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Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 07/30/15

Guests: Jay Newton-Small, Nedra Pickler, Dave Weigel, Matt Schlapp, DebbieWasserman Schultz

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: What's the story on this Trump thing? Is this a campaign or a comic book? Let's play HARDBALL. Good evening. I'm Chris Matthews in Washington. When you hear this guy -- and who can't -- you're hearing a mating call to the American people. And guess what? A lot of people on the right and center right are calling back. What's he got the others don't? They're talking, too, but the only guy Americans are actually hearing is that billionaire from the Big Apple. Is this a summer romance, or the real thing? And what do you think? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP (R-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Here's what's going to happen. The lobbyists will come see me, but I don't give a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) about lobbyists, OK? (LAUGHTER) TRUMP: I had an idea! I thin it's good. Every time Mexico really intelligently, sends people over, we charge Mexico $100,000 for every person they send over. (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)   TRUMP: How could Bush be in first place? This guy can't negotiate his way out of a paper bag! (LAUGHTER) TRUMP: I see your senator. What a stiff. What a stiff, Lindsey Graham. He gave me his number. And I found the card! I wrote the number down. I don't know if it's the right number. Let's try it, 202 -- (DELETED) (LAUGHTER) TRUMP: So I don't know. Give it a shot. (LAUGHTER) TRUMP: Your local politician, you know? He won't fix anything, but at least he'll talk to you. We're going to make a tour. We're going to the border. And we'll see you later. Hopefully, we'll see you later. People say, Oh, it's so dangerous, what you're doing, Mr. Trump. It's so dangerous, what you're doing. I have to do it. I have to do it. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Anyway, Michael Steele was RNC chair, David Weigel's a national political reporter with "The Washington Post," and Joan Walsh is editor-at- large with Salon. Both of those two are MSNBC political analysts. So if you watch him every day -- Joan, you first. You put the Americans out. I got my arms wide out here. It's every one of his -- it's a predictable gesture. So he's making a proposal. I think this would say this is the gesticulation you make -- Is this OK? Are you buying this?   (LAUGHTER) MATTHEWS: Are you accepting me? It's the hands in the air -- in the air, OK? So are the people -- why are the people saying, a lot of them, yes, yes? So why are they saying it? We're going to get to some points here because we got a focus group up in New Hampshire we're going to get to, and those people are saying, yes, we like what (ph) you're calling us. We're calling you back. Your thoughts. JOAN WALSH, SALON.COM, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, you know... MATTHEWS: Joan Walsh. WALSH: ... he's not my cup of tea, but Chris... MATTHEWS: Well, I knew that! (LAUGHTER) WALSH: I know, but what I see when I look -- even I see when I look at him is a certain passion that's lacking from a lot of the other candidates. MATTHEWS: Oh.   WALSH: You know, he really seems like he wants to be there. He's having a ton of fun. It's the summertime. He's very entertaining. He's saying a lot of crazy things that kind of make sense to people because they're so simplistic and they're so impossible. But he's scratching an itch. And you know, we've talked before about he is -- the party is reaping what it sows in terms of kind of the crude and cruel things he's said. But he's definitely -- he's a great entertainer and he's got our attention and he's having a great time. And he's -- you know, right now, he's is leading. MATTHEWS: You know, George (ph), you see the warm (ph) act -- or the warm- up back to the real thing because I don't know when we're going to know the answer to that because people are saying yes to this guy, and they don't even hear the other guys. They don't -- who sits around and thinks about Huckabee? Give me a break. DAVE WEIGEL, "WASHINGTON POST": I saw the... MATTHEWS: Do (INAUDIBLE) I'm doing what he's doing. I'm making a proposition here, a proposition! (LAUGHTER) MATTHEWS: This is the way he talks. WEIGEL: I saw that myself in Iowa this weekend because Chris Christie was there about 10:00 AM with a town hall, close to Des Moines, 120 people. Donald Trump was way down the road, much more rural area -- 1,300 people. And I feel Christie more than anybody has suffered from this, right? If what you want is... MATTHEWS: Yes. That was his style. WEIGEL: Yes. If you want straight talk, then Christie can't compete with that, even if he has actual facts and numbers and Trump has things he'll do somehow magically without Congress. They loved it. I mean, this -- I think this story is more about the people showing up for him... MATTHEWS: Well, is he like a really good country auctioneer, even though he's a big city (INAUDIBLE) You've seen auctioneers. They (INAUDIBLE) I remember going to one of this (ph) auction. This guy would said, Now, this is really good rope. This isn't clothesline. This is really good -- what, it was a piece of rope!   (LAUGHTER) MATTHEWS: And he making it the biggest deal in the world. He was selling it! MICHAEL STEELE, FMR. RNC CHAIR, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, there's a little -- there's a little bit of that. But I think the overarching thing here -- and you're right, he's opening himself up... MATTHEWS: You're doing it! STEELE: No, but that's it... MATTHEWS: You're doing it! You're doing it, too! STEELE: He's opening himself up... (CROSSTALK) STEELE: ... people were embracing that. He's not closed off from people, and that makes a difference. MATTHEWS: Well, let's take a look at these. He's got a big lead right now in New Hampshire, where Bloomberg's John Heilemann just conducted a focus group of 12 Republicans up in Manchester who said they like Trump. So to get this straight, it's not a regular (INAUDIBLE) all kinds of Republicans. These are the people that got an inclination to like this guy. Let's watch them in action, why they say they like him. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)   UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He doesn't care what people think. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Unchoreographed. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is honor (ph). UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I like his roughness, and a little Reaganesque. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's not a politician. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's not going to be -- like he said, I won't be bought off. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trump is a threat... UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes! UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... because he doesn't fit in the same box all the other Republicans are in. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's, like, one of us. He may be a millionaire, which separates him from everybody else. But he -- but besides the money issue, he's still in tune with what everybody is wanting. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's successful. I want to be a billionaire.   UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tell me what you think a Trump presidency would look like. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Classy. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It would be nice to see that debt clock start going the opposite way. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think we could be a proud American again. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To the American people, it would be a presidency of hope. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Wow. Joan Walsh, your reaction to -- the woman especially grab me because they -- it's the kind of -- I don't want to get too sexual or gender here, but the kind of guy he is, they seem to be getting at. Something about him they liked. You know what I mean. WALSH: Yes, I guess I do. It's really hard for me. I mean, I look at those people, and I feel sad, you know? That is -- that is really such a low common denominator. They're all Republicans. They're not all going to vote for him. They're not all going to vote for him, but they all -- they all seem to see this wishful thinking, this wishful... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Low common denominator. What did you mean by that? STEELE: Geez!   MATTHEWS: What did you mean by "low common denominator"? WALSH: They're -- they're really -- they really don't have a firm grasp on reality, on what it's going to take to solve the country's... STEELE: Oh, my God! WALSH: ... problems. They don't! I'm sorry. We're all going to sit here... MATTHEWS: Joan, they're all going to get this tape. Joan, he's going to grab... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: He's going to say, That's the elite media looking down at the lowest common denominator. STEELE: Exactly! You want to know why... (CROSSTALK) WALSH: I'm fine -- you know what, guys? I'm fine with that. MATTHEWS: You're fine with it, too. I'm fine with it.   WALSH: I'm fine... MATTHEWS: You said it, but I think he will jump on it. STEELE: No, I'm not fine with it. MATTHEWS: Your thoughts. STEELE: I'll tell you why, because you want to know why Trump is doing what Trump is doing and the way he's doing it because of comments like that, because of attitudes like that, where, you know... WALSH: Oh, sure. STEELE: ... your highbrow is looking down on my lowbrow. You are better - - somehow better than me. And as the woman said... WALSH: No, I don't think I'm better than them! No, I don't! STEELE: Well, but you're... WALSH: But they're not thinking. STEELE: Whether you said it or not...   WALSH: They want to be entertained. STEELE: Joan, your comments relate that way, and that's the problem. And so when people hear that, whether it's from the media or Republicans in the party, they go, This guy -- as the woman said, He's speaking to me. I may not agree with everything he's saying, but he's one of us. He's a billionaire, but he's one of us. Your comment, Joan, does not come off as you're one of us. And as long as they hear that, they're not going to... MATTHEWS: You know, David... (CROSSTALK) WALSH: I'm so much more one of them than he is. I was not born to wealth, for God's sake, Michael Steele. STEELE: Go back to what you said. MATTHEWS: Keep up that, Joan. I think you're right. It's fascinating. WALSH: Thank you. MATTHEWS: The whole thing is ironic. First of all, the women are offering a number of different sensibilities. They're (INAUDIBLE) straight talk is always more popular. But they sort of suggest he's not one of those pencil-neck politicians. He's a real guy. I heard that there, too, the woman with the tattoos. I heard that. There's something (INAUDIBLE) woman good -- the good -- "The Good Wife" on TV, where Diane, the lawyer, likes the sort of rough and ready guy who's the ballistics expert. That's her idea of a guy. He does come off more rough and ready than some of these other guys. WEIGEL: I think Chairman Steele was exactly right, that we might think of elitism and the 1 percent as how much money you have, and that's not how voters who like him think about elitism. I mean, in Iowa...   MATTHEWS: They think he's a regular guy who happens to be rich. WEIGEL: Oh, yes. Exactly. MATTHEWS: Rather than a different guy. WEIGEL: Exactly. In Iowa... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: ... I would behave if I were rich. STEELE: Like the guy said, I want to the a billionaire, too. MATTHEWS: I have the money, then I can say what I want. STEELE: Right. MATTHEWS: I can have the girls I want, if you will, and he's sort of a guy known for attractive women around him. STEELE: And they respect how he made it. And maybe they've stayed in a hotel (INAUDIBLE) New York.   MATTHEWS: A gold tower. WEIGEL: In Iowa, his biggest applause lines (INAUDIBLE) speech weren't even immigration. It was attacking "The Des Moines Register," which said he needed to drop out of the race because he was coarsening the discourse. And to them, that's the elite. MATTHEWS: He told that newspaper to drop out of the race! (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: He said nobody reads it or respects it around here (INAUDIBLE) in Iowa. Anyway, a new Quinnipiac poll out today has Donald Trump leading the field nationwide by a margin of 7 points over Scott Walker, who I think will be the ultimate beneficiary of this guy, anyway, Walker. Trump is 10 points clear of Jeb Bush -- Jeb Bush, the establishment candidate. Meanwhile, newcomer John Kasich has jumped to eighth place. But here's the impressive part. It's a Trump sweep among all the major Republican demographics. The billionaire from New York City, from the Big Apple, is top choice for all Tea Party people. He's guy who described holy communion, by the way, as "those little crackers." He's number one choice among white born-again evangelicals. He's number one among Republicans who identify themselves as very conservative, as somewhat conservative, as moderates. And Trump leads the field among both men -- got it here, Joan -- and women. What do you make of that, women? WALSH: I saw that. Look, all of us have been wrong so far about him. I mean, I want to say, a lot of people thought that that remark about the cracker, Chris, was going to be the end of him with evangelicals, but it wasn't. He keeps succeeding, and I think it's really a sign of the weakness of this field that no one else is exciting. No one else is telling it supposedly like it is. And people are just not -- they're not paying attention. John Kasich had a great opportunity with his opening speech. We all fell asleep. I mean, there's really nobody who's going out there...   MATTHEWS: Well, I didn't fall asleep. WALSH: ... and making... MATTHEWS: I find him interesting. Anyway, let's -- Joan, it's a good point... WALSH: That speech, though? Come on! MATTHEWS: ... and I knew you'd say something like this. We don't know -- well, OK. You're right, from your perspective. WALSH: (INAUDIBLE) MATTHEWS: Anyway, by the way, Donald Trump traveled to Turnberry -- you're tough. I'm just trying to survive here. Anyway, Turnberry, Scotland -- he was over there today, Donald Trump, to host -- catch this, Joan! -- the women's British Open golf championship. He's a guy for women. He didn't pass up a chance to slam the political class back here. Let's watch Trump in Scotland. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: For the last few months, I've been -- I hate to use the word -- I've been a politician because I talk about politicians, all talk, no action. They don't get job done. They're terrible. Our country is going to hell because that's what they do. They talk, and there's no action, which I think we're so politically correct in our country that people are sick and tired of it, and things aren't getting done. I mean, we're diplomatic in our country, and everybody hates us all over the world. We're politically correct, and the world hates the United States.   (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: You know, the weird thing about that phrase, politically correct -- I think Dinesh D'Souza cooked it up years ago -- meaning (INAUDIBLE) you don't make ethnic slurs. That's politically correct. What is it that politically correct is wrong? What's wrong with politically correct? It's a nice phrase because... STEELE: It's you're judging what I say. You're judging how I live. You're making judgments about me if I don't fit your predefined notion of what I should be or what I say. So if I feel a certain way, if I want to express something a certain way, all of sudden, that's off limits. And so guy like Trump comes in and goes, Well, that's just BS. This is how I talk. This is how I am. Deal with it. And as we can see, the Republican field right now and the RNC can't deal with it. And that's what's attractive about him and why people like what he's saying and what he's doing is that he's pushing that envelope, and is going to -- we'll see next week whether or not he makes people rise up to him and do a Trump, you know, play that Trump card, or if they stay back just to be cautious, as they've been so far. MATTHEWS: I don't see how -- all you guys, I don't see how they go from liking Trump this summer and falling in love with Jeb Bush next summer. I don't see it happening. He's pulling the party away from the establishment. STEELE: But we've seen that before, though. MATTHEWS: Not like this. This heat (ph) -- I don't think you can fall in love with that guy having dated this guy. Anyway... WALSH: But women will not go... MATTHEWS: (INAUDIBLE) happens. WALSH: Women are not going to go for Donald Trump, OK? We had some women in a Republican focus group that found something about him...   MATTHEWS: But we also have it in the polls. STEELE: But we have it in the polls now. MATTHEWS: He's leading in the polls. STEELE: It's not just the focus group. WALSH: That's true, among Republican women. But this -- he's not going to wear well among -- I mean, I really don't... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Joanie, you don't get to vote in the Republican primaries! WALSH: That is true. MATTHEWS: You don't get a vote! You're brilliant and wonderful and a friend of mine, but you don't get a vote in their primary. WALSH: You're right. MATTHEWS: This is an away game for you.   WALSH: You're right. MATTHEWS: Anyway -- I'm just teasing. Why am I so tough? You're wonderful. Thank you. I'm talking like Trump, like this, with the arms up! (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: We all talk like that. Anyway, thank you, Michael Steele. Thank you, Dave Weigel. And thank you, Joan Walsh. Coming up, just one week to go before the all-important first Republican debate. Ohio governor John Kasich's on the rise and could well make the cut. But the big question for everyone on stage, how do you handle Donald Trump? And how do these candidates prepare for someone as wild as that guy? Plus, even Mitt Romney says Ted Cruz went too far by calling the Obama administration the leading financier of terrorism after the Iranian deal. Well, tonight, the top five most over-the-top things the right-wing redhots have said about the nuclear deal. And Donald Trump versus Bernie Sanders. Trump offers a new bit of improv every night, which Bernie's pitch is as reliable as a vaudeville performance. But guess what? In a head-to-head match-up, Bernie wins big over Trump. Finally, "Let Me Finish" with a question, my question. Is this really how we pick a president? And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: NBC News confirmed today that the airplane fragment found washed up on the shore of Reunion Island is from a Boeing 777 aircraft, and it points to Malaysia Airlines flight 370, which has been missing since March of last year. The island when the debris was found is approximately 4,000 miles from the last known location of the airplane, far from the search area.   I'm joined right now by NBC's Tom Costello. Tom, what do we know now? What can we tell from this debris? TOM COSTELLO, NBC CORRESPONDENT: So we have looked at the still photograph which shows the part number on this particular wing flap that we saw yesterday and which Boeing engineers have already said is one of theirs. And the part number is indeed from what's called a flaperon. That is a wing flap component that essentially helps the plane maintain a bank, if it's at a high altitude and is trying to roll or bank a little bit. And then, of course, it allows it to slow down and make an approach. The bottom line is they know pretty conclusively at this point that this is, in fact, from a Boeing 777, and there's only one missing in the world. The question then becomes, if this component, this part has been in the water for about 500 days, in the salt water and in the blistering sun, then is there anything that they can get forensically off of this component, any signs of whether the plane maybe had an explosive residue on it, a piece of fire residue? What about indications that the plane might have hit the water at a very high rate of speed or a low rate of speed? What about the angle of attack? In other words, did it go in nose first or was it more like a belly landing? That's an awful lot to try to get from a single tiny piece of debris, but clearly, that's exactly what they're going to be focusing on as the French take this piece of debris to their laboratory back in France itself. Meanwhile, you know, the priority search zone has been off the coast of Australia, about 2,500 miles or so from where this piece of debris was spotted. And the question has been, well, how could this piece of debris end up on the other side of the Indian Ocean? Well, it turns out the currents in the Indian Ocean run in a counterclockwise motion, and they could very easily, according to oceanographers, pick up debris off the coast of Australia, drop it over there off of Madagascar. So where is the rest of the debris, then? That becomes the issue here. One oceanographer in London today told us, Listen, we now think any debris is spread out over an area the size of Texas. However, that zone, that initial zone where they think that that -- in fact, that plane likely went in off the coast of Australia remains their prime search zone -- Chris. MATTHEWS: God, mystery on top of mystery. Thank you so much, NBC's Tom Costello. When we come back, one week to go before that first Republican debate. Kasich is on the rise, but how will the candidates deal with Donald Trump?   