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Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 04/20/15

Guests: April Ryan, Sherrod Brown, Matea Gold, Jackie Kucinich

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: The anti-Hillary overkill. Let`s play HARDBALL. Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews back in Washington. Tomorrow night, President Obama comes here to HARDBALL. First we`ll get to that hot topic of the big -- his big Pacific trade deal and all the fireworks surrounding that. I expect a hot discussion here with the president and trade supporters, given all the debate and controversy about it, especially on the progressive and labor side. We`ll also have some HARDBALL time with the president exclusively on a whole range of front page stories -- Iran, ISIS and Hillary Clinton`s rollout. Can he count on the Clintons, Bill and Hillary, to back him on trade? There`s a hot one. Tonight, we set the stage for tomorrow night`s HARDBALL meeting with the president. We start with the legion of Republican presidential candidates, up to 19 at the latest count, that holds one abiding unifying belief. It`s that the best way to run for November 2016 is to bash Hillary Clinton in April 2015. It`s their number one pasttime. They`re like a chorus of angels, even if angels are a heck of a lot nicer. Here they are. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)   SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`m starting to worry that when Hillary Clinton travels, there`s going to need to be two planes, one for her and her entourage and one for her baggage. SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Hillary Clinton`s in a race, $2.5 billion, which -- that`s a lot of Chipotle, my friends. (LAUGHTER) GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: How would I contrast my style with Hillary`s? Listen, you know, we`re different people of different generations. And so, you know, we`re going to approach things in different ways. CARLY FIORINA (R-CA), FMR. SENATE CANDIDATE: Hillary Clinton must not be president of the United States! (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) MIKE HUCKABEE (R-AR), FMR. GOV. AND FMR. PRES. CANDIDATE: I know the Clintons all too well. They play to win. And they play and do anything necessary in order to win. SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: As I was coming up, I was a little bit startled because I could have sworn I saw Hillary`s Scooby-Doo van outside. (LAUGHTER) CRUZ: And then I realized it couldn`t possibly be that because I`m pretty sure y`all don`t have any foreign nations paying speakers, right? (LAUGHTER)   (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Oh! Skin crawling! Anyway, they`ve got a new weapon to hit her with, Hillary Clinton. A conservative author now has charged Secretary Clinton with doing favors for foreign entities for payments made to the Clinton Foundation and to former president Bill Clinton in speaking fees. It was this charge that triggered a rare Hillary Clinton retort. Here she is. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), FMR. SEC. OF STATE, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, we`re back into the political season, and therefore, we will be subjected to all kinds of distraction and attacks. And I`m ready for that. I know that that comes, unfortunately, with the territory. It is I think worth noting that the Republicans seem to be talking only about me. I don`t know what they`d talk about if I weren`t in the race, but I am in the race. And hopefully, we`ll get on to the issues, and I look forward to that. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, I`m joined right now by Howard Fineman. He`s global editorial director of the HuffingtonPost and an MSNBC political analyst. And April Ryan is White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks. She`s the author of the book, "The Presidency in Black and White." April, you start. You know, I was looking at the press, and I`ve never seen the press look so frightening. There`s that gang of people in the -- maybe it`s the lighting, but those guys look like they`re ready to jump her! APRIL RYAN, URBAN RADIO NETWORKS: Every word --   MATTHEWS: And she`s -- go ahead. RYAN: Every word that she -- she hasn`t been talking. So this was, like, the first time that she`s talked to the press on this tour with her Scooby- Doo-mobile, I guess you would call it, the $60,000 van. But people want to hear what she has to say. She is the one right now to beat. The polls are showing it. And the Republicans are very interesting, how they`re -- MATTHEWS: They`re not running against her yet, are they? RYAN: Yes, they are. They are. She is the one to beat. And they are actually hyping her up even more. The reason why they`re pointing fingers at her is because if they point fingers at one another, they will show that the party is so fractured. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Is this the only thing they agree on, Howard? RYAN: Yes. HOWARD FINEMAN, HUFFINGTON POST GLOBAL EDITOR, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: By the way, I don`t even know what they feel about Hillary. They seem to think that that sells popcorn. All you have to do is say something about Hillary, and you get some -- even those lame jokes! (LAUGHTER) FINEMAN: First of all --   MATTHEWS: They are so lame! They weren`t at all funny. FINEMAN: Yes. They need better joke writers. And if they`re going to pursue this current course, they`re going to need a lot of jokes -- MATTHEWS: A light touch -- FINEMAN: Yes. MATTHEWS: -- is what you stick it in the other guy. FINEMAN: This is so heavy and so not -- MATTHEWS: There`s a way to do this. FINEMAN: -- so not funny. Look, they -- even Karl Rove has said -- MATTHEWS: Oh, my God! (LAUGHTER) FINEMAN: Well, even Karl Rove has said that the Republicans can`t win if attacking Hillary is the only thing they do.   MATTHEWS: Yes. FINEMAN: Now, Karl, I think, is perfectly willing to have them do that for a while, but even he recognizes you have to do something different. RYAN: It is going to get old. FINEMAN: In talking to my friends and sources in New Hampshire, which I`ve been doing today, even they were cringing at a lot of this stuff. A lot of them are undecided. They don`t know whom to pick. This is what they do -- MATTHEWS: OK -- FINEMAN: -- for now. It`s not what -- MATTHEWS: Let`s watch Terry McAuliffe -- FINEMAN: -- they`re going to do later. MATTHEWS: -- and he`s a smart, I mean, a really smart partisan. But here he is on "MEET THE PRESS." Actually, Kasich was also great on "MEET THE PRESS" yesterday, the governor of Ohio. But here he is, the Democratic governor of Virginia, a Clinton ally, warning that the Republican assault on Hillary Clinton was only playing into her and her plans. Let`s watch. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GOV. TERRY MCAULIFFE (D), VIRGINIA: What voters want is someone who`s going to lay out an agenda of how you move the country forward. You showed a lot of the Republican candidates spending all their time attacking Hillary. That`s great. Let them do it. From my perspective, every second they`re not talking about how we move this great nation forward is great for Hillary Clinton.   (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: That guy is not only the best salesman in the world -- he is so smart about this, Howard. FINEMAN: Yes, I -- MATTHEWS: And if you look like all you do is hate somebody, who`s going to make you president of the United States? FINEMAN: That`s right. And Terry knows a lot about politics and is exhibiting it as governor. He`s doing a pretty shrewd job as governor. And I think he`s right. I think Hillary has to be careful. I do think that if -- MATTHEWS: (INAUDIBLE) she`s, like, before a firing squad. They`re all shooting at her. FINEMAN: No, no, no. Well, she has to respond. She has to lay down the predicate that she just did, which is this is the political season, that this is kind of stuff you can expect, that this came out the day before she arrived in New Hampshire, just after -- MATTHEWS: "This thing" being this -- this book. FINEMAN: The book about selling access to the State department. I think she should say flat out, in addition to what she said, that it`s baloney. MATTHEWS: Yes. FINEMAN: And I would have liked to have -- if I were advising her, I would have told her to do that.   MATTHEWS: Skip ahead to that (INAUDIBLE) FINEMAN: Skip ahead to that. MATTHEWS: Yes, why didn`t she just get to that, rather than knocking him for knocking her? Why didn`t she just say, you know, this is BS. None of it`s true. Forget about it. RYAN: Well, you know what? When you dig, you will find something sometimes. And it may be true. It may not be as true -- MATTHEWS: What would be true? FINEMAN: No. RYAN: But I`m saying -- no, no, no. But sometimes when you dig, somebody throws something out. They don`t have anyone on the record. But sometimes when you did, you can find. So she wants to make sure she is OK 100 percent before she goes out and definitively -- MATTHEWS: (INAUDIBLE) read the book. RYAN: Yes -- definitively says something that could incriminate her. So she`s -- I think she`s being very strategic in her words. MATTHEWS: Well, she has been smart. Among other things, conservatives have been attacking Hillary Clinton for her age. Now, this is where you really get into trouble because let me remind everybody what you already know. It`s easy to remind people what they already know. Most voters are women. OK, get that number down, real simple. There are more women voters than male voters who show up and vote. Number two, older people, especially retired people, have a little time to talk about politics and a little time to think about it. And they take it very seriously as a group because there are a lot of things at stake for older people, like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the works. So they`re watching these people and they`re listening to them.   You attack somebody for being too old? Smart? No. Let`s watch. Let`s watch these guys. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: Don`t tell me Democrats are the party of the future when their presidential ticket for 2016 is shaping up to look like a rerun of the "Golden Girls." (APPLAUSE, LAUGHTER) RUBIO: Just yesterday, a leader from yesterday -- (BOO) RUBIO: -- began a campaign for president by promising to take us back to yesterday. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that health and age is fair game. It was fair game for Ronald Reagan. It was fair game for John McCain. SEAN HANNITY, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST, FOX HOST: You know, the one theme that they`re playing up -- I don`t get it -- that she`s a grandmother. She stresses in the end of her book, "Hard Choices" -- the idea is to humanize her. Frankly, how do I say it? I -- it -- being a grandmother just means to me that you`re getting older. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: April, what`s the point? Everybody`s getting older.   RYAN: Yes! MATTHEWS: Every voter is especially getting older. RYAN: Can I tell you something -- MATTHEWS: What`s the knock? RYAN: At my age, I could be a grandmother, actually, but I have small kids. And I`m offended by that. Number one, when we look at our politicians, we kind of tend to want someone who`s older, more mature, with wisdom, meaning the gray hair, OK? But that`s male. But when it comes to a female, there`s a double standard, and it`s not right. And unfortunately, in this country -- MATTHEWS: In other words, they`re working a good mine, then. You think it works! RYAN: No, it doesn`t work. It doesn`t work. What I think is happening is the fact that it`s a double standard. And women are not held to the same standard that men are. We are not looked at the same way. And unfortunately, in this country, when we start looking at a politician -- (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Let me tell you this. Most anchor teams on broadcast have the guy looks like he`s 50-something -- RYAN: They`re changing them out. MATTHEWS: -- and the woman`s 30-something.   RYAN: They`re changing them out, unfortunately. It`s the younger, blond- haired woman who doesn`t have -- or the younger man -- (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: It`s always the younger woman! RYAN: -- who doesn`t have -- FINEMAN: I think -- I think that Republicans -- MATTHEWS: But you`re right. There`s an age differential in the way that - - (CROSSTALK) FINEMAN: Your point, though, Chris, I think is the right one. The Republicans have to be very careful here on several levels. First, if they run the whole campaign against Hillary, they`re not saying where they want to go, as we said. MATTHEWS: As McAuliffe says, too. FINEMAN: Yes, and Terry McAuliffe and almost everybody else says. The other thing is that I`ve watched Hillary for a long time, and nothing humanizes Hillary and nothing make Hillary more appealing when she`s under what other people regard as unfair attacks.   