IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 08/05/15

Guests: Rudy Giuliani, Charlie Black, Steve McMahon, Barbara Boxer, SusanPage, Sabrina Siddiqui, Jason Johnson

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: It`s the time for politics. Let`s play HARDBALL. Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington, on my way tonight to the center of the storm, Cleveland, Ohio, home of the Indians, the Browns, and tomorrow night`s huge debate of 10 wannabe presidents of the United States. And whatever anyone says now, it`s going to be a contest. We won`t know the results to this latest ever TV reality show goes live in living, breathing color, with everyone competing, including the questioners. Everyone wants to look good tomorrow night. Everyone will be thrilled to see their rivals look bad. And nothing at all is going to stop it from being a zero sum game. If Trump wins, the others lose. If Trump blow up, there are nine others and seven waiting at the little kids` table to grab for the pieces. Talk about extreme combat. Can Trump trump, or is he a Roman candle everyone else is just waiting to see die? Rudy Giuliani, of course, was mayor of New York and a presidential candidate himself. And that`s my question to you. Is he a Roman candle, Donald Trump, or is he going to stay the distance and actually become a contender next spring? RUDY GIULIANI (R), FMR. NEW YORK MAYOR: Well, first of all, he`s not a Roman candle. This is a very smart guy. This is a person who is media- savvy in ways that some of the other candidates aren`t. And he`s a lot more substantive than you realize -- I know Donald 25 years -- meaning he understands a lot of the world issues with a lot more depth than you probably realize. So we might have a little bit of a Ronald Reagan here, a guy they underestimate. And in my particular case, I`m personal friends with, you know, five or six of them, and I have a hard time deciding who I`d like to see be president, and I`m probably going to take a little while. But I expect Donald Trump is going to do pretty darn well tomorrow night.   MATTHEWS: Well, is he or is he not afraid of Megyn Kelly? (LAUGHTER) GIULIANI: That`s... MATTHEWS: I need to know! This is all over the tabs up there. GIULIANI: That story is -- I have to tell you, Chris, that story was so false. I never talked to Roger about it. Never talked to Donald about it. Somebody made it up. I talked to him about it afterwards, after I got the call -- you know GIULIANI: ... but he did not call me to ask me anything like that. And I would never call Roger to ask him anything like that. MATTHEWS: How about the other Roger? GIULIANI: Which Roger? MATTHEWS: Roger Stone. Was there anybody else involved in pushing this story? GIULIANI: Nobody -- nobody -- nobody has asked me -- oh, who put the story out? I don`t know. Probably some jerk. But...   (LAUGHTER) MATTHEWS: They now have a name for themselves, jerk! Anyway, thank you. GIULIANI: Well, how about liar? (LAUGHTER) GIULIANI: OK, good. Let me -- let me ask you about this -- this -- this thing about New York because all of us -- I grew up in Philly, of course, which always competes with New York and loses a lot, but competes. And New York`s the Big Apple, and it`s loud. People are big. You got Jackie Gleason, the image of New York. You`ve got -- when you ran the last time for president, I thought, Well, there`s an anti-New York thing going. Now I look at Trump, who`s like Mr. Big Apple, loud, bragaddocio, I`m the boss, I`m the smartest, I`m the best-looking, I`m the richest and -- you know, it`s almost like Muhammad Ali talking, and yet it seems to work. Why has the country changed so much? And the -- remember the -- remember Barry Goldwater was going to saw off New York and get it out of the country? GIULIANI: Yes, yes, yes. I know. I know. MATTHEWS: What`s going on with the New York attitude now? It seems to be selling when it didn`t before. GIULIANI: Well, you know, I can say one thing. I thought September 11 changed the attitude of a lot of people toward New York. I found that, at least, in my -- you know, traveled a lot of America before and plenty more after. And after September 11, people`s attitude towards New York, I think, changed a little. Second, I think people are desperate for clear-talking, tough, you know, leadership. I think they`re even willing to disagree with somebody if the person would just be straight and honest with them. And you know, I think in that way, Donald has kind of grabbed -- he`s grabbed that and... MATTHEWS: Yes, and he`s not the first one because Christie tried to go for that, and of course, he got messed up with the bridge story, of course. We know that. But he was going for that, too, the tough-talking - - Excuse me, Gail, it`s none of your business, that kind of talk.   GIULIANI: Well, maybe there wouldn`t be Trump if Christie hadn`t had the "bridge-gate" thing. You`re absolutely right. And don`t count Christie out. I mean, Christie -- and tomorrow night, if we`re talking about who is the best debater on the stage, I mean, Bush is going to be very substantive. He`s going to be very good. Rubio is going to be smart as heck. But Christie is about as good a debater as you`re going to find. And remember, he`s a trial lawyer, which gives him a great advantage. So I would not count him out. MATTHEWS: Yes, well, let`s talk about your party because you are a Republican, always have been, and yet the party has not always been in agreement with you. Now, we`ve gotten the same-sex thing behind us now. The abortion issue`s always going to be a moral and political fight, and religious fight. It`s not going away. But I`m looking at the Republican platform here. Your party hasn`t even changed. I mean, look at this. "We reaffirm our support of a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union" -- this is the weird part -- "of one man and one woman." It`s very strange the way they word that, but... (LAUGHTER) MATTHEWS: I know, what are they talking about? LDS, I don`t know what they are -- but why in the world does your party want to stick with something that`s now constitutionally protected, the right to -- whether people like it or not, it`s constitutionally protected, same-sex marriage. Why do you stick with it? What`s your party up to here? GIULIANI: I`m not the right one to ask because those portions of the platform I never paid any attention to. I`m a Republican because of national security and because of financial conservatism. I`m a very conservative Republican on finance, on economics, on low taxes. And I`m a hawk, and proud to be. MATTHEWS: I certainly know that part, Mr. Mayor. GIULIANI: And proud to be one because I think America needs to be the policeman of the world. Otherwise, China moves in, Iran moves in. I see Iran developing an empire, a Persian empire in the Middle East. And I see Saudi Arabia having to react to that.   