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Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 06/10/15

Guests: J.C. Watts, Lenny DePaul, John Sununu, Ruth Marcus, Jonathan Allen

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: No escape. Let`s play HARDBALL. Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington. This war we know is bad. Usually, we get into a war with the bugles blowing and the crowds cheering, yet here we go back into Iraq, knowing just how little hope there is, lacking any faith in our side. How can President Obama sound the trumpet for a war that`s already lost? And the story I love, how two bad guys got through thick walls to find freedom, five days and counting. The latest on the great escape. First this horror in Iraq and Syria. Why are we getting back into a bed that`s already on fire? Eugene Robinson`s a Pulitzer Prize columnist with "The Washington Post." And David Corn is the Washington bureau chief for "Mother Jones." He has just been inducted in the Society of Professional Journalists Hall of Fame. Thank you, sir. Congratulations. And Republican J.C. Watts was a congressman from Oklahoma. He`s supporter of Rand Paul`s presidential bid. Well, gentlemen, here`s the big news from the White House statement today. Quote, "The president authorized the deployment of up to 450 additional U.S. military personnel to train, advise and assist Iraqi security forces. The president made this decision after a request from Prime Minister Haider al Abadi and on the recommendation of Secretary Ashton Carter and Chairman Dempsey of the Joint chiefs and with the unanimous support of his national security team. These additional U.S. troops will not serve in a combat role." That`s the White House statement. Gene, do you believe it? EUGENE ROBINSON, "WASHINGTON POST," MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well...   MATTHEWS: Where are we getting into this? ROBINSON: You know, I think I do believe what he said, at least for these troops, because what the president didn`t say was that these troops would be allowed to serve as forward spotters, for example, for air strikes. Apparently, they will not be allowed to do that. So what that tells me is that the president has kind of grudgingly agreed to these 450 new troops, but not with a new role, not with a sort of forward-leaning role, and that he`s still not sold on the idea of greater U.S. involvement, even as he slides in that direction. MATTHEWS: Yes, J.C., you can usually tell when somebody`s not thrilled with what they`re doing when they say they`re doing it because these other guys want him to do it. So he says Dempsey wants him to do it. The secretary of defense wants him to do it. If he really wanted to do it, why didn`t he just say, I said so? I`m the commander-in-chief. J.C. WATTS (R), FMR. REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMAN: Well... MATTHEWS: I`m just thinking here. WATTS: Well, Chris, I don`t think they drew down -- I don`t think we drew down correctly back in 2011. You know, you had many that cautioned back then, Republicans and Democrats, that the drawdown had gone way too far. And now we`re kind of having to retract that and send more back in. I do believe the president when he says that he`s not putting them in a combat role, if you will. But that infrastructure has been lost. MATTHEWS: I want to get back to you, sir, because I think the Republican Party, which you represent here tonight, is not with this action here. Let me just jump on this. I`ll jump ahead of you, David. Today, House Speaker John Boehner skirted questions about moving forward with a war authorization. Instead, he ripped into President Obama`s comments from earlier in the week that we don`t have a strategy to train the Iraqis to fight. Here`s Boehner.   (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: He has no strategy, as he admitted himself, much less an overarching strategy to take on ISIL. We don`t have a strategy, and you can`t have an authorization of the use of military force if you don`t know what the strategy is. The president hasn`t outlined a strategy in order to win. But as the president admitted the other day, he has no strategy to win. Where`s the over-arching strategy? What`s the over-arching strategy? (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, the key word there is "strategy," by the way. (LAUGHTER) MATTHEWS: Why don`t Republicans support the idea of a war against ISIL, even the notion of it, if you`re saying we should have kept troops in to fight them? WATTS: Well, I think Rand Paul -- and you said I`m supporting Rand Paul... (CROSSTALK)   MATTHEWS: Well, wait a minute. Which guy are defending? Are you defending the Republican establishment here or Rand Paul? WATTS: Well, I -- I`m defending the fact that I am not -- we didn`t draw down correctly, but to send American troops back in there, to put boots on the ground when Iraqis aren`t willing to support themselves, and we`re sending American troops back in there to do it -- again, I don`t think we did it the right way when we drew down... MATTHEWS: OK. WATTS: But we`ve got to... MATTHEWS: OK... WATTS: We`ve got to think through... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Where I disagree with you is the idea that if we had kept a couple hundred guys over there, they would have fought against ISIS. DAVID CORN, "MOTHER JONES," MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: We drew down pursuant to the agreement that Bush and Cheney negotiated with the Iraqi government at the time. So that was -- you know, bush and Cheney said that that was fine, that type of drawdown. And what the president`s doing now, by sending in 450 troops to add to the 3,100 troops we have there, in a sense -- in essence, set up one more training camp. There are four training camps now for the Iraqi military. We`re trying to help, although it hasn`t gone too well. So he wants to try to, you know, train a few more, so they can have a chance to take back Ramadi.   That`s what this is. It`s very modest. But you see on the Republican side, they still don`t know what to say except to attack the president. What is John Boehner`s strategy? MATTHEWS: OK... CORN: What does he want... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Suppose, Gene, you`re moderating the first or second or third Republican debate, and you say to them -- or even a big debate with Hillary Clinton, probably, against a Republican -- and you say to the candidates, Which of you wants to send more troops back into Iraq to fight this war on the ground? I would think -- well, tell me what they would say. ROBINSON: Well, no, if I were moderating, I`d turn to Lindsey Graham and say, OK, you know, Lindsey Graham here says 10,000 troops to start with. That`s the ante. And by the way, we also need to pacify Syria somehow. And so we need to take care of this big scale. What do you think? What do you think, Rand Paul? What do you think, Scott Walker? What do you think, Marco Rubio? MATTHEWS: Do you think anybody besides Lindsey -- do you think any of the serious candidates who might actually be the nominee are going to come in for more troops on the ground? You suggest no. WATTS: Rand Paul has been hammered because he kind of took the Prime Minister Netanyahu -- he took his position to say, you know, when you support the enemy against the enemy, you`re still supporting the enemy. So we`re saying, OK, let`s give the bad guys -- let`s help the bad guys against the bad guys. You`re still helping the bad guys. He`s saying, think through this thing. You`ve got to think through how you send American troops in there. If they`re not willing to help themselves, why should... MATTHEWS: OK... (CROSSTALK)   MATTHEWS: I hear the voice of the Republican Party here, and I don`t think it`s for more troops on the ground. CORN: Well, there will be some. I mean, the neocons, whether it`s Lindsey Graham or others, do want more troops. They do want a more robust military presence. Now, what`s going to -- the crunch point is, at some point, Jeb Bush... MATTHEWS: By the way, when is the regiment from the American Heritage Foundation... (CROSSTALK) CORN: ... or the American Enterprise Institute... MATTHEWS: ... American Enterprise Institute... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: When are they marching over there? Like the fighting... (CROSSTALK) CORN: Not any time soon. But there will be a crunch point when Jeb Bush and John Boehner have to say what it is they actually want to do if they don`t like the president`s strategy of kind of muddling through. MATTHEWS: Yes. I know.   Let`s take a look at this because your guy here, Senator Rand Paul, is blaming his own party for creating this mess we`re in right now. Here`s Senator Paul. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: ISIS exists and grew stronger because of the hawks in our party who gave arms indiscriminately, and most of those arms were snatched up by ISIS. They created these people. Everything that they have talked about in foreign policy, they`ve been wrong about for 20 years, and yet they have somehow the gall to keep saying and pointing fingers otherwise. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: You know, I think this is a terrible situation we`re in right now because I think everybody at this table and everybody watching right now has someone to blame right now for Iraq, the condition we`re in right now in 2015. You can blame the drawdown. It was done too quickly. I can blame Cheney for being born. (LAUGHTER) MATTHEWS: I think these hawks have the wrong instincts for the modern world. They always want to go in with big armies fighting, and it (INAUDIBLE) more casualties, more enemies, and more hell to pay. ROBINSON: I think we ought to blame the bad people for being bad. We ought to blame ISIS. (CROSSTALK) ROBINSON: And you know, when did we get into this habit...   MATTHEWS: What do you do when you blame them? ROBINSON: ... of pointing fingers at each other when, in fact, there is an enemy there? So let`s blame them. MATTHEWS: And then what? ROBINSON: Well, that`s the question. (LAUGHTER) MATTHEWS: I guess you can start with the guys beheading people. (CROSSTALK) ROBINSON: What do you do? CORN: But the critical debate here has really not been about what to do. It really has been a blame game. ROBINSON: Sure. CORN: And that`s part of the issue. ISIS is bad. They do pose a threat to the region and probably some degree of threat to us. It`s hard to assess it. And how can we have a debate over what to do when, really, I think the Republicans are aiming just...   MATTHEWS: Nobody wants to go into another war, except for this guy. Here`s -- well, the hawks are still screeching. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, the governor, with no foreign policy involvement so far, isn`t ruling out two more invasions with troops on the ground. Let`s watch him. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you rule out a full-blown U.S. re-invasion of Iraq and Syria? GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: I don`t think -- I don`t think we should ever send a message to our foes as to how far we`re willing to go. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you wouldn`t rule out a full-blown... WALKER: I would not rule out boots on the ground. I think... UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, but I`m asking would you rule out a full-blown re-invasion of Iraq? WALKER: If the national interests of this country are at stake, here at risk in this country or abroad, that`s to me the standard of what we do for military engagement. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: So here we have the guy with the best chance right now of winning in the Iowa caucus and starting a big roll, perhaps, to win the nomination. CORN: Maybe.   MATTHEWS: He fits the -- he fits the uniform. He`s a governor of... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: And he`s talking about, I got no problem with another big war in Iraq. I got no problem with -- what is he talking about? CORN: The problem, I think, with the question is it was theoretical, and he said, I`m not taking anything off the table. The real question is, You want to be president? You ready to be president today? What do you do today? Don`t give me theories about whether you`re for a re-invasion or not. What will you do? (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Well, the message there was, I`m willing to go back in. That was pretty clear. CORN: Well, the message is that he`s not taking anything off the table because he doesn`t want to have a fight in the Republican Party and he wants to appeal to as many people as possible. He won`t commit to anything. None of these guys will commit to anything. WATTS: Well, I think the question is this. Ask Republican and Democrat candidates, Are you willing to send American soldiers, moms, sons, wives, husbands, back into Iraq to defend them and try to get some stability there when they won`t do it for themselves? CORN: That`s a good question. ROBINSON: And -- and specifically, we could send troops in and retake Ramadi. Then what? What do we do with it? MATTHEWS: That was our question when we went in the first time in 2003. Who are we going to turn this over to? And then you have Rumsfeld, who was the architect, I suppose, of the campaign to take that country over -- he says we made a mistake trying to enforce democracy, when in fact, that was the reason we went in, to overthrow the Shia -- I mean, overthrow the Sunni, put the Shia in power, and the Shia said, Thanks.   (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Bye-bye Sunnis! (CROSSTALK) ROBINSON: Bye-bye Sunnis, Hello, Iranians. CORN: And remember, at the time, before the invasion, there were people like General Shinseki and others saying, You`re going to need hundreds of thousands of troops after the invasion to keep control of this country. So if Lindsey Graham thinks he can do this with 10,000 troops, he`s crazy! WATTS: But whatever the infrastructure was there, that was there, it`s all gone now. (CROSSTALK) CORN: It`s worse now. It`s worse now. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: (INAUDIBLE) J.C. on this one point, which is if we`d kept a couple thousand more troops in that country, I don`t think it would have stopped the creation of the caliphate over there because I think they would have had to be fighting soldiers. They would have to go into those Sunni areas and kill a hell of a lot of ISIS people to stop them from taking over because they were all, remember, former military people from the government of Iraq. They were trained -- they were seasoned soldiers, who had been finding Iran for years. And we get rid of them. So what do they do? I got a job over here called ISIS. They found an opportunity.   Anyway, thank you, Gene Robinson -- nobody knew this was going to happen, by the way. Nobody. I don`t think -- Joe Biden might have known. Anyway, thank you, David Corn and J.C. Watts. You guys laugh. I think he did know. Coming up -- it`s been five days and since no sign -- so far, no sign of those two convicted killers who broke out of prison in upstate New York. We`re going to have the latest on the manhunt. This is -- where`s Tommy Lee Jones when we need him? Plus, 2016 politics -- Hillary Clinton isn`t looking towards her husband or President Obama for inspiration as she gets ready to kick off her campaign. She`s going back to the all-time great, Franklin Roosevelt, apparently. And why is big labor bashing some Democrats? Well, unions are showing their clout by taking it out on some usual allies. Finally, "Let Me Finish" with the failure of our leaders to lead. This is HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: A group of high-profile New Hampshire Republicans is pushing for a change in who`s allowed to take part in that first presidential debate. The debate, scheduled for August 6th on FOX News, will be limited by that network to the top 10 candidates as determined by the polls. Well, in a letter to FOX and RNC chair Reince Priebus, the New Hampshire Republicans write, quote, "Historically, it has been the responsibility of early primary and caucus states to closely examine and winnow the field of candidates, and it is not in the electorate`s interest to have TV debate criteria supplant this solemn duty." As many as 18 Republicans could be in the field, meaning eight of them would be left off the stage under current rules for the first debate. And we`ll be right back after this.   (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: We need to find these escapees. They are dangerous men. They are killers. They are murderers. There`s no reason to believe they wouldn`t do it again. They`re going to be more desperate than ever. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. The manhunt for two convicted murderers who escaped from a maximum security prison over the weekend continued for a fifth day today. Police were going door to door in the village of Dannemora, searching houses for the men. Richard Matt and David Sweat have so far evaded capture, obviously. They reportedly cut through walls and pipes with power tools and then climbed through tunnels and pipes to escape out of a nearby manhole. Authorities say the two men almost certainly had help. I`m joined right now by NBC`s John Yang. He`s in Dannemora. And Kenny (sic) LePaul, retired commander of the New York and New Jersey regional fugitive task force. Gentlemen, thank you. How do you get power tools into a prison cell, John Yang? JOHN YANG, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, they tell -- you know, we talked to -- NBC News talked to a retired corrections officer here, and they say that employees go in and out of there with duffel bags and other things that are not searched. They don`t go through metal detectors. Their belongings aren`t searched. So it -- that is one possible route. But that is clearly one thing that investigators are looking into. As you know, they`re interviewing a person of interest, Joyce Mitchell, a teacher in the tailor shop in the prison where both inmates worked. NBC News is being told by investigators they are still talking to her. She is still giving them information -- Chris. MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about this distance traveled. I know if you do a compass and you draw concentric circles, you could find these guys -- they could be anywhere in the world at this point (INAUDIBLE)   Let me go to Lenny LePaul on that. Sir, it seems to me the distance traveled now is almost total. You could get to almost anywhere in the world in five days, if you get an airplane, or they meet somewhere in Canada, with all this time to think and their connections on cellphones, I wonder, could they have agreed -- they could be up in Churchill, Canada, by now, and they could be flying from there to somewhere else in Russia, for all we know. Your thoughts. LENNY LEPAUL, FMR. CHIEF INSPECTOR COMMANDER, U.S. MARSHAL SERVICE: Absolutely. I mean, that`s why this is certainly an intense manhunt that`s still ongoing and will continue. But it`s also a fugitive investigation. And what I mean by that is the net has been cast a little bit further. There have been some leads sent by the U.S. Marshal Service, my former agency, of course, working and supporting the New York state troopers. They have sent some leads out to a few other states, which, unfortunately, I can`t share, but they`re extending their search, and the puzzle, you know, needs to come together. And as they continue to get intel in to the investigators and these tips that are continuing to come in, they`re going to do their -- do what they do best. So they need to -- yes, certainly, they could be on the moon