MATTHEWS: Yes, unfair. FINEMAN: When she plays -- when she is the victim and -- because otherwise, she`s a dominating figure. She`s a controlling figure. She`s - - MATTHEWS: So wait a minute. What was Obama`s biggest mistake? He made a few in that campaign, even though he won it. FINEMAN: Well -- MATTHEWS: "Likable enough." FINEMAN: Right. Exactly. MATTHEWS: And she says, You hurt my feelings. FINEMAN: Yes. MATTHEWS: And she killed him with it. FINEMAN: She -- (CROSSTALK)   MATTHEWS: Well, not the -- I think the other thing (INAUDIBLE) primetime, that debate, when she said, You hurt my feelings, because that is a cool answer. FINEMAN: So -- so that -- I think -- MATTHEWS: Yes, well, anyway -- FINEMAN: That`s a problem -- that`s a problem -- MATTHEWS: Here`s these numbers. This is the number. These are adults, OK? They`re not registered voters. We`re early in the season. A new CNN poll has some bad news for Republicans. None of the candidates come close to beating Hillary Clinton with the public right now. RYAN: Wow. MATTHEWS: In a head-to-head -- catch these numbers -- Clinton beats Marco Rubio of Florida by 14. She beats former Florida governor Jeb by 17. Governor Chris Christie and Senator Rand Paul both lose to her by 19. Mike Huckabee, even worse! He`s down by 21, followed by Governor Scott Walker, 22 down. Dr. Ben Carson, Senator Ted Cruz, both lose to her by 24. These are -- these are -- I don`t know, runaway numbers. RYAN: They are -- MATTHEWS: In no sport do you win by that many points. RYAN: And then you have the Democratic candidate, Martin O`Malley, who`s talking about coming in at the end of May, earlier June. And I wonder what his numbers are going to be. She is --   MATTHEWS: Well, it`s not his fault. He just probably -- it`s not his fault. It`s just very hard to beat her, but -- FINEMAN: His timing isn`t good so far. RYAN: It`s not, yes. FINEMAN: Well, look, obviously those numbers aren`t going to stay that way. MATTHEWS: Yes. FINEMAN: When the Republicans decide whom they want, then the numbers will -- (CROSSTALK) FINEMAN: It shows -- it shows how fractured they are and how far behind they are. And really, it shows -- it shows a lot of strength for her. And she`s got a lot to play with here, and -- MATTHEWS: How about the boomerang? FINEMAN: Yes. MATTHEWS: There`s the great irony. She waited her turn. Not that she wanted to wait her turn, but she waited her turn for eight years now. She`s older. There`s always a reaction to what we have. Obama`s too young. She`s about the right age --   (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: You made that point. RYAN: But she has -- MATTHEWS: You made that point. RYAN: Yes, but she has a pedigree that no one else has. She has a pedigree as a senator, she has a pedigree as a secretary of state, and she has a pedigree -- (CROSSTALK) (LAUGHTER) MATTHEWS: I wish the camera had caught you doing -- you talking to me? (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Anyway, as I mentioned earlier, a new book by a conservative writer, Howard -- FINEMAN: Yes?   MATTHEWS: -- that`s set to be released next month, although they`re leaking it now, will make some damning allegations. As I said, according to "The New York Times," the book asserts that foreign entities who made payments to the Clinton Foundation or to Mr. Clinton through high speaking fees received favors from Mrs. Clinton`s State Department in return. His examples include a free trade agreement in Colombia that benefited a major foundation donor`s natural resource investments in the South American nation down there. Anyway, development projects in the aftermath of the Haitian earthquake in 2010, and more than $1 million in payments to Mr. Clinton by a Canadian bank and major shareholder in the Keystone XL oil pipeline around the time the project was being debated in the State Department. Anyway, a Clinton spokesman today called the book "partisan-fueled fiction that twists facts and relies on conspiracy theories." I`m with that, but I`m waiting to see it because causality is one of the biggest games. Oliver Stone does it -- Oh, this happened and that happened. There must have been a deal. FINEMAN: Well, what they`re trying to do here is what the Republicans are trying to do and what Rupert Murdoch`s going to help them try to do because it`s his publishing company that`s publishing this book -- MATTHEWS: Oh. And he owns -- FINEMAN: He owns HarperCollins. He owns Fox, et cetera. MATTHEWS: There`s a conspiracy theory! FINEMAN: Well, no. Parenthetically, Rupert Murdoch and Hillary Clinton were buddies when Hillary was running for Senate in New York. MATTHEWS: Yes.   FINEMAN: They made a peace pact back then. That`s not going to happen this time, obviously. RYAN: Times have changed. FINEMAN: And what they`re going to -- Republicans are going to try to do with their media allies is to do to Hillary Clinton in this several-month period what the Clinton people did to Bob Dole many years ago, when Bob Dole was the presumptive Republican nominee and sat there like a sitting duck for six months while the Clintons attacked him. MATTHEWS: Yes. FINEMAN: They are going to be under assault by the Republicans, and the theory of the Republicans is, If we can drive her personal negatives up -- because, look, the Republican don`t have -- really don`t have "Obama care" to run against. They`re not going to run against "Obama care." The deficit, the current deficit, is disappearing. The economy`s doing OK. What do they have to do? They only thing they have to do is destroy Hillary`s character, if they can. MATTHEWS: Early. FINEMAN: Early. Do it early and do it often. MATTHEWS: Crib death! RYAN: Oh, my God! FINEMAN: No, that`s -- that`s their strategy!   (CROSSTALK) FINEMAN: That is their strategy. And they`re going to double down on it. And everybody`s going to say they need to do other things -- RYAN: So basically -- FINEMAN: -- they`re not going to be doing other things. MATTHEWS: You used to do it the summer before. Now you do it the summer before the summer before -- FINEMAN: Right. Exactly. MATTHEWS: -- and you do it very early. FINEMAN: You do it now. MATTHEWS: It`s an interesting strategy. I saw Jerry Brown used to use that effectively on Evel Younger (ph) years ago, hit him early on his pensions. FINEMAN: Yes. MATTHEWS: Just something you`re ready for. But I don`t think they got anything on Hillary yet.   RYAN: So basically, just throw spaghetti up against the wall and -- MATTHEWS: No -- (CROSSTALK) RYAN: No, no, no, no. But the e-mails haven`t really worked yet. I mean, her numbers, as you`ve just shown, are just skyrocketed above everyone else -- FINEMAN: Well -- RYAN: -- and then you have Benghazi and it`s still not working. FINEMAN: This has the additional theoretical -- MATTHEWS: OK, let me -- (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: -- once said in the movies, in "Charlie Wilson`s War." We`ll see. RYAN: All right.   