CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Mike Huckabee, president or bouncer? Let`s play HARDBALL. Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington. And we`ll get to tonight`s topics in just a minute. But first, I am proud that my wife, Kathleen, has declared her candidacy for the U.S. Congress today in the 8th district of Maryland. As her husband, I will of course support her in this campaign, as I do in every aspect of our lives. In our years together, I have always had the strongest belief in her judgment and values. I will offer Kathleen whatever help I can, including giving her any advice that might be useful. As a journalist, I also know how important it is to respect certain boundaries on my support for her both in my public role and here on MSNBC. And while most of you know that our show doesn`t typically cover congressional races, I will continue to fully disclose my relationship with her as part of MSNBC`s commitment to being transparent and fair in our coverage. I love Kathleen, and I am so proud of her and enthusiastically support her answering the call to public service. Now to Mike Huckabee. You`d think a guy running for president would be out there scrounging for all the votes he could get -- you know, put up the flag and hope people salute. Not Huckabee. He`s right out front willing to say who he considers one of us and the "them" he`s quite willing to dismiss. Here the former Arkansas governor is joking this year about transgender people. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MIKE HUCKABEE (R-AR), FMR. GOV., FMR. PRES. CANDIDATE: I wish someone had told me when I was in high school that I could have felt like a woman when it came time to take showers in PE. I`m pretty sure I would have found my feminine side and said, Coach, I think I`d rather shower with the girls today. (LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE) HUCKABEE: You`re laughing because it sounds so ridiculous, doesn`t it? (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: So ridiculous. Anyway, I`m joined right now by global editorial director for the fast-expanding HuffingtonPost, Howard Fineman, and former press secretary to President Obama, Robert Gibbs. Both are MSNBC valued political analysts. Robert, you`ve been out there hawking for votes, trying to get somebody to support a guy. Why would a guy dismiss everybody who`s a transgender person, hundreds of thousands of people perhaps, their families, their friends? I mean, they`ve already got problems with Hispanics over immigration. They`ve got problems I think they should have more of with African-Americans and older people, especially over the voter ID laws and things like that. I could go on the list. They keep making lists of people they don`t consider one of us. Why are they doing that? ROBERT GIBBS, FMR. WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think for Huckabee, Huckabee is a niche candidate. He`s going to be a niche candidate, and he`s not going expand his role. I think if any Republican is going to be successful in 2016 -- and the RNC themselves identified this right after the 2012 race -- they`ve got to expand their own electorate. Ninety percent of the votes for president that Mitt Romney got in 2012 were from white voters. The problem for the Republican Party is that white voters comprise a smaller percentage of the electorate than they ever have. It will be a smaller percentage four years -- or in 2016, and it`ll be smaller than that in 2020. And the only hope that they have is somebody who can expand the current electorate of people that`s voting for Republicans. MATTHEWS: OK, explain how that locker room joke expands any electorate. GIBBS: Well, that isn`t. And my guess is that somewhat shortly after the Iowa caucuses draw to a conclusion, so too will the Mike Huckabee campaign. Even if he were to repeat a win in Iowa, he`s already showed that he doesn`t have the capacity to build on that with an electorate, even in his own party, and put together enough votes to become the nominee. The only hope that I think Republicans have is in a Marco Rubio or a Jeb Bush, somebody who they think can, hopefully, speak to a broader audience of potential voters. MATTHEWS: Yes. Howard, you and I have grown up in a country that has evolved, especially on identity issues, orientation issues. We`ve learned the right words. Orientation is where you tend to have a sexual interest in another gender, and identity is what you see yourself as. In fact, I`ve learned that from my wife, in fact. At work, you learn these things. We`ve all tried to teach ourselves. You know, this cover of "Vanity Fair" this month -- obviously, Graydon Carter thinks a lot of people are interested and they`re going to read that magazine. HOWARD FINEMAN, HUFFINGTON POST GLOBAL EDITORIAL DIR., MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well... MATTHEWS: But they`re not in there to make fun of the guy. FINEMAN: Yes. There`s tremendous social change, demographic change, as Robert was saying, advances in science, all of which the Republicans` most visible people seem to be rejecting. This is a disaster for the... MATTHEWS: But these are voters. FINEMAN: My point -- yes, I know they`re voters. That`s the whole point! (LAUGHTER) FINEMAN: In the effort -- in the effort to get a micro-niche -- it isn`t even just a niche, it`s a niche of a niche... MATTHEWS: Yes. FINEMAN: ... because there are several candidates focusing on the evangelical vote in Iowa. MATTHEWS: Yes. FINEMAN: And actually, Mike Huckabee, having once been the sort of user-friendly evangelical guy in past electoral runs, or he`s been the sort of nice guy, non-judgmental evangelical, now he`s running to the right of Rick Santorum, who was the ultimate judgmental one last time. The problem for the Republicans is this. Social change, demographic change, and science... MATTHEWS: OK. FINEMAN: ... all three of which the Republicans seem to be on the wrong side of. MATTHEWS: OK, take a look. This isn`t looking for a fight. This is a fight. On gay marriage, the 2012 Republican national platform stated, "We reaffirm our support for a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. We applaud the citizens of the majority of states which have enshrined in their constitutions the traditional concept of marriage, and we support the campaigns under way in several other states to do so." So this "one man, one