Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 07/02/15

Guests: Robert Costa, Ruth Marcus, Jonathan Allen, Michael Tomasky, JayNewton-Small, Michael Tomasky, Francesca Chambers

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: No guts, no glory. Let`s play HARDBALL. Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington. There is something happening in American politics, and it`s not exactly clear. Bernie Sanders is drawing crowds like nobody else, and Donald Trump is spiking to the top of the polls. What are the forces driving voters to give these two very different guys a look, and perhaps even a vote? Election season has begun, certainly, and that`s for sure. And people are looking for someone, left or right, to show some guts. Robert Costa is the great front page national political reporter with "The Washington Post," Michael Steele was chairman of the RNC, and Joan Walsh is editor-at-large with Salon. Well, a new poll out today in Iowa shows that Bernie Sanders is gaining momentum. According to the new Quinnipiac poll, Hillary Clinton still holds the lead in the Hawkeye State with 52 percent to Bernie`s 33 percent. But since May, a couple months ago, Clinton has lost 8 points while Sanders has picked up 18 points. Well, yesterday, a crowd -- a convincing crowd, I must say, of 10,000 people packed the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Madison, Wisconsin, where Sanders played the part of progressive rock star. Here he is going after the country`s political class.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What this campaign is about is creating a political revolution in America! The greed of corporate America and the billionaire class has got to end, and we are going to end it for them! (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) SANDERS: This is not democracy, this is oligarchy, and we have got to end that! (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) SANDERS: They may have the money, but we have the people. And when the people stand together, we can win! Thank you all very much! (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, you had the people, the 10,000 people in Wisconsin. He announced a fund-raising haul, by the way, of $15 million in the last quarter, way ahead of expectations. They`re not actually -- not so bad compared to Hillary Clinton`s $45 million. He got as third as much money as she got in the last quarter. That`s impressive for a guy like him. Anyway, in Republican Land, Donald Trump continues to raise heck. As we showed you yesterday, Trump has shot himself out of a canon, if you will, and is now number two in the Republican field. There he is. Trump has shown even more disdain for the Republican establishment than Bernie has for the Democratic establishment. Here`s an example.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP (R-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Sadly, politicians are all talk and no action. Here`s what`s going to happen. The lobbyists will come and see me, but I don`t give a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) about lobbyists, OK? (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Robert Costa, it`s a lot of fun, and I`ll tell you, I think politics at its best has some fun element. Is this more than fun? ROBERT COSTA, "WASHINGTON POST": I think it`s more than fun in this sense. You`re seeing a movement build on the left and on the right with Trump and Sanders. These bases of both parties, they want to be excited. They want to see someone in the summer months who`s going to capture (ph) them (ph). MATTHEWS: Who were the 10,000 people that showed up... (CROSSTALK) COSTA: Madison`s a progressive capital. That`s University of Wisconsin. Those are people who were marching in the `60s, the sons and daughters of the... (CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Did they get the day off? I always wonder where people come from. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Did they get the day off? COSTA: They`ve been poke and poked by Governor Walker year after year, and they want to see a liberal fighter. MATTHEWS: Michael, what`s going on, on your side or both sides? Because I think there`s something in the air about the political class. And my favorite number is, What do you think of the job performance of the United States Congress? It`s in single digits. That`s the political class left, right and center. And everybody doesn`t like it. MICHAEL STEELE, FMR. RNC CHAIR, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: And Trump speaks right to that. You know, that clip where he says, I don`t give a bleep about lobbyists -- that is the a sentiment of Americans across the country. So while Washington frets about, you know, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, those two men are going out in the country and they`re capturing the imagination. Now, the trick for Trump is not to let his mouth get in front of his message. In other words, he`s got to now take all of that imagery and turn it into something, if he really wants to push for this. MATTHEWS: OK, fine line. How do you still arouse an exciting crowd - - or get a crowd excited without really breaking the rules? Absolute -- it seems to me if you make a direct ethnic shot -- let`s say (INAUDIBLE) joke. If it`s a direct ethnic shot and seen as such, most Americans will rebel against it, except the very hard right. So he -- but he also wants to say, These are corrupt. They don`t know how to run anything. They don`t have a border policy. They don`t have any policy. I don`t trust any of them. That will work. JOAN WALSH, SALON.COM, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, yes, I mean, I think Michael`s always very, very kind to Donald Trump in saying that he has some kind of agenda that`s beyond xenophobia. And I`m not sure he does, or if he does, it is very incoherent. So I`m a little bit uncomfortable.

I think you`re right, Chris, that there is a question of anti- establishment feeling propelling both these candidacies, but I think they`re very different. I mean, we know what Bernie Sanders wants, and a lot of the Democratic Party, let`s be honest, they want it, too. They want single-payer. They want to expand Social Security. They want debt-free college for students. They are sick of the student loan burden carried by our students. That`s all pretty clear. Hillary Clinton supports some of it. We`ll see how much she really supports. On the other hand, Donald Trump, I think, is playing to the worst of the Republican base and really bringing out that xenophobia and nativism. And that`s going to be a problem, I think, for the entire field, if he really keeps poking that hornets` nest. MATTHEWS: Well, I don`t think we have an immigration policy right now. He`s saying we don`t have one. He`s being too damn ethnic about it, but we ought to have an immigration policy. Nobody`s taking responsibility. COSTA: A big difference between Sanders and Trump -- Sanders has an ideology. Trump does not. MATTHEWS: None at all. STEELE: Right. COSTA: Not at all. This is not a coherent political message. STEELE: Exactly. COSTA: This is incoherent.