at this point. I mean, five days is a long time. MATTHEWS: Well, prisoners like this don`t have to use credit cards. They must have accumulated some cash, right, so they can use cash to get food. To get food, you have to buy it. You have to meet some human being generally to get food. To get a car, you have to buy it or steal it. There`s no record now -- is there any reports of a car being stolen in that vicinity? LEPAUL: Well, that`s just it, there is not. And there`s nothing coming in to the investigators that I`m aware of. And of course, I don`t want to, you know, get involved in the middle of their investigation, but from my past experience, that`s why these guys certainly could be still local somewheres. If that`s the case, and they`ve been out for five days, if there was help on the inside, was there money taken in to them before they escaped? Was a cell phone given to them before that? So there`s a whole lot of questions that I`m sure these investigators have asked and have answers to. And they`re continuing to ask. MATTHEWS: Back -- back to John Yang and the news. What`s this about a Vermont option here, that they may have gone to Vermont, because there`s not much -- I guess it`s a more, obviously, less settled place, Vermont. There`s a lot of places with nobody living in it up there. Is that -- is that solid, that news? YANG: Yes. Well, Governor Peter Shumlin said it in a press conference here just a little bit ago, with Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York. They said that this is information they have been developed in the investigation. They have been interviewing inmates. They have been interviewing employees. They have been interviewing private contractors.   And as Governor Shumlin put it, that their thinking was that New York was going to be too hot and Vermont would be cooler, that a good place to hide out might be a camp in Vermont. So they have worked out a deal where New York State Troopers can go into Vermont to search. There`s a Vermont State Police person at the command center here in New York. There -- so they think that Vermont was at least a possible intended destination after the breakout. MATTHEWS: Do we have -- let me get back to Lenny. Do we have technology that`s any different than it would have been in the movie "The Fugitive," for example? Do we have facial recognition technology? Do we have anything, fingerprint technology, anywhere where we can capture evidence of these people, hard -- these targets? DEPAUL: I mean, technology certainly has well advanced than Tommy Lee Jones and "The Fugitive." Our technological operations group, our electronic surveillance units, our financial surveillance units, we bring a variety of things to the table, the U.S. Marshals Service task force does. And being asked into this investigation by the New York State Troopers, we certainly have resources, manpower, state-of-the-art equipment, money to go after these guys and not stop until they`re caught. MATTHEWS: Yes. Last question to John Yang. Are people rooting for or against these guys? Is there a spirit of the chase here? I know they`re evil guys, they`re murderers, they`re terrible people. Is there some sense people like the excitement of this up there? (CROSSTALK) YANG: At least here in Dannemora, where people have been -- now gotten the news that they may not be that far away, there`s no one rooting for these guys. MATTHEWS: Yes. YANG: These guys are -- based on what they did, based on their trials, are nasty, mean, devious, deceptive, everything, every adjective you want to think of.   They want these guys caught. They want them back in their -- back behind bars. People here are locking doors here for the first time in many, many years. People going up, checking their summer camps with great trepidation, taking hunting rifles with them when they go up and check them. I haven`t found anybody who`s rooting for them up here, Chris. MATTHEWS: Yes. One of the things I learned from Gavin de Becker`s book, that great brook "The Gift of Fear," is be careful of bad guys, because they have a charming capability. They will charm you, bond with you, pretend they`re on your said. They have got all the techniques in the world. That`s probably how they got out of there. Anyway, thank you, John Yang. So, beware of the charming stranger. Anyway, Lenny DePaul, thank you, sir. Up next: Did we underestimate George Bush, Bush 41, I`m talking about, as president? Look at this guy`s numbers. He`s up there with Bill Clinton, a very popular former president, and the guy Bill Clinton beat is equal with him in public esteem right now. That`s fascinating. Let`s figure out why. This is HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.   After 12 years of Republican rule and control of the White House, with his approval rating at all-time lows, former President Herbert Walker Bush was voted out of office, as we know, in 1992, by Bill Clinton basically. Despite serving just one term, a poll found just last month found that, believe this or not, among the living presidents today, Bush 41 is now among the most popular. And he`s tied at the top spot with the man who beat him, former President Bill Clinton. Isn`t that interesting? Sixty- four percent favorability right now. In his new book, "The Quiet Man," Bush`s former Chief of Staff John Sununu argues that the 41st president deserves a lot of credit for the tough decisions he made, many of which were unpopular at the time when he made the call. I`m joined right now by the author of "The Quiet Man," former Governor of New Hampshire, former Chief of Staff to the first Bush, president, John Sununu. Governor, thank you for joining us. JOHN SUNUNU (R), FORMER NEW HAMPSHIRE GOVERNOR: Thanks for having me. MATTHEWS: I don`t know whether it`s the thing about, you live long enough and people find you -- but I think there`s more to it. What is there? Why do people like this fine, fine gentleman of the old school? SUNUNU: I think a lot of things that people criticized him for when he was president are turning out to have been right, certainly not following Saddam into Baghdad after he kicked him out of Kuwait. MATTHEWS: And not getting stuck there. (CROSSTALK) SUNUNU: Not getting stuck there. People understand now that was the correct decision.   The budget agreement that people didn`t like turned out to generate all those surpluses, with the budgeting rules that were part of it in the mid-`90s and the growth rate... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: OK. So, he promised no new taxes, read my lips, the Clint Eastwood thing. He got in office. Among the tough decisions, as you said, that President Bush made was his reversal on that in 1990, despite his pledge at the Republican Convention, first the pledge. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GEORGE H.W. BUSH, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The Congress will push me to raise taxes, and I will say no, and they will push, and I will say no, and they will push again, and I will say to them, read my lips, no new taxes. (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, two years later, when Bush said he would, in fact, raise taxes, I wrote in a column, this column -- here it is -- "Would any sane president, running at 70-plus percent in the polls, start kibitzing about taxes if he didn`t absolutely have to? Want to know why George Bush has changed course? Because the current heading is taking this country into a tornado." And what I argued then was, if we kept building the deficits in `90, we would have had a hell to pay before -- and I think, as a result, I think it`s fair to argue, it`s an argument that because Bush had the guts to do that, to reduce the deficits, it was a lot easier ride for Bill Clinton to get the credit in the `90s. SUNUNU: Absolutely. And that`s what the president understood. And in addition to that...   MATTHEWS: Well, he wanted to get reelected, of course. SUNUNU: Well, but he also had another big reason. And this was September-October of 1990. And he had just sent young men and women over to the Middle East to get ready to go in and take Saddam out of Kuwait. And he was very concerned that we would end up with a budget stalemate that cut off defense funding, with young men and women not getting the support they wanted. It was one of many reasons. MATTHEWS: Yes. SUNUNU: And he also had to deal with a Congress that was 260-175 in the House, 55-45 in the Senate, and Tom Foley and George Mitchell were tough customers. MATTHEWS: Well, in your book, you blame one other person. You accuse Congressman Newt Gingrich of Georgia, remember Newt, of putting his career above the best interest of the country. Quote: "As we moved into 1990, with the November elections just a few months ahead of us, I began to get the uneasy feeling that the Gingrich agenda and the Bush agenda were not completely aligned. By that point, I simply did not trust Newt Gingrich. Dan Quayle later told me that Gingrich actually wanted Bush not to be reelected, so a Gingrich-led Republican House delegation would have a better shot at becoming a majority under a Democratic president." SUNUNU: What made it all the worse... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Do you hold to those words? SUNUNU: Yes, I hold to those words.   What made it all the worse is that Newt was part of the negotiating team. He agreed to the agreement that was developed. He had set criteria down. And we met that criteria, not fiddling around with personal income taxes. You know the tax was a gas tax that had not been adjusted for inflation in almost a decade. So he agreed to it, and then after everybody came to the White House, he avoided the last ceremony, walked out and decided to oppose it. MATTHEWS: Yes. Let me ask you something about him. Right after you lost that election in 1992, a young Clinton campaign staffer made fun of Bush, your boss, saying, when he was asked, what was the most important thing about the president, personally, he said the honor of it. And they thought that was funny. SUNUNU: But I think that was an accurate description. George Bush loved America. He thought it was an honor to serve. He thought it was a privilege to be in the White House, and he felt that he was doing each day what he would want someone else to do if they were in his job. MATTHEWS: Anyway, during the 1990 Gulf War, the one that ended right, President Bush rallied American allies around the world to support the effort to drive Saddam Hussein`s army out of Kuwait. But it was an offhand remark at an impromptu press conference that became the public symbol of his resolve. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BUSH: This will not stand. This will not stand, this aggression against Kuwait. (CROSSTALK) BUSH: I have got to go. I have to go to work. I got to go to work.   (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: How tough was it for him, when he had the whip hand, he had it done, he could have gone into Baghdad, taken over the place, occupied it, and he said, no, we`re just killing Iraqis now, we`re not accomplishing anything? And if we get in there, we will be stuck running the place. The Colin Powell rule, you broke it, you bought it. We didn`t want to buy it. How tough was it to say to the hawks in the administration, I know you would like to do this, but we`re not doing this, we`re not going in there? SUNUNU: Look, we had a serious debate on it. But when the president decided, I think everybody was comfortable with the decision. He knew that we would get stuck there, but more than that, he also felt that since we were operating under the resolutions from the U.N., he had to meet the letter of those resolutions, and they did not really allow for him to go in. MATTHEWS: What do you think lost for him in `92? I remember watching the debates and Clinton of course was loaded for bear. He was great with that young African-American woman asked him about what was the impact of the deficit on his personal life, and, of course, she meant to say the unemployment rate, the recession. The president said, I`m not sure you know what you`re talking about, pretty much. And then Bill Clinton says, I know exactly what you`re talking about. He gave a beautiful answer. In fact, he approached her. SUNUNU: Yes, went over to her. MATTHEWS: But your boss was kind of like out of it. Why was Bush out of it in the second reelection, the election campaign? SUNUNU: Well, there two were problems. One, Ross Perot was there. And I think Ross Perot was a lot of the reason that he lost the election. MATTHEWS: Oh, I agree.   SUNUNU: And, number two, I think the president got frustrated with a campaign that wasn`t going in the right direction, with a campaign that I personally, looking from the outside, did not understand why they weren`t hitting on Ross Perot. I didn`t understand why they weren`t running a tougher campaign. MATTHEWS: Did you guys miss Lee Atwater? SUNUNU: And Roger Ailes. Roger was gone. Lee was gone. I had left. Some people are a little tougher on opposition than others. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Well, Lee is tough. SUNUNU: Yes, and that`s what I`m saying. The toughness wasn`t there. I think if Atwater were there -- I think I say it in the book -- he would have hit Perot over the head with a two-by-four. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Well, Perot had some weird thing in his bean. He was against the Bush family for some weird reason. Anyway, he didn`t solve anything. Anyway, thank you.   The book is called "The Quiet Man," great writing by an insider. This isn`t outside objective journalism here. This is a guy who was on the inside that knows what he cares about, John Sununu, a great book from the inside of politics, which is where I used to be. SUNUNU: Thanks, Chris. MATTHEWS: Up next, Hillary Clinton is not looking at her husband or Barack Obama for inspiration as she launches her big campaign speech this weekend. She`s going back to FDR, we hear, and it may be a smart strategy. You can`t beat the best guy of the 20th century at politics. That`s FDR. And you`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MILISSA REHBERGER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Milissa Rehberger. Here`s what`s happening. Investigators say the engineer at the controls of the Amtrak train that derailed in May was not texting or using his phone. Eight people were killed in that derailment. And more than 200 were injured. An American who traveled to Syria to fight with the Kurdish forces against ISIS has been killed. The State Department has confirmed it is in contact with the man`s family. And in a meeting with Russian President Putin, Pope Francis said there`s a need for a sincere and great effort toward peace in Ukraine -- now back to HARDBALL. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)   HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: As many of you may recall, I have been known from time to time to have conversations with Mrs. Roosevelt. And... (LAUGHTER) (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. That was Hillary Clinton there, as first lady, recalling her fondness for Eleanor Roosevelt, but when Secretary Clinton holds her first big campaign kickoff event this Saturday at Four Freedoms Park on New York`s Roosevelt Island, she may be embracing the other Roosevelt, FDR. Franklin Roosevelt famously declared during one of his early political campaigns, "There is nothing I love as much as a good fight." And that`s exactly what Hillary Clinton is going to get in this campaign for the White House. Joining me right now is the roundtable, The Huffington Post global editor Howard Fineman and "Washington Post" columnist Ruth Marcus and Vox chief political correspondent Jonathan Allen. Jonathan, do you think -- let`s ask you what did. What do you think about Hillary and FDR? Is there going to be a parallel here in her thinking? (CROSSTALK) JONATHAN ALLEN, VOX: Absolutely.   I think she thinks that there`s a necessity for her in connecting to Franklin Roosevelt. Number one, it gets her away from two other presidents, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, who Republicans are going to tie her to as the third term of. So, that`s for starters. But even more so, when you talk to her campaign officials, they really want to make the argument that you can be rich and look out for common people as well at the same time. Franklin Roosevelt very well known for that. I think, from her perspective, there are some other parallels. I think she is somebody who wants to project at least that she`s pretty progressive on domestic issues and at the same time muscular abroad. Franklin Roosevelt was no dove. Hillary Clinton is no dove. MATTHEWS: That`s interesting. I agree with all that. ALLEN: I don`t think we`re going to hear a second New Deal out of her, but I think we`re going to hear some rhetoric that tries to link her to the past of the Democratic Party and that Roosevelt coalition that really forms the base of the Democratic Party. MATTHEWS: Can new money act like old money, Ruth? (LAUGHTER) MATTHEWS: Because it always tries. (LAUGHTER) (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: I`m dead serious. For some reason, Democrats have always been comfortable with the Stevensons, people with a lot of old money, the second generation and third generation. But the self-made, the Robert Abplanalps, the Bebe Rebozos, they have been more Republican.   You know what I mean? RUTH MARCUS, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Well, I`m not really sure that making -- reminding people affirmatively that FDR was rich, Hillary Clinton is rich, therefore don`t worry about it, is going to be the best argument for the Clinton campaign. I do think it`s going to be very interesting that -- where she`s going to have had seances with Eleanor Roosevelt, now beginning to channel Franklin as well. Nobody else is going to be able to claim that. But she`s in a -- it`s -- it`s actually a different coalition, I think, than the FDR coalition, certainly geographically for the Democratic Party, and also a completely different mindset. Yes, progressive at home. Yes, muscular abroad. But we`re not launching either the fifth Roosevelt term, or the second New Deal, I don`t think. MATTHEWS: That sounds like Hubert Humphrey, too. FINEMAN: I disagree with that. MATTHEWS: Go ahead. You disagree with what? FINEMAN: I think that Jonathan`s right, but it`s a next evolution of Roosevelt. I think what she`s going to be saying is, we need a Roosevelt for our time, in the sense that Franklin Roosevelt was really fighting against, and being opposed to, the excesses of the go-go years of capitalism during the jazz age, to look at it historically. He brought in government to try to balance the scales. And I think the American people are looking for that now. They can`t quite explain it to themselves. They don`t have the policies for it exactly. But they sense that there`s an imbalance here somewhere. MATTHEWS: I think you`re right.   