Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 05/15/15

Guests: Mike Bello, Kendall Coffey, Matthew Weiner, Ivy Ziedrich, SabrinaSiddiqui

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Crime and punishment. Let`s play HARDBALL. Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington. Tonight, we have a special guest on the program that created an American saga that has offered so many of us a slice of this country`s life at mid-20th century, "Mad Men," the final episode of which comes this Sunday night. We begin, of course, tonight with the culmination of a real-life horror, the jury`s condemnation of the Boston Marathon bomber to death. Last today, in a Massachusetts federal court, a jury sentenced Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death. The same jury last month found Tsarnaev guilty on 30 counts for his role in the bombings. The jury today found that Tsarnaev showed no remorse for his actions. It rejected the defense`s narrative that hid older brother brainwashed him into committing his acts of terrorism. The 2013 Boston bombings killed three people. More than 240 others suffered serious injuries, including loss of limb. Well, those in the courtroom described Tsarnaev`s reaction when the jury read their decision as stone-faced. Mike Bello is "The Boston Globe`s" assistant metro editor and Kendall Coffey`s a former U.S. attorney. Mike, what were the issues that kept them thinking most of the 15 hours of deliberation on the sentencing?   MIKE BELLO, "BOSTON GLOBE" ASST. METRO EDITOR: Well, I think, for the most part, the real issue was, did Dzhokhar Tsarnaev -- was involved in using weapons of mass destructions (sic) -- did -- was his intent to really maim, inflict maximum damage? And the jury concluded that. The jury felt that he was responsible for the deaths of Martin Richard and also Lindsey Liu (ph). And there was tremendous testimony from the prosecution during the death penalty phase and during the regular trial, the agony of the victim`s families, autopsy photos, overwhelming evidence that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev planned and helped execute the people involved in this terror bombing, along with his brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev. MATTHEWS: Kendall, is this -- it read to me, the little I know about the law here, that this was the federal intent. This is what the lawmakers and their legislative history mainly intended, that there be a capital case here, that it would involve capital punishment in this kind of situation. KENDALL COFFEY, FMR. U.S. ATTORNEY: Well, this is exactly the kind of case that the federal death penalty was intended for, in the sense that it was a weapon of mass destruction, but it had so many other very, very heart-breaking, anger-inspiring elements, the sheer magnitude of the horror, the detailed, cold-blooded premeditation and the utter lack of remorse. The jury decided unanimously beyond a reasonable doubt that there was no remorse. So all that could be said about family, about his youth, about lack of prior complications -- when something this horrible happens by somebody who reflects no compunction, no remorse, then that`s a death penalty case. MATTHEWS: Mike, what about the Sister Prejean testimony, the character witness saying that he was truly sorry for what he`d done? Was that just dismissed as the good intentions of someone who`s the death penalty? BELLO: Yes, I think the jury didn`t buy it. You know, I think, as the other gentleman said, you know, there was no remorse demonstrated in court. The nurse`s -- the nun`s testimony was the only evidence that he actually showed any feeling. I mean, he never cried during the trial. During the testimony of Martin Richard`s dad, during other victims` testimony, showed absolutely no emotion. I mean, Martin Richard`s dad was describing how his son was blown up. There was testimony that Tsarnaev stood there for a number of minutes, waiting to inflict the maximum amount of damage. There were tears from the jurors, nothing from Tsarnaev in court. The only time he showed any emotion was when his aunt was on the stand, and she started crying about his upbringing and what he`d gone through as a child. So I think the jury didn`t buy it. They also didn`t buy that Tsarnaev was a -- enslaved by his brother, that he was manipulated by his brother. They felt he was a participant in this terrorist act. MATTHEWS: Well, here`s how a few of the survivors reacted to the news. Sydney Corcoran, who suffered severe leg injuries, said, quote, "My mother and I think that now we can go away and we will be able to move on. Justice. In our own words, an eye for an eye." Adrianne Haslet Davis lost her left leg below the knee. She wrote, "My heart is with our entire survivor community. I am thrilled with the verdict." And Rebekah Gregory DiMartino had her left leg amputated after 17 operations -- she wrote, "Completely numb and waiting anxiously for the day this is really over. My heart and prayers are with my Boylston Street family." That`s of course, the people who suffered along with her.   Anyway, let me go back to Kendall for a thought. How long is this appeal process likely to go? COFFEY: Well, many times, they take years and years, but I don`t think this one will. The evidence of guilt was so overwhelming. Remember, the defense lawyer didn`t even seriously contest it in so many findings in this death penalty verdict that I think we`re looking at three to five years. But this is not going be a double-digit forever in the appeals court, in the trial court, and back to the Supreme Court kind of case, in my opinion. MATTHEWS: Thank you so much. Mike Bello, great reporting there, great color (ph), in fact. And thank you, Kendall, as always, for your expertise. Coming up: here`s something I`ve been waiting to show you. "Mad Men" ends its run this Sunday night. We`re going to talk to the man behind this cultural phenomenon. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE (SINGING): Do you remember the laughter and the tears, the shadows of misty yesteryears, the good times and the bad you see, and all the others in between? Remember? Do you remember? (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Say what you will, it`s gotten to me. Matthew Weiner knows how it all ends because he wrote it. And he`s coming here next live. Plus, Jeb Bush and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week. He`s being slammed by his own party for a very messy response to questions about his brother`s war in Iraq. He should have been ready for this one. And tonight, we have the college student, by the way, whose confrontation with Jeb Bush over ISIS has gone viral.   