(CROSSTALK) COSTA: I`ve seen Trump on the trail and... MATTHEWS: Well, wait a minute. Explain his gut attitude. What is it? What are people rallying to him for? Why are they putting him at number 2 in the polls? COSTA: It`s a stew of populism, a little nationalism, businessman`s... (CROSSTALK) STEELE: ... anger, frustration... COSTA: ... anger frustration. And he`s got real touch. I`ve seen him with voters on the trail. They like him. STEELE: He`s really good. No, he`s -- and again, you know, it`s not a question of being kind to Trump. It`s recognizing what he`s able to do with the voters. MATTHEWS: OK, let me try something because I`ve been thinking about it all day and for a couple days. And I want to try it with you, a progressive, Joan. WALSH: OK. MATTHEWS: Could it be that there`s just a lack of strength at the top of these tickets? I mean, Hillary`s going to be there for a while. She`s been there a long time. The current political class seems to have no guts at the top. Everybody`s mealy-mouthed, careful, blah, blah, blah. They got interests around them.

I don`t know who the big, tough leader is that the -- let`s talk Republicans. I don`t think there`s a strong person at the top of the Republican polling. I see Jeb hanging on there by name ID. Eight out of nine Republicans reject him in every poll, eight out of nine. They know who he is, and they`re saying no. So who is the leader of the Republican Party right now? WALSH: Chris, I think... MATTHEWS: Who could beat Trump? WALSH: I think, again, these two parties are very, very different. Hillary Clinton is enormously popular... MATTHEWS: I know. Talk Republicans. WALSH: OK, talk Republicans... (CROSSTALK) WALSH: I`m not sure. I`m not sure. I think -- you know, I think Jeb Bush has been slow to denounce the Mexican comments, even though his wife is Mexican and his kids are of Mexican descent. That`s not leadership. I think he came out and said something today finally. That`s not leadership. MATTHEWS: Yes, he... WALSH: I think they have... MATTHEWS: ... came out like Dukakis.

WALSH: They have a real problem. Right. Right. MATTHEWS: Yes, but it sounds like Dukakis. (CROSSTALK) WALSH: ... says that about your family, don`t you? MATTHEWS: I would say in the debates -- Joan`s got a point. In debates, if I were... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: ... I would say, Excuse me, Mr. Trump, my wife`s a Mexican. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: She`s not a criminal. (CROSSTALK) STEELE: Jeb is not looking to get drawn into that discussion, number one. But number two, as much as you want to sit there and go, Who`s the leader on the Republican side, the Democrats have their own frustrations because if they didn`t, 10,000 people wouldn`t show up to see Bernie Sanders!

MATTHEWS: Do you think they... WALSH: Oh, come on! (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about Bernie Sanders. Do you think they want him to be president? STEELE: Well, that... MATTHEWS: They want him to be president, those 10,000 people? STEELE: It`s not a question of them wanting him to be president. WALSH: Some do. STEELE: What he is doing is they are -- he`s channeling Elizabeth Warren. WALSH: Guys... STEELE: He`s channeling that wing of the party...

WALSH: Guys, can I speak? STEELE: ... that Hillary has not spoken to. WALSH: Can I speak, if only as a Badger? I went to Madison. You could get 10,000 people for a very left-wing person. I love Bernie Sanders. Who knows, I could vote for him. But you can turn out 10,000 people for a progressive in Madison. STEELE: That doesn`t explain the 5,000 in Iowa. It doesn`t explain the 3,000 in New Hampshire. WALSH: Yes... (CROSSTALK) STEELE: In other words, there`s movement... WALSH: I think... STEELE: To Robert`s point, there`s a movement out there for someone in the Democratic side that`s... (CROSSTALK) COSTA: You ask who`s going to be Trump? You talk to every single presidential campaign on the Republican side, they`re not even calculating that because they think he`s going to flame out.

STEELE: Right. That`s (INAUDIBLE) WALSH: Right. COSTA: This is a summer... MATTHEWS: By when? (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Let`s take a look. Trump is reveling in contempt for his opponents. But yesterday, former New York governor and presidential candidate himself, George Pataki, wrote a letter to the Republican field, all of them, urging them to take down Trump. He wrote, "As Donald Trump doubles down, I`m asking to you join me in standing up. Stand up for our party. Stand up now. Denounce his comments today." Well, here was Trump`s response to that. In a tweet, he said "Governor Pataki couldn`t be elected dog catcher if he ran again, so he didn`t." So there again, the ad hominem. And my question is about Bernie -- I want to ask you about -- Joan, about Bernie. You say you`d vote for him. You`re a progressive. But do people really see him as chief executive, the guy or a person in charge of the CIA, the U.S. military, the U.S. Marines? Do they actually see him in that role? WALSH: I don`t know. MATTHEWS: Or do they see him as an ideological avatar, of somebody that they believe...

WALSH: Right. MATTHEWS: ... will express their view, but not to actually have the job of chief executive and commander-in-chief. I don`t think anybody`s thinking, Commander-in-chief Bernie Sanders! It`s unimaginable! WALSH: I think there are very few people thinking that. I think some of his die-hard supporters absolutely think that. But that`s not what`s going on here. And I -- you know, I would think -- I wrote today about the late Michael Harrington, who I admire greatly, a great socialist. He would be thrilled to see the American media advancing American socialism right now because they hate Hillary Clinton, but also because they do want a horse race. So no one is really subjecting Bernie Sanders to the kind of scrutiny... MATTHEWS: Yes. WALSH: ... that they -- that he would get if he were a really serious candidate who had a real chance of toppling her. So I think there`s a kind of weird double standard going on. As a progressive, I`m glad his ideas are out there and he gets to explain them. But no, I don`t think people are sitting here thinking about, Well, what is his policy on Syria? What would he do there? MATTHEWS: Yes. WALSH: That`s not -- that`s not what this is about right now. STEELE: Well, the... MATTHEWS: Well, you`ve invoked the name of Michael Harrington, so you`ve won the gold star from me tonight, a Holy Cross grad who wrote...