FINEMAN: That a lot of rich people are getting really, really, really rich, but the average American is not. And that`s going to be the spirit in which she`s going to fight with. I think it`s very smart. And Bernie Sanders is practically of the Roosevelt era. We may as well give him -- (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: I`m amazed at the fact that so many people, regular people as Hillary calls them, Secretary Clinton calls them, know all about the rich, because when I`m at a couple of cases when I like being at the homes of somebody really wealthy, if anybody saw it, there would be a revolution, because this is so different that what people live. Anyway, Franklin Roosevelt was a rich patrician, of course, during the Great Depression, yet he was elected an unprecedented four times to the presidency. Hillary Clinton struggling with her own aura of wealth as she tries to frame herself as a warrior for the middle class. In fact, last week, "The Washington Post`s" Dan Balz, he`s a smart guy, wrote, quote, "Clinton can talk all she wants about income inequality and reducing the influence of money in politics, but her recent experience makes it seem insincere." Is that fair, Jon? JONATHAN ALLEN, VOX: I think it`s a little bit -- MATTHEWS: I mean, 200 hours a speech, 20K a speech, that kind of thing. ALLEN: Look, she says things that seem completely out of touch, like we were dead broke when we left the White House. I think that even though technically true, I think that makes it seem like she can`t be the person who is the wealthy woman that`s serving the lower classes. But is it possible to do that? Absolutely. I think we got to wait for a policy agenda. One of the things that I think is really interesting is her staff has been working closely with the folks at the Roosevelt Institute, many of whom are liberal on things like regulating corporations and Wall Street. So, what comes out of that relationship, what comes out of those discussions, what is her big platform, I think we`re still waiting to hear. Ruth wrote a big column today --   MARCUS: I was disagreeing with you and now you`re being so nice to me. ALLEN: No, but that`s some of the things she has a -- MATTHEWS: OK. Are we being fair? I`m asking for American fairness. It seems like nobody has to take any heat, the Bushes never took heat in the old days. The guy we talked about a few minutes ago, George Herbert Walker Bush, the old man, nobody ever held it against him he was born to the manor. Nobody ever held it against a lot of people. You know, I just wonder, when did we decide certain people shouldn`t be rich? Are we saying the Clinton shouldn`t be rich? ALLEN: It`s the way they got rich. MATTHEWS: Oh, OK. ALLEN: They got rich off their public service, and often times from the very people that they were helping when they were in office. So, I think part of it is that. That`s a huge part of what the negatives on Hillary Clinton are right now. But I do think -- MATTHEWS: But nobody holds Reagan responsible for taking 2 million from the Japanese. FINEMAN: Can I just say that old money becomes more innocent over time? MATTHEWS: Yes. ALLEN: Yes.   (LAUGHTER) MARCUS: Reagan also -- ALLEN: Like the Kennedys. MATTHEWS: Who was it that said behind every great wealth, there`s a great crime? MARCUS: Well, you know, Ann Richards did say that George Bush was born on third base, silver spoon in his mouth. ALLEN: He hit a triple. MATTHEWS: I think she lost the next election too. ALLEN: And we didn`t hold Reagan, and it was controversial at the time, Reagan`s $2 million speech, but he didn`t then want to go back into office. MATTHEWS: Peggy Noonan changed history when she wrote the acceptance speech for George Herbert Walker Bush down in New Orleans. It got to me. She made George Herbert Walker Bush into a regular guy and those magic moments. Dan Quayle didn`t help. The roundtable is staying with us. And up, next, big labor is turning up the pressure on pro-trade Democrats. About 20 of them are facing the heat for supporting the president and the Republican majority on this issue.   HARDBALL, the place for politics -- we`re coming back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham is running for president. If he wins, he`d be the first life-long bachelor in the White House since James Buchanan back in 1856. So, who would be first lady? Well, Graham told "The Daily Mail" that he`d use a member of his family to fill the role. He says, Graham, "I`ve got a sister. She could play that role if necessary. I`ve got a lot of friends. We`ll have rotating first lady." Google search data shows that the number one question people have about Lindsey Graham is, whether he`s married. We`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: We`re back at the roundtable, Howard, Ruth, and Jonathan. Well, the House of Representatives is expected to vote on the big trade bill, granting President Obama trade promotional authority, otherwise known as fast-track. This Friday is the big day. "Politico" reported earlier today that House leaders are confident but not yet certain they have the support to pass sweeping trade legislation are aiming to bring the package to a floor vote by the end of the week, ideally by Friday. To spare -- this is key -- to spare support of lawmakers the possibility of another weekend of attacks by trade foes back in their districts at home. Many of those attacks are coming from labor unions who are targeting Democrats right now who are planning to say yes. As we showed you last week, the AFL-CIO was running a TV ad against California Democrat Ami Berra for supporting the bill. And yesterday, it began airing this TV ad slamming New York Democrat Kathleen Rice, who has also decided to vote for fast-track. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)   NARRATOR: In January, Congresswoman Rice wrote a letter to President Obama, saying she opposed fast-track trade authority, because it would send American jobs offshore and push down wages. In April, she said it again. On Saturday, Rice flip-flopped and now supports exactly that bad policy that experts say costs millions of American jobs we can`t afford to lose. Actions speak louder than words. Why should we ever trust Kathleen Rice again? (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, the leader of the group running that ad, AFL-CIO chief Richard Trumka appeared on MSNBC earlier today sounding confident about labor`s chances to destroy the bill. Let`s watch. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RICHARD TRUMKA, AFL-CIO PRESIDENT: Well, I think we`re going to win on Friday. I think we have the votes. But we`ll see. It will be a close vote. This is going to be the most stark contrast that those 435 people ever had. Either you vote for working people or for corporate entitlements. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, Johnny stopped by my office right after the appearance and he`s confident, he says they got the votes. They say, 70 Republicans may be voting against this. They think no more than 20 Democrats. The numbers work against the passage. Where do you see it? ALLEN: 2002 fast-track bill was 215-214. It`s too close to call at this point.   