woman" thing follows up -- four years before that, it was a man and a woman. Maybe this -- I think it was something to do with the LDS church, something to do with Romney running. Why do they have to specify they`re for marriage defined as one man and one woman? Who`s arguing? GIBBS: Yes. Well, look... MATTHEWS: I mean, Utah got into the union by agreeing on getting rid of polygamy a long time ago. Why are they arguing about these weird things in the Republican platform? My question to you. GIBBS: Well... MATTHEWS: And making fun of these people. GIBBS: I mean, again, a good question. And the Supreme Court may go a long way towards settling some of what the platform has to reflect in 2016. MATTHEWS: Yes. GIBBS: But again, I think the only way -- the only way you can appeal to a broader set of people and to win that election is to open up the number of people that you`re actually talking to. I mean, I think, again, Hispanic voters... (CROSSTALK) GIBBS: But I will say this. I think one of the things that hurts Republicans in this cause are just -- are issues, as well, and beyond what you`ve talked about. We found in 2012, the most important issue to Hispanic voters was actually health care. And if Republicans aren`t speaking on... MATTHEWS: I`ve heard that. GIBBS: Yes. If they`re not speaking on health care, they`re missing the opportunity. Remember, when George Bush ran for president, one of his first policy speeches in 1999 was on a federal role for education. That was also a play -- a big, big play to Hispanic voters... (CROSSTALK) FINEMAN: It`s also true that immigration was a kind of gateway issue. GIBBS: Absolutely. FINEMAN: In other words, yes, health care, but they won`t even listen to you on health care unless you were right with the Hispanic community on immigration... MATTHEWS: Well, that makes sense. FINEMAN: ... which is another big problem for the Republicans. MATTHEWS: Yes, I want to get to that right now. I`m joined right now by former New York governor George Pataki, who has announced he`s running for president in 2016. Governor, so much to -- I`ve always liked you, and I hope you come on the show a lot more than tonight. But it is interesting that you... GEORGE PATAKI (R), FMR. NEW YORK GOV., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, it depends on what happens tonight, Chris. I`d like to. (LAUGHTER) MATTHEWS: Well, we`ll see. PATAKI: I know I`m surrounded by 3 to 1. That`s about fair odds, I think. MATTHEWS: Three to one -- Howard`s is independent. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Robert Gibbs, you may argue with, and maybe with me because anybody can argue with me. Let me ask you -- I thought you showed some cojones going after Huckabee in his old-style sort of old style -- I would call it old fart, I would call it, attack on people who are transgender the other day in the locker room. You saw that as something that offended you personally and politically. Why didn`t you take a shot at Huckabee for that joke of his? PATAKI: Well, I just -- he meant it in humor, but I don`t think it was very good humor. And I think we just have to respect the dignity of people when they make deeply personal decisions, even if it`s a decision that I might not agree with. MATTHEWS: What do you think about the Republican Party? I mean, Rudy Giuliani, your former colleague, was pretty clear the other day. He says, I can`t get the nomination, so why bother, because I`m pro-choice, even though I`m against abortion personally, and morally, I guess. He made it pretty clear he was for the rights of people to choose an abortion. He said he`s for same-sex marriage. And he said, This basically knocks me out of business. Is that your view of the party? PATAKI: You know, I don`t think that`s the case. I`ve been out there now for about eight months in Iowa and New Hampshire, South Carolina, around the country, and the only people who ask me questions about something like abortion is the press. The American people are concerned about security. They`re very worried about ISIS and the lone wolf attacks and our failure to protect us from those radical Islamic attacks abroad and here. They`re concerned about an economy that`s not growing the way it should, the fact people don`t have jobs that pay enough. There are a great many issues out there that are of tremendous concern to the American people that I think right now are in the forefront of what they`re thinking about. MATTHEWS: But if you look at the issues that are going to be decided by the Supreme Court this summer -- "Obama care" certainly, the ACA, you look at the fact of same-sex marriage -- these are all going to be right on the front pages. PATAKI: Sure. MATTHEWS: You got the question of -- the House will not pass the Senate-passed bipartisan bill allowing people a path to citizenship. These aren`t issues that I`m cooking up. And if you went out there saying that you were pro-choice, saying that you were for same-sex, saying that you`re for a path to citizenship, you would have a problem in Iowa. You say you won`t, but I think you would. PATAKI: Well, Chris, I`m not saying that. First of all, I agree that -- I hope the Supreme Court does throw out "Obama care." If it doesn`t, it should be repealed. There are far better ways to provide access to health care to those who didn`t have health insurance without dictating to every single American the type and kind and cost of health care policy they have to have. And I think on issues like security, that is in the forefront of the American people`s minds today. We just had the battle over the Patriot Act. And I think we made a tremendous mistake in not reauthorizing NSA`s ability to monitor phone calls of those who they have a court order because they suspect of terrorism and who they`re in touch with. So yes, the Supreme Court will be deciding issues. I think marriage has always been a state issue, should continue to be a state issue. But when the Supreme Court makes a decision, that`s the Constitution, that`s the law. We have to abide by it. MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about the Republican Party. When you and I grew up, the Republican Party was robust in the Northeast. Almost every Northeast state north of West Virginia had a Republican senator or two. Now, of the top -- we went over it today. Of the top 13 states, every state east of Ohio, north of North Carolina, there`s three Republican senators