WALSH: That`s right. MATTHEWS: ... "The Other America"... WALSH: "The Other America." MATTHEWS: ... and he taught Jack Kennedy about poverty. WALSH: Right. FINEMAN: Bernie Sanders, U.S. senator, he`s been a veterans` advocate, committee chairman. When you talk to his people, they say he`s met the threshold to be commander-in-chief. Treat him with respect. That`s their argument. STEELE: That`s it. MATTHEWS: OK, well, since Pataki`s letter imploring the field to fire Trump, we`ve seen several candidates do it. Let`s watch. Or try to. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don`t need a letter from Governor Pataki. I`ve said from day one that when you label a group of people as rapists and drug dealers, it`s more about you than it is them. What Trump said says more about Trump than it does anybody else. RICK PERRY (R-TX), FMR. GOV., PRES. CANDIDATE: I don`t think he`s reflecting the Republican Party with his statements about Mexicans. I think that was a huge error on his part. And number one, it`s wrong.

We want somebody that`s actually dealt with this before, not somebody that`s just going to shoot from the hip. GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The comments are inappropriate and they have no place in the race. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: OK, and Jeb Bush tried to knock Trump down a notch by saying that, quote, "His views are not reflective of the immigrant experience. He`s just wrong. I don`t spend a lot of quality time going over the Trump message." Michael, do you think that`s a bit elitist? STEELE: I don`t... MATTHEWS: Does he have to take him on a little more directly than that? STEELE: I was going to say it`s not elitist, it`s just indirect. MATTHEWS: Yes. STEELE: I think Jeb should be a little less nice and polite... MATTHEWS: More personal.

STEELE: ... on something like that, because he can relate to it personally. WALSH: Right. STEELE: He turns to his wife and goes, Trump, are you calling my wife... MATTHEWS: And kids! (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: ... George, Sr., said "the little brown ones." I mean, this is an ethnic assault on his family. STEELE: I think that this affords him an opportunity to do that. To your first question, who is going to be the leader here? This is the chance to rise to that. COSTA: No one wants a Sister Souljah moment right now in the Republican Party! (CROSSTALK) COSTA: They`re trying to introduce themselves to the primary voters! WALSH: Right.

(CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: I see a weakness at the top of your list. There`s a lot of interesting candidates here, like Lindsey Graham, who`s never going to be president. What I see is a real problem finding a leader here, and Trump is going for the title. STEELE: I mean, I think... MATTHEWS: And that`s what`s interesting about it. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: He`s not running to be -- and by the way, now that he`s lost those connections to the commercial -- his ship is burned. It`s burned. He`s on the beach. He has to win now. WALSH: It should have happened when he was... MATTHEWS: Let`s see what happens. WALSH: It should have happened when he was preaching birtherism, to be honest. MATTHEWS: Well, there`s something we can go back on. Why didn`t anybody blow the whistle on this guy when he called the president an illegal immigrant? WALSH: Right.

MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you, guys. Thank you, Robert Costa. And thank you, Michael Steele, and Joan. Everybody have a great Independence Day. WALSH: Thanks. MATTHEWS: 4th of July is coming on strong, and we`re going to have to celebrate it tomorrow here. (LAUGHTER) MATTHEWS: Coming up -- President Obama says he`s led a new Reagan revolution -- a Reagan revolution! He says he`s transformed the country, and now he`s looking at Hillary Clinton to complete the job. I wonder how she likes that job? Is Obama the Reagan of the Democrats? Plus, the president`s best week ever is turning into the best month ever. He just knocked another big victory today on the economy. Boy, the unemployment rate`s way down. Jobs are way up. They`re touting it in the back yard of one of his Republican critics, by the way, today, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker. Obama`s sticking it to him. And the country goes on heightened alert heading into the July 4th weekend. Law enforcement says there`s no specific or credible threat right now, but this year, there`s new concern because of the rise of ISIS. Finally, "Let Me Finish" with a statement, a sentiment, rather, that is both progressive and conservative, a sentiment that is very much American right now. And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Well, Jim Webb has made it official he`s running for president. The former U.S. senator from Virginia`s the fifth candidate in the Democratic field. Webb fought in Vietnam and was secretary of the Navy under President Reagan. But his opposition to the war in Iraq helped him upset George Allen in that 2006 Senate race in Virginia.

We`ll be right back after this. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. If Hillary Clinton does win the White House in 2016, it will be the first time since 1988 that a candidate has succeeded another president of the same party. The last was Republican George Herbert Walker Bush, who followed two terms of Ronald Reagan. Well, now there`s new evidence that President Obama is thinking about his own legacy in those terms, and he hopes to repeat what Reagan and Bush achieved 27 years ago. A headline on Politico last night summarized what the president told former White House staffers this week on a private call. Quote, "I`m be Reagan, and Hillary can be Bush 41." Well, according to their unidentified sources, Obama said that, quote, "Much in the same way that the Reagan revolution required both (ph) Bush, Sr., we`ve got to make sure that we`re laying the foundation for the next Democratic president." While it`s unconventional for a Democrat to invoke the name of Reagan, of course, who`s seen as a role model by the Republican Party, it`s not the first time Obama has praised the 40th president`s success advancing his philosophy in office. In the heat of his primary campaign against Hillary Clinton in January of 2008, Obama told the editorial board of the "Reno Gazette Journal" that Reagan transformed America. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I mean, I think Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that, you know, Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not. He put us on a fundamentally different path because the country was ready for it. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Later in that same campaign, when Clinton accused Obama of agreeing with Reagan`s Republican policies, which he didn`t do, Obama said the Democrats need to emulate Reagan`s appeal.

