the primary season. She -- Bill Clinton is so gregarious, he is so charismatic. I don`t care that she was secretary of state and she`s been all over the world and she`s done so many wonderful things. The difference in their personality and the warmth that they exude is so different that I think it could take away from her. But when she`s out on the campaign trail now and she`s on her listening tour, and we see her in various roles as the prospective first female president of the United States, it will allow people to see her in a different light. And quite frankly, remember -- sort of distance herself from the parts of Bill Clinton that people don`t want to remember. For example, what we just saw in the "SNL" clip that was just played. MATTHEWS: But, Howard, I think -- I mean, just try this on you as a concept. I think people want them both back if they want them back. I think they see Bill as part of the picture. I`m not saying two for the price of one. But I do think they want him as part of the picture. Maybe as a lifeline, if they have a critical situation, it wouldn`t hurt to have him around. I don`t know. It`s always tricky to talk about it. But I don`t think people want him gone from the picture if they`re voting for Hillary. FINEMAN: No, I don`t think they want him gone. But I think they want her front and center. And she certainly wants herself front and center. In that video that you saw, the launched with yesterday, it was all about family and all about young working families and so on, and the notion of family, which she is stressing. You didn`t see Bill Clinton anywhere there.   And also, as much as Bill Clinton is beloved by many people, especially in the Democratic Party, he`s the `90s. She wants to be the candidate of the 21st century, whatever Marco Rubio is saying about her, she wants to be about tomorrow. And Bill Clinton is not a tomorrow figure. MATTHEWS: OK. We`ll be back on that one. Howard, you`ll be well-quoted on that baby. Thank you, Howard Fineman, Michelle Bernard, and Steve McMahon. By the way, I think the great moment will come as he stays upstairs when he says to Hillary Clinton in the Oval Office, he wants to come down and help with this. And she says what? I love that moment. I love that moment. When we return, let me finish with Hillary`s listening trip to Iowa and why it would do her a lot of good. You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Let me finish with Hillary`s listening trip to Iowa and why it will do her good. The fact is, great politicians are great listeners. Or is it the other way around? When Bill Clinton was at Oxford on his Rhodes Scholarship, a classmate was having a hard time getting to first base with his girlfriend. She just wasn`t that much into him.   So, the guy went to Bill Clinton for advice. And Bill certainly came through. "Did you ever try listening? People like it when you to listen to them." Well, it worked, apparently. And this is what you call political retail -- the ability to win over to your side one person at a time. I remember when my Aunt Eleanor, now in her 90s, up at St. Joseph Villa outside Philadelphia, came to see my boss Speaker Tip O`Neill back in the 1980s. She was with some other sisters of St. Joseph who were lobbying Congress for social programs for poor people. "How long you been out of the habit, dear?" Tip roared when he came in and saw her. This woman had been in the convent since she was a teenager back in the 1940s. Tip was showing an interest in that life-changing moment when religious sisters converted from their traditional habit to dressing like other people. And the more Hillary Clinton goes out there and listens, the more she will learn not just what people care about -- but how they say it. The more she sounds like those "everyday" people she calls them she wants to champion, the more they are going to cheer for her. And that`s HARDBALL for now. Listen up. 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. 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