in those 13 states. What happened to your party in the Northeast? PATAKI: You know, I think, actually, earlier, when you were talking with the others, they talked about how the Republicans have not reached beyond their base vote. And I think that is true. I think we have to be more aggressive in reaching out to minorities and reaching out to young people and reaching out to moderates and conservative Democrats. I did that in New York state. In fact, I got a plurality of the Latino vote when I was running for reelection as governor. MATTHEWS: OK... PATAKI: I didn`t have to change my philosophy. I didn`t have to change my policy. But the Republicans have to show that we are a broad party and our policies work not just for our traditional voters, but are most important for those who need a job, who are concerned about security, who want access to health care that isn`t provided by government mandate. And I think we can do that. I think we can win not just in traditional Republican states, but in the Northeast, as well. MATTHEWS: Well, good luck, Governor, and thank you. And thank you. I hope you come back on again. And you decided that this interview was up to your standards. (LAUGHTER) PATAKI: Thank you, Chris. And good luck to your wife. You know, I admire anyone who gets into this game. MATTHEWS: So do I. Thank you so much, Howard. And thank you so much, Robert Gibbs, for joining us. Coming up -- Hillary Clinton is fighting back against Republicans who are making it harder for people to vote. She`s going after voter exclusion, repression, the whole thing. Her campaign`s launching a cross- country legal battle to roll back those new voter ID laws and the rest of it in key battleground states like Wisconsin, Ohio and Virginia. It could make the difference between her winning the White House and not. Plus, President Obama`s been trashed by his right-wing critics for being anti-Israeli. So what do we make of his comment that he`s the, quote, "closest thing to a Jew" that`s ever sat in the Oval Office? Is he the first Jewish president, like Clinton was the first black president? We`ll see. Interesting topic. Interesting topic. And frightening new details from Boston, where authorities say two men were plotting to behead -- behead police officers. This is scary stuff. Finally, the hardball tactics, the muscle that big labor is using right now against fellow Democrats. This fight over trade is getting bloody. And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Add another Democrat to the 2016 presidential field. Former Rhode Island senator and governor Lincoln Chafee declared his candidacy today in what can only be considered an extreme long-shot bid. Chafee was a Republican when he served in the U.S. Senate, and he was elected governor of Rhode Island as an independent before becoming a Democrat two years ago. He was the only Republican to vote against authorizing the war in Iraq, and he`s making that vote and Hillary Clinton`s support for the war as the centerpiece of his campaign. And we`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), FMR. SEC. OF STATE, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Legislators in North Carolina have pushed through a bill that reads like the greatest hits of voter suppression -- restricted early voting, no more same-day registration or extending voting hours to accommodate long lines, stricter photo ID requirements that disqualify those issued by colleges. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. That is former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, of course, talking about the battle to get to the ballot box. Elections are now being decided by the most narrow of margins, of course, and there`s an active effort out there to try and tip the scales by restricting just who gets to vote. It`s a multi-pronged effort by some governors and legislatures pushing for stricter ID requirements and shorter voting hours. Here`s Dallas resident De`andre Carter, who says he did everything right but still couldn`t get his vote to count back in 2014. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DE`ANDRE CARTER, VOTER IN TEXAS: I came up to the Lexington library right across the street from my house, did the provisional ballot, completed out everything correctly, turned it in to the proper person. And then, a couple of weeks -- like, maybe a week later, after the election was over, I did not -- it told me that I was not able to vote and my vote didn`t count. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, that`s a profound story. Joining right now is Marc Elias. He`s a voting rights attorney and counsel to the Hillary Clinton campaign. Marc, thanks for joining us. Educate us. Anyway, talk about this. You`ve filed a suit, along with other voting rights groups, to try and stop the effort to restrict voter access. In your complaint against the state of Wisconsin, you provide this specific example. "Anita Johnson is a 70-year-old African-American resident of Milwaukee. She has taken individuals from church to weekend early voting, but she no longer can do so because of the elimination of weekend early voting." Well, that sounds like to me "souls to the polls," it`s called. It`s a tradition in the black church, and a happy one. People have always enjoyed getting dressed up for church, then going and registering. It is a tribute and I think a celebration of democracy. Some people don`t like it. Explain what is going on. MARC ELIAS, HILLARY FOR AMERICA CAMPAIGN ATTORNEY: Well, and I think, Chris, you`ve have put your finger on exactly what the problem is, which is, you know, whatever Republican legislators are trying to do with regard to election administration, they shouldn`t be making it harder for people to vote. In Wisconsin, as you mentioned, they cut back on the number of early days to vote, the time of day one can provide early vote, and they banned early vote on the weekends. Now, why would you do that? What reason would the state of Wisconsin have to say that people can`t vote after work or people can`t vote on a weekend, other than to simply make it harder for someone to vote and therefore less likely to do so? Why would Wisconsin say that high schools can no longer be a place that young people who are registering for the first time can turn in their voter registration forms, so that they get registered to vote? What possible reason is there to do that other than