(END VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: You just said that I complimented the Republican ideas. That is not true! What I said had nothing to do with their policies! I spent a lifetime fighting against Ronald Reagan`s policies! But what I did say is that we have to be thinking in the same transformative way about our Democratic agenda. We`ve got to appeal to independents and Republicans in order to build a working majority to move an agenda forward! That is what I said! (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Boy, I agree with the president on that one. So is President Obama the Ronald Reagan of the left? And is he living up to his promise to be a transformative, man -- transformative enough to keep the White House under Democratic control for another four years after his eight years? I`m joined right now by Ruth Marcus of "The Washington Post" and Jonathan Allen of Vox. Let me start with Ruth on this. Can Obama be a Democratic Reagan, meaning a transformative president who hits the history books as someone who really changed history? RUTH MARCUS, "WASHINGTON POST": No, is the short answer. The longer answer is, in terms of having an effect on the country, the type of effect that we heard the president talk about, changing the direction of the country, creating this working majority -- we haven`t seen it happen in the first six years of his presidency, and we`re not going to see it happen in the remaining time. That`s not to say he`s not going to have an important Democratic legacy and a reasonably good shot at being succeeded for the first time since Reagan by his successor of his own party after two terms, but he`s not transformative the way... MATTHEWS: Well, Reagan didn`t create a Republican Congress. He didn`t change politics. MARCUS: But he -- he cemented and created the modern Republican Party in his vision of small government, low taxes and everything else.

Obama does not leave office having created a new vision of a Democratic Party or what he talks about in that clip, which is a country that is somehow transformed by his presidency and united and brought together. Didn`t happen. MATTHEWS: Well, I disagree, but go ahead. I will disagree with you both of you. Go ahead. (LAUGHTER) JONATHAN ALLEN, VOX: Oh, I agree with Ruth on that in terms of the frame. The conceptual frame for the Republican Party is completely Ronald Reagan. The conceptual frame for the Democratic Party is not Barack Obama. You can`t think of that bumper sticker of big ideas that are the Democratic Party`s that came from Barack Obama. I think what is interesting about this is, he is telegraphing to his people that they better get in line and be helpful to her, and at the same time he is telegraphing to her, hey, wait a second, I still have the ability to kind of box you in and needle a bit and tweak you a little bit. Your husband wasn`t much. You won`t be that much. You won`t be... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Well, let`s try a couple things. Bill Clinton supported the Iraq war. He supported the first Gulf War, from what I can tell. Hillary Clinton supported the Iraq War. Obama came along and said we`re not the hawk party, buddies, and he transformed the party, to the unhappiness of the Clintons. But he said, I`m more of the Democratic Party than you guys are. I would say that`s transformative to people like me. MARCUS: But here`s my answer to that.

By the point at which she might have been president eight years ago, Hillary Clinton also had a different point of view on that. George W. Bush was the one who transformed the outlook of the Democratic Party when it comes to foreign entanglements and foreign involvements. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Yes, but Hillary agreed with him. MARCUS: But Barack Obama -- Hillary agreed with Barack Obama. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: No. She agreed with W. MARCUS: Well, she did agree with him, but eventually she agreed with Barack Obama. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: What does eventually mean? When the decision is made is when it matters. MARCUS: No, but what I`m saying is that Barack Obama and his anti-war view, it wasn`t Barack Obama transforming the Democratic Party at that point. The Democratic Party had transformed itself into an anti-war party. MATTHEWS: OK. Fair enough. But he became their leader.

(CROSSTALK) ALLEN: And he is pretty global. This is not somebody who... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: That`s new. ALLEN: ... protectionist. This is not somebody -- this is somebody who wanted to get out of Iraq and Afghanistan. Guess what? We`re still there and we`re going back into Iraq. We have had a drone war all across the world. We are getting into more and more foreign entanglements. You have got a trade deal on the table, the Trans-Pacific Partnership. This is not somebody who transformed the Democratic Party into the old Republican Party... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Let me try it another way. Let me challenge. And I have heard you. MARCUS: Yes. MATTHEWS: Certainly, he`s made the party much more open to the Arab world. He`s been trying since the Cairo speech to make us not just Israel`s guaranteed buddy, but to try to find peace over there. He`s changed that from the party`s view. Secondly, he`s basically said, we`re a free trading party, going beyond Bill Clinton on that and saying we`re going to be a free trading party, whether the Democrats like it or not. We`re going to do that. Certainly, on the environment, he will never sign the Keystone deal, ever. He`s going to be an environment -- we are going to open to Cuba, instead of keeping the Cold War going.

