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Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 08/24/15

Guests: Susan Page, Christina Coons, Christopher Dickey, Michael Kay,Jonathan Allen, Molly Ball, John Feehery

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Bidin` his time. Let`s play HARDBALL. Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington. Well, that`s exactly what his friends are telling the vice president to do, wait a few weeks. Wait and see what happens with Hillary and this e-mail jam-up she can`t seem to steer clear of. Jumping in may turn out to be the smart move, they`re saying, but not if the former secretary of state can manage to break clear of this matter and begin building her trustworthiness. The buzz about a Joe Biden presidential run grew louder this weekend, however, when word leaked that the vice president met privately with progressive hero Elizabeth Warren. NBC News reported that according to people briefed on the meeting, Biden didn`t directly ask for the senator`s support, but made clear he was seriously considering running. This is news. Meanwhile, CNN today reported it was likely he would enter the race. Well, there you have it. And according to "The Wall Street Journal," again a push (ph), the vice president, quote, "is increasingly leaning toward entering the race if it`s still possible. He can knit together a competitive campaign at this late date, people familiar with the matter say." Anyway, "The Washington Post" reports that Biden has invited major Democratic fund-raisers now to meet with him just after Labor. Meanwhile, at the White House briefing today, Josh Earnest, the president`s spokesman, praised Biden but knocked away questions about the president`s own thinking on the race. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)   JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president has indicated his view that the decision that he made, I guess, seven years ago now, to add Joe Biden to the ticket as his running made was the smartest decision that he`d ever made in politics. And I think that should give you some sense of the president`s view of Vice President Biden`s aptitude for the top job. So I wouldn`t speculate at this point about whether or not the president would offer an endorsement in the Democratic primaries. QUESTION: So you don`t rule out the possibility he could, say, endorse Joe Biden or endorse Hillary Clinton? EARNEST: I wouldn`t rule out -- I wouldn`t rule out an endorsement... QUESTION: Or Bernie Sanders. EARNEST: Or Bernie Sanders. I wouldn`t rule out the possibility of an endorsement in the Democratic primary. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, joining me right now is Howard Fineman, the global editorial director of the HuffingtonPost, and Susan Page, Washington bureau chief of "USA Today. I`m glad we got the heavyweights her, and I mean that seriously. This is so tricky, where all these news organizations -- "The Wall Street Journal," CNN now -- are all perking up this thing. It`s not about the tragedy that happened to him losing his son a while back, Beau. It`s about some new development in this thing. What is this new -- is it Hillary`s static we keep getting about the e- mails that says maybe something bad could really happen here to her? HOWARD FINEMAN, HUFFINGTONPOST GLOBAL EDITORIAL DIR., MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Chris, I`ve known and reported for a long time the obvious fact that the Clintons and the Bidens are not particularly close. That`s the first thing you have to understand. Joe Biden, I think, is not a fan of the Clinton style of operation, of the Clinton machine, of what he regards what the Clintons stand for. And the...   MATTHEWS: (INAUDIBLE) more on that in a moment. FINEMAN: OK. OK. MATTHEWS: By the way. FINEMAN: Polling numbers show Hillary`s regarded as untrustworthy in a lot of polls. Joe Biden`s great treasure right now is his trustworthiness, his authenticity. If you`re a guy who`s run for president twice, you see that kind of advantage right now, it`s awfully hard not to do it again. And the big thing that Joe Biden has to decide, in my mind, is whether he`s going to really go at Hillary Clinton on the question of trust and electability. He... MATTHEWS: (INAUDIBLE) say it. FINEMAN: And say it because... MATTHEWS: Whoa! FINEMAN: ... there`s that first debate coming up in October. If he runs, he`ll be in that debate. Is he going to go over Hillary Clinton? Because that`s the only way for him to get the nomination. He`s got to go over her and he`s got to decide... MATTHEWS: Take the fight to her. FINEMAN: And he`s got to decide...   MATTHEWS: Whoa! FINEMAN: ... whether he`s willing to do it. MATTHEWS: But Susan, isn`t that the most dangerous thing to do? Because experience -- my experience tells me when it looks like somebody`s being a little too tough on Hillary, then, all of a sudden, she gets pretty good at it, and her friends say, you know, This doesn`t look too good. I think I`m with her finally. SUSAN PAGE, "USA TODAY": Well, that`s true. He needs to appeal to Hillary Clinton voters, right? He needs... MATTHEWS: Ultimately. Oh, I see, grab some, yes. PAGE: I mean, yes, he`s got to get -- he`s got to get some of them. And I don`t really think it`s Joe Biden`s style to go hard at an opponent who`s in the same party... MATTHEWS: How do you hit the trustworthiness... FINEMAN: Ask Robert Bork about... PAGE: Even from the other party, FINEMAN: Ask Robert Bork about that. (CROSSTALK)   MATTHEWS: Carly Fiorina`s out there calling her a liar. I mean, do you get that rough? PAGE: And you talk about his two previous campaigns. I think it`s clear that Joe Biden wants to run. I don`t think there`s any question about that. But his two previous... MATTHEWS: Who`s sending out these -- these -- somebody`s telling "The Wall Street Journal" front page. This isn`t the editorial page. (CROSSTALK) FINEMAN: ... people close to him, people close to him are -- you don`t think the world found out about Elizabeth Warren by accident because she was sitting in... MATTHEWS: What message does that send... FINEMAN: ... in the airport. MATTHEWS: ... you two, by the way? What`s the meeting? I think of Joe is sort of the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party, not particularly the left wing. She`s with the reform wing. He`s a regular. How do they match up? Or maybe they do compliment each other. I don`t know. PAGE: Here`s the problem -- here`s the problem I think that Joe Biden has, which is he`s run twice before. He knows a lot about how it is -- neither of the campaigns went well. Even the second campaign... MATTHEWS: He got the vice presidency out of it! PAGE: But his presidential campaign didn`t go well, even though...   