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Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 08/18/15

Guests: Paul Singer, Gary Samore, Valerie Plame Wilson, Anne Gearan, SteveMcMahon, Jason Johnson

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Trouble in River City. Let`s play HARDBALL. Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington. So ladies and gentlemen, is Donald Trump the music man? Is he just some traveling troubadour that comes to town selling us a bill of goods? Or is he a real, live Professor Hill promising to bring us a boys` band with 76 trombones? Or is Mr. Trump something different in American political life, a candidate who`s not just figured out what ails the country, but what will cure us, and is in the process of giving it to us straight? What is Trump, the same old, same old in politics, full of empty promises, or is this something new here, a true phenomenon? Joan Walsh is the editor-at-large with Salon. Michael Steele is an RNC chair of recent past history. And Paul Singer is Washington correspondent at the great "USA Today." Anyway, in Trump we trust. Donald Trump is dominating the Republican field on all the big issues right now. Catch this. According to the new, brand- new, CNN/Opinion Research poll out today, 44 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents say Trump is the best candidate running to handle the issue of illegal immigration. He`s got a 32-point lead over Jeb Bush, who`s at a distant second place. By the way, one in eight Republicans and Republican leaners think Bush will solve the problem. Republican voters apparently like what they`re hearing from Trump on the subject of illegal immigration. And here he goes. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)   DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I will build a great, great wall on our southern border. And I will have Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words. We have drug dealers coming across, we have rapists, we have killer, we have murderers. They have to go. CHUCK TODD, MODERATOR, ""MEET THE PRESS": What if they have no place to go? TRUMP: We`ll work with them. They have to go. Chuck, we either have a country, or we don`t have a country. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Anyway, have a country, don`t have a company. (sic) Let me go to Joan Walsh. We`ve got three people joining us, Joan and Michael Steele and Paul Singer. I`ll start with Joan up in New York. Thanks for joining us, Joan. JOAN WALSH, SALON.COM, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Thanks. MATTHEWS: Of the people who care about illegal immigration, who don`t refer to it euphemistically as "undocumented workers" or something like that, who really don`t like illegal immigration, this guy seems to be scoring. WALSH: Yes, because he`s telling them what they want to hear, that it`s going to be an easy problem. But you know, I mean, that proposal would create essentially a police state to round up and move out 11 million undocumented immigrants and possibly their American-born children. So it`s not really...   MATTHEWS: I mean, who else has got a solution to illegal immigration? WALSH: No, well, good question. I mean, there was... MATTHEWS: Well, answer asked the question. I want an answer. Who`s got a good answer to those who are concerned about illegal immigration? And by the way, most people in most countries do worry about illegal immigration to some extent. They`re not all feverish about it. They think it should be stopped or cut down on. WALSH: Well... MATTHEWS: What do you think is the solution to illegal immigration? WALSH: The Senate worked very hard on a bipartisan bill that wasn`t perfect but that was going to make a difference. And you know, the answer is definitely not rounding people up and putting them on cattle cars and... MATTHEWS: But how was it going to stop illegal immigration? WALSH: ... driving them out of the country. MATTHEWS: I`m just trying to get to the point why I think he`s popular. What is there out there that would actually stop illegal immigration besides him talking about it? WALSH: I think -- I think we`ve done a -- we`ve done a great job stopping illegal immigration, actually. It has slowed down. MATTHEWS: It`s stopped?   WALSH: I don`t know that you can ever -- ever you can ever stop it, Chris. I`m not sure people can stop it. People are washing up on the shores of Greece. I mean, when people want to get someplace, they get in. There was a comprehensive... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: ... that answer will sell with people, that they`ve just got to live with it? WALSH: Well, I`m not running, you know? I`m not running for office. But I think... MATTHEWS: Well, that -- I`m asking a journalistic question. Name anybody else who`s talking about a way to stop illegal immigration. I just want to make my point. Maybe I`m being too rough here. But what is the alternative to Donald Trump if you want to get rid of illegal immigration? Who is the alternative? It ain`t Jeb Bush. WALSH: No, it`s not Jeb Bush. But this is not a simple question. So if you`re asking me, does anyone else have a simplistic answer... MATTHEWS: No, any answer. WALSH: ... that`s going to satisfy people -- but that`s... MATTHEWS: Any answer. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Paul, your turn. Who out there is offering a solution for the person angry about illegal immigration?   PAUL SINGER, "USA TODAY": Well, that`s two different questions. Now, is someone... MATTHEWS: How`s it different? WALSH: Right. SINGER: ... because the question is, do you want to solve immigration or do you want to solve... MATTHEWS: Who`s got an answer? SINGER: ... or do you want to solve the outrage? Well, Marco Rubio was part of this bill that was a Senate bipartisan bill... MATTHEWS: Where is he now? SINGER: Well, he... WALSH: And walked away from it. SINGER: ... decided he didn`t like (INAUDIBLE) MATTHEWS: OK, so who is out there saying they`re going to do something about illegal immigration?   SINGER: Well, you know, they`re all saying... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: I don`t hear anybody out there! MICHAEL STEELE, FMR. RNC CHAIR, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: You guys are being way too polite. The answer is no one, period. No one is answering the question that the American people want asked. If you want to get a sense of why he`s connecting on this issue, read his eight-page plan. I read it again today. And I was sitting there going, I get it, I get it. Wow. SINGER: But you can`t do it. You can`t do it... WALSH: You can`t do it. (CROSSTALK) STEELE: No, there may be parts of it you can`t do, but there are aspects of that plan that you can do and... WALSH: Wait! (CROSSTALK) STEELE: And that`s what people are excited about with him.   MATTHEWS: Joan? WALSH: When you say "people" -- and Chris, I mean, we`ve said a couple times this is what the American people want. Michael, you said this is what the American people want. No, it`s not! This is what a quarter of the Republican electorate, which boils down to 10 percent of American voters, want. So if you`re talking about who`s going to pander to really angry voters who don`t understand what the problem is and don`t understand how to solve it, it`s Trump. It`s only Trump. I can`t... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: No one else but he is talking... (CROSSTALK) WALSH: But don`t confuse that... STEELE: ... rallying the base of the Democratic Party! MATTHEWS: What`s the Democratic plan to stop Illegal immigration? STEELE: ... stop illegal immigration. MATTHEWS: What`s Hillary`s plan?   SINGER: Wait a minute. But Obama has supposedly implemented... MATTHEWS: What`s his plan? SINGER: ... some plan... MATTHEWS: What`s his plan? What`s his plan? SINGER: He said he was sending troops to the -- sending... MATTHEWS: Come on! Troops to the border! (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: You and I would get through the troops. (CROSSTALK) WALSH: He`s tripled border enforcement. SINGER: They did stop the flow of children coming across the border...   MATTHEWS: You know what the dirty little secret is of the Republican Party and "The Wall Street Journal?" I hope you`re listening, editorial page, top of the editorial page today. They want illegal immigrants because they want cheap labor. They want them to come in tomorrow night. They don`t want to just look out for the people out of some compassion. They want the guy racing across the border next week, next year, 10 years from now because that guy will work for the cheapest amount and work the hardest! That`s what they want. And guess what? The Democrats want the votes. And that`s the secret of this whole thing, and that`s why a guy like Trump, who may well be a demagogue, is at least saying something that people can hear. And I think that`s what`s going on. Joan, you`re right about the numbers, but the people on the right who are going to decide this nomination certainly are loud and clear saying Trump`s the only guy they believe in. WALSH: And then they`re going to lose the election. MATTHEWS: Look at the polls today... WALSH: And then if they listen to him... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: ... see what Hillary has to say about it. STEELE: That`s if Hillary is the nominee. MATTHEWS: I said last night there`s been three people out there with the guts to stand up on the Senate bill who are even involved in politics today. Lindsey Graham, of all people, has been solid on this. The late Ted Kennedy was solid on this. And Chuck Schumer, who I disagree with on other things, has been solid on this. The rest of these guys are pander bears. On the economy, Trump runs ahead from the field again, 45 percent of Republicans say -- believe it or not, people, Joan, I find he`s hard to believe, too. He`s the best candidate on the issue of the economy right now. He leads Jeb Bush by 37 points. When it comes to the economy, Bush is -- Trump has promised to make everyone rich. I know it sounds absurd. But look at this number. Eight percent trust Mr. Establishment, brother of and son of presidents.   WALSH: Right. MATTHEWS: Eight percent. That is nothing! Look at Trump, 45 percent. Let`s watch him. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: We`re going to be thriving as a country, thriving! It can happen. (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) TRUMP: I will be the greatest jobs president that God ever created. I tell you that. (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) TRUMP: I`m really rich. I`ll share (INAUDIBLE). And by the way, I`m not even saying that in a brag -- that`s the kind of mindset, that`s the kind of thinking you need for this country. So -- because we`ve got to make the country rich. It sounds crass. Somebody said, Oh, that`s crass. It`s not crass. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: This is so close to "The Music Man"...   (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: He comes to town. I`m going to get a boys` band with the uniforms. Now, give me the money. And I`m going to -- in this case, give me the votes. But you know what? I think people (INAUDIBLE) a lot of regular guys out there and women say, (INAUDIBLE) money, but that guy`s really rich. He must know what he`s talking about. Look how rich he is. SINGER: And it`s also... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: You tell me why they believe him. SINGER: It`s the voice of winning. It`s -- how many people do you know who have that kind of confidence to say, I`m going to make us great. America, oh, yes! We`re going to go get `em! I mean... MATTHEWS: Don`t the other guys do that? Doesn`t Hillary do that? SINGER: No. Everyone says, Well, we have problems, the government`s not doing it right, things aren`t proper. There`s fear abroad. You know, Trump doesn`t have to (INAUDIBLE) he just, We`re going to go over and go into... MATTHEWS: Michael, you`re the Republican here... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: What is it in your party that`s so hungry for what you just said, a little rah-rah?   