We`re going to go to Cuba and we open our relations with that country. I think he`s done a lot of things that said, you know what? I`m not with the Democratic -- I`m not Hubert Humphrey. I`m not even Jack Kennedy. I`m much more like Kennedy was headed towards. (CROSSTALK) ALLEN: But has he led the party on trade like that? I don`t think he`s led the party on trade. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: No, he`s beaten them. ALLEN: Yes, he beat them. So, he didn`t fundamentally transform the Democratic Party. He just went out and made a deal with John Boehner. MATTHEWS: Yes, now we have a trade policy, which is trade, instead of going an isolationist... (CROSSTALK) MARCUS: Except there`s two different questions. Will Barack Obama leave the presidency with a significant legacy on many of the things that you mentioned? Yes, he will.

I think his legacy is going to be very significant. That`s different from having been transformative, either for his party or for the country. MATTHEWS: OK. Let`s take a look at the initial proposition we started with, which is he said he is going to lay the groundwork for a long-term Democratic leadership in the White House. If you look at President Obama`s current approval ratings, they`re not far from where Ronald Reagan was six-and-a-half years into his presidency. According to the Gallup poll, President Obama stands now at 47 percent, while Ronald Reagan stood at 49 percent in the summer of 1987, a corresponding time. CNN`s most recent poll has President Obama`s approval rating up at 50. So, there you have a president in good enough shape to help get the Democrats elected again, like Reagan was, right? So, that part is true. MARCUS: Absolutely. MATTHEWS: To be a transformative president, you have to transform to something. You have to have a successor. What I thought was interesting in the president`s braggadocio, you might call it, is, I need Hillary to be a success as president, because unless you have a successor who buys your act, you ain`t a transformative president. I thought that was the interesting point he made. And it probably bothers the Clinton people, because he`s saying, oh, that`s our job. (CROSSTALK) ALLEN: He needs someone to walk it in. MATTHEWS: Yes.

ALLEN: And he didn`t even say Hillary. MATTHEWS: You`re right. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: By the way, for the public watching it right now, everybody watching, Jonathan did say that before we went on the air. Your cute line, right before we went in, he said, whoever that successor is. He didn`t say Hillary Clinton. ALLEN: Right. Joe Biden would be the parallel to Bush 41. I don`t think Joe Biden is going to run for president, but I think Joe Biden is looking at running for president. MARCUS: And, look, the president has a clear interest in having a Democratic successor, who will happen to be Hillary Clinton as the nominee, because he is completely right. There are lots of pieces of business, smaller pieces of business that are unfinished. There`s big pieces of business that could be undone by a Republican president, thinking about what could happen with Obamacare. He has a huge interest in seeing her or whoever might be the nominee elected. MATTHEWS: Well, the difference between me and you two people is, I think Obama has been an amazing president, and I think he is a transformative president, a transformative president. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: I think he`s been different than all we have had before. I think he is moving toward a much more globalist presidency, much more outward-looking about trade and environment and climate change. He is looking at things from a very big perspective. And we will see this over the next 20 or 30 years of his life. Anyway, Jonathan Allen...

MARCUS: We will be back in 20 or 30 years. MATTHEWS: ... and... (LAUGHTER) MATTHEWS: No, you`re already here. And you`re wrong. (LAUGHTER) MATTHEWS: Anyway, Ruth Marcus, thank you very much. I`m kidding. I am kidding. Up next, a tense morning at the Washington Navy Yard today is a reminder that the country is on heightened alert right now heading into the July 4 holiday weekend. We will have the latest on that, the danger here in the country, when we come back. And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

Federal authorities have worn local law enforcement about the risk of possible terror attacks this holiday weekend. Officials say there`s no specific threat out there, but they say this year is different than previous years thanks to the rise of ISIS. In fact, last week, a spokesman for ISIS called on its followers to carry out attacks during Ramadan. Well, there was a scare in Washington today, as local and federal security officials rushed to the Navy Yard after a worker reported what she thought was gunfire. The premises were swept by officers. But they found no evidence of a shooting. Meanwhile, in England, U.S. Air Force officials over there have canceled July 4 events at a Royal Air force base, due to what they call local threat assessments. Meanwhile, back home, the concern is especially acute in places like here in Washington and in New York, where massive crowds are expected to descend for fireworks shows. Anyway, NBC`s Savannah Guthrie got a rare glimpse this week into the security operation the New York Police Department uses to protect that city, including a look at one the department`s intelligence nerve centers. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) SAVANNAH GUTHRIE, NBC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Here, officers work 24/7 monitoring images feeding in from thousands of security cameras around the 60. On the streets, toward respond within minutes, the NYPD`s so-called Hercules Teams are heavily armed and on the move. They travel with officers specially trained and equipped to detect any radiological weapons, also known as dirty bombs. And with barges for the fireworks already in place, radiation- detecting speedboats patrol the waterways. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This whole waterway will be shut down. GUTHRIE: But we got a real job of the job Chief Waters and his officers handle when we took to the skies, in choppers equipped with cameras so powerful, they can zoom into street level, a key intelligence tool.