to make it harder for young people to vote? And that`s really the problem that we have, Chris. MATTHEWS: It`s like narrowing the strike zone to help the batter. ELIAS: Yes. MATTHEWS: I mean, I know what you`re doing. I know exactly what is going on. Anyway, there are three critical states, all purple states, that could go either way, where voter restrictions could make a difference in 2016. The GOP legislature in the state of -- the Commonwealth of Virginia wants more restrictive voter I.D. requirements for absentee voters. Up in Wisconsin, Governor Scott walker, a very likely GOP presidential candidate, is reducing the window for early voting and wants tougher I.D. requirements as well. In North Carolina, which went for Obama the first time, the GOP wants more I.D. restrictions and to eliminate the ability to register and vote on the same day. So, that pattern, it is coordinated, Marc? Are these -- is this under the RNC, the Republican National Committee, because it always seems to be Republicans doing it? ELIAS: Yes, so I don`t know whether it`s coordinated -- who it`s coordinated by. But clearly there is a playbook that we are seeing play out in state after state after state. You left off your list Ohio, which, despite the fact that we had in 2004 and 2008 and 2012 an epidemic of long lines -- you remember those images? MATTHEWS: Sure. ELIAS: I was the general counsel to the Kerry campaign in 2004. You remember those students waiting in line for hours and hours, and then you saw that in 2008 and 2012? Well, what did Ohio do? Again, they said that during early vote period, there can only be one location in a county, notwithstanding Noble County has 8,000 citizens -- or voters, and Franklin County has 800,000. MATTHEWS: OK. ELIAS: There is only going to be one place in the county. Why would you do that, other than to make it harder to vote? (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Marc Elias, I have got a tough question for you. Was there -- was that vote count in Ohio in 2004 an honest call? Was that an honest count? ELIAS: Look, I think that -- that... (LAUGHTER) ELIAS: ... at the end of the day, the gap between President Bush and John Kerry was wider than the ballots that were left to be uncounted. And Ohio has a history of a large volume of provisional ballots that don`t get counted. And that gap was too large. MATTHEWS: Yes. ELIAS: But I want to say this. It`s not just the ballots that don`t get counted. It`s the person who waits online for eight hours who leaves. It`s the person who can`t get a day off from work and never shows up. And so when you take the collective changes that we see the Republicans making that make it harder to register, harder to vote, and harder to get the vote counted -- remember, provisional balloting, part of the problem is the voters voted, but their vote doesn`t count. When you take all of those three together, we have a real problem. MATTHEWS: OK. Last question. What do you think Hillary -- what do you know Hillary will say tomorrow down in Houston on these points? ELIAS: You know, I don`t know exactly what the secretary is going to say. You mentioned I`m the general counsel of her campaign. I also represent a number of national Democratic organizations and lots of other Democrats. I didn`t bring these lawsuits on behalf of her campaign. MATTHEWS: Right. ELIAS: I brought them on behalf of the groups that brought -- that were interested in these cases. MATTHEWS: OK. ELIAS: And we`re going to keep plowing forward. MATTHEWS: Well, good luck with your cause. I love your cause. I think it`s really important to this country in a nonpartisan way. I don`t think anybody should have a hard time voting. Voting should be a delight. It should be something you`re proud of and it`s not impossible to do. Anyway, thank you, Marc Elias, for the cause you`re in. (CROSSTALK) ELIAS: Thank you. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Joining me right now is Sherrilyn Ifill. She`s president of the NAACP LEGAL DEFENSE FUND. Sherrilyn, thank you again for joining us. What do you make of this? Because I look at states like Pennsylvania, where the Republican leaders openly brag about how they play this game, how they make it harder to people to vote. And then I see the court is generally against this kind of hanky-panky or shenanigans, and still it`s an uphill battle to keep fighting against this effort to restrict the vote. SHERRILYN IFILL, PRESIDENT, NAACP LEGAL DEFENSE AND EDUCATIONAL FUND: It absolutely is. And, Chris, you were talking with Marc Elias about these purple states that we all focus on when we talk about national elections. Well, I`m a civil rights lawyer. I`m not a lawyer for the Democratic Party. And so the places where we have brought cases challenging, for example, voter I.D., are, you know, cases -- states that are not the purple states. It`s in Texas, where we litigated and won our voter I.D. case last year. It`s now in the court of appeals. South Carolina in 2012. Alabama, the place of Shelby County, we litigated the Shelby County case. We believe that this is an issue about citizenship and about democratic participation, not necessarily about the outcome of a presidential election. And what we sometimes forget, Chris, but I know that you know really well, local politics is critically important, especially in the South. It`s the county commission races. It`s the water district. It`s the constable races. It`s the justice of the peace. It`s the local elected judges. It`s those leaders that have real control over the lives African- Americans in small towns and communities throughout the South. And we shouldn`t forget, when we just look at the presidential elections and the swing states, that just as much damage can be done by voter suppression at the local level in states that are really not in play in terms of the presidential election. MATTHEWS: I`m getting a word that Secretary Clinton tomorrow is going the call for a national standard of 20 days of early voting across the country. Now, each state, of course, sets its own rules, but -- election rules. Do you think that`s going to help, a standard? IFILL: Well, I think it`s going help to have her -- I think it`s going help to have her saying it. It certainly would help to have it happen, but it`s going to help to have her saying it. I think Americans instinctively feel, as you said, that voting should be easier, that it should it