Those are the reasons I`m a Republican. To me, these are bigger issues. On the social issues, you know -- you know it`s one of the reasons I couldn`t win when I tried, and I haven`t run again because I can`t get past the first litmus test, which is -- I`m against abortion personally, as a Catholic, but I feel a woman has to make that decision. I don`t think it`s my decision to make. I am in favor of gay marriage. My name is on the brief in the Supreme Court that -- in the case that was successfully won. And on immigration, although I think I`d be the toughest on stopping people at the border, I also believe that at the end of the road, if they`re good people and they do the stuff they`re supposed to do, they should become citizens. MATTHEWS: Yes. GIULIANI: But we should end the illegal part of their coming in. If we could ever do both those things, we`d accomplish what Ronald Reagan and your boss wanted to accomplish... MATTHEWS: Yes, that was a good -- that was a good bill, if they`d ever enforced the darn thing. GIULIANI: ... years ago. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: That was a good bill. Simpson-Mazzoli was a good bill. GIULIANI: If they... MATTHEWS: Let me as you about -- let`s have some fun here, OK? We have some fun here, right?   GIULIANI: Right. MATTHEWS: First of all, sanctuary cities -- they`ll be arguing about all this with you. Anyway, the country loves a good New York showman, as I said. It does now anyway. A few years ago, Donald Trump tackled Vince McMahon at WWE`s "Wrestlemania." (LAUGHTER) MATTHEWS: And in 2000, you made an appearance with Trump as part of a mayor`s roast. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: We got to bring it back. (LAUGHTER) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP, TRUMP ORGANIZATION: You know, you`re really beautiful. And a woman that looks like that has to have her own special scent. GIULIANI: Oh, thank you. Maybe you could tell me what you think of this scent. TRUMP: I like that!   (END VIDEO CLIP) (LAUGHTER) GIULIANI: You know -- you know... MATTHEWS: That may be the reason you didn`t get the nomination before, but that is certainly -- it`s timely to bring that out! We didn`t show the rest of it, by the way. It got a little gross there, but... (CROSSTALK) GIULIANI: The reality is, they used that one against me in South Carolina. So Trump better watch out. And that was -- that was one of the things I really liked to do. I think I`m a pretty darn good actor... (CROSSTALK) GIULIANI: ... trying to show off to the press. MATTHEWS: Too good, it might be said. Let me ask you about this thing. How does your party -- and you`re a pol. How does your party go from this red hot, We like Trump, at least now, to going back to the more established, really establishment Bush family come the end of this fight here? I mean, how do you go from red hot to, OK, we`ll go with the usual team? GIULIANI: We`ve done it before, right? We did Buchanan and then we went to Bush, right? MATTHEWS: Yes.   GIULIANI: I mean, we`ve had this happen before. Then in... MATTHEWS: Has it ever worked? (LAUGHTER) GIULIANI: Well, it worked that time. And that`s the time you -- that`s the time you... MATTHEWS: Yes. GIULIANI: ... he won. Look, you got a lot of people in it. You got a lot of good people in it. I know some of them really, really well. I`d like to get to know Walker and Kasich better, although I like both of them very much. The other group I`m much friendlier with. MATTHEWS: Yes. GIULIANI: Rand Paul is a little too libertarian for me. MATTHEWS: Yes. GIULIANI: And Cruz -- maybe he`s trying it a little too fast. But most of the rest of them, I have no problem with. And I -- so far, I think... MATTHEWS: Wait a minute. You got a problem. Don`t kid me, Mayor. You wouldn`t back Mike Huckabee for two seconds. Come on!   GIULIANI: I have... MATTHEWS: Mike Huckabee? GIULIANI: I happen -- look, Mike Huckabee is very right-wing, the way some of the others are. But as a person, I happen to like Mike maybe, you know, more than most. I mean, he`s a -- I ran against him, got to know him really well during the debates. And he`s an honest man. So I could -- I could -- I could certainly live with that. But I think it`s going to be Bush or Trump or one of those guys at the top... MATTHEWS: Trump, really? You think Trump can win the nomination? GIULIANI: I think you better... MATTHEWS: He can win? GIULIANI: I think you better watch out. MATTHEWS: No, but you just said you think it`s going to be Trump or Bush. GIULIANI: No, I was going to -- I was going to add, Trump, Bush, Rubio, maybe Christie long shot, Kasich long shot, Walker more than a long shot. It`s in that... MATTHEWS: OK. GIULIANI: It`s that group, and I wouldn`t...   MATTHEWS: I think Donald Trump`s going to be proud to hear what you just said. You put him in the contenders circle. GIULIANI: But I -- but -- but I... MATTHEWS: I don`t know. GIULIANI: I think he`s going to be there until, you know, they get deep into it, and then nobody knows what happens. If... MATTHEWS: OK, last question. Who are you rooting for tomorrow night? GIULIANI: Oh, I`m rooting for a -- I`m rooting for a great debate, you know, one in -- one in which we get a lot of attention for all these candidates. And I got too many -- I got too many friends here to... MATTHEWS: OK. GIULIANI: That`s why -- that`s why I declined doing all commentary after the debate. I`m afraid I`ll insult one of my friends. MATTHEWS: OK, well... GIULIANI: You know, if some guy makes a big -- if some guys makes big mistake, I don`t want to be the first one to say, Boy, that was the dumbest thing I ever heard. MATTHEWS: OK, well, if you change your mind...   