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

Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 04/24/15

Guests: Jeff Gardere, Spencer Hsu, Del Quentin Wilber, Robert Greenwald,Michael O`Hanlon, Mike Honda, Aisha Moodie-Mills, Ted Johnson, Tim Daly,Connie Nielsen

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Springing John Hinckley. Let`s play HARDBALL. Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington. In March of 1981, 25-year-old John Hinckley shot President Ronald Reagan and three other men. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Had it not been for Secret Service agent Jerry Parr (ph), who rushed Reagan to the hospital, the president would have died. Hinckley has spent the last 34 years under psychiatric care at St. Elizabeth`s Hospital, ever since a jury found him not guilty by reason of insanity. And Hinckley appeared to show no regret for his actions. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)   UNIDENTIFIED MALE: John Hinckley, Jr., not guilty by reason of insanity, says he feels no remorse for shooting President Reagan. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In four telephone calls over the weekend to "The Washington Post," the newspaper reported today that Hinckley said he was not sorry he shot the president and a Secret Service agent and was shocked that the jury accepted the insanity defense. Said Hinckley of Reagan, I helped his presidency. After I shot him, his polls went up 20 percent. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, the center of the insanity defense was Hinckley`s obsession was actor Jodie Foster, whose role in the 1976 movie "Taxi Driver" stirred Hinckley to contact her and then stalk her before attempting to kill President Reagan in order to impress her. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JODIE FOSTER, ACTOR: My roommate said that she heard on the news that it was John W. Hinckley, and I automatically remembered the name on the (INAUDIBLE) It disturbs me -- anything to do with an assassination attempt would disturb me greatly, especially, you know, the presidency, and I`m very shocked and very hurt by that. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: But after a U.S. district court judge ruled that Hinckley no longer posed a threat to himself or others, he was allowed to eventually spend 17 days a month outside the hospital with his mother, who is currently 89 years old, in Williamsburg, Virginia. Now a judge is deciding whether to reintegrate Hinckley into society further, allowing him to be released from the hospital full-time. I`m joined right now by Spencer Hsu of "The Washington Post," as well as Del Quentin Wilber, author of "Rawhide Down" about the Reagan assassination attempt, and psychologist Dr. Jeff Gardere. Dr. Gardere, I want to start with you about this situation. It`s about, to me, accountability. If a judge rules that this man should be basically freed, allowed to basically have enough time during any given month or day to do what he wants to do, whose responsibility -- is it his responsibility morally, legally, civilly if he goes back to bothering Jodie Foster or attempting to hurt other politicians? JEFF GARDERE, PSYCHOLOGIST: Well, I think it is the responsibility, at this point, of the government. And remember, Chris, the government is not saying, Well, we don`t want to give him freedom. What we want to do is, along with the freedom, we want to make sure that there are careful restrictions that are in place.   We want to make sure that he doesn`t have full access to the Internet, number one. And number two, we want him to be kept at his mother`s house and not to be able to seek his own housing. But we do know that the Secret Service will continue to monitor. St. Elizabeth`s Hospital, where he`s a patient right now, will continue to look at his Internet usage. MATTHEWS: Wait a minute. You mean we should be confident that his 89-year-old mother is going to keep him under some kind of control? Let`s start with that. GARDERE: Well, I... MATTHEWS: What does putting him with his mother have to do with our safety or the safety of Jodie Foster or any politician? GARDERE: Well, because St. Elizabeth`s hospital allegedly is saying, We want him to have full freedom, where he can seek his own housing, has his own work -- he`s a photographer right now -- attend support groups and not be monitored at his mom`s house. And the government is saying, No, we don`t want him to have this unrestricted access to society. We want him to only be able to stay and monitored at his mother`s house. Very strange, but this is what the situation actually is. MATTHEWS: Let me go to Del, and Spencer first here. You know, we have basic -- we have some techniques besides imprisonment to keep them people control. We just saw that with Doug Hughes the other day, the gyrocopter guy, who`s got a leg instrument on him to monitor his movement. Are we confident that a person can be tracked like a GPS and know they`re going anywhere near our president, know they`re not going anywhere near Jodie Foster? But also, to make it even harder, are we confident we can keep him from Googling her, looking her up, getting in contact with her some other way? SPENCER HSU, "WASHINGTON POST": You know, there are a tremendous amount of unknowns. Right now, the hospital has 15 conditions on him, or has recommended 15 conditions. The government wants 35. The present order that he`s under has about -- splits the difference. There`s 29 conditions on him. And the answer is, you know, the Secret Service might follow him 120 days or 80 days a year. They can, you know -- a GPS... MATTHEWS: For 365 days a year. HSU: For 365 days a year.   