And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, you know, they're going to say -- got a lot of them back here. They're going to say, Well, you know, nice guy or good guy or whatever they -- or not a good guy, whatever they're going to say, OK? I don't know if he can win. Together, we'll prove them wrong again, won't we. (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) KASICH: We'll prove them wrong again. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. What a difference a week makes. Skeptics doubted whether Ohio's popular governor, John Kasich, could make a credible bid for the White House after a late entry into the GOP primaries, lackluster fund-raising and weal poll numbers that indicate he might be shut out of next week's debate in his home state. But one week after launching his campaign, Kasich is starting to rise. Politico reported today that his super PAC, New Day for America, raised more than $11 million. He has also moved up to 5 percent in the latest national poll by Quinnipiac and inched up by 7 percent in a recent Monmouth poll up in New Hampshire. And as it stands today, according to NBC News' latest estimate, Kasich could now make the debate cutoff. He has vaulted into the top 10 of the crowded field of Republicans, bumping out former Texas Governor Rick Perry. For more on the Republican Party's Seabiscuit, as I'm calling him. Jonathan Capehart is the opinion writer for "The Washington Post." And Matt Schlapp is a Republican strategist.   John and Matt, and -- Matt -- let me start with John. No, we will start with Matt. Or let's do it either way, whoever wants to take the jump ball. I think that these primaries and these early debates are all part of the process. In fact, I ended the show with it. They all relate. One thing plays a role in the next thing. It helps people figure things out by looking at a field of candidates. They sort of sense where they are. They take a look at a whole bunch of people, many of whom will never be even imaginable as president, but somehow through their conversation with those people, they watch where they go. I think we're going here. So they find the spot where they want to be. Maybe it's center-left or center-left or hard right. But they figure it out by listening to all of them. I have a sense that Trump is going to play a big part in this summer. It's going to be hot all summer, maybe hot right through September. At some point, he won't be as dominant perhaps. But he will push the party into a different kind of mode. I think it is going to be the loud voices of the working class in the Republican Party, what Nixon used to call the cloth coat Republicans. It's not going to be the elite. It's not going to be establishment. The voices heard will be the working guy. And the people who will benefit from that are Walker probably and probably this guy, Kasich. I don't know which one. It won't be Bush. Bush cannot benefit from the success of Donald Trump. What do you think? MATT SCHLAPP, FORMER WHITE HOUSE DIRECTOR OF POLITICAL AFFAIRS: I don't know if I agree with that, because I think that Republicans are not used to having this much stridency, this much chaos. They're used to having a front-runner. Yes, that front-runner has go through all the gyrations you talked about. But I wonder how much Republicans will like the fact that we're going to go deep into the process and we're still maybe not going to know who our nominee is. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: I agree. They usually knows whose turn it is. SCHLAPP: That's right. MATTHEWS: But in terms of tone, in terms of tone class, he is running against the old...   (CROSSTALK) SCHLAPP: I agree completely. I think you have got it right. Scott Walker didn't to go college and he doesn't apologize for it. He said he had to drop out and to actually pay some bills and help his family. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Kasich seems working-class. He just seems that way. SCHLAPP: That's right. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: He plays himself... (CROSSTALK) SCHLAPP: The best part -- I didn't think that announcement was great, but I thought best part of it was who he was and who his parents were. It was a beautiful story. I didn't even know that about John Kasich. We're learning about these candidates. And that's why it's interesting to have the process go as it goes. MATTHEWS: Jonathan, what do you think we're doing right now in politics? You're covering it like I am in your column in the paper.   I think we're covering sort of attempt to sort of -- it is not exactly a courtship. It is the beginning of something, of finding who you are. And I think they will find their way, not to the elite again. I don't see -- maybe you disagree with me. I don't think they can get back to the Bushes after all this. JONATHAN CAPEHART, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: What is interesting here is, in jumping off what Matt just said and what you said, I think what we're seeing is a clash between, as you called it, the working-class folks in the GOP primary electorate and the elite. And it played out starkly this morning for me. On "MORNING JOE," they showed the focus groups that the Bloomberg folks did with New Hampshire voters. They all loved Trump. MATTHEWS: Yes. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: And they talked about him in a certain regular way. (CROSSTALK) CAPEHART: Nothing about ideas. It was all emotion. Same day, today, "New York Times" below the fold, Chris Christie, same temperament, same personality as Donald Trump, they don't think his "tell it like it is" personality is... MATTHEWS: Why does one work and not the other right now? CAPEHART: And this is the point I'm getting to. The folks in that focus group were all regular, ordinary Republicans, or leaning Republican.   Five of the seven people quoted in that "New York Times" story were committee chairmen, party chairmen, former elected officials, current elected officials, working-class everyday people vs. the elite of the Republican Party. And we're seeing that clash right there. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: They're at war. They're at war. CAPEHART: They're at war. MATTHEWS: So the elite is still trying to get somebody who is buttoned down a little more establishment. (CROSSTALK) CAPEHART: They like Chris Christie, but they don't think he has got the temperament, because like do you want this person to be president? MATTHEWS: I wonder if people want a calm temperament right now. The president is the coolest guy in the world. He is Sinatra. Maybe they want somebody who is a little heated up. CAPEHART: That's right. MATTHEWS: Anyway, unlike most of the GOP rivals, Kasich, the governor of Ohio, has refused to take a swipe at either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. When CNN's Wolf Blitzer asked Kasich about a report about Trump's ex-wife, Kasich wouldn't take the bait. Let's watch.   (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, CNN) GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Just leave him alone. I mean, obviously, it's a painful story for him, for his family, for his former wife. Leave him alone. That's my reaction. WOLF BLITZER, CNN: What do you mean leave him alone? I don't get that. KASICH: Just leave it at -- let it go. Move on. Go to something else. Talk about his policies on something else. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: What do you mean what do you mean? He didn't want to talk about Trump's marital situation. Anyway, he also is not a fan of talking about Hillary Clinton's e-mails or Benghazi, like all the other GOP red hots. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KASICH: I have known Hillary a long time. When I got engaged to be married, she came to the party. OK? I don't hate people because I don't agree with them. If people want to get into it with her on all these little issues, I think she will beat them. (END VIDEO CLIP)   MATTHEWS: Matt Schlapp, how is that going to go over when he's out facing the other candidates, when he says Benghazi is one of these little issues and I don't hate people because I don't agree with them? SCHLAPP: Yes. Well, first of all, I think a lot of these candidates have realized their initial reaction to Trump was just to jump on him, to marginalize him, and to make fun of him. That was a mistake, because he is clearly resonating with people. These polls are happening all across the race. MATTHEWS: OK, what about the Hillary piece? SCHLAPP: OK, the Hillary piece is this. Remember, John Kasich was a conservative in the House of Representatives for many years. He suffers from the fatigue when the Republicans really went after Bill Clinton. He saw the political downside to the fact that maybe they were too strident. And he is one of those people that believes he doesn't want to go there again and reach too hard against Hillary. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Because your party lost the House after -- the House -- you lost the '98 election after impeaching Clinton. SCHLAPP: We will -- it will not be popular with primary voters. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: They still want to go after the Clintons' personal life?   SCHLAPP: I don't know if they want to go after their personal life, but I think Benghazi is not a personal life. MATTHEWS: What is the heart of Benghazi? SCHLAPP: The heart of Benghazi is that there are separate rules for Hillary Clinton. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: OK. Nail it down. What did she do wrong? SCHLAPP: What did she do wrong? MATTHEWS: Yes. SCHLAPP: She hasn't been forthcoming about what happened. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: What is the heart of the evil you claim is there? SCHLAPP: I think the heart of it is that there was incompetence and they should have done something.   MATTHEWS: By whom? SCHLAPP: By the State Department. MATTHEWS: Where in the State Department? SCHLAPP: I think the NSC, the State Department and DOD. MATTHEWS: But where in the State Department was there incompetence? SCHLAPP: Like a name? MATTHEWS: I want to know who you're angry at to hold hearing after hearing after hearing. You're aiming at Hillary. What was her role in it? SCHLAPP: Chris, we lost an ambassador for the first time... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: I know that. We lost New York City under your rule. We lost a war we should have never been in. (CROSSTALK)   MATTHEWS: And 200,000 people were killed in the Iraq War. We don't have investigations about every hour. We lost more -- we lost 3,000 people on 9/11. We don't have investigations over and over and over again. SCHLAPP: We had a 9/11 Commission after 9/11. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: And then it was over with. And it was over with. SCHLAPP: It was bipartisan. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: You're trying to prove that Hillary Clinton is bad. That's what you're up to. What did she do wrong? SCHLAPP: I'm saying that she should have to account for her time as secretary of state. MATTHEWS: She has answered every question. It goes over and over again. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Just tell me what the evil is behind it all.   SCHLAPP: It is not evil. It is incompetence. MATTHEWS: What is it? OK. CAPEHART: Chris, there have been five congressional... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: It gets thinner and thinner the more I ask the question. That's a thin answer. CAPEHART: If my memory serves, there have been at least five congressional reports, all saying there's no there there. MATTHEWS: There's nothing there. SCHLAPP: And she never said she had a server during those five. How come? MATTHEWS: Server. Now we're talking about a server. SCHLAPP: Because that has information on it that can give us answers. MATTHEWS: Whitewater.   Thank you very much, Matt Schlapp. I see the point here. I know what the point is. Keep asking questions, so that all people hear are questions and they never stop, because that's what you want, until the suit falls apart. Anyway, thank you, Jonathan Capehart. Be sure to tune in next Thursday night for a special of HARDBALL live from Cleveland. We will be live for two hours before starting at 7:00 Eastern leading into the debate and back again at 11:00 p.m. Eastern for a full debate analysis. This is HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 2008) REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D), FLORIDA: Tonight, the predictions are that 2.5 million voters in this state came out to vote in this presidential election. Who says Florida doesn't count? Florida -- Florida is going to deliver a tremendous victory tonight for Senator Hillary Clinton, who will be the next president of the United States. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Of course, that was Florida Congresswoman and fierce Hillary Clinton supporter Debbie Wasserman Schultz back in 2008, not long ago. Now Clinton is of course running for president again. And Debbie Wasserman Schultz is the chair of the Democratic National Committee. She joins me right now on HARDBALL.   By the way, your former colleague former Congressman Barney Frank wrote this in Politico just recently: "A long primary campaign will only erode the benefit Democrats are now poised to reap from the Republicans' free- for-all. I'm convinced that a prolonged pre-nomination debate about the authenticity of Clinton's support for progressive policy stances will do us more harm than good." Is he right? Are we better off with Bernie out there making noise against Hillary or better off without him? What is better? WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: You know, I think eventually the nominee of both parties benefits from having the muscle that they need exercised throughout a primary. And I think it atrophies if you don't have at least the opportunity to debate and discuss your ideas. And so I think it is healthy for us to have a debate throughout our primary contest. I don't think we are going to have a terribly long one, probably far different... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Well, suppose the obvious is going to happen. Iowa will be close. Hillary Clinton may win out there. Secretary Clinton will probably win in Iowa. New Hampshire is going to be very close. There could be an upset out there by Bernie. Won't that pull her to the left, further left than she normally would want to go and position herself? And will not that weaken her in the general? WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Chris, what is going to happen throughout our primary and throughout the Republican Party is the contrast is going to be extremely clear that any of our candidates, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Martin O'Malley, Jim Webb, Lincoln Chafee, any of them, will focus on moving our country forward, continuing job growth that we have had under President Obama for more than five straight years. We were at 750,000 jobs a month that were going down. MATTHEWS: Linc Chafee can beat Jeb Bush? Linc Chafee? (LAUGHTER) WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Absolutely.   MATTHEWS: Oh, come on. (CROSSTALK) WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Listen, Chris, the American people are with Democrats. MATTHEWS: OK. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: I know you have to represent the party. (CROSSTALK) WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: No, no, no. This is not about me representing the party. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: OK. Do you want to see Bernie Sanders speak at the Democratic Convention, win or lose? Do you want to have him up there on the stage as a socialist representing the Democratic Party? Do you want him up there? WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Bernie Sanders...   MATTHEWS: Do you want him on the floor of the convention? WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Bernie Sanders has been a good Democrat, caucuses with the Democrats. MATTHEWS: Should he speak? WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Of course he should speak. MATTHEWS: Speak in prime time? WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: He should speak at the Democratic National Convention. MATTHEWS: In prime time, with everybody watching? WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Bernie Sanders represents -- we are a big tent party. MATTHEWS: So the answer is yes? (CROSSTALK) WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: I did. I said yes. I can say yes again.   MATTHEWS: But in prime time? WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: I don't know what time he should speak. MATTHEWS: Oh, maybe when nobody is watching, you mean. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: No. Of course Bernie Sanders should speak. He should speak in a slot where the appeal that he has across the board, the progressive, populist message that he has that resonates deeply and widely with the American people, not just with Democrats, absolutely, that should be featured. We're -- the difference between us and the Republicans is that we are really a big tent party. Republicans talk a good game. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: What is the difference between a Democrat and a socialist? I used to think there was a big difference. What do you think it is? WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: The difference between... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Between a Democrat like Hillary Clinton and a socialist like Bernie Sanders? WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: The more important question is, what's the difference between being a Democrat and being a Republican?   MATTHEWS: Well, what's the big difference between a Democrat and a socialist? You're chairman of the Democratic Party. Tell me the difference between you and a socialist. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: The relevant debate that we will be having over the course of this campaign is, what's the difference between a Democrat and a Republican? (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: I think there's a huge difference. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: The difference between a Democrat and Republican is that Democrats fight to make sure that everybody has an opportunity to succeed. And the Republicans are strangled by their right-wing extremists. And so we're watching them debate phasing out Medicare and a candidate who actually said that President Obama would march Israelis to the ovens. That's the kind of debate that is going on, on their side on. And on our side, we're talking about the best way that we can help make sure that every American has an opportunity to reach the middle class. MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about the deal. Are you in or out of the deal right now, the nuclear deal? Where are you on that? WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: I'm taking my time to really know that deal well. MATTHEWS: I understand. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: I'm going to go home and talk to my constituents.   MATTHEWS: I'm with you on that. I think it's worthy of a lot of attention. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: This is the most consequential decision that I will make... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Let me ask you the tough question. If you vote it down, it is a no.. (CROSSTALK) WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Me personally or Congress? MATTHEWS: If the Congress votes it down, the president is overridden, then you have basically voted a vote of no confidence against the president's foreign policy. And then the weird thing is, those on the right would say now we will cut a better deal. How can they trust President Obama cut a better deal if they knock down the only deal he's got? That's what I don't get. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: But the problem that I see right now with people who are saying they're opposed to the deal -- and the Republicans, I think, have been very irresponsible, where they're unilaterally, immediately coming out against... MATTHEWS: They're not looking at it. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: No, they're not looking at it. They're not taking the time.   We have to be deliberative. And it's important to make a decision. And the number one decision that should be based on is, what is the most likely scenario that prevents Iran from ever getting a nuclear weapon? MATTHEWS: Got to talk about Medicare. I know you care a lot about it. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Yes. MATTHEWS: Fiftieth anniversary. Good for America? WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Absolutely. This is the opportunity to make sure that we can draw a contrast and reemphasize our support for making sure that everyone has access to health care throughout the entirety of their lives. Before Medicare, seniors faced medical bankruptcy, families were medically bankrupt. Republicans like Jeb Bush would phase out Medicare. Marco Rubio would turn it into a voucher system. Every Republican on the other side supports ending Medicare as we know it. Democrats would strengthen Medicare. We already have... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: That's a solid argument. I don't think the Republicans would have ever created Medicare. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: We look forward to that debate. They certainly wouldn't... (CROSSTALK)   MATTHEWS: OK, thank you, U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who is also chair of the Democratic National Committee. Up next, crazy talk. We are going to look at the wildest accusations conservatives have thrown on the Iranian deal. The congresswoman has just mentioned a couple of them. You're watching HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (NEWSBREAK) CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Welcome back to HARDBALL. They say the reaction on the right to the nuclear deal with Iran has been at times over the top is putting it mildly. Critics have accused the administration of appeasement, of causing a nuclear arms race and much worse. Senator Lindsey Graham set the tone the day the deal was announced, saying it was a possible death sentence for Israel and the most dangerous step he had ever seen taken in the history of the Middle East. Well, the discourse didn't improve much from there. Here are the top five most hyperbolic reactions to the deal. Let's begin with number five: former Vice President Dick Cheney bashing the deal by raising the specter of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.   (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RICHARD CHENEY, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: What Obama has done is in effect sanction the acquisition by Iran of nuclear capability. And it can be a few years down the road, it doesn't make any difference. It's a matter of months until we're going to see a situation where other people feel they have to defend themselves by acquiring their own capability. And that will in fact put us closer to the use, actual use of nuclear weapons than we've been at any time since Hiroshima and Nagasaki and World War II. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: OK. Joining me now by tonight's roundtable, Jay Newton-Small is Washington correspondent for "Time" magazine, Perry Bacon, senior political reporter for NBC News, of course, and Nedra Pickler is the communications director for the Glover Part Group. Everybody take a turn here. Jay, Nagasaki and Hiroshima, we're heading towards that. I mean, this is the same guy who took us into the Iraq war, by the way. JAY NEWTON-SMALL, TIME MAGAZINE: I mean, but the whole point of this deal was that you're trying to extend the breakout time by a year rather than three months that Iran has right now. So, the whole point is to make it shorter so they don't have Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and you don't have a bomb, and to then say that we are now closer to it is the exact opposite of the whole intent of the deal. MATTHEWS: We're stretching out the breakout time. Anyway, number four of our list of over the top reaction is the overused and misused comparison to Munich. Jeb Bush said, "This isn't diplomacy. It is appeasement." Many others on the right made the same point. Let's watch them. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)   SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: I believe this history will prove this deal with Iran is worse than Munich 1938. I prayed that I'm wrong. Am I wrong? MIKE HUCKABEE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You're not wrong. You're right. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you think about this president? SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He's the Neville Chamberlain of our time. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Neville Chamberlain? GRAHAM: Please? Yes, yes. CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, FOX NEWS: This is worst deal since the Munich deal of 1938. SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And when our negotiators return with a promise of peace in our time, we should believe it no more now than we should have believed it then. (APPLAUSE) (END VIDEO CLIPS)   MATTHEWS: Nedra, they have a limited copy book of history that they copy and report. Its always Munich. Your thoughts? NEDRA PICKLER, GLOVER PART GROUP: I think that's just -- MATTHEWS: That's why we went to Vietnam, by the way. Munich, I remember the arguments. If we don't to go Vietnam and stay there, Munich. Go ahead. PICKLER: It seem like this primary has kind of turned into one Trumpsmanship over one another. They're trying to say the most outrageous things so they can get attention, and getting into these debates. But they're only coming at this from a partisan viewpoint, a political viewpoint. MATTHEWS: Yes. You mean had he decided ahead of time they didn't like this deal? PICKLER: Well, there are legitimate arguments to be had -- MATTHEWS: No, they decided before they read it, before they look at it? PICKLER: I doubt many candidates have had time on read this entire deal. MATTHEWS: Anyway, I've saved the best for you, Perry. Former U.S. congresswoman, the inimitable Michele Bachmann who was created on this program, by the way, she weighed in the on this potential deal back in the spring by comparing President Obama to the co-pilot who downed the passenger plane this spring, killing hundreds. Bachmann wrote on her Facebook page the following, "With this Iran deal, Barack Obama is for the 300 million souls of the United States what that Andreas Lubitz was for the 150 souls on the Germanwings flight. A deranged pilot flying his entire nation into the rocks after the fact, among the smoldering remains of American cities, the shocked survivors will ask, `Why did he do it?'"   Bachmann has since taken the post down, but she said it. She said that long before there was ever a deal on the table. PERRY BACON, NBC NEWS: Bachmann and Huckabee's comments were really terrible. I mean, those comments were both over the top. I think, what's the phrase called? Obama derangement syndrome? I think that really applies here. Obama is for it. Therefore, they have to be against it, in the most crazy language possible. MATTHEWS: Anyway, number two on our list is heading towards number one, is none other than Ted Cruz, who used the fact that the deal would provide Iran with sanctions relief to draw this dramatic conclusion. Let's watch Cruz. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CRUZ: If this deal goes through, the Obama administration will become quite literally the world's leading financier of radical Islamic terrorism. (END VIDEO CLIP) NEWTON-SMALL: Well, I mean, they said Kennedy was appeasing, you know, as an appeaser, when he like didn't invade Cuba during the missile crisis. They said the Nixon was an appeaser when he made relations with China. I mean, there's always appeasement going on. MATTHEWS: The other thing is called war by the way. Anyway, what is the number one most hyperbolic reaction to the deal? Here it is, hands down, it was the stunningly crass historic analogy by former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. You were right, Perry. The worst. (BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)   HUCKABEE: This president's foreign policy is the most feckless in American history. He is so naive that he would trust Iranians and he would take the Israelis and basically march them to the door of the oven. (END AUDIO CLIP) MATTHEWS: That was graphic. Any way, despite everyone from the Anti- Defamation League, to the Israeli ambassador to the United States has called those comments out of line, Huckabee continue to stand by what em. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HUCKABEE: I didn't say what I said because I thought it was going to be popular or unpopular. I said it because I believe it and I still believe it. I feel like that the graphic language was appropriate. It was consistent with the language that they themselves have employed in order to talk about Israel and the United States. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: So, if we don't do the deal, everybody, and we allow them to be three months from actually having a weapon where they are now, for breakout for three months, we don't extend that breakout for a year, we don't delay anything for more than 10 years, we leave Israel aware. I mean, if this is marching them to the oven, a terrible reference here, what is not doing it? That's what I don't get. What is anybody giving except the potential bombing raid? NEWTON-SMALL: Yes, I mean, the alternative is war. I mean, that's what sort of mindboggling is, if you don't want to take this deal, then what are you saying? You're saying that it is Nazis, like essentially that we should go to war now? That is the other option? PICKLER: Senator Graham is holding that as a legitimate alternative. He said who do you think would win a war, the United States, or Iran? He's almost pushing that idea. MATTHEWS: Who is pushing that? Lindsey?   PICKLER: Yes. MATTHEWS: Yes. These are the same guys who took to us war about five or six times the last ten years. Anyway, the roundtable is staying with us. And coming up, the tale of two candidates. Donald Trump offers up new material every night. He's an improv guy. While Bernie has stuck to the same message for decades. Why is it working for each of them? By the way, we'll tell you who's winning. This is HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Well, the economy and jobs top the list of issues voters find most important heading into the 2016 election. That's according to a new Quinnipiac poll. Health care is second, followed closely by terrorism, immigration and foreign policy tied for fourth place. And we'll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It is not acceptable that the rich get richer and everybody else gets poorer, that while we see a proliferation of millionaires and billionaires, we have more kids living in poverty.   (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: We're back with the roundtable, Jay, Perry, and Nedra. While Donald Trump's the ultimate showman, as sort of an improv guy, Bernie Sander is like a reliable Vaudeville Act. He's been saying the same thing for years and people have liked it. But in a matchup between the two of those guys, who comes out on top? Get this, according to a Quinnipiac poll out today, it's Senator Sanders with 45 to Trump's 37. Perry, the liberal guy, the socialist guy is beating the all-time tycoon of the West. How do you figure that out? BACON: Trump has got a very low ceiling. I'm not surprise MATTHEWS: That's your point. BACON: I think is he's very controversial. His immigration comments, he would have a hard time getting black or Hispanic votes -- MATTHEWS: So, we're going socialist over capitalist. BACON: I think we go -- but let's be honest, neither one of them will be near the general election. But I think -- MATTHEWS: Trump makes up this stuff every day. Every day, you know what he's going to do. Give me your cell phone number. You never know what's going to do.   Bernie has been probably saying the same line, the old liberal line or socialist line since the `60s. He sounds like an assistant professor from the '60s. So, he doesn't have to change the audience, find some new young kids, but it seems to be working. NEWTON-SMALL: Yes. I mean, they're like each other's yin and yang, like the millionaire and the socialist, the redistribution guy and -- MATTEHWS: Sounds like "Gilligan's Island" here. They should be in "Gilligan's Island" together. NEWTON-SMALL: They complete each other. MATTHEWS: The millionaire and the socialist. PICKLER: Well, they both owe their success to Hillary Clinton, right? Because -- while she's giving these policy speeches that are a little gray, not saying anything strong, they're both very black and very white. MATTHEWS: Yes. PICKLER: They are giving the voter something. They are saying something. And they're hungry for that. MATTHEWS: Yes, those are called economic statements, things that might be wrong or right, but they mean something. Anyway, thank you guys. Thank you all, Jay Newton-Small, Perry Bacon and Nedra Pickler. When we return, let me finish with a question -- is this really how we pick a president? I'm dead serious about it. Is this really what we're doing?   You're watching HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with a question -- is this really how we pick a president? Well, the answer, of course, is yes. Next November, we will pick a president. What's happening now, right now, is part of that, and will play some role in how we get to deciding the matter and actually find ourselves the morning after an election with a real live president-elect in our bed with us. But what does gearing up for a ten-head cattle call of Republicans a week from now got to do with that? And what does this long-range battle between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have to do with picking someone to command U.S. military forces, set the budget, run the administration of the United States government? And live in the White House? Well, can we really imagine all of today's contestants getting up in the morning at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and getting control of things? Can we really imagine all of them giving a State of the Union Address to our 300 million souls? Look, I can see Hillary Clinton doing this, all of it. I can imagine it quite clearly. On the Republican side, I could see Bush in the office as chief executive. I can see Walker, even Kasich. But damned if I can see the others -- Rubio, Cruz, Rand Paul, Huckabee, Ben Carson, Rick Perry, Bernie Sanders? Are they actually running for the job of president, or are they running to run? Do they actually intend to have the job? Or is this their attempt to play a role the in the process, to help the voters sort off thinking, to get a fix of where they want to go once the dust settles? I don't mean to belittle the role being played here by the two big surprise of this race, Trump is no doubt steering this race to the right, probably helping to elect Walker or Kasich, rather than Bush. The more people he gets aroused, the less a Bush nomination seems plausible. The more it opens the wedge for the new kids on the block, they being the governors of Wisconsin and Ohio. You can't be angry, by the way, and vote for Jeb Bush. Same for Bernie Sanders. He can raise the issues, he can sharpen the arguments certainly, and really make a protest out of this thing, but it's Hillary who is actually running for the office. And that's why the real question is how much Bernie moves says Hillary leftward, how will he sharpens her message, hikes up the heat level. My point, all candidacies are not created equal, and just because they don't cross the finish line doesn't mean they don't matter, even a lot.   And that's HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us. "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END Copyright 2015 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.>