GIULIANI: And I`m too honest -- I`m too honest not to do that. (LAUGHTER) MATTHEWS: Well, Mayor, we`d love to have you on tomorrow night, if you change your mind and decide to get cruel. (LAUGHTER) MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you, Rudy Giuliani. And a reminder we are going to Cleveland for tomorrow`s debate. We`re going to have two hours of coverage here on MSNBC at 7:00 Eastern. Then we`ll be back at 11:00 Eastern all the way through, a lot of debate cover right until 1:00 in the morning. Coming up, we`re going to talk to two pros, real professionals, about how you get the candidate ready for tomorrow night`s debate. How do you take on the Trump man? Big question for all four guys with the best shot to be president -- Bush, Walker, Rubio and Kasich. Same list I think the mayor just had. How do you prepare to take the stage against an outrageous showman like Donald Trump? Plus, President Obama`s biggest move yet as he sells his nuclear deal with Iran, and this time, he borrowed a page from President John F. Kennedy to make his push. And inside the new and more aggressive campaign of Hillary Clinton. It`s getting tough and she`s getting tough. She`s turning up the heat on her Republican rivals, calling them out by name over immigration, voting rights and women`s health, issues she thinks could help her win in 2016. And the do`s and don`ts of debate. We`ve got five rules to live by for the Republican candidates as they take that debate stage tomorrow night. And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.   (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GOV. RICK PERRY (R-TX), PRES. CANDIDATE: I`m just saying you referred to individual mandates, my friend. MITT ROMNEY (R-MA), FMR. GOV., PRES. CANDIDATE: You know what? You`ve raised that before, Rick. And... (CROSSTALK) PERRY: It was true then... ROMNEY: No, no. PERRY: ... and it`s true now. ROMNEY: Right, I`ll -- I`ll tell you what -- 10,000 bucks, $10,000 bet? PERRY: I`m not in the betting business, but... ROMNEY: OK. OK.   PERRY: But I`ll show you the book. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, that was a classic moment between Mitt Romney and Rick Perry in the last Republican primary cycle. Be sure to join us tomorrow night for full coverage live from Cleveland of both the happy hour and primetime debates. HARDBALL will have full pre-game and analysis from 7:00 to 9:00 PM Eastern, plus a second live edition from 11:00 PM to 1:00 in the morning, all tomorrow. And we`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. All eyes and ears will be focused on Donald Trump in tomorrow night`s debate. So just how should his opponents take him on? Do you attack him or take the defensive crouch against this Goliath? Well, trump says he`s not going to go after his nearest competitors, like Jeb Bush or Scott Walker. Let`s watch this pre- game. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP (R-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`m not looking to do that. I`m not looking to hurt anybody. I`m not looking to embarrass anybody. If I have to bring up deficiencies, I`ll bring up deficiencies. But certainly, I`m not looking to do that. I`d rather go straight down the middle. You don`t know what`s going to happen. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, there will be 10 debaters on that stage, and some may wish they had a chair and a whip to handle Donald Trump because he`s the lion in the room.   Joining me right now are two veteran strategists who have themselves guided Republicans and Democrats through the political debates. Charlie Black advised Ronald Reagan, both George Herbert and George W. Bush, and John McCain and Mitt Romney, all of them. Steve McMahon has worked with Senator Ted Kennedy and former Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean. So you guys have had a wealth of experience in this. So would you have -- is it like a chair and a whip, Charlie, when you`re up against Donald Trump? How do you keep his distance from you? CHARLIE BLACK, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, I think it`s fine for the news media to promote Trump and to make the debate all about him... MATTHEWS: We are doing that. BLACK: You are, but it`s not about him. MATTHEWS: It isn`t about him? BLACK: No, it`s not. He gets the same eight or nine minutes as all the other candidates. MATTHEWS: Well, who`s going to get the headline coming out of this thing? BLACK: You never know, but I do not think it`ll be Donald Trump. I think it`ll be one of the other guys. All of them need to get better known, even Jeb Bush. Most people don`t know anything about him unless they live in Florida. They need to get their backgrounds, their experience and where they stand on the issues out there. And whoever can do it in a very distinctive, interesting manner will probably get the headlines. I believe Trump. He`s not going to be on the attack. He also needs to stick to the rules, not look like a bully, and he needs to show people where he stands on some issues that actually make sense. So I... MATTHEWS: Just to justify the media attention, I just looked at our poll, 2 percent of the American people don`t have a fixed opinion about this guy. So the American people have a lot of investment in thinking about Donald Trump, for whatever reason. He`s far more interesting to most people than the other candidates.   BLACK: The debate`s a level playing field. He only gets one tenth of the time, and you need to cover it that way. That`s all I`m saying. MATTHEWS: OK. Steve McMahon... STEVE MCMAHON, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I think it`s really interesting... MATTHEWS: ... how do you approach this guy if you`re the other guy? MCMAHON: Well, it depends on whether swinging up or swinging down, and... MATTHEWS: OK, well... MCMAHON: ... or swinging across. MATTHEWS: ... who`s swinging -- who`s swinging -- who`s swinging down at Donald Trump? MCMAHON: Well, you know, even though the poll numbers would suggest Donald Trump has a commanding lead, it`s 10 points, and Jeb Bush had that commanding lead just a little while ago. So I`d say Jeb Bush is punching across or punching down a little bit. MATTHEWS: Should he punch? MCMAHON: I think there`s a moment when he could -- he could have a Sister Souljah moment here. I think a lot of Republicans are scratching their head like Charlie, wondering what this Donald Trump thing is all about. He says outrageous things. He gets a lot of attention, and he shoots to the top of the polls. Somebody has to take this guy out because...   MATTHEWS: Suppose he says, My wife is Mexican, she`s an American now, she`s the mother of my children. How dare you call these people rapists? MCMAHON: That`s exactly what he should do. MATTHEWS: Will he do that? MCMAHON: that`s exactly what he should do, and I -- and you know what? MATTHEWS: Will he do it? MCMAHON: I hope for his sake that he does because this campaign is calling for someone to do that. Donald Trump says outrageous things. He says bigoted, racist things, and nobody in the Republican Party has the courage to call him out publicly. And you associate yourself with those remarks... MATTHEWS: That`s a big -- you`re putting your chin out when you do something like that. BLACK: Well, some people have. Lindsey Graham has been very tough on him, but he doesn`t get much coverage because... MCMAHON: I`m sorry. You`re Lindsey has, and so has Rick Perry. MATTHEWS: Trump says the reason that Lindsey Graham is not in the top 10 is he took on Trump. BLACK: Right, well, he went from zero to zero, so...   (LAUGHTER) (CROSSTALK) BLACK: Actually, I don`t believe anybody should take on Trump in the debate. It`s the first debate. It`s the first act in a multi-act play. And every one of these guys needs to get better known, educate the people about who they are, what they`ve done and what they`re for. And if somebody picks on them, maybe, you know, sometimes a counterpunch is a good move, but I think you`re likely to see a boring, mostly positive debate. And if Donald gets off the reservation and butts in on people and goes over the time limits, he`ll suffer. I don`t think he`ll do it. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: What I`m reading is that the anchors over there, the questioners, may get in -- and Bret and Mike -- and Chris Wallace will be trying to serve up balls to the candidates, so they`ll go after the other candidates. They`ll ask them a question about each other, something that forces a fight. MCMAHON: Right. That`s exactly what they are going to do. And they have to do that, because, after all, they`re all about ratings, just like everybody else is. Donald Trump is trying to rewrite the rules of the debate. And he`s basically saying, now that I`m in the lead, I don`t want to do anything to upset the apple cart. So I`m not going to punch these guys. I`m going to wait for them to punch me. And they`re all afraid to, because he`s the bully in the... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Well, you just said one ought to do it. You just said Jeb ought to do it.   (CROSSTALK) MCMAHON: One of them ought to do it. And maybe one of the guys who`s not very well known or very much noticed should do it, because they`re swinging up. Marco Rubio is now at 3 percent in the polls. Maybe he should say something about the racist, bigoted remarks that Donald Trump has made about Mexicans. Maybe somebody else will. But there`s a moment in these debates for anybody to stand up and take the stage and own it. And Donald Trump is on the entire thing for... (CROSSTALK) BLACK: It`s not unusual for Steve to stir up trouble in the other party. (LAUGHTER) (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: He wants a fight. BLACK: But I don`t -- look, and the first thing you coach candidates about in a debate is you -- if the moderator tries to get you into a fight, you don`t take the bait. MCMAHON: Somebody needs to punch the bully in the nose. And it`s going to be interesting to see if anybody does. MATTHEWS: OK, let`s place your bets. Will Trump be the winner tomorrow night?   You said he won`t be in the headline. BLACK: I don`t think there will be a clear winner. I think what matters is who gets the news bite coming out. And, by the way, the early debate could produce people that get the news bites. You have got some real stars there in Carly Fiorina, Lindsey Graham, and Bobby Jindal. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: See, what I think Trump is really good at is there will be -- they will come with their prepared material. And they`re pretty laden. These guys are going to be obvious. They`re awkward. And you will know what they have memorized to use, where`s the beef or some line, don`t use my youth kind of thing. And Trump will see that coming, and everybody will watch Trump`s face as he watches this guy put his fist out, and it will be his chance to flatten the guy. And then there will be another rebuttal and a surrebuttal, and by it`s all over, Trump will have outlasted it, because once a fight starts, guys, Trump`s not going to let it end. He`s going to enjoy it. (CROSSTALK) MCMAHON: He`s authentic. I think he`s crazy, but he`s authentic, he`s real, and he says things that nobody else on that stage will say. He`s not a politician, and that`s why he will win unless somebody else disrupts the momentum. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: He can say, I got no problem with your wife. She came in legal. (CROSSTALK)   BLACK: He`s not crazy. He`s an entertainer. And therefore he`s popular, but he will not be the nominee. MATTHEWS: Are you sure of that? MCMAHON: He`s not totally crazy. MATTHEWS: Are you sure of that? Because Rudy thinks he`s a contender. What do you think? MCMAHON: I think he`s a contender. MATTHEWS: We just had Rudy on. He thinks he can do it. (CROSSTALK) BLACK: I heard that, but if I lived in New York and went to dinner with Trump every once in a while, I would say that too. MCMAHON: Until somebody changes the trajectory of this race, Donald Trump is the front-runner and will be the nominee unless someone takes it away from him. MATTHEWS: Charlie, I like your attitude. It`s all personal.   Thank you, Charlie Black. Thank you, Steve McMahon. Up next, President Obama invokes President John F. Kennedy as he sells the country`s diplomatic approach to Iran. This is pretty historic today. This is HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Let`s not mince words. The choice we face is ultimately between diplomacy or some form of war, maybe not tomorrow, maybe not three months from now, but soon. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. President Obama offered that stark warning about the Iran nuclear deal during a speech at American University here in Washington today right across the street from mere. The president said if Congress kills the deal, they`re paving Iran`s path to the bomb. Well, the backdrop wasn`t coincidental. On June 10, 1963, President John F. Kennedy delivered a speech on the same campus, urging a limited nuclear test ban treaty with the then Soviet Union and a broader commitment to peace between the two countries. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)   JOHN F. KENNEDY, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I realize the pursuit of peace is not as dramatic as the pursuit of war, and frequently the words of the pursuers fall on deaf ears, but we have no more urgent task. Our problems are manmade. Therefore, they can be solved by man. And man can be as big as he wants. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, President Kennedy warned that day that too many of us think peace is impossible and that war is inevitable. And 52 years later, President Obama said we should not repeat the mistakes made in the run-up to the Iraq War. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: I know it`s easy to play on people`s fears, to magnify threats, to compare any attempt at diplomacy to Munich. But none of these arguments hold up. They didn`t back in 2002 and 2003. They shouldn`t now. The same mind-set, in many cases offered by the same people, who seem to have no compunction with being repeatedly wrong, led to a war that did more to strengthen Iran, more to isolate the United States than anything we have done in the decades before or since. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, Senator Mitch McConnell announced today the Senate will begin debating the Iran nuclear deal on September 8. Senator Barbara Boxer of California has publicly endorsed the agreement, in fact did so yesterday. Senator Boxer joins me now.   It`s an honor to have you on, Senator Boxer, because you were right about the Iraq War. You were out there all alone and said it was a stupid war. And now the president is calling out the same advocates for that war advocating a destruction of this treaty. Your thoughts? SEN. BARBARA BOXER (D), CALIFORNIA: Well, I think the president and President Kennedy, both presidents, Kennedy was a truth-teller. Barack Obama is a truth-teller. This is very, very similar, because it`s a vote of conscience and the alternatives are very, very clear. And I remember those painful days of the Iraq War. And, believe me, I didn`t sleep much in those years, because I was trying so hard to stop it. And it just went on and on for so long. And we see the results of it here at home. So we have an opportunity here to take the path that offers hope. And, you know, I came out with my statement after I met with our allies. The ambassadors were here and they were called together by Senator Dick Durbin, who is a great leader on this. And they spoke to us. And let me tell you what they said very, very clearly. If we reject this agreement, we are playing right into the hands of the hard-liners in Iran. And it will lead to a collapse of the sanctions and for sure Iran building a bomb, and then the option is what? It`s war. And the people have had too much of that. Let us go down this path, and we always have that option, Chris. We always have that option. We know Iran is a terrible actor on the world stage. That`s why we need this agreement. MATTHEWS: I guess my question is, having watched you up there debating it and deliberate, the people who oppose this deal, they say, if you bring it down, if the president -- if the veto is overridden in either house -- in both houses, then there will be some new deal out there. And I keep asking myself, well, who is going to strike that new deal? Do they have confidence, these people on the right, that the president, President Obama will actually strike a tougher deal? It doesn`t seem like there`s a direction there of a better deal. It`s just toward the bomb, toward the war. I don`t know. Do they really believe they can get a better deal from Obama in the next year-and-a-half? (CROSSTALK) BOXER: No, they don`t.   They know they can`t get a better deal, period, because they know that the whole world pretty much is behind this deal. And we know that Israel is concerned. And, believe me, as someone who stands very tall, even though I`m only 5 feet, as the longest serving United States senator who is a Jewish American, and the longest serving congress member, along with Sandy Levin, I`m saying to you, and he has said as well, this is the way to go. And I want to say this, as I look at the discussion in Israel. We certainly know where the prime minister is on this, and we know where most of the politicians are, but we`re seeing now more of a chorus of the security people there. MATTHEWS: Yes. BOXER: For example, the former head of the Israeli FBI said, the agreement is the best possible alternative from the Israeli point of view. And we`re seeing more and more of these security people come out in Israel. So I think, the longer this sits out there, I think the more momentum we will get. Today, we got independent Angus King come out in favor of this, which is huge, because he`s an extremely thoughtful member. And I think the momentum is picking up. MATTHEWS: It is so great to have you on this show. You`re almost -- I think you`re always right. Anyway, Senator Barbara Boxer. BOXER: Well, thank you, Chris. MATTHEWS: And we`re going to miss you in this business. Thanks so much for all your service. BOXER: Thank you. MATTHEWS: In his speech today, President Obama urged Americans to get involved in this debate.   (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: My fellow Americans, contact your representatives in Congress, remind them of who we are. Remind them of what is best in us and what we stand for, so we can leave behind a world that is more secure and more peaceful for our children. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: I`m joined now by Susan Page, Washington bureau chief for "USA Today." Susan, it comes down to numbers. Tim Russert used to say, numbers, numbers, numbers. The fact is, he`s got to hold 34 senators on his side to sustain a veto, or 146 House members. What does it look like? SUSAN PAGE, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, "USA TODAY": Well, I think that`s a bar he can probably get over. That`s one of the deals... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Either/or? PAGE: Yes. It seems to me that it`s likely that Congress passes a resolution of disapproval. That means he will veto it. And it seems likely to me that we`re -- and we`re starting to see the numbers come in, not universally. There are some Democrats that are either undecided or are going the other direction. It seems to be likely that he will be able to sustain a veto.   MATTHEWS: Can he do it in the Senate as well as the House? PAGE: Well, I don`t know. But you have had a series of some senators, like Barbara Boxer... MATTHEWS: And Bill Nelson. PAGE: ... and Bill Nelson come out and Angus King come out and say they`re going to support it. Those are good signs. MATTHEWS: Yes. PAGE: Now, you haven`t heard from Ben Cardin. That will be an important one. MATTHEWS: I`m watching Casey and Coons. I`m thinking, if Casey goes, forget it. I think Casey is going to be key. Coons, I think, may well go. It`s been his tendency on these kinds of issues. But I`m watching those moderate, those guys that -- the ones you got to watch. PAGE: And they`re not just moderate. They`re thoughtful on this issue. MATTHEWS: Yes. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: But the pressure on these guys from contributors is pretty strong. It is pretty strong.   