MATTHEWS: OK? We`ll -- (LAUGHTER) MATTHEWS: I know you know, but we`ll see. I`ll see. RYAN: All right. MATTHEWS: You know. Anyway, Howard Fineman -- (INAUDIBLE) Howard Fineman, April Ryan, thank you both for coming on. FINEMAN: Thank you. MATTHEWS: Coming up, the hot issue of free trade. Well, you can call it that. It`s pitting President Obama and Republicans against progressive Democrats. Tomorrow, I`ll talk to the president about it. And when we come back, we`ll hear from both sides on that fight. It`s a hot fight in the progressive world. Plus, candidates on both sides are speaking out against the secret dark money that has taken over politics in this country. It`s becoming a real issue in the 2016 campaign, I think. What are we going to do about this sneaky, sneaky money? Why would you want to give money to candidate and not have it known that you`re the one paying for the -- for the candidate`s ad campaign? Why wouldn`t you want that known? It`s an interesting point, isn`t it? And Mike Huckabee takes wheel of the Republican clown car. He says parents shouldn`t let their kids join the U.S. military until President Obama is out of office. Isn`t that -- is that sedition? And this about a guy who`s thinking about being commander-in-chief. What a full mooner he`s become.   Finally, "Let Me Finish" with the best news in American politics we`ve heard in a long while. And that`s coming up on HARDBALL. We got some good news at the end of the show, a couple new guys. The place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Well, the wait may soon be over for President Obama`s pick to be attorney general. Senate leaders say Loretta Lynch could get her confirmation vote in the next few weeks. Senators on both sides say they`ve made progress in that human trafficking bill, the one that has tied up and tied up over the issue of abortion. And Mitch McConnell promises a vote on Lynch once that`s done. Well, even Jeb Bush has urged his part now, his Republican Party, to get the vote done. Lynch was nominated back in November, and she`s waited longer for a confirmation hearing than any other attorney general nominee in 30 years. We`ll be back after this. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: No more secret trade deals! Are you ready to fight? No more secret deals! No more special deals for multi-national corporations! Are you ready to fight? Are you ready to fight any more deals that say we`re going to help the rich get richer and leave everyone else behind? Are you ready to fight that? (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) J. DAVID COX, NATIONAL PRESIDENT. AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES: We are standing together to open up one gigantic can of whoop ass on anybody, on anybody that tries to take our jobs!   BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My whole presidency has been about helping working families and lifting up wages and giving workers more opportunity. If I didn`t think this deal was doing it, I wouldn`t do it. I didn`t get elected because of the sponsorship of the Business Roundtable or the Chamber of Commerce. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. This fight over the president`s trade agenda has exploded into one of the hottest fights in American politics right now, and it is getting hotter. It is shaping up to be one hell of a fight between on the left especially between President Obama and some progressives, many progressives. And Hillary Clinton appears to be stuck in the middle, although, as secretary of state, she did support it. As you saw there, tempers are running hot. The president is fighting off his left flank, if you will,, progressives, the unions, the labor movement, and environmentalists, who say that this massive 12-nation trade deal under negotiation called the Trans-Pacific Partnership will kill jobs and rig the system for the very wealthy and powerful. Critics of the president include leaders like Senator Elizabeth Warren -- we just saw her there -- Senator Chuck Schumer, who is going to be leader of the Senate. And the president, business leaders and free trade Democrats that we don`t -- if say we don`t write the rules with these trade deals, with those economic powerhouses, then China is going to do it. As I said at the top of the show, tomorrow, we will have President Obama himself on the front page stories of the day, as well as this hot fight especially on trade. Senator Sherrod Brown is a Democrat from Ohio. He does not support the president`s trade agenda. And Ed Rendell was the governor of Pennsylvania and ran the Democratic National Committee. He does support it. Let me go to Senator Brown. Senator Brown, you have opposed -- you have been pretty consistency on this, opposing these trade deals way back to NAFTA. What is it about Ohio and your state`s interest in opposing these trade -- this whole trade effort, opening up trade? SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D), OHIO: It`s way beyond Ohio. I want trade. I want more of it.   I don`t want it you under rules where you see -- where businesses -- businesses all across the country have adopted this practice where you shut down production in Wilkes-Barre or in Canton, Ohio, and you move it to Wuhan or Beijing, China, and then you sell products back to the United States. Since NAFTA, we have lost more than five million manufacturing jobs, not entirely because of fast track, but we know what`s happened. When we have signed on PNTR with China, we had about a $10 billion or $15 billion trade deficit with China. Now it is $20 billion, $25 billion a month trade deficit with China, and that translates directly into lost manufacturing jobs. The evidence is in. We know that. MATTHEWS: Well, why do we have 30 million more jobs than we had when you passed NAFTA and you opposed it? We have 30 million more jobs in this country. Where did they come from? BROWN: Well, we have a lot of service jobs that don`t pay anything close to a minimum wage. MATTHEWS: Thirty million of them, 30 million. BROWN: Look, you can say that. But look at what has happened. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: It`s a fact. Senator, you know the facts. We have 142 million people working in this country right now. We had 112 when you voted against NAFTA. Just explain why it has exploded, the number of jobs, if it has been a job killer. BROWN: Well, talk about wages. We have had jobs that we have lost have been replaced, if you will, by generally low-wage jobs. MATTHEWS: Yes. BROWN: There are people in this country that haven`t had a raise more or less for a decade.   