MATTHEWS: So who`s watch in him then? HSU: And he has a GPS-enabled phone, supposedly, that allows them to track him. One of the issues that came out in the court is that the Secret Service has asked for that, but they`ve never activated that -- they`ve never activated the GPS tracking. What the doctors say is that, you know, he`s posed a low risk for decades... MATTHEWS: Wait a minute! The first time they let him out, he went right to a book store, looking up a book about -- your book. (LAUGHTER) MATTHEWS: He went looking for your book, Del, because he wanted to read about his celebrity again. DEL QUENTIN WILBER, AUTHOR, "RAWHIDE DOWN": Well, you`re... MATTHEWS: He`s probably a narcissist who loves reading about himself and the fact that he`s a big shot, and he`ll want to be a big shot again. Your thoughts? WILBER: He is -- he has been diagnosed as a narcissist. He was a narcissist back -- way back in the `80s and in the `90s. He`s had this problem for a very long time. They`ve treated him. They gave him some freedom. You know, he had the 17-day visits. They`re great back in 2011. He has 10-day visits, walking around. I`m going to go to a movie. He says I`m going to go to a movie. Suppose he goes to a movie, and he slips behind to the book store and lies and recommends the movie he went to? This drives prosecutors crazy! They can`t -- they want to hold onto this guy and not let him... MATTHEWS: Jeff, what about his track record when he`s had limited freedom, for example, saying he went to the movie and he went looking for a book about himself? And my question -- what`s going to keep him away from grabbing a DVD of "Taxi Driver" again and getting all hooked again? What will keep him from reactivating his problem? GARDERE: Well, basically, nothing will keep him from doing that, and that`s why there needs to be much tougher restrictions than what the hospital is asking for.   Let`s not forget this is the same individual who wanted to look up the address of Charles Manson and actually became penpals with Ted Bundy. And right, your guest is correct when he says he was diagnosed as narcissistic, borderline, several other personality disorders, including schizoid disorder, which is a delusional disorder. So we know that personality disorders are very difficult to treat, but again, the doctors are saying, We`ve been watching this guy for such a long time. There haven`t been any major incidents. He may be taking his -- if he`s on his medication, he`s compliant with his medication. And they don`t believe that he`s a danger to himself or others... MATTHEWS: Oh! GARDERE: ... though he may remain with very schizoid-type tendencies. MATTHEWS: Well (INAUDIBLE) I`m a complete amateur on this, but in an op-ed this week -- this week -- Ronald Reagan`s daughter, Patti Davis, wrote that Hinckley should not be released. Here`s what she wrote. "I hope the doctors are right when they say that John Hinckley isn`t a danger to anyone, but something in me feels they are wrong. I will forever be haunted by a drizzly March afternoon when my father almost died, when Jim Brady lay in a pool of blood and two other men, Thomas Delahunty (ph) and Timothy McCarthy, were gravely wounded. If John Hinckley is haunted by anything, I think it`s that he didn`t succeed at his mission to assassinate the president." Now, she`s, of course, an amateur with, obviously, a personal interest in this. Reagan`s son, our friend, Ron Reagan, who appears regularly on this program, echoed that sentiment in 2011 on this program. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RON REAGAN, SON OF PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN: I don`t much care if he gets to visit his mother and go to movies and things like that, but the idea of leaving a guy who did what he did and who has the psychological profile that he has unsupervised in society strikes me as monumentally unwise. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Spencer, what are you allowed to say?   (LAUGHTER) HSU: I can say that the prosecutors have said no other man in this courtroom, no one else in the courtroom, has shot a president. No other patient in St. Elizabeth`s is in there for shooting the president and three other people. What his doctors say is that they are confident that he is clinically stable, that he`s clinically ready to be released. He`s not posed a threat for decades, they say. He`s not shown any interest in weapons or acquiring weapons. And they believe that with appropriate conditions, that, as the law says, he can be released consistent with -- to the least restrictive environment consistent with public safety. Now it`s up to the court to decide what that means. MATTHEWS: Let me go to Del on this one. What happens when he gets out in the public and wanders around Starbucks, wherever he`s going to wander around, and he realizes he`s something of a celebrity and people come up there and start sucking up to him, like they did to O.J. Simpson when he was out? And he realizes people think he`s sort of dazzling because people are like that, some people. What happens then? All his narcissism explodes again and he`s back there thinking, I`m a big shot because I shot the president. WILBER: And that`s a concern... MATTHEWS: I would worry about that. The doctors should be thinking about that. WILBER: The prosecutor`s agents, Secret Service agents I`ve spoken to, they`re all concerned about this. What happens when he`s not being watched, like the time in 2011? MATTHEWS: What happens when he gets near the public? WILBER: Exactly. And what happens -- he`s has this narcissistic personality for a really long time, as your doctor... (CROSSTALK)   MATTHEWS: Let me go back to my doctor. He`s not mine, but he`s a good guy. Dr. Gardere, what happens when he gets exposed to celebrity again? Does that reignite his sense of narcissism, that I`m a big deal because I tried to kill the president? GARDERE: Well, it`s very hard to tell, but I think that is a very legitimate point because remember, he`s been under the auspices of the hospital. The 17 days that he stays with his mother in support groups, he has been very much controlled, very much watched and monitored. Now you put him in a situation where possibly he will get this celebrity status, and therefore, he may not be more at risk to reverting back to these narcissistic tendencies. So that is a real danger and why they want to keep him out of the public eye as much as possible. MATTHEWS: Well, I think everybody watching has their opinion right now. I think most of the people in my office, most of the producers say keep him where he is, but everybody`s entitled to their level of compassion and their level of justifiable concern. Anyway, thank you. It`s a free country, as I always like to try to remember to myself. GARDERE: Thank you. MATTHEWS: Spencer Hsu, thank you, sir. I like your reticence here sometimes. Del Wilber, thank you very much for your book, "Rawhide Down." Still in print? Still out there, right? WILBER: (INAUDIBLE) MATTHEWS: And Dr. Lee (sic) Gardere. Thank you, sir, for coming on a lot. Please keep coming on. GARDERE: Thank you. MATTHEWS: Coming up -- there can a risky side to drone warfare, and we saw it in the president`s apology yesterday. The White House says it`s time to take a hard look at how we use drones. And by the way, what are the alternatives in this war we`re in. That debate up next. Plus, a story about transgender kids. NBC`s Kate Snow, of course, has profiled cases, and her stories have become, as we all know now this week, national news. We`ve got a California U.S. congressman, by the way, whose granddaughter is transgender. Mike Honda`s going to be joining us.   