And then Hillary Clinton follows a cardinal rule in politics -- don`t commit to a decision before you have to. She`s doing that, but that isn`t pleasing everyone. ""Washington Post" columnist David Ignatius is calling for Clinton to, quote, "put away the waffle iron" -- stop waffling. And "Let Me Finish" tonight with a strong pull -- with these strong pull of a particular television program. I`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: The young midshipman who lost his life in the Amtrak train crash Wednesday was laid to rest today. Twenty-year-old Justin Zemser was accorded full military honors during his funeral in Hewlett, New York. Zemser was one of eight passengers who were killed in the devastating train derailment, which the NTSB is continuing to investigate. Zemser was on leave from the Naval Academy at Annapolis, on his way home to his family`s home in Rockaway Beach, New York, when the train derailed. We`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. The final episode of "Mad Men" airs this Sunday, and over the course of seven seasons, the show spanned a decade in the history of this country. When it began, Dwight Eisenhower was president, Richard Nixon was challenging a young politician named John F. Kennedy. And after 92 episodes, the characters have gone through Martin Luther King`s "I have a dream" speech, JFK`s assassination, women`s liberation, the escalation of the Vietnam war and the moon landing. Matthew Weiner, the show`s creator and executive producer, joins me right now. Matthew, you have carried us through our time. I was in high school during a lot of that. You brought it all back. Let`s -- let`s take a look at a clip here right now...   MATTHEW WEINER, CREATOR/EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, "Mad Men": Sure. MATTHEWS: ... of (INAUDIBLE) let`s take a look -- it`s one of the most powerful scenes from this season is when Joan complains to the head of the agency, Jim, about a colleague who`s been making a pass at her, a gross pass. Let`s watch. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Other people always say you`re the kind of gal who doesn`t take no for an answer. But no, you`re not telling me how to run my business. No, find a way to get along, or you can expect a letter from our lawyer. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I wonder how many women around here would like to speak to a lawyer. I think the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has one. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Women love it here. You want to threaten us, you`ll be all alone. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. I think the second I file a complaint, I`ll have the ACLU in my office and Betty Friedan in the lobby with half the women who marched down 5th Avenue. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Matt, this is an amazing scene because it reminds me of, like, Custer`s last stand. The Indians are still winning the battle against the white men, but sooner or later, the white guy will win. But right now, the old guys, the old farts, if you will, are still running the show, and the women haven`t gotten their place yet at all. WEINER: No. No they haven`t. And I don`t know that -- from what I can tell of the reaction to the episode, I think it kind of hit a nerve that a lot of this hasn`t changed. And the interesting part about that scene to me is she never really mentions exactly what`s going on, but sort of goes in there as a business equal, and he holds all the cards.   MATTHEWS: Yes, and the guy was going after her (ph). He said, Let`s go spend the weekend together down south and obviously wanted to have sex with her. It was clear as hell. And she didn`t really even (ph) say that. WEINER: Yes. MATTHEWS: Anyway, one character who left the show after the third season was closeted art director Sal. And Don Draper was one of the few people who knew about his orientation. Let`s watch this very tricky business about a gay guy not quite coming out but being exposed. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was drunk, and he cornered me in the editing room. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cornered you? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. And I backed him off. I told him I was married, and he was embarrassed and he left. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You must have been really shocked. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was. Believe me! UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But nothing happened because nothing could have happened because you`re married.   UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don, I swear on my mother`s life! UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You sure you want to do that? (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Isn`t that something? He -- you thought for a while on the show that he would be sympathetic to the guy`s orientation, but there he seems to be rock solid suspicious... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: He assumes the guy`s promiscuous. WEINER: Yes. Exactly. Exactly. He`s a product of his time, Don. I mean, he is tolerant of a lot of things and I think he would never see himself as a racist or a sexist, and certainly tries to take people as individuals. But I think in this moment, all the stereotypes come down, you know, the way they are, and he assumes that he`s promiscuous and assumes that that`s the -- that`s one of the traits of being gay. MATTHEWS: You know, I don`t think -- in watching Sal`s character all the way going up (ph) -- I`ve been watching reruns, of course, like everybody else, of this -- this surging period of more and more reruns. But I don`t know if I picked him as gay or he was portrayed as gay. But when you look at it in retrospect, you see how he`s pretended to be a macho guy. He`s saying, Va-va-voom whenever he sees a girl. He`s always reacting, overreacting to women. WEINER: Yes, overreacting. MATTHEWS: Yes, I think so.   Anyway, let`s watch another scene from this season... WEINER: Sure. MATTHEWS: ... this season -- the protagonist, Don Draper, and his soon to be ex-wife, Megan. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You`re going to write me a check? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want you to have the life you deserve. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you kidding me? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A million dollars. Why are you doing this to me? It`s not funny! UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t want to fight anymore. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I know it`s not real. Nothing about you is.   UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is real. Please take it. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, Matt, can you tell us, is Don Draper a good guy? Because he certainly looks like a good guy there, a guy with a conscience, a guy with a heart who wants to set things right with his ex-wife. WEINER: I think that he -- I mean, he`s a guy with a guilty conscience, for sure. And he -- I mean, a million dollars is a definitely a unilaterally large reaction to whatever he`s done. But I think one of the great things about doing this show is that we`ve been able to talk about human beings as they are. You know, people ask me how I feel about different characters, and so forth, and I don`t really judge them. It`s part of being a writer, and myself and the writing team, we get inside their head and we try and give everybody a reason for why they do what they do. I think that Don deserves some credit for trying to be better and for trying to do the right thing, but a lot of times, his impulses get the worst of him. And part of the story of this last, you know, 14 episodes, you know, starting with him working his way up in his own company, has been him trying to get -- you know, take stock of things. And by the time we start this chunk that we`re in right now, which is the last seven episodes, you see that he is alone, but he is on -- sort of on top of the world. He`s kind of that bachelor character that we always hoped he`d be after he got divorced. And yet, you know, that`s why we started with the song, "Is That All There Is?" MATTHEWS: When he comes in the office in the morning with his wingtip shoes and his butt -- his coat buttoned and his tie closed -- close -- and asks for a cup of coffee, whether he`s hung over or not, I get the feeling he`s coming back to home base. He`s coming back to the one part of his life that holds together, including -- and this is true of a lot of people. It`s true of me. Coming to work is a good thing in the morning. I mean, I just think it`s great -- those of us lucky enough to love our jobs. His coming to work seems to (INAUDIBLE) he`s coming to home base, to me. What`s that about? WEINER: You know, you have a workplace story here, and I definitely think -- you know, I agree with, I think, Freud who said that that`s the -- those are the two goals, to love and to work. And I think he is happy at his job. I think he feels some sense of control. We`ve shown over and over in the show, like, you know, during the Kennedy assassination and different times when things are desperate, Don goes back to work. And I think America is like that. You know, when Kennedy was shot, we didn`t have a two-week, you know, mourning period and have the body laying in state or anything. They had one day, and they brought everybody back to work on Tuesday.   And I thought that was so strange when I looked back at it, and then I thought, No, that`s who we are, those of us who are lucky enough to have jobs and to love our jobs, absolutely. But for Don, that`s an expression, I think, of control, of his imagination. And I think it`s the thing he aspired to his whole life, so he gets to live there. Yes, I think it`s a very -- and I think we`ve sort of shown also that the people that are there he can be closer to, too... MATTHEWS: Yes. WEINER: ... which happens to some of us. MATTHEWS: You know, it`s interesting. You and Tom Wolfe -- you and Tom Wolfe are fascinating because Tom Wolfe says -- even if you`re Jewish, you`re in the police department in New York, you have to talk a certain way, like the Irish guys do. (LAUGHTER) MATTHEWS: You got to use bad English. And what you`ve done -- you know, the old expression of "dress British, think Yiddish," and... WEINER: Yes. MATTHEWS: You`ve made a point where everybody begins -- the women even, not just the -- the Jewish kid, the young guy and the creative writer, but everybody begins to try to act like Don Draper. They all try to get in -- tell us about that, why we all get into that uniform of not WASP, exactly, but certainly -- certainly Manhattan professional. WEINER: I think it is WASP. I think it`s the white power elite. And without being -- you know, it`s not a political statement, it`s an observation that Don, you know, like a lot of the successful men, in particular, of the 20th century, yearn to be a white Anglo-Saxon Protestant. And no matter -- because they -- a lot of them had -- you know, came from rural poverty and sort of hid their backgrounds and put on that uniform. MATTHEWS: Yes. WEINER: That is the person who runs this country. And whether it`s - - you know, it`s jut the form that it takes. And -- and I love that in a way, there is a sort of uniform to it, but it also -- it`s very limiting. And I think people get there, and you can never shake off who you are. And even people, you know, like John D. Rockefeller spent their life sort of, you know, trying to hide where they came from.   MATTHEWS: Yes. Did you watch -- how many times did you watch "North by Northwest" to get your head into this? (LAUGHTER) MATTHEWS: Because I am convinced that Roger Thornhill (ph), the Cary Grant character, walking down 5th Avenue to the Oak (ph) Bar was the beginning of this series. Just your thought about that. Did you see the movie? WEINER: Oh, I`ve seen the movie plenty, and I studied it in film school. I was much more influenced by "The Apartment," which is... MATTHEWS: OK. WEINER: ... you know, obviously an amazing movie, the same year, basically, or the year after... MATTHEWS: John Lemmon, Shirley McLaine... (CROSSTALK) WEINER: That`s 1960 and "North by Northwest" is 1959. But I saw "North by Northwest" quite a bit. I love the movie. It -- I love (INAUDIBLE) ad executive and his name was Roger. I don`t know how that all fits in your brain. You know, you can sit down... (CROSSTALK) WEINER: You can sit down and tell me your life story, and I might walk away saying that it`s mine. That`s part of being a writer.   (LAUGHTER) MATTHEWS: You know what? I love what you`ve created here. I absolutely -- I`m going to pay tribute to your show at the end of this show tonight. WEINER: Wow. MATTHEWS: I just thank you. I thank you. WEINER: Chris, I have to thank you, because I actually remember very clearly that you were one of the first people, at least in the public eye, to watch the show and to talk about it. And it was a surreal moment that exceeded all of my expectations when I heard you mention that he sounds like -- I don`t remember who it was, but you said he sounds like one of those guys on "Mad Men." And I`m like, oh, my God, Chris Matthews is watching the show. MATTHEWS: Well, that`s true. (CROSSTALK) WEINER: So, I loved that. And... MATTHEWS: Everybody here, all the producers, I told you off the air we meet here on Monday morning, the first meeting Monday morning -- don`t tell our bosses -- is to talk about "Mad Men."   (LAUGHTER) MATTHEWS: And we always do. We want to keep up with everybody. And we are going to miss those people terribly. Thank you, Matthew Weiner, again. WEINER: I appreciate it. Thank you, Chris. MATTHEWS: Thank you for everybody here at HARDBALL. Up next: the 19-year-old college student who took on Jeb Bush in that viral video. She has gone from college activist to the front page of "The Washington Post." And she joins us next. This is HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. A 19-year-old college student from Nevada has set off a small earthquake for the Republican Party`s top contender for the White House. Earlier this week, Jeb Bush was confronted by Ivy Ziedrich -- Ziedrich -- a student at the University of Nevada in Reno and a member of the Young Democrats chapter, over his brother`s war in Iraq. And their interaction has now gone viral. Here is the confrontation. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)   IVY ZIEDRICH, UNIVERSITY OF NEVADA: Your brother created ISIS through the Iraqi Coalition Authority. BUSH: Is that a question? ZIEDRICH: You don`t need to be pedantic to me, sir. BUSH: Pedantic? Wow. ZIEDRICH: You could just answer my question. BUSH: So what is the question? ZIEDRICH: My question is, why are you saying that ISIS was created by us not having a presence in the Middle East, when it`s countless pointless wars, when we sent young men to die for the idea of American exceptionalism? It`s this idea -- like, why are you spouting nationalistic rhetoric to get us involved in more wars? BUSH: We respectfully disagree. We have a disagreement. We had an agreement that the president could have signed. It would have kept 10,000 troops, which is less than what we have in Korea. It could have created the stability that would have allow for Iraq to progress. And so, look, we can rewrite history all you want, but the simple fact is that we`re in a much more unstable place because America pulled back.   (CROSSTALK) BUSH: Thank you. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, Ivy Ziedrich is a student at the University of Nevada in Reno, as I said. Ivy, I have the sense that you know more about the history of our Iraq engagement than the former governor of Florida. You talked about something -- I want you to expand on it -- your knowledge of how de-Baathification, kicking out the entire -- Paul Bremer is responsible for that, the guy who wore the fancy suits and the work boots. He`s the guy that dumped the entire Iraqi army into the arms of ISIS. And it seemed like Governor Bush didn`t know what you were talking about, when everybody who watches this show knows exactly what you`re talking about. ZIEDRICH: Yes. I would have to have more of a dialogue with him to really be sure if that is an accurate assessment. I don`t want to be too disparaging. But, yes, my problem was certainly that, throughout his speech, he was placing the blame of the creation of ISIS, he was placing that blame upon President Obama. And that`s what I really wanted to address, was the influence of the de-Baathification and the role that the Bush administration played in the creation of ISIS, because if we are going blame a president, I am pretty sure that it should not be Obama. MATTHEWS: What`s your sense -- I`m now going to lay some responsibility on you. Is Hillary Clinton, the recent secretary of state, do you think she`s a dove or a hawk when it comes to issues like Iran, Iraq, the whole question of the Middle East?   ZIEDRICH: I mean, I`m not -- I`m not quite sure how I feel about Hillary Clinton as the Democratic front-runner quite yet. I think that there are definitely points to criticize in her history, as well as pretty much everybody who is running for president at this point. So I think that it`s important that, when we have the opportunity to speak to any individual who is running for president, Hillary Clinton included, that we ask these questions and that we try to correct... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Well, let`s -- let`s try it again. Let me try it again. Would you have -- if you asked her, do you regret having supported the Iraq War, what do you think her answer would be? ZIEDRICH: Yes, I would absolutely ask -- I am sure that her answer would be that, yes, she regrets supporting the Iraq War. I think that that is pretty much everybody`s answer at this point. I`m not sure why it wasn`t an easier answer for Jeb Bush. MATTHEWS: Well, I have a theory. ZIEDRICH: What is your theory? MATTHEWS: And my theory is pretty much that -- my theory is the WMD had nothing to do with that war. It was a sales piece. ZIEDRICH: Yes. MATTHEWS: The whole idea of WMD, even the phrase WMD, was to conflate a lot of things. It was to suggest nuclear without having to prove it, and therefore that made it easier for them to make the threshold argument that that they even had a weapon. There was no -- there was no intelligence they had a weapon. Never was.   ZIEDRICH: Yes. MATTHEWS: It was completely made up by Cheney and the rest of the neocons. They wanted us in that war in the worst way. They used WMD, that phrase, to get us in there. That`s why I don`t let people off the hook who say, I got bad intel. No, you didn`t. You had a bad attitude. You were a hawk. You wanted to go to war. ZIEDRICH: Yes. MATTHEWS: And you supported a war because it was the easiest political position to take at the time, whether you were a Democrat or Republican. That`s all going to become an issue for Hillary Clinton as well. You`re a gutsy lady. Thank you for coming on HARDBALL. You played a little bit HARDBALL with me. And thanks for coming on. Jeb`s confrontation with a... ZIEDRICH: Thank you very much for having me. Have a great day. MATTHEWS: Hey, thank you. You, too. Jeb`s confrontation with Ivy wasn`t the only hiccup on the campaign trail this week for the former Florida governor. He was dogged all week long about his evolving -- there`s a nice word -- answers over whether or not he would have invaded Iraq knowing what we now know. Let`s watch him. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)   QUESTION: Knowing what we know now, would you have authorized the invasion? BUSH: I would have. SEAN HANNITY, HOST, "HANNITY": So, in other words, if -- in 20/20 hindsight, you would make a different decision? BUSH: Yes, I don`t know what that decision would have been. That`s a hypothetical, but the simple fact is, mistakes were made. I respect the question, but if we`re going get back into hypotheticals, I think it does a disservice to a lot of people that sacrificed a lot. I would have not engaged. I would not have gone into Iraq. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: And this morning on "The Today Show," Karl Rove, known as the architect and the brain of W., Jeb`s brother, declined to back Jeb`s 2016 campaign. Here he is doing the non-thing. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE TODAY SHOW") QUESTION: People probably assume you will be supporting Jeb Bush in the election, given your relationship with his brother, but are you? Are you planning to endorse him? KARL ROVE, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Well, no, I`m not planning to endorse anybody. I have a long friendship with the family and a long friendship with Jeb, but I`m, like a lot of people, sitting on the sidelines watching and waiting.   (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Eugene Robinson is a Pulitzer Prize-winning opinion writer -- you have an opinion, at least -- with "The Washington Post" He doesn`t have an opinion. EUGENE ROBINSON, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. Well, he`s... MATTHEWS: Maybe he does. ROBINSON: Here is a solid opinion. Really bad week for Jeb Bush. Not a good week. (LAUGHTER) ROBINSON: Look, how could -- when you talk about his evolving view on the Iraq War, his evolving view of that history, how could this evolution take place? How could he not have had the talking points memorized, practiced in front of a mirror? How could he not have anticipated that this would be the first question out of the box that somebody was going to ask him? And who is responsible for letting him go out there without an answer, without a solid answer that would stand up? MATTHEWS: Let me be more primitive. What is his attitude about the war in Iraq? Forget what the talking points are. What does he personally think? I thought, giving him the benefit of the doubt all these years, that he was sitting, saying, what a numbnut, what an idiot. My brother`s a fool. He`s listening to these neocons that talked him into this war. Dad would have never done this. ROBINSON: Apparently, that`s wrong.   MATTHEWS: I thought that is what he was thinking. I was wrong. ROBINSON: Apparently, that`s wrong. MATTHEWS: That`s wrong. ROBINSON: Because his final, evolved position is that, well, he would not have gone into Iraq knowing now -- knowing then what he knows now. However, he says the world is significantly safer now that his brother did go into Iraq. MATTHEWS: Sure. ROBINSON: Therefore, how does that make sense, that -- so was it some sort of lucky accident that George W. Bush went into Iraq? MATTHEWS: OK. Why has he packed his team with so many of the people who brought us Iraq? ROBINSON: Well, that`s a very good question. And Paul Wolfowitz is one of... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Yes, why has he brought -- he`s been probably one of the most notorious supporters of the war.   ROBINSON: Exactly. MATTHEWS: My question -- I go back to a more -- again, a more basic argument. I never believed their WMD argument. I never believed that was their motive, because people like Cheney and Wolfowitz from day one, the minute we got attacked 9/11, said, here`s our chance to go to Iraq. ROBINSON: Well, yes. And you raise an interesting point about the word WMD or the phrase WMD. MATTHEWS: There`s a phrase. Isn`t that cute? ROBINSON: It`s supposed to conflate chemical, biological, nuclear. MATTHEWS: Anthrax. ROBINSON: Anthrax, whatever. MATTHEWS: Yes. ROBINSON: Without actually specifying that there is like a bomb, right, or a weapon, something that can actually hurt people, but a program to develop bad stuff, essentially. (CROSSTALK)   MATTHEWS: Yes. Like Condi saying a mushroom cloud and Cheney saying they have got the weapon system. ROBINSON: Exactly. Exactly. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: They have got it done. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: And the dishonesty. When are they going to admit they lied? ROBINSON: Hmm? MATTHEWS: When are they going to admit they lied, they didn`t have the facts? ROBINSON: Never. Never. Never. MATTHEWS: And then the question gets back, when are they going to admit why they went in? I think a lot it was the theology, that the road to Jerusalem runs through Baghdad, that somehow if we broke apart the rejectionist states, like Iraq, then the whole Middle East would reconfigure itself into a more favorable environment for democracy and Israel and us. (CROSSTALK)   ROBINSON: Right, and we were going to implant this Athenian democracy at the heart of the Middle East and it was going to spread goodness and light. MATTHEWS: I still think a reasonable question is, would we be better off with Gadhafi and Bashar al-Assad still in there and Mubarak still there and Saddam there than the crap we have got looking at us now? ROBINSON: We could be worse off. MATTHEWS: With ISIS and all -- I think it`s still -- I begin to get a tad of nostalgia. Anyway, thank you, Eugene Robinson. Up next, while Jeb Bush finds himself mired in the muck of an intramural fight in his own party over his remarks about the Iraq War, Hillary Clinton is sticking to the low-key strategy, and it looks like it`s working. Talked about all the knocks she`s taking, and she seems to be smart. Keep the powder dry, Secretary Clinton. You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MILISSA REHBERGER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Milissa Rehberger with breaking news. The NTSB says an assistant conductor on the train that derailed on Tuesday thinks she heard the engineer say an object struck the train before that accident. The FBI is now being called back to look at damage to a windshield to see if the train was in fact hit prior to the derailment. Meanwhile, investigators who spoke with the engineer say he did not report feeling tired or sick that night. He was said to be cooperative, but insists he does not remember the crash -- back to HARDBALL.   (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE GOOD WIFE") ALAN CUMMING, ACTOR: Don`t tell moneymen like Redmayne anything but what they want to hear. UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: Even if it`s a lie? CUMMING: Yes, because it won`t be a lie when you tell it. Absence of yes times time equals no. That`s the law. If you`re in doubt, you don`t say no. You say, thank you for your advice. All options are open to me. I plan to decide in the next 48 hours. UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: Well, what happens in 48 hours? CUMMING: You do whatever you like or you delay again, but you never, ever say no, because anything could happen. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: I love that advice. That`s a HARDBALL question. And we`re back to HARDBALL. That was campaign manager Eli Gold played by Alan Cumming on "The Good Wife" describing an old maxim in politics, don`t commit to a decision before you have to. And that rule appears to have worked brilliantly for Democratic candidate front-runner Hillary Clinton, who has avoided taking a position on the president`s trade agenda and has remained out of the ugly public spat with the progressive wing of her party. She has also not taken a position on the Iranian -- on the talks. So, that strategy for Clinton seems to be working. In her column -- his column today, however, David Ignatius of "The Washington Post" is the wet blanket. He criticized Hillary for -- quote -- "staying out of the political fray."   Hollywood writes: "She has been a study in reticence, a trimmer checking the political winds, rather than a leader. Avoiding the issues will only reinforce the sense that she is a hollow candidate. She should be taking credit for the good provisions in the TPP, not hedging her bets. She may be ready to run, but is she ready to lead?" Although, in light of Jeb Bush`s recent fumbles on Iraq this week, maybe the Clinton campaign is making the smart move here by not saying. We are joined right now by the roundtable, Ryan Grim of The Huffington Post, Sabrina Siddiqui of "The Guardian," and MSNBC expert David Corn of -- a policy expert. What was that thing about police expert, "Mother Jones"? Thank you. Corn, I think that -- let`s just break it down politics-wise. Has she been smart to keep her powder dry on these top hot issues of trade and of course Iran? DAVID CORN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: She may not have a competitive election for a year-and-a-half if she goes through the primary easily. So I think anything that she does now, first of all, won`t have any impact... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Nobody is going remember it. CORN: No one is going remember. And there`s no -- I think there is no political reason for her to engage day in and day out with whatever is in the news cycle. Now, I would -- I don`t disagree with David Ignatius. I wouldn`t mind hearing what she had to say, but strictly as a political matter, there is no reason to do this. She is not losing a single vote because someone is reading David Ignatius...   (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Sabrina, Bill Clinton supports the trade deal. I heard him do it. I heard him do it. Hillary Clinton was for it in principle, with some concerns about the sovereignty issue, but she is keeping her powder dry. SABRINA SIDDIQUI, THE HUFFINGTON POST: Yes. Look, the same way that the Iraq War was hanging over Jeb Bush`s head because of his brother, you have the trade agreement that is hanging over Hillary Clinton`s head because of her husband and because of the trade deal that he enacted, of course, in his administration. And I think that they are being smart. They don`t want to have a fumble the way that Jeb Bush did. And the same way that David said, they know that voters simply are not paying that much attention to this. We`re all talking about how she`s not taking questions from the media. I don`t know many Americans who are sitting at home really following when the last time was that Hillary Clinton took a question from the press. MATTHEWS: But doesn`t she want to be a profile in courage and stick her neck out? SIDDIQUI: Look, I... MATTHEWS: No, I see what were... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Let me go. (CROSSTALK)   (LAUGHTER) MATTHEWS: Go ahead. SIDDIQUI: I think she feels plenty of time to articulate where she stands in these issues, and, you know, she`ll have that moment up on a debate stage with Bernie Sanders -- MATTHEWS: OK, I`ve got to show this Brooklyn video. Go ahead, your view -- is she smart to stay quiet? Not take any leadership -- lead from behind, if you will? RYAN GRIM, HUFFINGTON POST: It depends on what she wants out of her life and out of her presidency. If she wants to back into the White House, then sure, she can do it like this, like in 1991, `92, the Clintons had decided, well, where are we going to be in spectrum in order to be president. But if she wants to be build up some mandate for an agenda, and actually going to accomplish that agenda, she would actually be smart to start building support for her now. MATTHEWS: Now that I`ve got you out on a limb here, out on a limb, should she go left or center left? GRIM: Depends on what she wants. MATTHEWS: What is she, center left or left? GRIM: I don`t know yet. MATTHEWS: Does anybody know?   DAVID CORN, MOTHER JONES: A dessert and a floor wax, as they used to say in "Saturday Night Live". She -- you know, in some ways, she has shown instincts in both directions. When she was in the Clinton White House as first lady, the left -- the right accused her of being wide eyed radical lesbian feminist and in some issues, like welfare reform, she pushed back against the new . But then again, you know, she at times has been very close to Wall Street. So, she goes both ways and I think Ryan is right, but she doesn`t have to make the decision until the general election. MATTHEWS: Yes. CORN: What she really wants to do. MATTHEWS: I don`t think lesbian feminist is an ideology. I may be wrong. CORN: Well, the conservatives think it is. MATTHEWS: It`s not funny, but it is impossible to explain what you meant, though, in that case. Anyway, the Clinton campaign is trying to bypass the media part by releasing videos directly to its supporters to Twitter. And here is what is posted last after visiting her Brooklyn campaign office. For the first time, here`s Secretary Clinton meeting the Brooklynites. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: How are you all?   Brooklyn, USA, how can you beat that? Hi. How are you? Nice to see you. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nice to meet you. CLINTON: Hi, Kay. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We love you. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I tell everybody in my car to vote for Hillary Clinton. CLINTON: Well, you`re my kind of man. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I support you all the time. CLINTON: Thank you. Enjoy this beautiful day. (END VIDEO CLIP)   MATTHEWS: Oh God, what do you make of that? CORN: You know, it`s pretty corny and I don`t think it`s going make a big impact one way or the other, but maybe she will say hey, want to talk about the TPP? MATTHEWS: I don`t know what to make of that. What do you make that, Sabrina? SIDDIQUI: I mean, her campaign has made a concerted effort to use social media to engage voters. MATTHEWS: But that? What was the message? SIDDIQUI: Look, I have no idea what the message is there. But I do want to make this point -- MATTHEWS: I bet you one thing, Jeb wished he had done that this week. SIDDIQUI: On the waiting from behind issue, I think where her campaign has been smart is they have cherry picked the issues she could get out ahead of. She made big news on immigration. She has been talking about criminal justice reform. You know, they have picked the issues where same sex marriage, of course, along with the Supreme Court decision. We saw that evolution. So, where they know the public sentiment is and an overwhelming majority, they have come out ahead of those issues and she has articulated the position. On trade, the jury is still out and I think that`s what -- GRIM: It was particularly tough for her because it`s a live issue. MATTHEWS: Yes, it should be balance.   GRIM: To stand different from the president. MATHEWS: If she came out for trade right now, it would pretty much lock in the president`s chances of not only getting it done, but not looking that bad about it. GRIM: Right. And if she didn`t, it would cause a lot of problems between her and the Obama camp. MATTHEWS: I think she -- well, it`s just my politics. I`m center left, but I think -- most things, left on some, center on some, right on very few. But I do think that she risks looking like she`s imitating Elizabeth Warren when she starts doing it. She`ll look like Elizabeth the second. And nobody is electing anybody a second of anything. Your thoughts? GRIM: Nobody is paying attention. CORN: Yes. SIDDIQUI: Right. GRIM: It would look that way to us -- MATTHEWS: I think a hard left, people are paying attention to politics every day of their lives. GRIM: Yes.   CORN: I think that`s right, too. But I think she has a lot of lee way to go, either direction, and to probably most likely try to fudge it and get both parts of the party into talking points. GRIM: She needs it. I think win the election big, if she can win it, I`d like to see her 54, 55 percent because I want her to rule the country. I think she`s got to bring the House in. If she doesn`t bring the House -- CORN: That`s not going to happen. MATTHEWS: Well, somebody`s got to do it. Are we going to have divided government again? CORN: It`s so gerrymandered, so rigged -- MATTHEWS: I know. SIDDIQUI: I think we`re looking down the barrel of another divided government. MATTHEWS: Here we go again. The round table is staying with us. Up next, it`s graduation season. We have got some highlights of this year`s commencement addresses. I was lucky enough to give last year`s commencement address at Ohio State University. It was quite an honor before a crowd of 60,000 people. This is HARDBALL, a place for politics.   (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: It`s a hardball world out there you`re walking into and you`ve got to start thinking hardball. (END VIDEO CLIP) (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (VIDEO CLIP PLAYS) MATTHEWS: Well, that`s blues legend B.B. King performing his biggest hit, "The Thrill is Gone". The musical icon died in his sleep Thursday at his home in Las Vegas. B.B., which stood for "Blues Boy", was a recipient of 15 Grammy Awards, as well as the Kennedy Center honors in 1995 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2006. King will be remembered for his impressive skills on the guitar, that King defined the blue genre. B.B. King was 89. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: When lightning strikes you want to be there, right there in the room. You, not everybody`s going to say yes to you. Just don`t ever say no to yourself, ever. (END VIDEO CLIP)   MATTHEWS: Last year`s commencement ceremony at the Ohio State University. The Buckeyes! Anyway, it`s that time of year, when politicians and celebrities offer their pearls to have wisdom to graduates. Here`s President Obama last week in South Dakota. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We ask for nothing more than the chance to blaze our own trail, and yet each of us is only here because somebody, somewhere, helped us find our path. That`s part of what makes America exceptional. We are family and we`ll do anything to help each other along the way. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: And potential 2016 GOP candidate, Ohio Governor John Kasich. Here`s John Kasich. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO: Somebody tells me no, they`re not going to keep telling me no, because I`m going to bother them to the point where it`s a lot easier for them to say yes than keep saying no. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: My kind of guy. My theme, too. We`re back with the roundtable, Ryan, Sabrina, and David.   