PAGE: Well, and one thing you saw the president try to do today in his speech was, as you have said, increase the number of people who are weighing in on this, so that it`s not only people who are supporters of Israel, but... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Yes, 8 percent of the Democratic Party, of the people in this country who call themselves Democrat, 8 percent are opposed to this thing. And yet reading the newspapers, looking at the full-page ads, listening to all the chatter, you would think there`s a huge amount of Democrats against the president on this -- 8 percent, one in 12. PAGE: But the people who feel most strongly about it tend to be against it. That`s the thing. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: And they`re willing to spend the money too on these ads. Anyway, thank you, Susan Page. This is going to be great to watch. I`m interested that you think he can win on both sides. Anyway, up next, Jeb Bush fumbles, and Hillary Clinton pounces -- a look at the new aggressive campaign tactics from the Democratic front- runner, Hillary Clinton. You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)   MILISSA REHBERGER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Milissa Rehberger with breaking news. Police fatally shot a man armed with a gun and a hatchet in a suburban national movie theater. The suspect attacked three people during a screening of the movie "Mad Max." Only one person was hurt after being hit by that hatchet. The man was shot and killed after exchanging fire with officers. And officials confirmed the airplane fragment found last week on Reunion Island is from missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Investigators are also analyzing a piece of a suitcase that was found on that island -- back to HARDBALL. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The argument against this, as well, women`s health issues, are going to be, you`re attacking, it`s a war on women, and you`re attacking women`s health issues. You could take dollar for dollar, although I`m not sure we need a half-a-billion dollars for women`s health issues, but if you took dollar for dollar, there are many extraordinarily fine organizations, community health organizations that exist, federally sponsored community health organizations to provide quality care for women on a wide variety of health issues. But abortion should not be funded by the government, any government in my mind. (APPLAUSE) (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. That was of course Jeb Bush questioning the need to spend half-a- billion dollars on women`s health issues. Later -- he later clarified it, saying: "With regards to women`s health funding broadly, I misspoke, as there are countless community health centers, rural clinics and other women`s health organizations that need to be fully funded."   But Hillary Clinton pounced on Jeb Bush`s gaffe, tweeting: "Jeb Bush, you are absolutely, unequivocally wrong." And last night in Denver, she dug in some more. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Jeb Bush said he`s not sure we need half-a-billion dollars for women`s health issues. I`m reading it because I want to quote it exactly. Now, he`s got no problem giving billions of dollars away to the super wealthy and powerful corporations, but I guess women`s health just isn`t a priority for him. When you attack Planned Parenthood, you attack women`s health, and when you attack women`s health, you attack America`s health. (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) CLINTON: And the truth is, what Jeb said, the other Republican candidates believe too. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, Hillary`s clearly shifting to a tougher stance, don`t you think? She`s calling out her rivals now by name and labeling them out of touch and out of date whenever she has the chance. For more on Hillary`s new aggressive strategy, let`s bring in our roundtable tonight. Jason Johnson is an NBC BLK contributor. Sabrina Siddiqui is a political reporter with The Guardian newspaper. Howard Fineman is global editor of The Huffington Post.   Howard, she is getting tougher. She`s calling out these people. This is no longer ignoring the Republicans. She`s hitting them. Why? HOWARD FINEMAN, NBC CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think she`s doing it for several reasons. First of all, she does care about the women`s issues. She`s running more openly on women`s issues this time. But I think, as you have always said, Chris, it`s easier to get into the flow of a story than to start one yourself. MATTHEWS: And this has been started... (CROSSTALK) FINEMAN: All the attention`s on the Republicans. She`s getting in the mix on that. The other thing is, she`d rather talk about Jeb Bush than Bernie Sanders who is creeping up on her in Iowa and New Hampshire. She`d rather pick a fight on the Republican side than be drawn into mentioning her actual rival at this point. MATTHEWS: Sabrina, is that true? She doesn`t want to talk about Bernie who is on her tail up there in New Hampshire, I mean, really, within the margin of error. That`s probably smart. But at some point, can she keep knocking Jeb? She`s got to get in contention to face Jeb. SABRINA SIDDIQUI, THE GUARDIAN: I think at some point, you`ll see her taking more digs at Bernie Sanders and other Democratic rivals. Right now, she`s still struggling with progressives who view her skeptically. But, look, this is something that the Obama campaign that worked really well for them in 2012. They didn`t want the election to be a referendum on Obama. That`s what Republicans wanted. So, they turned it into a choice election, a substantive policy debate. And keeping intact the key voters, the key demographic, the women minorities, that`s what she`s doing. MATTHEWS: Jason, why would a guy say -- a guy -- say that we should spend less money on women`s health? When everybody knows women`s health has been short changed by the way -- even I read the other day that men set the room temperature, because they`re wearing suits.   Three of us are wearing suits, she`s wearing lighter clothes, and the fact is, we would like the temperature to be a lot lower. And women say, I`m cold in here. Of course you`re cold. But men get to set the thermometer. And certainly on health care, the money is going to men`s things. JASON JOHNSON, HIRAM COLLEGE POLITICAL SCIENCE PROFESSOR: Exactly. This is why Jeb`s out of practice. That`s why he keeps saying these sorts of things. The guy is out of practice. And Hillary Clinton, you can`t avoid attacking somebody if they keep fumbling on the one yard line. I`m going to run it in eventually. I think Jeb has consistently said things and gaffes that allowed Hillary Clinton to practice being witty and engaging and attacking because he keeps giving her the opportunity. MATTHEWS: She picks up the fumble. Last week, Hillary took Jeb to task over minimum wage, health care, and voting rights. Let`s watch. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don`t think you can credibly say that everyone has a right to rise and then say, you`re for phasing out Medicare or for repealing Obamacare. People can`t rise if they can`t afford health care. They can`t rise if the minimum wage is too low to live on. They can`t rise if their governor makes it harder for them to get a college education. And you cannot seriously talk about the right to rise and support laws that deny the right to vote. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: So, has it begun? I`ll start with Sabrina. Has this campaign starting to hurt Jeb Bush? Does she think Jeb Bush is going to be the nominee? I`m heavily in doubt on that subject. To go back to an old regular Whig Party basically, a Bush, this revolutionary attitude in the Republican Party, everybody yelling and screaming, you go back to the same old Bushes again? SIDDIQUI: She`s gone most aggressively after Jeb Bush, so it seems the campaign believes that he`s the likely nominee. She`s also gone after Scott Walker and Marco Rubio. I don`t think those are the three candidates she thinks she is most likely to face. They`re the ones that she`s called out by name.   MATTHEWS: Is she afraid to do the other guy? JOHNSON: I think she`s afraid. MATTHEWS: To go after Trump? JOHNSON: Yes. MATTHEWS: Trump would love this slam her. JOHNSON: He would eviscerate here. And Hillary Clinton -- MATTHEWS: He`s got nothing to lose. JOHNSON: Exactly. He`s got nothing to lose. Plus, I think in the Urban League, she knew that Jeb was following her, and she wanted him to be like the first new follower, like a Prince guitar solo. Like she wanted him to come out and have nothing to say to that audience. MATTHEWS: Like a what? JOHNSON: Like a Prince guitar solo. MATTHEWS: Oh, Prince. The guy formerly known as Prince.   JOHNSON: Yes, formerly known. MATTHEWS: Anyway, the roundtable is sticking with us. The dos and don`ts of debates. This is HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Well, as Trump towers in the polls, new results from NBC News and Survey Monkey show the front-runner has found his areas of strong support. Trump over-performs among men and among voters whose education level was a high school diploma or less. He underperforms among women and among college graduates. No surprise there. We`ll be right back after this. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: We`re back with the roundtable. And tomorrow`s the first in a series of 15 scheduled debates this primary season, nine for the Republican candidates, six for the Democrats. It`s high-stakes television. So, we wanted to look at some dos and don`t of debates. Here`s what we`ve learned over the years: rule number one, one liners do work, whether you`re canned or not, a witty remark is often the only thing the audience remembers after the dust settles. Back in 1984, Democratic frontrunner Walter Mondale was frustrated by what he said were insubstantial policy proposals by his primary rival Gary Hart. To make his point, he quoted this famous question from a Wendy`s hamburger commercial.   (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) WALTER MONDALE, THEN-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When I hear your new ideas, I`m reminded of that ad, where`s the beef? (LAUGHTER) (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Bob Beckel, his guy, had to teach him that one. Later that same year, when President Reagan faced questions about his age, he famously turned the table with this one-liner. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RONALD REAGAN, FORMER PRESIDENT: I want you to know that also, I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit for political purposes my opponent`s youth and inexperience. (LAUGHTER) (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Rule number two, debate stunts are high-risk, high reward. One in particular worked for Ronald Reagan in 1980. After he put up the money for a one-on-one debate with George Bush, Reagan tried to re- negotiate the rules to include four other Republican candidates.   And here`s what happened when Bush and the moderator refused. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will the sound man, please turn Mr. Reagan`s mike off for the moment? REAGAN: Is this on? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you turn that microphone off, please? REAGAN: Mr. Green, I am paying for this microphone, Mr. Green! (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: But in 2000, Al Gore made a goofy attempt to intimidate his Republican opponent, George W. Bush, by walking right up to Bush as he was speaking. It proved to be an awkward moment. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GEORGE W. BUSH, THEN-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I can get something positive done on behalf of the people. That`s what the question in this campaign is about. It is not only, what`s your philosophy and what`s your position on issues, but can you get things done? And I believe I can. (END VIDEO CLIP)   (LAUGHTER) MATTHEWS: Well, let`s go with the first two. Howard, what do you think of that? FINEMAN: I`ve got to comment on the last thing. MATTHEWS: OK, stunts. FINEMAN: There`s an occasion where there was no speaking. That`s very rare in something like this. It was just the double take and the, how are you doing, weirdo? Get back to the corner. (CROSSTALK) FINEMAN: That one George W., the debate. It shows the theatrics. If you`re going to use a line, make sure it doesn`t sound so canned. It`s better if it comes in a reaction. If you make it sound like a piece of your YouTube advertising video, people are going to smell the phoniness -- MATTHEWS: So, Jason, somebody walks in some little hot to trot thing with his wife and Donald Trump who is a master at spontaneity, nice work, how did you come up with that one? You must be very proud. And just nail the guy. JOHNSON: You can`t do it. Here`s the thing -- you land your punch with your words, right, but you block with your wit. You have to be witty in order to respond to some of the one liners. MATTHEWS: Do these guys have that? Do they have that ability?   