Then Hillary Clinton goes to Hollywood to raise campaign cash at a time when there`s no shortage of powerful women in political shows. Catch them -- "Veep" -- I have -- "Scandal," "Madam Secretary," "The Good Wife" - - the list goes on, powerful, impressive women in politics. What`s it tell you? And a big weekend even in Washington this weekend. The White House correspondents` dinner is tomorrow night. This is HARDBALL, the place for politics. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And I`m feeling sorry, believe it or not, for the speaker of the House, as well. These days, the House Republicans actually give John Boehner a harder time than they give me. Which means orange really is the new black. (LAUGHTER) (END VIDEO CLIP) (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Marco Rubio is leading the Republican field in a second poll this week. The new Fox News poll has Rubio topping the field with 13 percent. Scott Walker is next at 12 percent, followed by Rand Paul with 10. Jeb Bush and Mike Huckabee round out the top five. Rubio, by the way, was also the leader in yesterday`s Quinnipiac poll. Yet -- and mark this down -- no Republican candidate has as many as one in six voters. They`re all way down in the teens. We`ll be right back.   (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: We`re going to review what happened, and we`re going to identify the lessons that can be learned and any improvements and changes that can be made. And I know those of you who are here share our determination to continue doing everything we can to prevent the loss of innocent lives. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, that`s President Obama speaking mid-afternoon today on the East Coast to the intelligence community and once again addressing the death of two hostages in a U.S. drone strike in January of this year. Here`s more from the president later today. Let`s watch. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: I was asked by somebody, you know, How do you absorb news like that that we received the other day? And -- and I told the truth. It`s hard. But the one thing I wanted everybody to know because I know you, because I work with you, because I know the quality of this team, is that we all bleed when we lose an American life. We all grieve when any innocent life is taken. We don`t take this work lightly. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, there`s at least one news report that the president was livid about what happened in Pakistan with that drone strike going amiss. According to "The Washington Post," quote, "Despite Obama`s equanimity in public, officials said that his reaction behind closed doors was considerably harsher. `Obama`s advisers have for years told him that this would never happen, and now it did,` said a former U.S. senior counterterrorism official who spoke on the condition of anonymity. It is going to be a big deal."   Well, the news has re-lit, of course, the debate about the use of drones. Are they justified? And what is the alternative? I`m joined by filmmaker Robert Greenwald, the director of "Unmanned," and Michael O`Hanlon, senior foreign policy fellow at the Brookings Institution. Thank you both for joining us. Robert, your view of what happened the other day, or actually, in January. We`re just learning how two people being held captive, one an American, by the terrorists, and also two other Americans who had joined them, were killed. What do you make of the use of drones? ROBERT GREENWALD, DIRECTOR, "UNMANNED": Well, I think that the use of drones are making us less safe, actually. They are serving as an incredible tool for recruitment by terrorists. It replaced Guantanamo as the key recruitment tool. On a moral level, the number of innocent civilians -- I was in Pakistan. I talked to parents whose children had been killed by drones, by a family whose grandmother had been killed. Morally, strategically it`s wrong. It`s making us less safe. And by all accounts, less than 2 percent of those killed are so-called high-value targets. There`s no way that`s going to provide security and sanity for this country. MATTHEWS: What is your definition -- you mean they`re not top leaders. Well, they must have some value. Are they lieutenant level? What level would you put them at? GREENWALD: Well, the -- you know, again, part of this will get into the definition, but the various studies have been done by Reprieve (ph) and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism came up with the 2 percent number as high value. High value means that they theoretically pose an imminent and immediate threat to the United States. That`s a very small number, and thousands have been killed in pursuit of those 2 percent. MATTHEWS: OK, let me go to Michael O`Hanlon. Your sense -- let`s ask you. Why -- why does the United States government rely so much -- I think I know, but tell me as an expert. Why do we rely on drones to fight the terrorist threat? MICHAEL O`HANLON, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: Hi, Chris. Well, of course, it depends on which country you`re talking about. In Pakistan, we don`t feel we can fly airplanes overhead or do anything on the ground because we don`t have permission from the Pakistani government. And drones are seen as this way that the Pakistanis complain about but essentially tolerate because it`s a different form of warfare. It`s unmanned. And so in that case, it`s the only thing that`s sort of politically feasible. In a place like Yemen, you really do have other options. You could use manned aircraft, for example, for the small number of strikes we`ve carried out there. But of course, manned aircraft typically carry larger bombs, and the drones actually allow you to do surveillance and minimize the number of mistakes that we tragically saw here in January. Having said all that, I do agree with Bob that the hard question and the key question is which high value targets are really worth it, and where you draw the threshold. He and I may disagree about the utility of this means of warfare, but I do think that`s the key question, and we are going to have to reexamine it.   