be a joy, a delight, I think you called it. MATTHEWS: Yes. I love voting. IFILL: And all of these efforts to try and keep people from voting, it`s anti -- it`s anti-democratic. And if you even take the race lens off it, it is -- it goes to the fundamental essence of citizenship in this country. That`s how we express who we are as citizens in the most powerful way, is by voting. So these efforts are so cynical. They`re so anti-democratic. And when you layer the racial piece on it, they`re so pernicious. This is an issue -- and that`s why Secretary Clinton is speaking about it. I think she recognizes that there are two issues that African-American voters are going to be focused on this year, 2015 and 2016. And if you`re not talking about these two issues, you`re not talking to African-American voters. MATTHEWS: I think... (CROSSTALK) IFILL: One is the issue of policing reform. MATTHEWS: Right. IFILL: One is policing reform that she talked about a couple of weeks ago. And the other is voting. MATTHEWS: Sure. And I think one of the powerful groups in this country are African- American Republicans. It`s not a large group, but if they were to blow the whistle and say, we`re not staying in this party as long as you stop our people from voting, that would make noise. And they would probably stop doing it under that kind of pressure. Anyway, thank you so much, Sherrilyn Ifill. Thanks for joining us. IFILL: Thank you. MATTHEWS: Up next: President Obama says he is the closest thing to a Jew than anyone who has ever been president. Well, we`re going to go through that one in a few minutes, and we`re going to get to the bottom of that, if you can. And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Well, President Obama gave an interview to Israeli TV this week in an effort to sell a nuclear deal with Iran. It was a little counterlobbying, if you will, to Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu`s huge push here in the States to oppose the deal. Well, in the interview, the president voiced his skepticism about Netanyahu`s commitment to a two-state solution. Here it is. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think that when he spoke right before the election, he was fairly unequivocal in saying that it wouldn`t happen during his prime ministership. I think, subsequently, his statements have suggested that there is the possibility of a Palestinian state. But it has so many caveats, so many conditions, that it is not realistic to think that those conditions would be met any time in the near future. QUESTION: Right. OBAMA: And so the danger here is that Israel, as a whole, loses credibility. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, it`s comments from a former senior adviser to President Obama that are getting a lot of attention right now, today, in fact. In a separate interview with Israeli TV, David Axelrod paraphrased what he recalled the president himself once telling him -- quote -- "You know, I think I am the closest thing to a Jew that has ever sat in this office. For people to say that I am anti-Israeli or, even worse, anti- Semitic, it hurts." That`s the president as paraphrased by David Axelrod. Anyway, critics have questioned that the president, President Obama, could think he is the closest thing to a Jew to ever hold the office. But does he have a point right there? Well, Jeremy Ben-Ami is the president of J Street, an advocacy group that calls itself pro-Israel and pro-peace, which I believe it is. Let me ask you about that. I know it`s very tricky about anybody outside a group to talk about being inside a group. Toni Morrison famously once said that Bill Clinton was the first black president, before we had a real first black president. What do you make of that comment? What do you think he means? (CROSSTALK) JEREMY BEN-AMI, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, J STREET: I think he means he has grown up, educationally and then also in work, around a group of very intellectual Jewish liberals who shared his commitment to civil rights and equal rights and working for those who have less and need more. And that`s what he viewed to be the Jewish ethic. MATTHEWS: Yes. BEN-AMI: And he saw it in school, and he saw it in his law firm, he saw it in everything that he did. And so I think he considers himself in a sense to be an honorary member of the tribe, in that sense. MATTHEWS: I know exactly what he means. (LAUGHTER) MATTHEWS: I think he means in terms of sort of literary tastes, political tastes, lifestyle decisions, values, what you hold. He says, you know, I keep noticing that I pretty much agree with these folks I have been hanging around with on almost that stuff, in fact, all of it, except I didn`t come from where they came from. Anyway, the idea -- this is where this gets hot -- the idea of a two- state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been bipartisan foreign policy, we all know, for decades. That could change in 2016. A number of Republican candidates have stated they are opposed. Even Jeb Bush, who says he supports it as a concept, has expressed doubt it`s possible. His spokesman said -- quote -- "Both sides must be represented by leaders who have the ability to uphold the promise made at the negotiating table, something the Palestinian people do not have right now. Israel is right to be skeptical of the Palestinian leadership`s ability to deliver." His fellow Republicans go much further. Here they are. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) QUESTION: Do you continue to support a two-state solution? SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don`t think the conditions exist for that today. I mean, that`s the ideal outcome. But the conditions for a two-state solution at this moment do not exist. QUESTION: do you think that Israel should dismantle the settlements? RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No. The bottom line is that is legitimately Israeli country. And they have a right to do within their country, just like we have a right to do within our country. MIKE HUCKABEE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There is no real legitimate two-state solution to be had. It`s a wonderful political concept, but having two different governments, one of whom doesn`t really even acknowledge the existence of the other one, trying to govern the same piece of real estate is utterly unrealistic. SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Israel is a sovereign nation. And I trust the leaders of Israel to decide whether -- whether they want to adopt a one-state solution or a two-state solution. So, what I`m saying is, we should trust Israel to make that determination. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Meanwhile, Ben Carson, Dr. Ben Carson, said: "I don`t have any problem with the Palestinians having a state, but does it need to be within the confines of Israeli territory? Is that necessary, or can you sort of slip that area down into Egypt?" (LAUGHTER) MATTHEWS: I don`t know what to say about Dr. Carson. He is a smart man, but he is talking about creating a Palestinian state in some other place, in Egypt. These people, it`s either high pander or it`s high ignorance. What do they mean? You`re the expert. What are they going to do with all the Arab people that live in the territories? What are they going to do with them? BEN-AMI: Well, there`s 12 million people between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. Half of them are Jewish and half of them aren`t. MATTHEWS: Yes. BEN-AMI: And what are you going to do with the other half? MATTHEWS: You annex, you annex, even do it formally, legally, do whatever you want, all the pencil work you want, and they`re still with you. BEN-AMI: And the question is, can Israel survive as a democracy and be the national homeland of the Jewish people if you don`t have two states? The pro-Israel position is to be for two states. To question two states, you lose either Israel`s democracy or you lose it as a national... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: That`s an old debate. And I know that conflict since I was over there in -- when I got out of the Peace Corps in `71. It`s a conundrum. And these people that make these blithe statements, I think they`re pandering to millions of evangelical voters and a couple of very pro- Israeli right-wing guys with some money. And everybody knows what is going on here. BEN-AMI: Right. And they`re not pandering to the Jewish voter... MATTHEWS: No. BEN-AMI: ... because 80 percent of the Jewish voters support a two- state solution. MATTHEWS: I know. And, you know, when you get to Israel, you`re going to have a great argument over there. Only in the Republican Party is the argument over with. BEN-AMI: Right. MATTHEWS: It`s a ridiculous bunch of people, pander bears, pander bears. Anyway, thank you, Jeremy Ben-Ami. BEN-AMI: Thank you. MATTHEWS: And good luck with your organization. BEN-AMI: Appreciate it. MATTHEWS: I think you`re trying hard for peace. Up next: a grim reminder of the dangers facing this country. Authorities in Boston say a suspect up there wanted to behead police officers. You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MILISSA REHBERGER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Milissa Rehberger. Here`s what`s happening. The Pentagon now says live anthrax was mistakenly sent to 51 labs in 17 states, more than twice as many as first reported. Three foreign countries also received samples. In South Korea, hundreds of schools are set to close due to an outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome. More than 1,000 people are being quarantined; 29 have been infected. And, in China, rescuers are cutting into the hull of a sunken cruise ship, hoping to find survivors there; 26 people are confirmed dead, and more than 400 are missing after the ship sank Monday in bad weather -- back to HARDBALL. MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. We`re learning more now about that bloody confrontation up in Boston where, yesterday, 26-year-old Usaama Rahim was shot and killed by police. According to government authorities, Rahim was planning a terrorist attack that would specifically target men in uniform, policemen. The plot included beheading them, beheading policemen. One of Rahim`s associates, David Wright, was arrested and charged in federal court today with conspiracy. Rahim was being monitored using police -- actually phone surveillance, a key element, which is relevant, obviously, given the ongoing debate these days about government surveillance in the NSA. Anyway, over the weekend, Rand Paul led an effort in the Senate to temporarily halt the government`s ability to collect new phone records under the Patriot Act. Yesterday, the Senate approved legislation to restart the operations in a deal that keeps phone records in the hands of phone companies, at least until they`re usable. Anyway, the roundtable tonight, April Ryan is White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks, Sean Sullivan is reporter with "The Washington Post", and Heidi Przybyla is a political reporter with Bloomberg. This is a story only in the last hour before the program got wind of. It`s a combination of everything. These are African American guys, but the overlay or rather the base story here is about ethnicity. It`s about conversion to Islam and radicalization coming on its heels. And then this focus of going after police officers, April. APRIL RYAN, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORKS: Well, you know -- MATTHEWS: I mean, targeting them for beheading. RYAN: Right, this is what we`re hearing now. But before then, people were wondering if this was Baltimore. That`s not there at all. The Baltimore piece is gone. But what this does, when we talk about this surveillance, the national security piece, it kind of puts a spotlight on what the president was saying, this is needed. And, you know, we worry about civil liberties and things of that nature. But what would have happened if we did not have this? And it also shines a light on the fact that we are getting this right. We got it right in this instance with this young man who was talking -- well, he and another person who could have been lone wolfs in the name of ISIS. MATTHEWS: Yes, I know. Shawn, this is unbelievable. Because these lone wolfs are people that are self-starters. They`re like entrepreneurs of hell. They decide I`m going to go kill some people. I can convert myself. I can convert over the Internet. I can go home at night and watch some stuff and -- well, this is what I want to do. It`s also people that aren`t too happy with their lives probably. But how does the government find out who those people are? Who fits? SEAN SULLIVAN, THE WASHINGTON POST POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes, I think