STEELE: Well, part of it is you`re talking about a base that`s been lied to for 30 years. They`ve been lied to about jobs and the economy. WALSH: Right. STEELE: They`ve been lied to about health care. They`ve been told all these things were going to get fixed. Elect us, and we`ll take care of it. You know, give us the Supreme -- you know, we`ll give you the Supreme Court to deal with these -- and none of it`s come true. So now along comes Trump, who`s, like, You know what? They`ve lied to you, and I`m just going to tell you straight up what I`m going to do and how I`m going to do it. And people are, like, You know what? OK. MATTHEWS: Well, we`ll see. Anyway, Trump`s the most trusted Republican candidate when it comes to handling ISIS! This guy has no military background, no diplomatic background! Look at this, beating Bush 2 to 1, beating Bush, Mr. Establishment. Trump has made brute strength by the -- (INAUDIBLE) Joan -- foreign policy his mantra. Let`s watch how he talks. TRUMP: I would hit them so hard and so fast that they wouldn`t know what happened. I would bomb the hell out of those oil fields. I wouldn`t send many troops because you won`t need them by the time I got finished. You go in, knock the hell out of the oil, take back the oil. We take over the oil, which we should have done in the first place. TODD: It`s going to take ground troops. MATTHEWS: If you -- OK...   TODD: What you`re talking about is ground troops. TRUMP: That`s OK. TODD: Maybe 25,000? TRUMP: We`re going to start -- (INAUDIBLE) (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: You know, Joan, you got to sympathize with Chuck Todd there because he says this stuff, and what is your next journalistic reaction? Well, let`s go into how much ordnance it would take... WALSH: Right. MATTHEWS: ... and what`s your targeting method here, and who are your ground spotters to tell you where to hit? WALSH: Right, but that`s not... MATTHEWS: Those are normal questions. But with him, it`s just bomb and turn them into a parking lot... (CROSSTALK)   WALSH: ... ground troops, we`ll throw ground troops in if we need them, but we probably won`t need them, Chuck. MATTHEWS: By the way, there are real people in those countries that are not part of ISIS. WALSH: Right. MATTHEWS: We can`t just blow up the whole country because they happen to have ISIS there, can you? STEELE: Can I address one part of that? Why it works is because I tell you, across America in living rooms that`ll be watching Donald Trump talk about this, someone just turned to a cousin, aunt, a brother or a husband and said, You know what you need to do, is just bomb the hell out of them. And then he... MATTHEWS: Who`s them? (CROSSTALK) STEELE: And then -- and then Trump comes on the air and he says exactly what the cousin, the brother, the uncle just said... WALSH: He does. STEELE: ... 20 minutes ago. And that`s the connection because it`s real. It`s authentic. It`s what people are thinking. WALSH: He`s says -- he says exactly what your crazy uncle says. You`re right. He says exactly...   (CROSSTALK) STEELE: It`s not your crazy uncle, Joan. That`s -- Again, that`s the... WALSH: That is crazy! That`s crazy, Michael! (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Let me go -- I`m going to -- Joan... WALSH: We`re going to bomb the oil fields? That`s not crazy? What am I hearing? STEELE: Again... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Joan, let me ask you something, a hard question. I don`t know the answer yet. That`s why I end my show with it -- show tonight with it. WALSH: All right. MATTHEWS: Is he -- is he same old, same old? Every couple years along, somebody comes along, some character with a shtick and he has something to offer and it sounds like it`s great, whether it`s 999 Cain or it`s something else or it`s briefly what`s her name, Michele Bachmann? Is he one of them?   I`m going back -- I want to set this up a little bit. WALSH: Right. MATTHEWS: When Bill Clinton said that Barack Obama, who really was and is a phenomenon, I think, in American political history, a phenomenon... WALSH: Right. MATTHEWS: ... his name and his background, the whole way it sort of worked for him, even though working better than ever. But is he that or is he -- remember how Bill Clinton -- Oh, he`s just Jesse Jackson. WALSH: Right. MATTHEWS: You know, some of the old characters -- I won`t use the usual "F" word, old people (INAUDIBLE) they always say, Oh, it`s like everything else. I remember this in 1942! (LAUGHTER) MATTHEWS: I mean, I am so tired of people saying he`s just another whatever. I think he`s something different... STEELE: I do, too. MATTHEWS: ... or maybe the times are different. But there`s a hunger for something out there, and this guy`s offering up at least the snack, at least -- what do you think`s going on? You`re as good as I am at this.   WALSH: I think he is -- I think he`s something different. And I don`t think -- he`s not Herman Cain. He`s not Michele Bachmann. I think he`s got staying power. He`s going to stick around for a long time. There`s no reason to believe that these other guys are going to rise. I mean, that big debate that we all watched and Marco Rubio was the winner. He barely moved in the polls. I mean, nothing is seeming to matter. These guys are all kind of lifeless and wan and sad. And he... MATTHEWS: Wan. Thank you, a word, "wan." It`s right -- the word is "wan." WALSH: They are. MATTHEWS: I keep saying a hot knife through soft butter, but that`s better. They`re just -- there`s not a lot of competition in that... (CROSSTALK) SINGER: And we waited for Trump`s numbers to drop after that debate, and they didn`t. MATTHEWS: We waited -- a lot of us waited for John Kasich to zoom, but people didn`t -- they didn`t see it. Anyway, John (ph), great -- you`re all part of America`s pastiche of wonderment here... (CROSSTALK) STEELE: Where`s my dictionary?   (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: ... Paul Singer. Coming up -- no surprise here, New Jersey governor -- actually, Senator Bob Menendez under federal indictment right now and facing huge legal fees has come out, big surprise here, against President Obama`s nuclear deal with Iran. He says it`s a matter of, excuse me, principle. We`ll talk to a former president of a group opposed to the deal who quit because he now supports the agreement, the nuclear deal with Iran. Plus, new reporting on the 2016 race. Democratic sources tell NBC News today that Joe Biden is not ready to challenge Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination. We`ll get to that biggie with the roundtable tonight, so stick with us for that. Biden is fascinating. And it`s clown car Tuesday, of course, and tonight, Jeb Bush is behind the wheel. He says taking out Saddam Hussein was a good deal, even if it cost 200,000 lives and it gave Iran control of Iraq and led to the creation of ISIS. Great deal for all of us. Finally, "Let Me Finish" with the historic fact that things actually happen in American politic that are not always rational, not always smart, not even necessarily sane. This is HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Hillary Clinton took questions from the press out in Las Vegas today, and she defended her use of e-mail while she was secretary of state in a tough exchange with reporters. Here she is. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)   QUESTION: The FBI believes that you tried to wipe the entire server. Did you try to wipe the entire -- so there would be no e-mail, no personal, no official, wipe the whole thing? HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), FMR. SEC. OF STATE, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, my personal e-mails are my personal business, right? So I -- so we went through a painstaking process and turned over 55,000 pages of anything we thought could be work-related. Under the law, that decision is made by the official. I was the official. I made those decisions. And as I just said, over 1,200 of the e-mails have already been deemed not work-related. So that`s all I can say. QUESTION: Did you try to wipe the whole server? (CROSSTALK) CLINTON: I`m -- you know, I don`t -- I have no idea. That`s why we turned it over. QUESTION: But you were in charge of it. You were the official in charge. Did you wipe the server? CLINTON: Well, like with a cloth or something? QUESTION: I don`t know. (CROSSTALK) QUESTION: Did you try to wipe the whole server?   CLINTON: I don`t know how it works digitally at all. MATTHEWS: We`ll be back after this. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. ROBERT MENENDEZ (D), NEW JERSEY: The agreement that has been reached failed to achieve the one thing it was set out to achieve. It failed to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear weapons state at a time of its choosing. In fact, it authorizes and supports the very road map Iran will need to arrive at its target. I have looked into my own soul, and my devotion to principle may once again lead me to an unpopular course. But if Iran is to acquire a nuclear bomb, it will not have my name on it. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. That was New Jersey senator Bob Menendez, the indicted lawmaker who faces huge legal bills on corruption charges. According to "The New York Times," his legal defense fund includes support, quote, "from some of the country`s most prominent pro- Israeli billionaires," including Sheldon Adelson. Menendez is one of two Senate Democrats to oppose the Iran deal. Despite some loud opposition to the agreement, it`s unlikely opponents can get enough anti-Obama votes to override a presidential veto, as Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell conceded this week. And three more Democrats have announced their support just now for the deal. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, both Democrats, and Senator Maisy Hirono of Hawaii, also a Democrat. Also today, a nonpartisan group of arms control and nuclear proliferation experts backed the deal, calling it a net plus for international nuclear nonproliferation efforts.   Meanwhile, one of the most prominent groups opposed to the deal suffered an embarrassing defection, its president. According to "The New York Times," quote, "When the bipartisan advocacy group United Against Nuclear Iran decided last week to mobilize opposition against the nuclear deal with Tehran, Gary Samore knew he could no longer serve as its president. The reason, after long study, Mr. Samore, a former nuclear adviser to President Obama, had concluded that the accord was in the United States` interest." Gary Samore joins me, along with Valerie Plame, a former CIA undercover officer who specialized in weapons -- well, in nuclear weapons. She signed today`s letter supporting the agreement. Mr. Samore, thank you very much. Give us your story, your account of when you decided to break with those opposed to this agreement. GARY SAMORE, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER ON ARMS CONTROL: Well, after the agreement was announced in mid-July, I took a couple of weeks to study it, weigh up the strengths and the weaknesses. And I concluded, after looking at it, that the agreement, while not perfect, certainly, was acceptable in terms of preventing Iran from building nuclear weapons for at least 15 years. MATTHEWS: The opponents of the agreement, those who don`t agree with President Obama, and including obviously Chuck Schumer and now Menendez, who has a couple of motives, I think, here, it`s fair to say, they say that they can -- you could get a better deal -- Bob Corker, who is not a bad guy, from Tennessee, we can get a better deal. I wondered how that argument works to someone like you. Can we go back to the table, get a table somewhere, whether it`s Geneva or New York or wherever, and getting together all these people from all these countries, including China and Russia, not exactly the Bobbsey Twins, bring them all together with us, and the people from Iran, and cut a better deal? I`m just asking, who believes that that`s feasible or plausible? Does anybody really believe that, or is that a red herring? SAMORE: I think people genuinely believe it, but I think it`s a risk, because certainly if we reject this agreement, at least in the near term, I think it would create disunity within the coalition that negotiated the current agreement. It would at a minimum lead to some erosion of sanctions. I think the Iranians would take advantage of our rejection to unfreeze elements of their nuclear program, and so they would advance further in terms of bringing additional centrifuges online and so forth.   