And what has happened, look at cities in the Midwest, the industrial Midwest and all over the country, cities of 30,000 and 50,000 that have in a sense been hollowed out because of lost manufacturing jobs. MATTHEWS: I agree with that. BROWN: Lost union jobs in many cases, declining wages, and a shrinking middle class. We know that has happened, Chris. MATTHEWS: But why do you -- how do you explain the growth of the Silicon Valley, the growth all along the highway here in this area to Dulles Airport, the huge development in high-tech industry in 128 Massachusetts? There are areas where jobs have exploded and they`re very, very well- paying. So where did that come from, if not from trade? BROWN: Well, I don`t -- some of it comes from trade. I`m saying, I want more trade. I just want it under rules that don`t encourage companies to shut down production in Toledo and Pittsburgh and move it to Mexico City or Beijing and sell products back into the United States. Ultimately, as the middle class shrinks, as the middle class struggles with more and more student loan debt and all the other problems inflicted on the middle class, these trade agreements are more of the same. The evidence is in, Chris. MATTHEWS: OK. Well, I`m not sure it is. Some evidence is in certainly, about -- Governor Rendell, you know the argument. You represented Pennsylvania for all those years. But I do point to this history lesson, if you need one. You don`t need one, Senator. And you don`t need one, Governor. Jack Kennedy was for free trade. He opened up trade. That was a big part of his administration. Bill Clinton certainly did NAFTA. He was a big free trader. Hillary Clinton, when she was at State Department -- we`re not sure where she is right now. At the State Department, she was for this deal, roughly speaking. So this idea that Democratic progressives are against free trade isn`t established at the presidential level. At the Senate level, when you have to protect local industries, I know the pattern, but not nationwide. The Democratic Party is not anti-trade. Anyway, your thoughts, Governor?   ED RENDELL, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, first of all, the governors, 13 governors signed a letter to all the Democrats in the Congress, including five from industrial states, myself, including former Governor of Ohio Dick Celeste, who was a very fine governor, saying that this deal will increase jobs and increase high-paying jobs. Chris, the statistics are pretty clear. Export jobs pay 18 percent more than non-export-related jobs do. If we`re talking about highway jobs, highways jobs, this is the area to do it. And consider Ohio. What this deal does is it eliminates tariffs on American goods. I`m going to give you five very good industries in Ohio, soybeans, pork, metals, machinery products and chemicals. They have tariffs ranging from 30 percent to 70 percent for machine products to 100 percent for pork. All those tariffs would be eliminated. Today, those industries export $19 billion from Ohio farms. If we eliminate those tariffs, the sky is the limit and the good-paying jobs will be created. BROWN: You know, Chris, when I hear Governor Rendell, whom I of course have a lot of respect, talking about dollars and exports, sure, exports have gone up, but imports have gone up much more dramatically. It`s like Ed would say, you know, Phillies had a good series. They scored six runs, five runs and eight runs. Well, the thing is, the Indians scored nine runs, 10 runs and seven runs and won all three games. So, point is, you can`t just talk about exports. You talk about net trade relations and the incredible, the huge trade deficits we have run up with almost every country we trade with. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: But a lot of union guys in the textile industry, Senator, would say, why did we ever open the door to Asian textiles? Yet every shirt we wear is 100 percent cotton from China practically. Our khaki pants, which a lot of people wear, not just middle-class certainly wear, all come from China. The fact is nobody wants to go back to have to buy their clothes from South Carolina. Nobody wants to have protectionism again. They want to be able to buy a Toyota or any other kind of German car or Japanese car. They don`t want to be told they can only buy American stuff. So, how do you tell the consumers that we`re protectionists and we`re not letting you buy that stuff, we`re only letting you buy American-made stuff in Ohio? How do you tell people that? (CROSSTALK) BROWN: I guess I don`t understand why the word protection is such a bad thing. We want our families protected, our neighborhoods protected.   (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Why shouldn`t a consumer be allowed to buy what they want to buy in a free country? BROWN: Of course they should. But they`re buying it with lower wages. When we have a low-wage economy, as we do, where the emphasis is on corporate takeovers and stripping all kinds of assets, laying people off, and then they don`t make enough to buy the products that -- look around the world. The people that are making cars in Mexico, they don`t often have parking lots at those car -- at those auto plants because the workers don`t make enough to buy the cars they make. The Foxconn workers in China making iPhones don`t have -- aren`t making enough money to buy the iPhones they make. That`s not the kind of economy we want in this country. MATTHEWS: OK. BROWN: As we continue to lower standards, we`re moving for a lot of Americans -- I`m thrilled with how well Northern Virginia is doing in the Silicon Valley, but I also see what`s happening to a lot of people, working-class people that Ed Rendell spent much of his career fighting for. I don`t understand why he is for these trade agreements, but he is. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: OK. But he is, because he`s smart. Anyway -- (LAUGHTER)   (CROSSTALK) BROWN: I know that Senator Casey, who is the great senator from the state of Pennsylvania, is strongly against these trade agreements, as I am. And he knows what this has done to his state also. MATTHEWS: Governor, last thought. RENDELL: Well, I can tell you very quickly, in my eight years, we spent a lot of money and resources promoting trade and export in Pennsylvania. When I left office, Senator, Pennsylvania was the ninth fastest state in job creation, the number one of all the industrial states in job creation. And we tripled our exports from $14 billion to $40 billion in eight years. And those jobs were good-paying jobs. BROWN: That`s good. Congratulations. RENDELL: And they were in small manufacturing factories in middle-sized cities all over the state. BROWN: You know, Ed, you can have all kinds of examples and those are great things. Governor Strickland, by the way, former governor of Ohio, thinks this trade agreement is as bad as I think it is and Senator Casey thinks it is. But I`m glad to hear your success stories. But you have to look at net benefit and net loss. We`re losing so many more manufacturing jobs than we`re gaining. RENDELL: No, we have created almost a million manufacturing jobs in the last four years. We`re up a million manufacturing jobs in the last four years. BROWN: Well, after losing -- after losing five million in the decade before, Ed.   