(END VIDEOTAPE) MATTHEWS: For more, I`m joined by NBC News justice correspondent Pete Williams. Pete, how do we put it all together, the threat here perhaps by lone wolves of the ISIS variety? PETE WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS JUSTICE CHIEF CORRESPONDENT: That is the big concern, because of course it is almost impossible to track them all. And ISIS is reaching out, in the last six months has sort of changed its tactics, officials say, reaching out to a much younger audience, people who are under 25, especially under 21, even juveniles. And they work this aggressively. They have thousands and thousands of these social media tweets that come in every day. They try to befriend these people, persuade them to come across to ISIS. The Fourth of July week has always been, since 9/11, something of concern because of the symbolic nature of it, but it is different this year because of two factors, the one, this additional threat of ISIS, and, secondly, the fact that it comes during Ramadan, when ISIS has separately said people ought to be thinking about attacking the West. MATTHEWS: How do they take aggressive steps? Is it rounding up the usual suspects? How do you go out and try to reduce the number of potential lone wolves? WILLIAMS: Excellent question. And you`re right, that is part of it. We have seen something like a dozen or so arrests in the last month. These are people who have been under surveillance and that the FBI or local police believe were on the verge of taking action. But there still are hundreds of people who are under surveillance around the country. The FBI has said it has active investigations in every state. So that`s part of it, trying to keep your eyes on the people that are worrisome because they have come to your attention. But the real heartburn is over the people that haven`t come to their attention, that might be sitting there in the basement and thinking about doing something. And then the other part of it is the big police presence. NYPD says it will be the largest police presence for the Fourth of July in that city`s history, will have a more visible presence here this Washington. A similar message from police around the country, but their other message is this, Chris. They don`t want people to get freaked out by this.

One purported ISIS supporter said today, Americans are terrified now at the Fourth of July. That`s not the response that they want here. They want people to show up for these events, have confidence in the police presence, but be alert and, if they see something suspicious, report it. MATTHEWS: Well said. Thanks so much, NBC`s Pete Williams. Have a happy Fourth of July, sir. WILLIAMS: Same to you. MATTHEWS: Up next: President Obama heads to Wisconsin, where Scott Walker is there, to do a little bragging about the economy. Well, it looks like the president`s best week ever is turning into his best month ever, based on the economic numbers coming into today. You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The last seven years, shoot, the last seven days, should remind us, there is nothing America cannot do. (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) OBAMA: There`s no challenge we can`t solve. (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: There are inspired Americans who prove this every single day. (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) (END VIDEO CLIP) (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MILISSA REHBERGER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Milissa Rehberger. Here`s what`s happening. A prominent senior ISIS leader was killed in an airstrike in Syria. A $3 million reward had been offered for information leading to his capture. meanwhile, here in the U.S., authorities say they are unaware of any specific threats this Fourth of July. New York City`s police commissioner say thousands of police will be deployed this holiday weekend. And more than 5,000 people were evacuated after a train carrying a flammable toxic gas partially derailed outside of Knoxville, and 10 officers who were exposed to those fumes were hospitalized -- back to HARDBALL. MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Well, the June jobs report is out. And with the addition of 223,000 jobs, the unemployment rate went down to 5.3 percent. That`s the lowest in seven years. Wages aren`t increasing as much as workers would like, of course, but people are going to work. President Obama has overseen 64 straight months now of job growth. That`s the longest streak on record. The president is on a roll.

Let`s watch. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: It`s been a remarkable few weeks in America. (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) OBAMA: Health care is now affirmed as something everybody can get, not just some. (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) OBAMA: The freedom to marry who you love, that`s now open to all of us. Yes, the unemployment rate is now down to 5.3 percent. (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) OBAMA: Keep in mind, when I came into office, it was hovering around 10 percent. (END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Anyway, building on his wins, Obama went to Wisconsin today to push his initiative to guarantee overtime pay to salaried workers earning less than $50,000 a year. Anyway, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker officially gets into the crowded GOP field next week. Known for doing battle with big labor, Governor Walker greeted the president today when Air Force One touched down in La Crosse. Any way, the president took a thinly veiled swipe at Walker just moments later. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: Over the next year-and-a-half, you are going to hear a lot of pitches from a lot of people. They are going to deny that any progress has been made. We have got some healthy competition in the Democratic Party. I have lost count of how many Republicans are running for this job. (LAUGHTER) OBAMA: They will have enough for an actual Hunger Games. (LAUGHTER) (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) (END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, joining me now in our roundtable tonight is Jay Newton-Small of "TIME" magazine, Michael Tomasky of The Daily Beast, and White House correspondent for "The Daily Mail" Francesca Chambers. We had a segment a while ago where I was defending this president as a major force in history. And I will stick to it because of these numbers coming out right now, because this is tough political times in this country. People aren`t happy, but yet he is putting stuff on the board. Michael... MICHAEL TOMASKY, THE DAILY BEAST: Yes. Well... MATTHEWS: He is putting numbers on the board, and he`s getting history on the board, because I watched the Democrats talk about health care and the Republicans like Nixon and Teddy Roosevelt talk about health care, and it never happened. Now we got it through Supreme Court. It`s happened. And we have same-sex. Nobody thought that would ever happen, lots of stuff. TOMASKY: Pretty -- yes, a pretty substantial presidency, no question about it. Now, if the jobs numbers hold out, he is going to end up having created -- or not he -- I shouldn`t say he created. The economy will end up having created on his watch something on the order of 7 million jobs or something like that, which puts him not in Clinton territory, not quite Reagan territory who`s in second place. But other than that, right up there. Now, wages have to go up. That`s the big thing. The labor force participation rate actually in today`s job report, that wasn`t a very good piece of it. But the jobs numbers, sustained, sustained, sustained, 240,000 jobs a month, month after month after month. That will make wages rise. MATTHEWS: You know, he was left in the dumper, or whatever the right word is, by the Republicans. He came in. I went back and looked at the numbers.