Now, at the end of the day, you might get back to the bargaining table after some additional time and additional economic pressure, but I`m not convinced that you would be able to negotiate a significantly better deal. And many of the -- many of the critiques of the current agreement call for measures that I think are probably not attainable in the absence of much more pressure, such as a military ultimatum, which this country`s not prepared to issue. MATTHEWS: Yes. I`m not even sure the hawks are willing to say that, that they`re -- oh, yes, sign this paper or we`re going to blow you up, sort of like Luca Brasi-style. Your signature is on the table or your brains. I`m not sure we`re going to pull that number internationally. Anyway, we`re not that kind of country. Valerie, it`s great to have you on in an area which you have always been an expert on, not how you got well known, but certainly not because of your fault. But you were sort of outed as an agent, an undercover agent. But you`re -- this is your specialty. Tell us about how you have looked at it and how you look at it now, the deal. VALERIE PLAME WILSON, ANTI-NUCLEAR ACTIVIST: Well, good to be with you, Chris. As it turns out, I just came from lunch with a Nobel laureate nuclear physicist, Murray Gell-Mann. And he`s in favor of the deal. So, that`s good enough for me. I don`t know who is advising Senator Menendez. I would not question his motives, but he`s wrong, because the truth is, if this deal does not go through, it is not approved, Israel and the United States will be isolated. Iran will continue with its nuclear program. There will not be daily inspections, robust verification. And, without question, as what Mr. Samore just said, the sanctions are going to go by the wayside, maybe not immediately, but already our allies in this, Russia and China are very, as well as many other countries, are looking to get in and take part of the Iranian economy. MATTHEWS: Let me ask you first, then back to Mr. Samore.   Valerie, I know you, because -- I can call you Valerie. But is this a deal where we can use ratification? And can we actually watch this -- verification, rather. Is this something we have to trust the Iranians for or do we have -- is it good enough we don`t have to trust them, we just watch them, Valerie? SAMORE: I don`t think there`s any trust. I mean, given Iran`s track record of cheating and lying on their nuclear program, it would be foolish to trust them. So, what I`m impressed with is that the inspection and the monitoring system has a number of measures which I think will improve our ability to detect efforts by Iran to cheat and, in particular, to try to build clandestine facilities to produce nuclear material. That doesn`t mean you will catch everything. No inspection regime is going to be perfect. And certainly this regime is unlikely to be able to detect small-scale research and development activities. But in terms of major, substantial cheating involving production of nuclear material, I think the inspection regime is an asset. MATTHEWS: Valerie, do you trust our ability to keep an eye on them? PLAME WILSON: I do. We have absolutely state-of-the-art verification inspections that are in place and that will -- you know, will go ahead. Without question, it`s not -- no one`s saying that this is a perfect deal, but I disagree with those that say this is somehow overblown rhetoric that the other option is war. It might not be right away, but ultimately that`s where the neocons, who brought us the Iraq War, will lead us. So if this falls apart, and Iran then will, of course, go back into their nuclear program, and the neocons, deja vu all over again. They will say, oh, we have no choice, but we need to go forward into war. MATTHEWS: By the way, you don`t have to think through the neocons. Norman Podhoretz. It`s John Bolton, people out there saying they want to bomb now, right now. They`re doing it right in the op-ed page, their favorite way of thinking, the op-ed page. PLAME WILSON: Yes.   MATTHEWS: Thank you so much, Gary Samore, for joining us and for your courage. And, Valerie Plame Wilson, thank you again. Up next, nearly a decade after the devastation of Katrina, we`re going to look back at the country`s greatest storms. This is an odd one, isn`t it? But guess who is coming to tell us about it? A great guy, Al Roker. he`s coming here. Stick around for this. You are going to learn something about the strange weather we have been having. And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. It seems extreme weather conditions are now the norm in this country. In Washington State, there are close to 1,000 firefighters right now battling wildfires that have consumed homes and damaged thousands of acres. And in California, of course, there have been more than 12,000 firefighters battling 18 active wildfires out there. In Idaho just last week, a firenado was caught on camera as -- look at that -- extreme conditions formed a flaming vortex that went hundreds of feet in the air. Look at -- imagine looking at that. And a NASA climatologist says we should we prepared for more epic weather coming. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BILL PATZERT, CLIMATOLOGIST: It`s been building and building and building, and at this point, it definitely looks like it`s going to be the real deal. This potentially could be the El Nino of our generation.   (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, today, the National Hurricane Center says a tropical depression has formed in the Atlantic. If named as a storm, it will be called Danny. Of course, next week marks the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina that wrecked the whole Gulf Coast from Florida to Texas. Here`s a look back at the cruelest victim of Katrina, the state of New Orleans. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: There`s a big part of this story that you can`t pick up on television alone. And when you come here, you get that part of the story. And the other thing you notice is the absolute desolation. We have been driving in here for 20 miles from the outskirts of the city and there`s no one here. Imagine someone at a viewing when they have died and they seem like they`re OK because they have been made up by the undertaker, but they`re dead, they`re gone. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: That`s what it felt like then. Joining me right now is "Today Show` co-anchor Al Roker, who is author of the new book "The Storm of the Century: Tragedy, Heroism, Survival, and the Epic True Story of America`s Deadliest Natural Disaster: The Great Gulf Hurricane of 1900." Al Roker, it`s an honor to have you on, sir. Quickly, I have got to let you talk about the hurricane of 1900, but I obviously want to talk about climate change tonight and what`s going on in a place like D.C., where we always like knowing it was going to be horrendous in July and August, but at least it was predictability hot, humid, 100-degree weather. You can`t even predict that anymore.   