RENDELL: But we`re moving up. (CROSSTALK) BROWN: But this trade agreement will stop the success we have made. MATTHEWS: OK. I think tearing down our economic growth isn`t the way to sell this anyway, Senator, because we do have 142 -- 30 million more jobs since you voted against NAFTA. So something is working. Something must be going on. BROWN: Well, in a country -- in a country that`s tens of millions of people larger than it was -- than it was in 1993, too. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Yes, but they are working. The unemployment rate is lower than it was when you voted against NAFTA. And the jobless rate is lower. It is. RENDELL: Tell the senator to pass an infrastructure revitalization program. That will create more manufacturing jobs than we`re talking about today. BROWN: No question. (CROSSTALK)   BROWN: I agree with that. MATTHEWS: OK. BROWN: Absolutely. MATTHEWS: Everybody, tomorrow night, I`m going to argue the other side of this fight. Tonight, I just wanted to spar with Sherrod Brown. Tomorrow, with the president, I will go the other way, because there are two sides to this fricking argument. Thank you. There are two sides. Senator Sherrod Brown, thank you, sir, for coming on. BROWN: Good to be with you. Thank you. MATTHEWS: I root for you all the time to be V.P. with Hillary, by the way. BROWN: Thank you. Well, no thank you. But thanks for the flattery. MATTHEWS: And thank you, Ed Rendell. I think the governor will be the next chief of staff to the next president.   Anyway, thank you. A reminder to both of you and to the public watching now, tomorrow on HARDBALL, I will moderate a discussion on trade featuring President Obama and local business leaders out in the well-to-do part of Virginia the senator just talked about. Plus, we`re going to get some HARDBALL time with the president just for me to answer him some hot questions about Iran, ISIS and how the Hillary Clinton campaign is going and whether she will back him on trade. It`s all going to up tomorrow right here on HARDBALL. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Right now, the U.S. Navy is deploying the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt to Yemen to track a convoy of Iranian warships that officials suspect could be carrying weapons to Houthi rebels who are currently fighting pro-government forces for control of that country. It comes as a Saudi-led coalition seeks to degrade Houthi military capabilities with a sustained air campaign and naval blockade. I`m joined right now by NBC`s Jim Miklaszewski from the Pentagon. Mik, this is pretty scary. Are we moving into a confrontation with the Iranian navy here? JIM MIKLASZEWSKI, NBC PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, everybody here hopes not.   And -- but, you know, it is always that possibility. Up to chairman of joint chiefs of staff, General Dempsey, he has called the situation there in the Persian Gulf area, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, the most exponentially complicated situation he`s ever seen. And now Iran has thrown another wrench into the works here by sending out what appears to be a shipment of Iranian arms headed for Yemen to arm those Houthi rebels there who are engaged in a battle with not only the Yemeni military, what`s left of it. But they`re also undergoing airstrikes from Saudi Arabia. So -- but here`s what drew everybody`s attention to this possible shipment. Not only do they suspect that there may be arms aboard these couple of freighters, but they also sent out armed warships from the Iranian navy and the Revolutionary Guard. Now, that took the expectations and, quite frankly, the anticipation up even higher. And it forced the U.S. to send the aircraft carrier Teddy Roosevelt and its entire battle group into the North Arabian Sea just in case there has to be an interdiction, Chris. MATTHEWS: Another reason why Iran wants to have nuclear weapons. Thanks so much, NBC`s Jim Miklaszewski over at the Pentagon. Up next, the massive amounts of secret money that has taken over politics in this country, this country. Hillary Clinton says she is against it. Chris Christie speaking out against it too, but what can be done to get rid of it, people sneakily throwing big money behind candidates and against candidates, and they don`t even want us to know who they are? You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: I think to be an effective politician, you need to be a professional ingrate. (LAUGHTER)   CHRISTIE: Right. You have to be. You have to be willing to take people`s money and then not do everything they tell you to do. You have to. That can be a hard -- a hard thing to learn. I have learned it. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. That was, of course, Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a potential 2016 candidate as well, talking about money and politics. Now, you basically have to ignore the money that people give and ignore them and don`t give them anything for it. He was talking there pretty toughly I think in New Jersey styled town hall up in New Hampshire. A couple of hours after Christie`s event down here in Washington, a Florida mailman flew a gyrocopter, I didn`t even know what they were, over a restricted airspace, landing steps from the U.S. Capitol where he was arrested. His mission was to protest the influence of money and politics and bring attention to campaign finance reform, which he did to some extent. This issue isn`t new, but it is beginning increasingly -- becoming increasingly important in the 2016 campaign trail. During Hillary Clinton`s first week as an official candidate for president, she said one of her top priorities is to fix this rotten system. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HILLARY CLINTON (D), 2016 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We need to build the economy of tomorrow. Not yesterday. We need to strengthen families in communities, because that`s where it all starts. We need to fix our dysfunctional political system and get unaccountable money out of it once and for all, even if that takes a constitutional amendment. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Unaccountable money. But as campaign finance advocate David Donnelly tells "The Washington Post", quote, "It has gotten to a point where candidates can`t just complain about it and point out what their opponents are doing. They`re going to have to offer tangible, practical solutions." For more on that, the corrosive effect of money and politics, specifically dark, unidentified money, let`s bring in the roundtable. Jackie Kucinich, senior politics editor with "The Daily Beast", David Corn is Washington bureau chief for "Mother Jones", and Matea Gold is national political reporter with "The Washington Post".   