JOHNSON: I don`t think anybody has it except for Trump. MATTHEWS: Yes, I think so. Sabrina -- SIDDIQUI: You know, I think that -- MATTHEWS: By the way, men especially, women, too. Hillary, remember? Rick Lazio went up to her like he was serving divorce papers or something. And something about men, we don`t like guys confronting us. It`s like road rage. Keep distance. The whole thing is separation like in football. Don`t get too close to some guy`s space, because it means you have to fight. Nobody wants to fight. SIDDIQUI: And I think that, you know, one of the Rubio advisers actually recently said in an interview that Donald Trump is like a rattle snake with a toothache, and you don`t want -- MATTHEWS: That`s a mixed metaphor. SIDDIQUI: That`s what the advisor. MATTHEWS: Do snakes have teeth?   (LAUGHTER) MATTHEWS: Anyway, the vague rule number three. Avoid condescension. Candidates who are too patronizing or disdainful of their opponents rarely come off well in the debate stage. Case in point, the then Vice President George Bush in 1984 who appeared to be lecturing Geraldine Ferraro about the Middle East. Let`s watch. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GEORGE H.W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT: Let me help with you the difference, Ms. Ferraro, between Iran and the embassy in Lebanon. Iran, we were held by a foreign government. In Lebanon, you had a wanton terrorist action where the government opposed it. GERALDINE FERRARO, FORMER VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Let me say first of all that I almost resent, Vice President Bush, your patronizing attitude that you have to teach me about foreign policy. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: A more recent example was Barack Obama in 2008 when he said this of Hillary Clinton. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CLINTON: He`s very likable. I agree with that. I don`t think I`m that bad. BARACK OBAMA (D), THEN-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You`re likable enough, Hillary. No doubt about it.   (LAUGHTER) (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: That`s what happens when Barack Obama is flying too high. A little bit condescending and it hurt. That was right before she beat him in New Hampshire. SIDDIQUI: Right. Both of these examples were also with women candidates. And with Republicans who are not going to have a woman on the stage. MATTHEWS: Yes, but in the happy hour tomorrow, there will be a woman, Carly Fiorina. SIDDIQUI: There will be in the happy hour. But also, it can also apply to men. You played that clip earlier, a Mitt Romney bet $10,000 to Rick Perry, that came across as condescending, it showed arrogance and it played into the narrative that he is an out of touch plutocrats. You do have to be very cautious. MATTHEWS: You had a sense that he had in his pocket, $10,000. Anyway, rule number four is that gaffes are amplified in debate settings. Not only they`re on live TV, but your mistakes make your opponents look good in comparison. In 1992, then President Bush stumbled through how the deficit had affected his family personally. It made him look out of touch and played into Clinton`s hands. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GEORGE H.W. BUSH: Obviously, it has a lot to do with interest rates. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She`s saying you personally.   UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On a personal basis, how has it affected you? GEORGE H.W. BUSH: If the question, maybe I will get it wrong. Are you suggesting if somebody has means, that the national debt doesn`t affect them? I`m not sure I get it. Help me with the question and I`ll try to answer it. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: He was grilling her like an economics professor. Are you sure you didn`t mean to say depression or recession? You didn`t mean to say deficit, did you? And Bill Clinton, of course, comes like a clean up and says I understand you completely. You`re wonderful. And it was brilliant. JOHNSON: It was brilliant. And also, you know, it made Bush look cold. It made him look distant. And here`s the thing -- MATTHEWS: It made him look judgmental. JOHNSON: Exactly, exactly. You`ve got to make sure you just stay away from those gaffes. You`ve got to be candid. And you can`t back off things either. If you make a mistake, you own it. You don`t want to be like Tim Pawlenty -- MATTHEWS: I`ve got to run here. Howard, finally, debate rule number five: attack media. It has become an easy way for Republicans to galvanize support in their base. Case in point was Newt Gingrich response to personal question posed by John King of CNN back in 2012, about Newt`s ex- wife. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOHN KING, CNN: She said you asked her, sir, to enter into an open marriage. Would you like to take some time to respond to that? NEWT GINGRICH (R), THEN-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No. But I will.   I think the destructive, vicious, negative nature of much of the news media makes it harder to govern this country, harder to attract decent people to run for public office, and I am appalled that you would be in a presidential debate on a topic like that. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Whoa! FINEMAN: Well, that gave Newt a short term lift with the core of the conservative base of the Republican Party in the South. But the only group of people that the public likes less than the media are politicians. And so, he acted like the outraged politician. For most of America, they looked at that and said, hey, buddy. You`re in politics. You know what the game is. Don`t claim innocence at this point. MATTHEWS: Yes, good defense for our team with that. FINEMAN: Thank you. MATTHEWS: Thanks, Howard. Howard Fineman for the defense. And Sabrina Siddiqui, and Jason Johnson. We`ll be right back after this. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: In finishing tonight, I`d just like to say something about tomorrow night`s Republican debate. We`re picking a president here. This isn`t just reality TV. It`s that, of course.   But it`s also about finding a person to lead this country we care so much about. It`s about finding someone with the courage, the vision, the leadership ability to drive us forcefully through this early 21st century. They`ll lead us in dealing with the challenges of our time. That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us. I`ll be in Cleveland tomorrow night for a special edition of HARDBALL at 7:00 Eastern and then after the debate at 11:00 Eastern. "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.>