Tell us what is going on, but start with 1900. AL ROKER, "THE TODAY SHOW": Well, we start with 1900. And this was -- still to this day, it is the deadliest hurricane, natural disaster -- forget about hurricane. This is the deadliest natural disaster this country has ever suffered. An estimated 10,000 or more perished in a town of 37,000 in Galveston. And the devastation was complete. Cut off from the mainland, this sand bar that a hundred years earlier was occupied, was a little outpost occupied by the pirate Jean Lafitte. MATTHEWS: Yes. ROKER: And it had become one of the most prosperous cities in America. In fact, there were more millionaires per capita in Galveston in 1900 than there were in any other city in America, Chris. MATTHEWS: And there were hurricane deniers back then. You`re right. ROKER: There were. MATTHEWS: That people, just like today, they deny climate change. ROKER: Exactly.   They wanted -- the city fathers wanted to put up a seawall. Well, one of the preeminent hurricane experts, Isaac Cline, who was also in charge of the Galveston U.S. Weather Bureau, said that there was no need, that there was a natural curve to hurricanes and that no major hurricane would hit the Texas coast. And, of course, unfortunately, on September 8, that was proven wrong. By the way, Chris, National Weather Service -- National Hurricane Center now naming Tropical Storm Danny, our fourth named tropical storm this year. And it is expected to strengthen to hurricane strength by Thursday. MATTHEWS: What do you say to the climate change deniers when they bother you, bump into you somewhere, because I think you believe in the science? (CROSSTALK) ROKER: Yes. I say it`s -- you can deny it at your own peril, much as the folks, the deniers in Galveston did, and 10,000 people lost their lives. I think that the deniers are behind the science and behind most -- most Americans. I think most -- you look at the surveys, most Americans believe there is climate change going on. And they want something done about it. MATTHEWS: Let`s take a look at some of these deniers. These are among the 2016 Republican candidates who publicly deny the science you understand. Senator Ted Cruz says he`s got the scientific data to show we shouldn`t even be worrying about it. Here he is, Cruz. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: They scream you`re anti- science when someone points out, for example, that in the last 17 years, satellite has shown there`s been no warming whatsoever. (END VIDEO CLIP)   MATTHEWS: Donald Trump says climate change... ROKER: Well, I don`t know what data... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: I`m going to give you more of this to feed you more of it. Here`s Donald Trump, Al. Take a look at this guy. We have got a whole list of these guys. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It`s freezing all over the country. You look at places like Texas, they`re setting record lows. And Oklahoma, where they never had problems, they have snow. QUESTION: Sure. TRUMP: So what`s gone on? And it`s not the -- the hoax doesn`t bother me, if it didn`t mean anything. QUESTION: Now, what do you mean hoax? TRUMP: Well, it`s a hoax. I think the scientists are having a lot of fun.   (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, Jeb Bush, he`s the sophisticate. He says there`s simply a lot of confusion on the issue. Here he is with his confusion. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It`s convoluted. And for the people to say the science has decided on this is just really arrogant, to be honest with you. It`s this intellectual arrogance that now you can`t have a conversation about it even. (END VIDEO CLIP) (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Go ahead. Go ahead, Al. ROKER: Well, gravity, it`s convoluted. (LAUGHTER) MATTHEWS: Let me ask you something. I want to use a Rokerism here. In our neck of the woods, our neck of the woods down here in super humid Washington, where it used to be you take a shower in the morning, you go outside, a hot wool blanket would be thrown over your head, and you couldn`t breathe for two months, how come it is not exactly like that anymore? It`s unpredictable now. What`s going on?   ROKER: Well, that`s -- see, that`s what climate change does. It creates instability. I mean, look, you look at what`s going on in California right now. I mean, this is the fourth year and counting of a horrendous drought. We have got drought right now in the Northeast. There`s drought down in Florida. And, yes, you have got -- and, by the way, Houston set a record for 95-plus degree days or more. I don`t know what data Mr. Trump`s looking at. But the fact of the matter is -- and we don`t just look at one place. You have to look at the globe as a whole. It`s not just us. We have to look at the entire globe. And, by the way, other countries have to do their part as well. We can`t do this by ourselves. It has to be a global effort. MATTHEWS: You should be president. Thank you so much, Al Roker. You`re very impressive. (LAUGHTER) ROKER: Who can take the pay cut? (LAUGHTER) MATTHEWS: Don`t talk that up too much. Anyway, Al`s book -- by the way, did you make up the phrase neck of the woods? Was that yours? ROKER: No. No, I did not. My grandfather used to say that. It`s, I believe, an old colonial term. But my grandpa used to come in and say, hey, grandson, what`s going on in your neck of the woods?   MATTHEWS: I love it, N-E-C-K, your neck of the -- find out -- I`m going to look up what a neck of the woods is. Anyway, Al`s book is called "The Storm of the Century." What a great book. I think he`s taking David McCullough`s job away from him there. Coming up: Democratic sources say Vice President Biden is not ready to run in 2016. Well, that`s new reporting on the subject. We will have that next. You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (NEWSBREAK) MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. As we`ve been reporting here on HARDBALL -- Vice President Joe Biden has been thinking about jumping into the 2016 presidential race for the nomination. But today, NBC News` Kristen Welker report that multiple people around the White House say it`s unlikely that Biden will run. A Democratic strategist familiar with the thinking inside the White House says while the vice president is reaching out to allies and supporters, he does not seem to be putting together the ground game or actually taking the concrete steps that one would take to launch an actual bid for the White House. So, last night, CNN