MATTHEWS: Well, the political criticisms to yesterday`s news account by the president and his press conference have been muted, if not downright nonexistent. Senator Marco Rubio said: "We`re all safer because of the actions taken every day around the world by our government to go after those who wish Americans harm and to prevent future attacks against us here at home." Senator Lindsey Graham told reporters: "Collateral damage is part of war. I have got no problem at all with anything that happened, other than my deepest sympathies for those who were held by al Qaeda that became collateral damage." Rand Paul, who led a nearly 13-hour filibuster two years ago to protest aspects of the country`s drone policy, didn`t object to what took place in Pakistan. He said the people in the al Qaeda compound were obviously bad guys -- quote -- "I don`t think there`s a question of whether or not you`re involving yourself in the war if you`re holding hostages. The things I pointed out in the past have been more with regard to people not involved with the war zone or with combat. They were in the mountains on a military base holding hostages, so there`s not a lot of question about whether or not they were engaged in combat against America." Let me go back to Robert. Your problem with it, you said, was moral. Well, what is moral in war? I`m trying to think out how you isolate that. GREENWALD: Well, no, my problem is moral and security. It`s both. That`s why I think it`s a devastating mistake, this policy, because you put the two together and you can`t justify either one. We are bombing, we are droning in areas that -- where we`re not at war with Pakistan, where we -- again, 74 percent of the population in Pakistan thinks the United States presents the greatest danger to them and their health. MATTHEWS: Well, that doesn`t mean they are right. GREENWALD: I didn`t say they are right, but if you`re talking about trying to create a policy where we`re making our country more safer... MATTHEWS: You are doing a causality thing here. You`re saying they don`t like us because of our drone policy.   Let me ask you this. Did they like us going in there and grabbing, at risk of the lives of our servicepeople, bin Laden? Did they like that? I don`t think they liked that either. GREENWALD: No, but we`re talking about drone policy which has killed numerous innocent people. MATTHEWS: No, but you`re saying the reason the Pakistanis don`t like us is the drone policy. And I will argue they have got a problem with us. Politically, they are Islamic. They`re a very angry country with a very poor leadership and they have a lot of reasons to dislike us. But I`m just asking the question. Do they dislike us any more because we grabbed bin Laden and killed him in their country or because we use drones? Or is it the same thing that they don`t like, which is us aggressively going offer Islamists? GREENWALD: No. No, the drone policy -- it`s a tribal country. MATTHEWS: I know. GREENWALD: We`re killing a significant number of people. And there is no more devastating impact than when you go there and you talk to the people. It`s not only everyone who has a relative who has been killed or injured. But, remember, the drones fly overhead hours and hours, day after day. Entire communities are devastated. MATTHEWS: Yes. GREENWALD: People don`t go to work. Children don`t go to school because of fear and terror of the drones. That is not a policy that will make us safer. The Times Square bomber -- the Times Square bomber, remember, was coming here because of drones.   (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: How do we get to the people who are trying to get at us who are living in Pakistan and operating out of there? How do we get to them? GREENWALD: Well, we get to them in a variety of ways. One, and most critically, is on-the-ground intelligence. And what we`re seeing with drones is... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: But how do we capture them? GREENWALD: Well, we have captured a couple, and we... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: How? We`re not allowed in there. GREENWALD: By -- we captured them in the same way that we have in other countries, in other places in the world, by working with the military and working with the police. MATTHEWS: But they won`t let us in.   GREENWALD: The -- yes, we will. We haven`t tried that policy. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Let me ask Robert -- let me ask Michael. Will the Pakistani government cooperate with us when we`re seeking terrorists, to pick them up, arrest them, bring them to the States? Will they let us do that? O`HANLON: They generally have -- they have not been. There is a little bit better and more hopeful Afghan/Pakistani cooperation now on some border security, but it`s essentially the first time in the last 12, 13 years. And it`s not an invitation for us to do anything on the ground or with manned aircraft in the air. So the Pakistanis have prevented us from having any other choice. And, meanwhile, for 12, 13 years, they tolerated groups like the Haqqani Network, as well as the Taliban leadership, operating off their soil. Afghanistan is still struggling, but it could have been totally demolished if we had had no capacity whatsoever to go after these leadership targets. So I disagree with Bob Greenwald, I`m afraid. I think in the end we haven`t had much choice. But you still have to think, where do you draw the line, and should we use these a little bit less? MATTHEWS: I understand. O`HANLON: We have already scaled it way back. Maybe we need to think about scaling it back a wee bit more. MATTHEWS: Robert, your last thought -- your last thought on this?   