a case like, this coming at a time when the surveillance debate is under the national spotlight, it turns something that is a hypothetical into a tangible. MATTHEWS: Remember, Rand Paul said this weekend some of my critics are hoping there will be something going wrong and then I`ll be -- I`m sorry, I`ll blame them -- APRIL: Then, they`ll blame me. MATTHEWS: They`ll blame me. SULLIVAN: I mean, we`re already seeing some congressional Republicans kind of come out and spotlight this case as to say, look, this is an instance that shows why we need these authorities. It will be interesting in the coming days to see how many more people do this, and also who pushes back and says, look, it`s not the fact that we need these authorities that is going to help us stop prosecuting these cases. MATTHEWS: Well, all politics is local, and that begins with yourself. And just like -- most people look out for themselves, 61 percent of the American people, six out of ten, Heidi, would like to see surveillance. I don`t think they know about the nuance whether the phone company keeps the records or the NSA. But they want people under surveillance. HEIDI PRZYBYLA, BLOOMBERG NEWS POLITICAL REPORTER: And this is a case where the nuance is very important, Chris, because even though this is a fresh story, we`re already finding out that the type of surveillance that was being conducted to intercept this guy in Boston was not the bulk data program that was just expired by Congress. It was a more specific targeted surveillance program which is still in effect and was never under the threat of being rolled back by Congress. That said, it`s certainly going to play into this broader narrative at a time when you the whole country very worried about the threat of terrorist attacks on our soil. MATTHEWS: Yes, as I mentioned on Sunday, Senator Rand Paul accused his critics of wanting there to be an attack so they could rub it in his face. Here is Paul saying that. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: The people who argue that the world will end and we will be overrun by jihadists tonight are trying to use fear. They want to take just a little bit of your liberty, but they get it by making you afraid. They want you to fear and give up your liberty. People here in town think I`m making a huge mistake. Some of them I think secretly want there to be an attack on the United States so they can blame it on me. They`ll be the first to point fingers and say, oh, yes, it`s all your fault. We never should have given up on this great program. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, Senator Paul later walked back his comments about his critics hoping for an attack in the U.S., saying the heat of the battle got the better of him. You know, here is a great question. What are we more afraid of? Always afraid of something, checking under your bed, locking the doors at night. Are we more afraid of ISIS penetrating into the country and getting a lot of recruits so it`s a fairly normal occurrence that somebody attacks you or the government coming after you? Personally -- well, I`m going ask you all. I will poll this focus group now. Are you more worried about the big government or big bad ISIS coming? RYAN: I`m worried about being protected. MATTHEWS: ISIS? RYAN: Yes. And I`m thinking back to 2001, 3,000 people were killed. MATTHEWS: I know. SULLIVAN: I think a majority of the American people are more scared about the terrorist threat. We`ve seen that in polls. PRZYBYLA: Absolutely terrorists. MATTHEWS: So, here`s the question that gets back to us. When we -- when we found out who committed the crime of 9/11, you mentioned, and we saw stuff, we saw Mohamed Atta, the leader, we saw him getting his money at the ATM. We saw him going into some local store to buy some stuff, my God, they had, it was like -- I don`t know what they had, everything on the guy, all day, all on tape. We realized that we are being watched. And when we had the Boston bombing, we realized the surveillance cameras were all over the place. So, technologically, we have a lot of capability to watch people. Do we want to be watched? Heidi? PRZYBYLA: We`re seeing at the same time we have a lot of these terrorist attacks on our own soil being plotted that were also getting a lot more information about the extent of that surveillance that is going on. So, I think as with everything, it`s a question of balance and getting the information out to the public. For example, letting the public know that there was two independent commissions that found that we have never intercepted a terrorist whose proven to be a terrorist with the bulk data collection. MATTHEWS: With the metadata, with just who called who. Anyway, by the way, watching "Good Wife", it seems like Kalinda, the investigator on the show always comes up with some sort of surveillance tape that cracks the case. Anyway, the roundtable is staying with us. Up next, big labor is playing it rough. They`re using muscle, I think they will admit to scare Democrats vetoing for the free trade deal, especially TPA. This is HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: House Republicans have a new strategy in their never-ending investigation into Benghazi. According to "Politico", they`re threatening to withhold funding from the State Department until officials speed up their responses to document requests. The House Appropriations Committee has proposed 2016`s spending bill withhold 15 percent of the department`s budget, quote, "until requirements related to proper management of Freedom of Information Act and electronic communications are met." Anyway, a State Department spokesman says cutting funding would be counterproductive and would only slow down the ability to meet those document requests. We`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: We are back. Anyway, the fight over trade has moved from the Senate to the House, of course, where a vote to grant President Obama trade promotional authority is going down to the wire. The president and his Republican allies on this issue need 217 votes in the House, despite the Republican majority, the measure is going to need a significant number of Democratic votes over there. The debate is getting nasty. Organized labor has vowed to pressure votes against the president. And some of the unions are flexing their muscle now to strong-arm House Democrats into voting no. This AFL-CIO is running this ad against California Democrat Ami Bera who is supporting fast track. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, POLITICAL AD) NARRATOR: Congressman Ami Bera will do anything to keep his job, including shipping your job overseas. He`s supporting so-called fast track trade authority, same kind of trade deal that`s already meant millions of loss jobs. We need your congressman to fight for your job not his job. Call Congressman Ami Bera and tell him to vote no on fast track. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: And "Politico" reported last week, the AFL-CIO was blunt in a call that went out to Representative Scott Peters, a Democrat who represents San Diego. Quote, "Vote yes on fast track authority and the transpacific partnership, and then spend a million dollars to knock them out in next year`s primary. If he managed to win that primary, drop another million against him in the general election." One Democrat on the fence, Louisiana Democrat Cedric Richmond of New Orleans says he`s turned off by labor`s tactics and said of AFL-CIO`s Richard -- the president, Richard Trumka, "I was leaning no, but the more Trumka and others start to talk, the more I lean the other way." Back with our panel, April, Sean and Heidi. Heidi, you`re following this close. This is coming down to a couple votes it seems next week. PRZYBYLA: I mean, this is a very small handful of Democrats we`re talking about, and the AFL-CIO is absolutely going nuts on them. They are running ads. They have pulled all their money from everything else and put it toward beating up on these Democrats, which is really irritating, that`s the word the third ranking Democrat Representative James Clyburn uses, really irritating Democrats, because one, it`s taking money from specifically a lot of the congressional backed caucus members who need it, and it`s also compromising potentially these seats in helping the Republicans. MATTHEWS: Are they doing this tough guy act? And I see why they`re doing it, to save jobs. But are they going to lose this fight or they want revenge for losing it? Are they going to pass it, or are they still want to scare people? RYAN: All of the above. They want to show that they have the power, they want to use their muscle literally. Labor is showing they want to use their muscle. They`ve done the same thing -- they did the same thing with NAFTA with Bill Clinton. They were calling many congressional leaders to include members of the Congressional Black Caucus saying, if you vote for NAFTA, you will not -- MATTHEWS: Guess who`s for this TPA? Bill Clinton. RYAN: Right. But listen to this, Bill Clinton when he was with NAFTA, he made it a point to pick up the phone and personally invite congressional leaders over, so that they wouldn`t, made the case. MATTHEWS: Is Obama doing that? RYAN: No, he isn`t. Maybe Obama needs to do -- MATTHEWS: He isn`t? RYAN: No, he is not bringing people over, or bringing the members over to the White House. MATTHEWS: Well, is he making calls? What`s he doing, Obama? RYAN: He`s making calls but not bringing -- PRZYBYLA: He`s making calls. This is a big priority for him. But you are right, I talked to members who are there for NAFTA, Clinton had a full on war room targeting these members. And there was a pay to play atmosphere going on around it as well. RYAN: Air Force One -- PRZYBYLA: At the same time, I`ll make a point about the AFL and that is that part of this is also, they are running scared that their bluff will be called and that the election will come around, what are they going to do? Are they really going to campaign against these vulnerable Democrats to help elect Republicans who are then going to vote to bust unions and vote for right to work laws? So, that`s why these Democrats are a little bit I think not necessarily taking back -- RYAN: I think Obama may need to take a page out of the Clinton book. If he`s so close, the way he wants it, he may need to bring them over and talk to them. The personal touch always reaches -- MATTHEWS: This hits a familiar cord with the president. He`s not warm and fuzzy enough with the members. He doesn`t bring them into his heart and soul. SULLIVAN: Yes, this is a criticism we`ve heard over and over again about this president, that he doesn`t engage with members of Congress the way that he should or the way that maybe he could. But, you know, when you look at this issue, you see how sensitive this is in the Democratic Party. Look at Hillary Clinton, the way she`s navigated this, she`s kind of playing the fence. She`s not backing Obama on this. MATTHEWS: One said to somebody, I don`t need you when I`m right. Anyway, thank you, April Ryan. Thank you, Sean Sullivan. They love my sense of humor. And, Heidi Przybyla, thank you. When we return, let me finish with the latest shenanigans by the Republican Party as they try to keep Democratic voters from the polls. You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this: We learn tonight that the Republican Party is out to win the 2016 by a strategy of winning the most votes of those who, they, the Republicans, permit to vote. Well, this is interesting stuff, isn`t it? Instead of letting the people decide who to vote for, the politicians here decide who they led to vote in the first place. They select the voters instead of the other way around. Well, the sheer brazenness of this move is one thing we can all agree on -- seeing the demographic changes on the way, the rise of the minorities in the American population, the rising number of single people, and the changing attitudes of younger people on matters such as same sex marriage, the big thinkers in the Republican Party decide their best bet is to make it simply harder for certain groups to vote. Let`s look at who the GOP brain trusts like to see on election day: older people who live in big cities, especially minorities. People who don`t have driver`s licenses. Young people away from home and college. People who tend to vote for Democratic candidates. Making it harder for these people to vote is daylight robbery for the people in state capitols, relentless in finding ways to better their chances in the next election. What`s staggering here is the failure by Democrats and others not to blow the whistle on these shenanigans, which is exactly what they are. 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.>
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