reported there are concerns inside the White House about a possible Joe Biden candidacy. Meanwhile, an important newspaper in South Carolina is pushing the V.P. to run. The editorial from "The Post and Courier" last weekend, "Run, Joe, Run." Well, time now for the roundtable to take a look at the facts. Steven McMahon is a Democratic strategist, Anne Gearan is a political correspondent with "The Washington Post", and Jason Johnson is a radio talk show host and contributor to   OK, Anne, you first -- the facts, what do we know from inside and around the White House about this Biden boomlet or bomb -- is it a trial balloon, or what is it? ANNE GEARAN, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, clearly, there`s been a trial balloon, but it`s a different thing or -- MATTHEWS: Hunter put it up, his son put it up, did Mike Donilon put it? GEARAN: And lots -- right, lots of people who are -- MATTHEWS: I`m asking you, who put it up? DAVID MCMAHON, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: All of the above? GEARAN: Yes, right, exactly, all of the above. Biden has a circle of devoted loyalists, many of whom would like to see him run. We have no indication from our reporting apparently, from Kristen`s excellent reporting as well, that President Obama is among them. I think if the president wanted his vice president to be his anointed successor, we would know that by now. There`s absolutely no indication that`s the case. MATTHEWS: OK. What are his people loyal to Obama trying to do? Are trying to do to kill the buzz or kill the prospects? Because you can stop people from talking about it. Does that stop Joe from running if you stop people from talking about it? GEARAN: No, I don`t think you can stop Joe Biden from doing anything. And, certainly, Obama can`t be seen to be squelching this, right? However, he`s not encouraging it either. MATTHEWS: Is he afraid this will hurt Hillary?   GEARAN: Yes. MATTHEWS: If Joe runs? GEARAN: Yes. And Hillary has clearly been selected as the most viable vessel for the Obama legacy. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Was there ever a deal -- here`s a great question. Was there ever a deal -- when Hillary gave that wonderful speech in 2008 when she left the campaign, it was more than just, "gee, whiz, I lost, I guess the other guy won." It was warm, wonderful, it was even powerful. And I didn`t know then but I always like to think about this thing. Was she promised secretary of state at that time or was she promised something like it? Was there a hint-hint? And this time around, did he -- or maybe back then, did he promise it was her turn next? GEARAN: Well, she certainly was not promised secretary of state. That actually came as a surprise. MATTHEWS: Was she promised it`s her turn next? GEARAN: We would love to know, wouldn`t we? I think a lot of people think that`s true. I don`t know if my own reporting that it`s true. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: That`s why I asked. I don`t know the answer.   Steve? MCMAHON: So, I talk to people who are present in the first Obama administration and asked them because a curiosity to me why is it that there`s so much of the Obama machinery that moves so quickly and seamlessly to Hillary? And why did nobody even -- MATTHEWS: This time around. MCMAHON: Yes, but started moving six years ago. And why did no one even consider Joe Biden. You know what they said? Nobody thought Biden was going to run. Everybody loves Joe Biden. Everybody thought he would be a great president. Everybody inside there believes he`s been one of the best vice presidents a president could have. MATTHEWS: What`s the age difference, five or six years? (CROSSTALK) MCMAHON: Between the two of them, four years. And nobody thought he would run. Now they`re sitting back there, geez, we always liked Joe. MATTHEWS: Did he think he would run? Do we know whether he had ever ruled it out? I think Dick Cheney probably ruled it out. JASON JOHNSON, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I don`t think you could ever rule it out. When you finally get this close after so many times of trying, I don`t think you can ever rule it out. And honestly, I think it would actually help. Hillary needs some real competition. I don`t think she`s going to do well in this primary just steamrolling over everybody. I think a Joe Biden -- MATTHEWS: Is that what you call this process, steamrolling?   (LAUGHTER) JOHNSON: She`s marching over everybody. MATTHEWS: Well, I think one argument you make there is he has ran twice before. Once a long time ago and once more recently. As Gene McCarthy (ph), one of my heroes, once said, it`s easier to run for president than to stop. I probably said that too often, but it`s true. MCMAHON: Well, I used to work for Senator Kennedy. MATTHEWS: He ran. MCMAHON: He ran. And once you believe you might be president, you believe you should be president, it`s not something that goes away. Joe Biden still wants to be president, believes he should be, like Mitt Romney. It`s a dream that`s difficult to let go off. MATTHEWS: Very close to that presidential chair. I mean, Hillary probably sat in it a few times. Joe probably did when he`s not around. Anyway, it`s only next door to his office. Anyway, the roundtable is sticking with us. And up next, well, it`s clown car Tuesday. You know that? And driven today by of all people, Jeb Bush with Carly Fiorina riding shotgun. All the Republicans are acting a bit wacko these days.   And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Well, Hillary Clinton has broken with the Obama administration on a new decision to drill in the arctic. Clinton tweeted this morning, the Arctic is a unique treasure. Given what we know now, it`s not worth the risk of drilling. Well, that statement comes a day after the Obama administration announced it would allow Shell Oil Company to drill for gas and oil in the Arctic Ocean. Environmental groups, of course, have come out against the White House decision. By the way, the former secretary of state has yet to take a position on the controversial Keystone Pipeline. And we`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: We`re back with the roundtable, Steve, Anne, Jason. Well, it`s clown car Tuesday, of course, because it`s Tuesday. And leading the convoy today, and it is a convoy, Jeb Bush of all people, the sanest among them. Anyway, the former Republican front-runner -- former -- is again defending his brother W`s decision to invade Iraq. And this time he`s calling the disastrous war a good deal. Here he was at a national security forum in Iowa.   (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MODERATOR: Isn`t it also the case that had we not invaded Iraq in the first place we wouldn`t be dealing with this ISIS problem? JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Look, who knows? It`s such a complicated hypothetical. Who knows? I can`t answer that I`ll tell you taking out Saddam Hussein turned out to be a pretty good deal. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: You know, you have to wonder just in the Bush house, just where there`s reasonable people like the old man, and Scowcroft and Jim Baker, reasonable people have conversations. He asks like they`ve never had it. That`s not a hypothetical. We`ve been arguing for the last 15 years whether he should have gone to war. I was against it, he was for it, he`s still for it but I can`t believe he`s bragging on it. Why is he saying it`s great -- 200,000 people are dead now, 4,000 Americans are dead. We have given Iran Iraq. We`ve blown up, we`ve given the entire officer corps of Iraq to ISIS. These are facts. And he`s saying I think it`s a pretty good deal. JOHNSON: It`s cowardice. It`s plain old cowardice and it`s a bad strategy. And at the end of the day, look -- MATTHEWS: You mean cowardice because he`s afraid of the right? JOHNSON: Cowardice, he`s afraid of the right, and you mentioned family. He needs to have like that Godfather moment, he needs to take the old brother on the lake and say, "Look, we got to separate." MATTHEWS: You mean Fredo?   (CROSSTALK) JOHNSON: He has to treat him like Fredo. At the end of the day, if he doesn`t separate, he can`t win this primary. He`s not going to win a general election. MATTHEWS: When Fredo was praying Hail Mary when he -- (LAUGHTER) JOHNSON: You have to separate. You have to give him the kiss and break away or it won`t work. MATTHEWS: Oh my God. Anyway, Carly Fiorina has leveled the harshest attacks on Hillary Clinton of any of the Republican candidates calling her untrustworthy, unaccomplished and calling her a liar and she sure did at the Republican debate. But "BuzzFeed" today uncovered a 2008 video of Fiorina as a surrogate for John McCain and when she praises Clinton. Here she is and here`s the clip. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CARLY FIORINA (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have great admiration for her because I know what it takes in some small measure to do what she has done. She is obviously incredibly intelligent, focused, tough, determined, empathetic of all the tens of millions of people that she was trying to represent in her quest to become the first woman president of the United States. And as a woman I take great pride in the fact that Hillary Clinton ran for president. (END VIDEO CLIP)   MATTHEWS: Well, she`s no part of the sisterhood of the pantsuit or whatever it is. She`s wonderful there and now she`s terrible. What do you call her now? What is this about, this breakup? GEARAN: Well, I mean, it`s politics, right? MATTHEWS: Of course. GEARAN: What`s really funny to me is that her spokeswoman was saying, "Oh, you know, she doesn`t really remember saying that". Apparently, she said it like eight times. MATTHEWS: Isn`t video great? GEARAN: It`s fantastic. And there`s actually a quote from Carly Fiorina about how great Hillary Clinton is on the wall in the Clinton headquarters and Carly Fiorina`s -- MATTHEWS: I don`t know, it doesn`t surprise me. It does somewhat depress me. When you build somebody up that much, stick with them forever, at least a couple years. MCMAHON: It isn`t very often that one piece of footage can be both a primary and a general election ad and that footage can be both. MATTHEWS: Thank you. Great to have you on. Steve McMahon, I guess Biden isn`t running according to this crowd. Anne Gearan and Jason Johnson. When we return, let me finish with the historic fact that things actually happen in American politics that aren`t always rational, not always smart and not even necessarily sane.   You`re watching HARDBALL, the police for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (NEWSBREAK) MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight where I began. I`m going through what most of you are going through right now -- a bit of wonder. We know on the facts not to take Donald Trump seriously. On the fact, he`s told us, for example, that the president of the United States was born in some far off country, that his mother baked up his Iowa birth certificate as a pineapple pie to confuse those who might come sniffing around. Yes, it was part of this woman`s plan along with marrying a guy from Kenya and naming the kid Barack Hussein Obama to make her son president of the United States. So, on the facts, at least the facts of national American politics and at least people who put a great deal of importance in getting the facts straight, Donald Trump has not made a great first impression. That said, I have loved following American politics all these years for two reasons -- one, you can learn enough to know the patterns of the thing, the ways people get ahead in this business, how they make alliances that bring them into power, how they deal with enemies, how they make deals and make big names for themselves. So, there is an art if not a science of the business of getting yourself elected and keeping power. But there`s this other thing, this wondrous fact that occasionally people don`t do what they`re used to doing -- like when the Republicans start acting like Democrats now and have a wild free- for-all for their presidential nomination or when the Democrats begin now to act like Republicans simply asking whose turn it is. Well, yes, the wild does happen, like it did in 1964 when the Republicans picked Barry Goldwater over the nationally popular Nelson Rockefeller. Like in 1972 when the Democrats picked George McGovern over the much-admired Edmund Muskie. So before the masters of the political guild rule Mr. Trump out of power or out of order, think about the historic fact that things actually happen in American politics that are not always rational, not always smart, not even necessarily sane. 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.>