Matea, I don`t think the average person -- or as Hillary Clinton would say, the everyday person -- most people, 90 percent, don`t ever give money to candidates. They don`t know anybody who does. They really don`t know anybody who gives them any money. So, talking about money was somewhat boring because people can`t identify with it. But stinking dirty, you know, hidden dark money, it`s called, I think, bugs people. The idea that some clever billionaire can influence politics like a safe cracker. Sneak the money in, screw some Democrat he doesn`t like or liberal he doesn`t like and jam in money for one of his pals that will be his useful agents in Washington, that bothers people -- the sneakiness of it. (CROSSTALK) MATEA GOLD, THE WASHINGTON POST, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: And in the last five years since the Supreme Court`s Citizen United decision, I think we`ve seen a growing awareness among members of the public about how campaigns are financed. And advocates for tighter campaign finance rules have tried to make this political issue the last two cycles, and not a lot of success. But now, we`re seeing evidence I think that it`s really on the minds of voters. I mean, Hillary Clinton talking about it as one of her top campaign planks and now a lot of Republicans are weighing in as well about the corrosive influence of big money and trying to find a way to propose solutions without completely endorsing an overhaul. MATTHEWS: David, excuse me, why would a person want to hide that they`re giving away money? Most people would say, beat their chest, I give a lot of money to that guy. Why do they sneak their money into the bank account of the campaign? Why do they do that? DAVID CORN, MOTHER JONES: I think there are a lot of reasons. Some people don`t want a political payback. They don`t want to be held accountable for rigging the political system. You have Ted Cruz running and he`s raised $31 million. A lot of it from a hedge fund guy who has had trouble with the FCC, who doesn`t like the (INAUDIBLE) MATTHEWS: And the Koch brothers are now backing Walker. CORN: Yes, you have the Koch brothers. I mean, Matea is right. In 2010 and 2014, the Democrats in the congressional races, both times tried to run against the Koch brothers. Look at all this money. It obviously didn`t work for the Democrats. But I think Hillary is doing something interesting. If you connect it to the dysfunction in Washington, which people tend to know about and have strong feeling about, maybe you can get a foot in the door with some people on these issues. But they`re so complicated -- MATTHEWS: What is the connection?   CORN: Well, the connection is that you have, you know, members of the Senate and the House who are doing things not only to represent their constituents, but they`re doing things to represent the funders who are becoming more and more important with the rise of super PACs and dark money. They have to cater to these people, even more so than they ever had to in the past. MATTHEWS: The new numbers I am hearing, Jackie, is there is more money coming in. Somebody runs for the U.S. Senate, which is an incredibly prestigious position. They`ll get more money in that campaign from super PACs than they get from dialing for dollars themselves. In other words, the money they raise in $2,700 allotments that you`re allowed to, that money is lower when they add it up in the money coming in from super PACs. So the big money guys, as David says, have more clout than all the little people, if you want to call it little people. They can give 2,700 bucks a year. JACKIE KUCINICH, THE DAILY BEAST: Until there is a scandal that blows up the system, I don`t think you`re going to get the voter involvement that would actually -- they would push their lawmakers to change things. I mean, look, the gyrocopter guy flew into the Capitol lawn ended up drawing attention more to terrorism which people actually scared about than did he to campaign finance. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: We had Watergate. KUCINICH: Sure. MATTHEWS: And then before that, all the money was in people`s rain coats, OK? There was no control of money. (CROSSTALK) KUCINICH: And the lobbying scandals. MATTHEWS: And then later, we had McCain-Feingold through some act of God - - CORN: Which came after the Keating Five. Remember that?   MATTHEWS: And he was involved in that. So, he cleaned up his act. GOLD: And the Clinton finance scandals obviously. (CROSSTALK) GOLD: The last two major scandals involved two presidents, President Nixon and President Clinton. So, will it take a presidential level scandal really? MATTHEWS: How long do people stay upset by dirt in politics, the Marc Rich thing? How long do people focus on it? Not that long. CORN: I think it is maybe even shorter now because of the way the information universe works. We cycle through so fast, and the Internet, through Twitter, Facebook, that I think you`re right. You need like a really major presidential scandal to focus attention and -- MATTHEWS: I think Jackie said. KUCINICH: We`re both red heads. It is hard. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: The roundtable is staying with us, because this is a big topic. Up next, the clown car makes his return. Wait until you hear some of the zany talk. It`s not even nice zany. It`s bad zany for the far right. (INAUDIBLE) huckle chuckle are the worst. This is HARDBALL, the place for politics. The worst.   (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: We got a big show coming up tomorrow night. I`ll interview President Obama here and all the front page stories, including Iran, ISIS and the 2016 presidential race and everything else I can think of between now and then. This is an exclusive interview, as I said, and we`ll see it here tomorrow on HARDBALL. I`ll also moderate a discussion on trade with the president, and Congressman Gerry Connolly of Virginia and business leaders out there at the Chamber of Commerce in Fairfax, Virginia. All coming up tomorrow night at 7:00 Eastern right here on HARDBALL. We`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: We`re back with our roundtable, Jackie, David and Matea. Hillary Clinton may be driving in her Scooby van, but former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee is currently behind the wheel of the 2016 GOP clown car. Huckabee, "huckle chuckle", recently told a radio host recently that parents shouldn`t encourage their children to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces until Barack Obama isn`t president anymore. This from a guy who says he wants to be commander-in-chief. (BEGIN AUDIO CLIP) MIKE HUCKABEE (R), FORMER ARKANSAS GOVERNOR: I`d wait a couple of years until we get a new commander in chief that will once again believe one nation under God and believe that people of faith should be a vital part of the process of not only governing this country, but defending this country.   (END AUDIO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Remember that thing in the Constitution? I`m curious item that says no religious test for public office -- remember that one? The chuckle man doesn`t know that. Anyway, riding shotgun with Huckabee is the head of the NRA, Wayne LaPierre, who offers this denigrating political insight. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) WAYNE LAPIERRE, NRA PRESIDENT: I have to tell you, eight years of one demographically symbolic president is enough. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: We`ll get to that. Illustrate sitting in the backseat is Congressman Steve King, who is convinced President Obama`s immigration reform directives are secretly a way to get out the vote, Democratic vote. (BEGIN AUDIO CLIP) REP. STEVE KING (R), IOWA: The president is importing millions of illegal aliens, who when they arrive here are, he thinks and he`s right, they are undocumented Democrats. This is the president of the United States trying to stack the electorate in America with millions of people lawlessly bringing them into the United States of America. (END AUDIO CLIP) MATTHEWS: OK. So let`s start with Wayne LaPierre.   Wayne LaPierre is making fun of the fact the country elected its first African-American for the first time in its history, and then a little sideswipe, he knocks the fact that they may well elect the first woman. This is his knock. Your thoughts? GOLD: Right. Well, I mean, I think a lot of the comments are aimed at ginning up the base right now. And it speaks to the facts that it`s going to be a challenge for candidates like Jeb Bush, who is trying to strike a moderate -- MATTHEWS: Who is the base they`re talking to? GOLD: Well, evangelical vote is really going to be very active -- MATTHEWS: Why do they have a problem with a black president? GOLD: I don`t know. You`re going to have to ask Wayne LaPierre. MATTHEWS: I`m asking you, you say the base. GOLD: I think that, you know, a lot of these comments are designed to be incendiary. I mean, for the candidates who are running, it`s going to be a challenge to see how they navigate these things. CORN: Well, I think we`ve seen the base of the last eight, seven years that`s been a profound reaction to Barack Obama, and they keep wanting to depict him as the other, whether it`s because he is demographically symbolic, or whether it`s because he`s a secret socialist or a secret Muslim, I lose track of that. MATTHEWS: A Kenyan. CORN: Or whether he`s a secret Kenyan. They keep coming up with these things to say that he`s not American, he doesn`t believe in America, he`s not an American exceptionalist, and the base has gotten so used to it, that to score with them, you can`t go from 1 to 10, you have to go to 11, 12 or 13 to register. I think it ups the ante for everybody trying to win those votes.   KUCINICH: Particularly when you`re talking about the Clintons. It`s something that you really need to say anything when you`re talking about the Republican base and the Clinton, you just need to say Clinton and it kind of gets crazy. So, I think they do need to go the extra mile. MATTHEWS: Anyway, Rand Paul out there is another candidate is asking his Twitter followers to send in any dirt on Secretary Clinton saying, do you know of Hillary Clinton accepting money from foreign countries? Report it now. It`s like if you see something, say something at the train, you know? At the train stop. KUCINICH: Yes, but see something say something don`t ask you to donate. MATTHEWS: What do you make of "Huckle Chuckle", Huckabee out there saying don`t join the military. I thought it was a patriotic service we`re talking about in this country. Don`t do it during a Democratic presidency. CORN: We laugh at some of this stuff, because it`s so outrageous, but at the same time, it`s so profoundly anti-patriotic, and it`s really hard to imagine people saying this ten years ago. I mean I think the standards have fallen even below what they used to be, even during the Clinton years, to go out there and say don`t join the military because this guy likes Muslims more than Christians? And that`s his message. It`s untrue, it`s insulting -- MATTHEWS: Yes, I know. Some of these guys talk like they think the base is wearing sheets, though. I think they may have underestimated who the Republican voter is. I hope they have. Thank you very much, Jackie Kucinich, I think you got to talk on that round. And David Corn who did, and Matea Gold, thank you. When we return, I return, let me finish with the best news in America at politics for a while, two good young governors. You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.   (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with the two young governors I listened to yesterday on "Meet the Press." They`re the best news in American politics I`ve heard for a good while. Both were positive, both focused on job creation and people`s real lives and didn`t use their time to trash the other side. Let`s watch because this stuff has become far too rare. Here they are, first, Governor Terry McAuliffe of Virginia, then Governor John Kasich of Ohio, one is a Democratic, the other is Republican, both deserve our attention, because both give us hope that our political system is bringing up at least a few good apples. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GOV. TERRY MCAULIFFE (D), VIRGINIA: What voters want is someone who`s going to lay out an agenda of how you move the country forward. You showed a lot of Republican candidates spending all their time attacking Hillary. That`s great, let them do it. From my perspective, every second they`re not talking about how we move this great nation forward is great for Hillary Clinton. Let her lay out her positive agenda. It`s what I did when I ran for governor with the commonwealth of Virginia in 2013. We had a historic win. GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO: Now, if you cannot convince people that you understand their problems and you`re going to try to fix them, you`re not going to win anything. So, you know, I`m not so much into the attack mode and all that other business. I`m into solving problems. And, frankly, Chuck, if we don`t solve problems, our children suffer, our families suffer, our communities, and look at our country. Around the world, our friends think we`re confused and our enemies are emboldened because we`re not fixing anything, and we can if we stop hanging out in our silos thinking that we`ve got all the answers without realizing that you can promise without losing your principles. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: They`re they are. I don`t know about you, but I`m impressed. And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us. Join us tomorrow night for my meeting with President Obama.   "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now. END 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.>