I mean, the labor, the number of people working in this country was really going down for a couple years. Even when he came in, it was still going down. JAY NEWTON-SMALL, TIME MAGAZINE CORRESPONDENT: People were starting to question if it was possible to have a successful second term presidency. You look at Clinton. It was tarred by Monica. Bush, tarred by Iraq and the financial crisis. So, people are saying the first three years -- MATTHEWS: Do you know economics? Do you? NEWTON-SMALL: Of course. MATTHEWS: OK, let me ask you an economic question. I don`t know the answer. It is not a rhetorical question. NEWTON-SMALL: OK. MATTHEWS: If you had gone with an austerity policy like the Brits did, would -- you know, like Cameron did over there in the conservative party, would this have gotten back the economy the way it has? If he had say, I`m going to squeeze everything down, we`re going to stop spending, we`re going to tighten the belt, would have worked? Based on history right now? NEWTON-SMALL: That`s a huge debate to have and clearly Republicans would say no and Democrats would say absolutely. I`m sorry. Republicans would say yes, and Democrats would say -- MATTHEWS: Is there any anecdotal evidence of that, Francesca, that a tightened belt conservative policy rather than his expansionary would have worked? He had a policy and it worked. FRANCESCA CHAMBERS, DIALY MAIL WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I will say, I agree. I think it is difficult to get into counterfactual here.

But it`s undeniable that the president had a really good week. He is having a great month. I mean, it is undeniable the unemployment rate went down significantly since he took office, like he said today. It was nearing 10 percent at the beginning of his presidency. Now, it is down to 5.9. MATTHEWS: How is that going to help on the left? With the angry labor people, like Richard Trumka, and the really legitimate leaders of labor and all, and, you know, people like Bernie Sanders out running for the nomination. They`re angry about the trade deal. He now say, look, I`ve cared about jobs, I`ve about employment, I`ve cared about wages, this is the best anybody has done. So, believe in me and believe in my good faith. Will that work? Or is labor still going to be mad at him? CHAMBERS: If I look at the polls for the president, he is at 50 percent now. But along the way the unemployment rate has been steadily going down and you see Americans are upset about the economy. They still think it`s not good enough, partially because they`re not making enough wages. So, I don`t know if this job report is going to be what does it, specifically because of what you said about trade. I think they`re very upset about the trade deal and that`s not going to go anywhere because he hasn`t actually finalized the trade deal yet. That`s going to have to come back up. That`s going to come back to Congress -- MATTHEWS: No, the trade adjustment stuff. Yes. But it`s not the bill, true. CHAMBERS: Yes, but the trade deal itself. He has to actually make, it has to come back. MATTHEWS: Yes, but he`ll have the Republicans to do that. NEWTON-SMALL: Labor is going to be never fully happy with him because the kinds of jobs that are coming back are not manufacturing jobs. They`re not labor kind of jobs. MATTHEWS: How many manufacturing jobs are organized in the United States right now? NEWTON-SMALL: That`s the question I don`t --

MATTHEWS: Isn`t it funny? I`m teasing. How many jobs, the answer, a million and a half. We do not have a big manufacturing sector in this country anymore. We just don`t. Other countries do. We have lost it, Michael. TOMASKY: Yes. We`ve lost a lot of that. And TPP, that`s going to be a big hang-up between Obama and the unions. No question about it. It will be a hang-up between Hillary Clinton and the unions too because I would suspect she`s going to come out for it at some point. MATTHEWS: Well, President Obama is loosening up, after so many winds, he broke into song today while in Tennessee, actually yesterday, in a town hall on health care. Let`s listen to his latest tone. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Is your name really Davy Crockett? That`s a cool name. You don`t have the beaver cap. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`ve got one at the house. OBAMA: Do you remember that TV show? Actually, a lot of people are too young here. Davy, Davy Crockett. I love that. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: He started with Al Green a few years ago, right? He did "Amazing Grace". Now Davy Crockett. He is too young for this. He wasn`t around during those days. NEWTON-SMALL: Maybe just loved the reruns. I loved the reruns I loved the reruns. TV Land, who doesn`t love that?

MATTHEWS: Yes, went to Washington, served a spell. Fixing up the government and laws as well. You can`t beat those lyrics, Francesca. CHAMBERS: No. I mean, I think it is clear because of all the issues that have been cleared up with the Supreme Court and trade and everything, he is in a jovial mood. He`s very happy. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: He must work out every day because he`s skinny as ever. The guy looks like he`s floating on air. Anyway, the round table is sticking with us. And up next, conservative columnist George F. Will`s warning for Republican candidates who are fighting the Supreme Court`s gay marriage ruling. I think he`s being straighten up here, not being too unhinged, or you won`t be taken seriously. I like it when the sober-minded Republicans warned the rests of them. Cool it. We`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Remember when Chris Christie tried to explain away his low presidential poll numbers in New Jersey by saying it`s because people want him to stay governor? Well, it turns out that was all spin. A new Monmouth University poll asked Jersey voters again whether Christie would make a good president? Only 27 percent said yes, 69 percent of New Jerseyans said no. Well, the poll followed up with those who said Christie wouldn`t make a president and only 5 percent -- 5 percent said they would rather have him stay on as governor. Eighty-nine percent said they answer that way because they really think he`d make a lousy president.