GREENWALD: This was a signature strike. A signature strike is not based on names. It`s not based on people on a kill list. It`s not based on any significant information. It`s based on a guess around pattern of behavior, no judge, no jury, no trial, no lawyer. People are being killed by decisions that middle-level bureaucrats in the CIA, not even the Army, are making. MATTHEWS: And you believe we should have a judge look at whether we attack somebody in Pakistan we believe to be a terrorist; a judge should get into this? GREENWALD: I believe there are a variety of ways, that we`re a country of laws. We should follow those laws. We should not be following the military industrial complex and just saying, we can invade, occupy or drone our way to security. It`s not working. It hasn`t worked, and it will never work. MATTHEWS: OK. Thank you so much, Robert Greenwald, for coming on. Michael O`Hanlon, thank you, sir. O`HANLON: Thank you, Chris. MATTHEWS: Up next: the politics and emotion over transgender children. U.S. congressman Mike Honda joins us. He has an interest in this, a family interest. And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)   (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MICHELLE HONDA-PHILLIPS, MOTHER: We noticed the moment everything clicked. When she was 6, it was Halloween, and our friend had given her a wig to wear with her Halloween costume. And she put it on and saw her reflection in the sliding glass, and then in the TV, and everywhere she turned, she saw herself, and she just sat up straighter, and she started kind of posing and realizing, hmm, this matches. You know, she`s never had the long hair before. And that`s sort of when I feel like she -- she switched over. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. That was Michelle Honda-Phillips, whose daughter Malisa is a transgender child. Malisa is the granddaughter of U.S. Congressman Mike Honda. NBC`s Kate Snow profiled her as part of the network`s series on transgender kids. The compelling profiles are garnering worldwide interest, with over 10 million views online, which shows people are interested. While there`s a wave of acceptance around the country, around the United States, when it comes to transgender equality, there are a variety of initiatives that LGBT advocates say undermine individuals` rights. Joining me right now from Mountain View, California, is U.S. Congressman and proud grandfather Mike Honda. Also with me is the president of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, Aisha Moodie-Mills. I want to go to Mike Honda. Congressman, thank you for joining us.   REP. MIKE HONDA (D), CALIFORNIA: Well, thank you for having me. MATTHEWS: This thing just about how times change -- maybe times don`t change, but our perceptions about things change. Do you think this phenomenon of a transgender child is something we just overlooked over the centuries before, or we found some category to explain it? Tomboy was a familiar phrase. Or what? How do you put your experience with your granddaughter in the path, in the road of history? HONDA: Well, I think it`s a good question, and it`s -- I think we`re at a point in time where we`re really looking into each individual`s background and their makeup. And I think that this is a very healthy time in our society and a time of our history, too. And I think that it`s led me to think about my vocabulary and how I look at describing this kind of situation, because now my vocabulary has changed, my pronouns changed, and even the way I describe Malisa`s birth, you know. I don`t say she was born a boy. She was assigned a gender of a boy by the doctor. And so it`s to really center it back on to the child and respect the child and that person`s being. MATTHEWS: Aisha, what do you know? You know a lot more than we know. Tell us what we know here. AISHA MOODIE-MILLS, PRESIDENT, GAY AND LESBIAN VICTORY FUND: Well... MATTHEWS: Transgender as -- what is the phenomena? Used to -- Kinsey would say there was like, what, 5 percent, 6 percent of the people who are gay. What percentage are we talking about here in terms of human experience? Do we know a number? MOODIE-MILLS: I don`t know a number. I don`t think a number matters.   (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Well, I would like to know. It only matters what I`m asking. We don`t know? We don`t know? MOODIE-MILLS: I don`t think that there`s a number. But I know that what Congressman Honda is doing by just simply loving his family, loving the child is critical and key, and that`s just everything right now. It`s how you treat people, how you allow these kids to just develop and be who they are. The other thing that we know is that no one should be legislating identity, and no one should allow... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: What does that mean? MOODIE-MILLS: What you teed up is the fact that in many states around this country, discrimination against transgender people is perfectly legal. And that is what problematic. MATTHEWS: Example? MOODIE-MILLS: So, an example is that we don`t have any comprehensive nondiscrimination policy right now. MATTHEWS: Well, we don`t have that for gay people generally in many states.   MOODIE-MILLS: We don`t. But in a lot of places, even in schools, we have an anti-bullying policy or we have some kind of nondiscrimination that may include sexual orientation, but does not include gender identity. So, for example, when it comes to employment protections, there are more states in this country where you are protected by sexual identity from employment discrimination, but not transgender people. MATTHEWS: I want to get Mike in here, the congressman here, too. You said you have learned new vocabulary. Tell me an example of how you have learned new vocabulary here. HONDA: Well, you know, in your discussion about trying to identify gender, you know, I think, historically, we have been looking at gender as if it were a binary system, where you have a boy and a girl. And now that we`re beginning to understand that there`s such a variety among each one of us, that, if you spread the two, then you have a spectrum of gender. So each person is going to have to be analyzed, and recognized as that person. So I think that this is driving us to become a little bit more profound, a little bit more... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Yes. HONDA: And I think that -- so that the ability for us to start to label people becomes lessened, and start to identify ourselves as who we are, both biologically, genetically and psychologically, and to honor that. MATTHEWS: Yes.   HONDA: And I think that this is what happened with my granddaughter. Eighteen months, she says, I`m a girl. At 3 years, she says... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: In the old crude argument -- I don`t think it was crude -- it was pretty rough -- which was, nature or nurture. I guess, in your experience, it would be nature, that she felt her identity was female from the beginning. HONDA: She declared herself. And I think a lot of youngsters do that. And to the extent that they have a family that`s around them that allows them to become who they are, they become healthier. The moment there`s a resistance from a child`s insistence of who they are, the persistency lessens because that proverbial door of the closet starts to close in on them, and they start to draw back. MATTHEWS: Yes. HONDA: So, what we want to do is really have this teaching moment for all the folks out there, the adults, the parents, grandparents, and the youngsters themselves... MATTHEWS: Yes. HONDA: ... is that allow them to become who they are. My granddaughter said it best, you know? We`re all different, and, you know, she knows that when she looked in the mirror, she said, I`m a girl. MOODIE-MILLS: Yes.   MATTHEWS: Well, we`re all God`s children. Thank you both. U.S. Congressman Mike Honda, I have always liked you, sir. Thank you. I like you more now. Thank you, Aisha Moodie-Mills. MOODIE-MILLS: Thank you. MATTHEWS: A complicated subject for many of us, and we`re all learning. Up next: Hillary goes Hollywood. She was scheduled -- has scheduled a fund-raising trip to Los Angeles. That`s no surprise. And it comes at the same time that Hollywood is producing many Washington TV dramas featuring powerful and sometimes even ruthless women politicians. Fascinating stuff going on. You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MILISSA REHBERGER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Milissa Rehberger. Here`s what`s happening.   Attorney General Eric Holder said goodbye to his colleagues at the Justice Department earlier. He`s being replaced by Loretta Lynch, who was confirmed by the Senate on Thursday. The USS Theodore Roosevelt is back in the Persian Gulf. The carrier was tracking an Iranian convoy that was loaded with weapons and bound for Yemen, but the ships changed course. Italian authorities arrested nine suspects who allegedly planned an attack at the Vatican in 2010. The plot was never carried out. Nine more people are still being sought by police. And, in Chile, residents are being warned about a potential third possible eruption from the Calbuco volcano, which could be more violent than the first two this week -- back to HARDBALL. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "VEEP") JULIA LOUIS-DREYFUS, ACTRESS: Gary? UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Yes, yes, yes, yes. LOUIS-DREYFUS: Do you have my hand cream? UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Oh, yes, I got the new form la... (CROSSTALK) LOUIS-DREYFUS: No, no, just give me the whole tube because you can`t come into this next meeting either.   UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: And I`m totally fine with that. LOUIS-DREYFUS: Oh, hey, Gar? UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Yes, yes, yes, yes. LOUIS-DREYFUS: What is the coffee that the Navy stewards use? UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: I can only imagine. LOUIS-DREYFUS: It`s heaven. Why don`t we ever use that coffee? UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: I don`t know, but you would love our old coffee. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. That was President Selina Meyer, of course, who recently ascended to the presidency on HBO`s hit series "Veep." She`s played by Julia Louis- Dreyfus, of course. "Veep" is one of the many TV dramas out now with political themes that star powerful and oftentimes ruthless women, "House of Cards," "Madam Secretary," "Scandal," "State of Affairs," just to name a few.   Anyway, actress Tea Leoni pays Secretary of State Elizabeth McCord on the CBS show "Madam Secretary." Let`s take a look. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "MADAM SECRETARY") UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Madam Secretary, what an unexpected pleasure. TEA LEONI, ACTRESS: General, it`s time we had a talk. UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: By all means. We have so much to discuss. But where are your beautiful legs? LEONI: They are under the table, where they are going to stay. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Do these strong characters make voters more prepared to elect the first woman president of the United States? As "The L.A. Times" writes, "If Clinton loses this election, it will not be television`s fault. Many things have changed since she lost the Democratic Party nomination to Barack Obama in 2008, but few more so than television`s relationship with women." Ted Johnson is senior editor of "Variety", and actor Tim Daly is our friend here, he`s co-star of "Madam Secretary", he also teaches at Georgetown in that show, and Connie Nielsen stars in the hit show "The Following."   Anyway, let`s get together. What`s first, the chicken or the egg here? Is it Hollywood that`s putting women in these incredibly strong positions or is Hollywood responding to the fact that this culture of us are saying the men have blown it, it`s women`s turn? TED JOHNSON, VARIETY: Well -- MATTHEWS: Something is going on because all these shows are the same. JOHNSON: Sure, sure, yes. I actually think Hollywood is leading the way a little bit. You look at a show like "Veep." Selena Meyer this season, now, she`s the president. She`s the president of the United States, and they barely even make a big deal out of the fact that she`s the first woman president on the show. MATTHEWS: When did we have black presidents in movies? We had -- I`m sure Morgan Freeman must have been one before Obama. JOHNSON: Yes, yes. That was `98, Morgan Freeman in "Deep Impact," you know, well before that thought was even in the heads of, you know, political consultants, that it could actually happen. MATTHEWS: And, Tim, you`ve got to be comfortable as sort of the Dennis Thatcher of the world. You have to be sort of the male support system for a woman in an incredibly powerful position, so you`re like leading the way for the men in this scene. TIM DALY, ACTOR, "MADAM SECRETARY": Well, I actually think that we`ve actually had three women secretary of states, I played the vice president to Geena Davis on "Commander in Chief" where she was the president. That`s quite a while ago, so I think that -- MATTHEWS: That`s right, you were at the dining table there. DALY: Yes, we`re just -- we`re just not paying attention if we don`t think that TV has portrayed women in power. There are several women presidents on TV.   