MATTHEWS: Can the president and the Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi who I am so impressed with, will she help the president on this? ALLEN: I think she`s trying to figure it out. She would like to leverage something more for labor if she can out of some of those Democratic votes. She met today with Denis McDonough, the White House chief of staff, and about four other top White House officials, labor secretary came down to her office, Jeff Zients came down to her officer. They`re all in there huddling -- (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Why don`t they deal anymore? What happened to politician dealing? You go to the congressman, OK, we`ll give you fast track, but give us minimum wage. How about a deal? FINEMAN: That`s why I think this -- MATTHEWS: Nobody does that anymore. FINEMAN: This is basically a conflict between the spirit of American politics right now, which is extremely distrustful of big corporations, global trade and all of that, against the -- what the leaders of the country view as long range interest, presidents always support this kind of thing. I would bet it is going to come down to a couple of votes just like Jonathan says. And even though Barack Obama is not Lyndon Johnson, he`s got the presidency. MATTHEWS: Can he deliver -- FINEMAN: The Republicans have the majority in both the House and the Senate. They got to be able to find a few things -- also Hillary Clinton as John was saying earlier, Hillary Clinton had said nothing. MATTHEWS: Nor has Nancy Pelosi or Steny Hoyer. MARCUS: Nor has Steny Hoyer, exactly.   FINEMAN: With Hillary not coming out -- if Hillary is really going to be a leftist, she would have come out against the thing. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Here she is. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton advocated for President Obama`s trade deal. Here she is. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HILLARY CLINTON, THEN-SECRETARY OF STATE: To continue this progress, we are both pressing ahead on something called the Trans Pacific Partnership. It`s an ambitious multilateral free trade agreement that would bring together many more nations of the Pacific Rim. Australia and the United States are helping to lead those negotiations. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: She did have some concerns about that, in her book. But Bill Clinton, I heard him in Tokyo a couple of months ago completely for the bill. He called it fabulous. FINEMAN: Of course, he was the main proponent of NAFTA of the earlier trade agreement. Hillary has been on both sides of all this. MATTHEWS: OK. But now, Hillary Clinton is staying on the sidelines of the trade debate right now. Here she is. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REPORTER: Do you have any concerns about the trade deal and whether that will hurt the competitiveness here?   CLINTON: Well, any trade deal has to produce jobs and raise wages and increase prosperity and protect our security. And we have to do our part in making sure we have the capabilities and the skills to be competitive. I have said I want to judge the final agreement. I have been for trade agreements. I have been against trade agreements. I tried to make the evaluation depending upon what I thought they would produce and that`s what I`m waiting to see. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: One thing we know -- FINEMAN: Immaterial to the vote coming up. MATTHEWS: Hillary Clinton knows this issue as anybody at this table, Hillary has been an expert, secretary of state when this thing was put together. What does she really believe? Is she for trade or against it? MARCUS: She`s for getting elected and for not annoying the base unnecessarily, and that`s what`s going on here. So, there`s two different levels of the vote. One is whether to support the fast track authority and what the Clinton campaign folks are saying, which is really kind of laughable, is -- well, that`s a kind of procedural vote, that`s really an internal congressional matter. Ha, ha, ha! She would have that authority if she were president. And the second is, whether she supports the Trans Pacific Partnership -- MATTHEWS: I got to go. FINEMAN: The whole vote in the week is whether you see the bill in advance or not. She`s saying I want to see it afterwards. That`s too late.   MATTHEWS: I understand. We play dodge ball growing up. (LAUGHTER) MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you, Howard Fineman. Thank you, Ruth Marcus. And thank you, Jonathan Allen. When we return, let me finish with the failure of our leaders to lead, my point entirely. You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with the failure of our leaders to lead. Am I the only one who sees the immense opportunity for getting things done in this country if only our political leaders would learn how to be politicians again? I look at the big table of opportunities for this country to move ahead and wonder why our political leaders can`t find trades and deals to make. The Democrats desperately want to get the government back into the building business, especially on transportation. Who exactly is against transportation? Is there some senator or member of Congress who wants dangerous bridges, who is happy with trains that shake, rattle and roll, that ramble along like a farmer`s buck board, like the Acela does between D.C. and New York? Is there anyone happy that Memorial Bridge, which we marched across in the march on the Pentagon in 1967 against the Vietnam War is now crumbling? Does anyone wish that President Eisenhower had not built the interstate highway system that unites this country now, Route 95, that cuts north and south, Route 70 and 80 that cut across the continent uniting east and west? Isn`t there a way in all of the clatter of opportunities, the trade build, the minimum wage hike, Keystone, infrastructure spending that grownups can find ways to jam things together and make a go of it? Does everything have to die in the logjam? Does anything we need to get done need to rot on the tracks? Is everything about killing something like Obamacare? Can`t the pols find a way to get something done by letting some things live?   Where are the LBJs, the Tip O`Neills, the Bob Doles, the Bill Clintons? Lincoln built the transcontinental railway in the middle of the civil war, the land grant college system, and with it, scientific agriculture in the same war. I`m waiting for a presidential candidate of either party to propose a deal that would actually get done. I wonder if any have the courage to do it because that would be interesting. And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us. 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.>