And we`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: We`re back with the roundtable, Jay, Michael and Francesca. Well, Republican opposition to the Supreme Court`s gay marriage decision last week could be a losing strategy if they want to win the White House in 2016. The "Washington Post`s" David Ignatius writes, "At the very time moderate Republicans want to escape positions that isolate them from an increasingly did I have country, some hard right leaders seem toward double down on limiting version of traditional values," their phrase. Conservative columnist George F. Will takes it a step further, running "16 months before the election, some candidates are becoming too unhinged to be plausible presidents." Among them Scott Walker is calling for a constitutional amendment that allows states to ban same-sex marriage. Here he was a few weeks prior to the (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: If the court decides that, the only next approach is for those who are supporters of marriage being defined as between one man and one woman is ultimately to consider pursuing a constitutional amendment. JONATHAN KARL, ABC: So, you would favor a constitutional amendment that would say the states are allowed to ban same-sex marriage. WALKER: I believe the decision to defining marriage should be left up to the states, yes. (END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: I like the way Jonathan Karl, he plays him like that. Anyway, the Ted Cruz, he -- from Texas is taking on the court itself and calling for federal judges to face periodic retention elections. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: We need to hold the justices into account. I`m therefore proposing an amendment to the United States Constitution that would subject each and every justice of the Supreme Court to periodic judicial retention. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, that`s demagoguery I`d say, in this sense, if we have judges up for reelections nationally, then judges are basically politicians and have to meet the standards of the latest poll. CHAMBERS: Yes, that absolutely politicizes the court. You know, the one thing you didn`t show that I found most shocking was Bobby Jindal who says he was being glib when he said he but he said maybe we should get rid of the entire Supreme Court. I mean, that one to me -- MATTHEWS: This is so unoriginal. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: I grew up with the court but they act like it`s a brand-new idea to attack the Supreme Court, a fresh new notion of American politics. Trashing the court is what is going on since Roosevelt didn`t like the court, he tried to pack it and conservatives didn`t like it because Brown case and the rest of it, they didn`t like the prayer in school case, so they trashed it. TOMASKY: Lincoln -- didn`t Lincoln try to make it 13 people or something like that? It goes way back.

MATTHEWS: So boring. TOMASKY: It`s going to be a huge issue. MATTHEWS: Let`s play with this idea of Cruz`s. He`s a lawyer, went to Harvard law, he`s a brilliant guy in many ways academically at least. NEWTON-SMALL: Former solicitor general of the state. MATTHEWS: How did he think would work, where every eight years would have a retention election? So, the Supreme Court justice would have campaign, presumably they have to raise money, presumably they have to go around the country and had advertising and the people that didn`t like it would run advertising campaigns against it. Is this an improvement? I should have said saved that question for him. NEWTON-SMALL: How can you honestly think that more elections, more money, more politicization, would they join political parties? MATTHEWS: What about the impoverished professorial justice who doesn`t have any money? TOMASKY: Of course, he doesn`t actually think this, Chris. Of course, he doesn`t think this. This is something that sounds good, good read meat for his crowd and, actually, as a matter of fact, if we had something like that on at least on the question of same-sex marriage in most jurisdictions in the country, the judges who are against same-sex marriage would get voted out. He doesn`t mean this. MATTHEWS: So, why have judges if it`s all about elections? It`s not an independent judiciary. It could be anything else, but it`s no independent. They have to run free elections. CHAMBERS: It`s like Bobby Jindal said, let`s just get rid of the entire branch of government. MATTHEWS: It`s like, let`s get rid of the IRS. Who is going to collect taxes if not the IRS? Do they think, there won`t be taxes? Oh, there won`t be taxes then, and there won`t be judges?

CHAMBERS: Again, a lot of these are over reactions to an adverse ruling, which I think they should have seen coming. I think it was clear how the court was going to rule on this, but I think a lot of them are honestly responding with an overreaction. Maybe he doesn`t think that. You know, maybe he`s just saying that. MATTHEWS: You don`t think they are afraid of an unpopular government but popular government. They`re afraid that 62 percent of independent voters in this country support same-sex marriage. They`re afraid the black helicopter is coming from a government that`s popular. They`re being the odd man now. That`s why they want to be armed to the teeth. They are afraid of the popular views of this country. They don`t like the way we`re headed in this country, and I understand that. NEWTON-SMALL: I mean, like, how are they ever going to appeal to young voters, 74 percent of whom believe in same-sex marriage or climate change? None of them believe in climate change and this is happening. CHAMBERS: The vast majority I don`t think they need to change views because no one is naming those real realistically, not no one, but most are saying it`s the economy. It`s terrorism. It`s all these issues that aren`t climate change or gay marriage in 2016. MATTHEWS: Let me remind you, they are voting on guns. Don`t under estimate that. Thank you, Jay Newton-Small, Michael Tomasky, Francesca Chambers, very voluminous names. When we return, let me finish with a sentiment that is both progressive and conservative, a sentiment that is very much American right now, like it or not. You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with a sentiment that`s progressive and conservative, a sentiment that is very much American. There`s a growing sense left and right in this country that the political class, meaning the people who run for office every time, much like those kids in school who ran for class president or student body president every year, are not looking out for the country. They don`t take responsibility for stopping illegal immigration or for keeping control of federal budget, or for focusing on protecting this country from a dangerous world, but are instead drags us into regional fights that have really little to offer us in terms of security here. Instead, the political class is seen everybody raising millions from the powerful both from the billionaires and special interest groups instead of seeing elected politicians taking on the social interest. We see them kissing them to get their campaign checks. It`s humiliating and worse then, it convinces us that we Americans are not being protected and looked out for by people who will do anything or do nothing simply to keep their jobs. This is why Bernie Sanders is drawing big crowds, why Donald Trump is vault to the very top echelon and opinion polls. People want what they are selling for the simple reason that the perennial political class are grabbing the offices but refusing to meet the duties of national security of those officers are charged with. There is a reason the U.S. Congress has a single digit level job approval right now. It`s nine out of ten of us have no confidence they are doing the job up there.

If you don`t like that explanation of why Bernie and Donald are doing so well, come up with another. That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us. Have a very happy Fourth of July. "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.>