Your thoughts, your memories of your graduation speech, when you matriculated. GRIM: Zilch. MATTHEWS: No memories? (CROSSTALK) GRIM: I actually wrote down the name of the guy who spoke, it was Clinton`s education secretary. MATTHEWS: Duncan? GRIM: Richard Riley. MATTHEWS: Oh, Clinton, from South Carolina. GRIM: South Carolina, I don`t remember a single word that he said. MATTHEWS: Was that his fault or yours? (LAUGHTER)   GRIM: My fault. I think he takes some of it. MATTHEWS: Sabrina, we`re talking about -- your experience? SIDDIQUI: OK, I`ll preface this by saying that leading up to our commencement, because I`ll say I`m grateful, we had John McCain -- MATTHEWS: You went to Northwestern. SIDDIQUI: I went to Northwestern. There was John McCain, Barack Obama, Julia Louis-Dreyfus. There was a lot of hyper around my commencement, because it was the 150th for the school. We end up with Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, at the time, Chicago mayor, and it`s because one of the Northwestern board of trustees members was chairing the Chicago Olympics committee and a friend of the mayor`s. So, it was clearly very political. And in the end, we didn`t even get the Olympics anyway. And the only headline that came out of the speech was, Daley tells students to make the world a better place. MATTHEWS: Have you been doing that? SIDDIQUI: I don`t know, am I? CORN: Yes, she has! SIDDIQUI: I`m being here. (CROSSTALK)   MATTHEWS: Some sarcasm here. Your thoughts? CORN: I wasn`t at my commencement. So I don`t even remember who the speaker was. One of my favorite commencements -- MATHEWS: Were you off (INAUDIBLE) somewhere causing trouble? CORN: I was already working. I started working. But one of my favorite speeches, it was 2010 at Harvard, a guy named Jimmy Tingle, a comedian who went to the John Kennedy School, was asked to give one of the commencement speeches. It`s hysterical, because he grew up in Cambridge, the son of a taxi cab driver and talks about the time he stole bicycles from the Harvard students. MATTHEWS: So you went to Harvard? CORN: No, I didn`t go to Harvard, but it`s one of my favorite -- MATTHEWS: You were implying that, though. CORN: No, I wasn`t -- MATTHEWS: You`re trying to get to something --   CORN: No. MATTHEWS: By the way, on that point, maybe it should be left to the press, like Denzel Washington. Let`s watch him. This was at Penn for my daughter`s graduation, Caroline`s graduation. I was there. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DENZEL WASHINGTON, ACTOR: In fact, if you really want to know the truth, I had to come exactly because -- I had to come exactly because I might make a fool of myself. What am I talking about? Here it is. I found that nothing in life is worthwhile unless you take risks -- nothing. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: That was his theme. Just come in there and stand before a live crowd, thousands of people at an Ivy League School, you know, like Eleanor Roosevelt said, always do what you`re afraid to do. CORN: Well, I think that`s right. The question I have is out of all these commencement speeches that are happening, what`s the really worthwhile advice that a 21, 22 year old person will walk away from the speech and say, I can apply this maybe five years, 10 years later. How many speeches actually push the button like that, other than yours? MATTHEWS: I tried to talk about -- in all seriousness, I tried to talk to the graduates who haven`t figured what they`re going to do next. The kids who are heading in medical school or law school, they`ve got pretty much figured where they`re headed in life. But there are so many kids out there, that are just going, they`re still kids. They`ve always been promoted from grade to grade. Everything`s automatic until they get to the last year of college, and all of a sudden, they`ve got to be existential. They`ve got to figure out who they are, where they`re going in life, and they`re the ones you`ve got to give a couple of cues to, you know? And that`s when I started talking about some methods of dealing with people. CORN: Well, that sounds like good advice, although I wonder how many really walk away and feel empowered. What do you tell them? MATTHEWS: Well, at Temple years ago, I gave them a little plastic cards with all the rules I gave them on. I said, it`s not biodegradable. It`s going to outlive you, so don`t lose it.   Anyway, I`ll be giving the commencement addresses coming up for the graduates up at Merrimack College up in Massachusetts this weekend, then in St. Mary`s College out in California next week, and later in the month, Peirce College in Philadelphia. Anyway, thank you, Ryan Grim, thank you, Sabrina Siddiqui, and David Corn, my pal. When we return, let me finish with a strong poll of a particular television program. You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERICAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with a strong poll of a particular television program. It`s called "Mad Men". OK. I`ll make it official. I care about Don Draper and what happens to him and I`m not the only one who does. I care about Roger Sterling, one of the most subtle and amazing characters in dramatic history. This guys who knows precisely who he is, yet leaves us time after time hoping desperately for him to finally grab control of his life and some responsibility for those around him. I care about the impressive, but vulnerable Joan, who only needs one name, and Pete Campbell and Peggy Olson and young Sally Draper, who just might be this shows future of the life here on earth. It`s all incredibly true. I want all those Americans the of the midcentury to not only get through the changes pounding them every week, not merely to endure, as William Faulkner put it in his Nobel acceptance speech of that era but to prevail. I want Don to find his place in the world, his true, gutsy, successful position of honor that he deserves, for Roger to get off his butt and grab the reins that life provides him, only if he would reach for them. I want Joan to get the status in this world she`s earned. For Peggy, to face down the chauvinists and win her place in the commercial throne room. For young Sally to savor family and make love work for them.   I want this world that has intrigued me, grabbed me, haunted me, to discover the route to its final deliverance, and for each character who we have come to love, a chance to look us in our souls and say good-bye. And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us. "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END Copyright 2015 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.>