I think the more interesting thing from my show is portraying a man who is comfortable with a woman in power. MATTHEWS: Yes. DALY: And who is not intimidated by it or threatened by it. MATTHEWS: But the scenes at home -- I don`t mean sex scenes, but love scenes are great on your show because she comes home to a house and she wants to be home. It`s great stuff the way you did it together. DALY: Yes, and also I think she comes home to a house that`s not a disaster because she`s married to a competent man, as opposed to a buffoon which is how a lot of men are portrayed on television, especially when it comes to -- (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: You`re a philosopher. You`re teaching theology and philosophy at Georgetown University. It all makes sense to me. I grew up with guys like you, to tell me the truth. There you are, Connie Nielsen, who I got interested in in watching "Gladiators." You were the queen in that movie? CONNIE NIELSEN, ACTRESS: Kind of like a little bit, a sister to the king. MATTHEWS: You were -- you had a deal with a situation of power where the power was coming at you, frightening position. What do you make of all of this?   NIELSEN: Well, I mean, I have to say as someone from, you know, the rest of the world where, you know, it is normally occurring fact by now that women are ready to take the leadership of their countries and the voters have no problem electing them to the highest office of their countries. It just seems weird that we need TV to tell us first? MATTHEWS: Well, India beat us out a while back and Germany, and the German example now is incredibly power. NIELSEN: And we can go back like 50 years practically, and so it`s been around, you know? MATTHEWS: But there`s some countries that haven`t been ahead of us. I don`t think the Italians have had a woman prime minister yet. The French have done it and the Spanish certainly. NIELSEN: But America, the greatest democracy in the world, right? MATTHEWS: The Soviets haven`t gotten -- the Russians haven`t gotten around to it. Chinese haven`t done it. NIELSEN: The greatest democracy of the world should be leading the way instead of waiting behind the rest. MATTHEWS: OK, what`s first, Ted, the chicken or the egg? JOHNSON: Well -- MATTHEWS: Hollywood`s awareness that women are ready in our culture and men are ready to accept it? Let`s remember, I love the fight. You`re going to be great on the show. I love the fight because men voted to give women the vote. NIELSEN: Yes.   MATTHEWS: So -- I mean, it`s not like the guys are the bad guys of history, you know. Maybe they pushed for it. Maybe they pushed it. You`ve got to vote this way, but this is a secret ballot. And men said, OK, let`s all vote. That`s true. JOHNSON: I think a lot has to do with you see more women become creators of TV shows. That`s changed. MATTHEWS: Does that happen with these shows we`re talking about? JOHNSON: On some of them, yes. MATTHEWS: The wife, "The Good Wife," one of the best shows. JOHNSON: Sure, sure, the King family, and -- and the King couple, I should say. MATTHEWS: Yes. JOHNSON: I also wanted to point out something about "Veep" because there you have the creator of the show who is from Great Britain where they, you know, Margaret Thatcher, obviously. MATTHEWS: Yes. JOHNSON: And I talk to him and what he thinks -- MATTHEWS: But it`s also a country where men go to dinner together and they ignore the women. OK, the women go in the other room and smoke cigars still.   JOHNSON: But he`s point is he thinks it`s fascinating whenever there`s a woman politician -- and he satirizes it on "Veep," whenever there`s a woman politician, there`s so much focus on what she`s wearing and inevitably -- MATTHEWS: But they also satirize the most idiotic role, Tim, of a vice president. What is the vice president`s job exactly except to wait for the president to keel over? I mean, it`s a ridiculous job and she plays it ridiculously. DALY: Look, when I was on "Commander in Chief" I killed that show really efficiently in two episodes. So, that was my job. The minute I showed up, it was over. You know -- I mean, you know -- MATTHEWS: What`s in your head when you play that part for the husband of the secretary of state? You`re home. She`s coming home from being secretary of state, sort of dealing with the world, and you`re at home dealing with the test papers from last night, you know. You`ve got a different role in life. DALY: Well, except that you have to remember that a guy who is an expert in the history of religion is by, you know, association an expert on the history of conflict because we`d be kidding ourselves if we didn`t think that a core of a lot of our conflicts, even today, religion plays a significant role. So I think that he has an understanding, a significant understanding of what some of the things she`s dealing with every day. MATTHEWS: Yes. What do you think of all of this? NIELSEN: Well, I think it`s time that we also get an amendment that says we can`t discriminate against women, and we`ve been working to get that I think for the last 30 years maybe. MATTHEWS: How many Hillary votes to you have here? NIELSEN: Maybe we should get a president that`s a woman and finally get that amendment. MATTHEWS: OK, let`s have a hands up, how many are going to vote for Hillary? (LAUGHTER)   DALY: I don`t even know who is running yet. Let`s get a nominee first. MATTHEWS: Very smart as an editor to not put the hand up. One thing that Republicans insist on is no more hands in the air. How many people believe in Evolution? (LAUGHTER) MATTHEWS: How many believe in science? Anyway, the roundtable is staying with us. And up next a big weekend, this weekend, the White House Correspondents` Dinner. Anyway, I met Kathleen at one of these in 1978, so they do have a value. This is HARDBAL, the place for politics. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CONAN O`BRIEN, COMEDIAN: Finally I have an announcement for those of you watching tonight`s event live on C-SPAN, for God`s sake, it`s Saturday night. (END VIDEO CLIP)   (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: We`ve got some new polling on the 2016 general election for president. We`ve got the matchups. Let`s look at the HARDBALL scoreboard. According to a FOX News poll, Hillary Clinton leads Rand Paul by just three points nationally, 46-43. Marco Rubio is at the front of the Republican field right now, he also trails Clinton by four points, 46-42. These are all very close. Jeb Bush also trails by four, 45-41. All seemingly within the margin of error. Hillary Clinton leads Ted Cruz by five, 47-42, and she beats out Scott Walker by six, 46-40. They`re all pretty darn close. And we`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) O`BRIEN: Finally I have an announcement for those watching tonight live on C-SPAN. For God`s sake, it`s Saturday night. JIMMY KIMMEL, COMEDIAN: Mr. President do you remember when the president rallied around you in hopes of a better tomorrow? That was hilarious. STEPHEN COLBERT, COMEDIAN: There are some polls out there saying that this man has a 32 percent approval rating. But guys like us, we don`t pay attention to the polls. We know that polls are just a collection of statistics that reflect what people are thinking in reality. And reality has a well known liberal bias. BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: These days, the House Republicans actually give John Boehner a harder time then they give me, which means orange really is the new black.   (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: We`re back. The great tradition of the White House Correspondents` Dinner continues this week. It is when the president, the national press corps, politicians and celebrities gather in atmosphere of politics and entertainment, with the comedian as the focus. MSNBC`s Alex Witt hosts our live coverage tomorrow at 9:00 p.m. Eastern. So, you don`t have to watch C-SPAN. The head line comedian this year is "Saturday Night Live`s" Cecily Strong. I had a chance to sit down with her, we had a chance to sit down with her as she prepped for the big night. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CECILY STRONG, COMEDIAN: I don`t like to call it the "nerd prom" because that makes me like the queen of nerd prom and I`m very, very cool and hip. I don`t know -- I guess -- and comedy too, you know, everybody calls themselves a nerd. So, I think it`s nerds have taken that word back. Yes. They`ve taken that back. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: You can watch our full interview with Cecily on our Web site. By the way, I`m back with the roundtable now. Ted, Tim and Connie all will be on the red carpet tomorrow night. Connie, why are you here? What is about it a Hollywood`s interest? I`ve met some John Ham and I guess Warren Beatty over the years, and people showing up, amazed me, of course, Bradley Cooper. People are all showing for this thing. And you`re here.   NIELSEN: Well, you know, Creative Coalition asked me to come and participate in their yearly Advocacy for Arts Day. And we did that today. We advocated for arts programs all over Capitol. And it was an incredible day. And it was just also one of the most interesting days in my life. Thank you so much, Tim, for letting me come and be part of this. DALY: You`re so welcome. Yes, for us it`s -- our work today was a big workday. And, you know, tomorrow is sort of -- I`ve said this before. But to me, you know, going to that big party is sort of like same zoo, different animals. You know? We get to gawk at people who we`re sort of impressed to see, who we`ve seen on TV a lot, but not people we know from our own business. So, it`s a lot of fun. It is interesting and, you know, it`s changed a lot. I think this will be my ninth White House Correspondents` Dinner. And it seemed to sort of have this peak where people were really coming just to get the photo op. But I`ve always been here sort of as an adjunct to working to support the art with the Creative Coalition. MATTHEWS: Yes. So that`s why as the good cause. DALY: It is. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Ted Johnson. Thank you, Tim Daly. Thank you, Connie. It`s great to meet you, Connie. Thank you. When we return, let me finish with the spade of TV dramas about hot shot women`s politicians. You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)   MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with the spade of TV dramas about hot shot women politicians. Look, I speak tonight as the fervent fan of the Juliana Margulies in "The Good Wife", someone hooked on Robin Wright`s Lady Macbeth-like role in "House of Cards". Not only that, I speak as a regular watcher of the "Madam Secretary" with Tea Leone, as some who sees the allure certainly of Kerry Washington in "Scandal", and has -- way too late they come across the funniest show around, HBO`s "Veep" starring the Julia Louise Dreyfus. So, here we go, to all these impressive women on TV right there in our homes: A, constitute a liberal Hollywood push for Hillary Clinton, or B, signal an American culture, political as well as popular, that`s comfortable, in fact, favorably inclined to watch a female fight for her share of the power in this country. This is not the first time a question like this has popped up. Look back in the 1930s, the movies in Hollywood were turning out, they were also compellingly and obviously pro-British. Was that a sign of Hollywood moguls pushing us to get in a war against Germany, or was it the age-old American Anglophilia pumped by our good old American uprooting for the underdog against Adolf Hitler? Was Hollywood creating a national sentiment or playing to one? What came first, the chicken or the egg? And is Hollywood pushing the idea of female leadership in politics right now? Or is it simply grabbing eyeballs by showing people what it figures they are likely to like seeing? I`m sorry, am I answering the question? I don`t mean to, because it could very well be that what Hollywood wants to happen may be pretty close to what the people are quite ready for already. And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us. "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts rights now. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END Copyright 2015 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.>