MATTHEWS: Well, how did he -- how did he get to be vice president? PAGE: Well, he got to be vice president... MATTHEWS: By running! PAGE: ... by -- well, that may -- OK. So in that way, he got what he wanted, but he didn`t get the presidency, and he didn`t come close. He wasn`t really even a competitor... FINEMAN: Well, but... PAGE: ... for the nomination... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: But our history has based upon guys, men, who`ve ran for president, lost the presidential race to somebody else -- George Bush, Sr., Reagan wins it, Mondale same deal, lost to Carter. He gets the vice presidency. You know, there is a tradition of losing to the guy who precedes you. FINEMAN: No, I agree with what Susan says about the past campaigns, but I`ve also got to say since he`s been at Barack Obama side for the last seven years, he`s got something to talk about now. In other words, he has an organizing principle, and if it comes down to who`s closer to the heart of Barack Obama when you`re dealing with Democratic voters, who wins that battle? MATTHEWS: What would make the president, Barack Obama, believe that Joe is a better bet than Hillary to succeed him? PAGE: I can`t...   MATTHEWS: And in. (CROSSTALK) PAGE: I can`t imagine President Obama getting into this fight. MATTHEWS: Unless there`s a real catastrophic event affecting Hillary, something about... PAGE: Well... MATTHEWS: ... you know, top secret information that really turns out to be a criminal mishandling. FINEMAN: Chris, that`s why I think that the Biden people are waiting. In other words, what they`re saying is -- first they said after Labor Day. Then they said at the end of September. Now you read some stories where they`re saying the first week of October. They`re waiting as long as possible to see what else is happening... MATTHEWS: Does anyone think that Trey Gowdy can bring out something in the hearings by the special committee that would actually hurt the former secretary of state? FINEMAN: I don`t think the hearing -- I don`t think -- you know, I don`t know what you think, I don`t think the hearing at this point is the key thing. MATTHEWS: What is it, enterprise journalism? FINEMAN: Yes, it`s just whatever...   (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: "The New York Times." "The New York Times." PAGE: The trouble is, we didn`t expect the e-mail -- the e-mail story to come out. That was a surprise to us six months ago, right? We didn`t know she was using a server in her -- in her... MATTHEWS: I never heard of a server until this thing started. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: According to Politico, the possibility of a Biden run for president is dividing people in President Obama`s own world. According to one West Wing staffer, "I don`t know what the official line will be but you have a lot of people in the building, in the White House, rooting for him." That`s the VP. "Even if their mind is with Clinton, their heart is with the vice president." But Politico also reports, quote, "Bring up Biden with many current and former Obama staffers and conversation stops. They sigh. Pained looks appear on faces. They may try to change the topic. The conversation tends to go like this. `You think there`s an opening? Nah, but maybe.`" Howard, put that all together. FINEMAN: Well... MATTHEWS: They say nice things about him, and then they pause. FINEMAN: I think the number one objective of the people around President Obama is to have a Democrat win...   MATTHEWS: Oh, yes, let`s agree on that. FINEMAN: ... because that`s part of the legacy of a president who builds change, and Barack Obama... MATTHEWS: Transformational president... (CROSSTALK) FINEMAN: He`s not a transformational president unless the Democrats win. Also, practically speaking, you want to have somebody from the same party to protect your legacy that next term, legally, administratively, politically and so forth. MATTHEWS: So well said. FINEMAN: So that`s their number one objective. I think they`ll stick with Hillary until they don`t. Who knows? And that`s what Joe Biden is playing for. All the other stuff about the issues and all that. MATTHEWS: OK. How does the president... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: I think that`s really true. It`s like Middle Eastern leaders always want their oldest son to replace them to protect them physically from getting killed. But what about the president`s dealing every day with Joe Biden? How does he finesse Joe Biden, looks him in the eye, like you`re looking at me, hopefully being nice, and say, Mr. President, I`m your friend. Why aren`t you backing me? You`re not pals with Hillary Clinton.   (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Why aren`t you -- how does he deal with that? PAGE: We know there`s some increased nervousness among Democrats about Hillary Clinton. There`s no question about that. But she continues to be the dominant front-runner. Let`s not -- let`s not see a bigger... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: I`m talking about the president. What`s he doing? PAGE: So what`s the percentage for President Obama to get into this fight? I don`t see one, not for the foreseeable future. FINEMAN: Well, unless -- unless he thinks that there`s going to be a terminal struggle within the Democratic Party that will make victory by the Democrats in the fall election that much more difficult. PAGE: It`s also not up to him, you know? FINEMAN: That`s true. PAGE: There`s a new generation comes along, even though both these candidates are older than he is, and... MATTHEWS: I think events are going to determine this more than Joe Biden`s ambition.   Anyway, many Democrats say Joe Biden would have a hard time finding a path to the nomination to 2016. Here were former governors Howard Dean and Bill Richardson, both of whom have publicly backed Clinton now, and Democratic pollster Peter Hart, as well, who`s much respected. They all spoke this weekend on a Biden bid. Let`s watch. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HOWARD DEAN (D-VT), FMR. GOV., FMR. DNC CHAIR, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: If Joe gets in the race, Joe gets in the race. I think that`s a tough one for him. He`s a very good guy. He`s been a terrific vice president. But he has 100 percent name recognition and he`s already behind Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. So where is his space? BILL RICHARDSON (D-NM), FMR. GOV., FMR. ENERGY SECRETARY: I don`t think he gets in. I think the personal situation he`s going through and the fact that Hillary Clinton is way ahead -- I mean, I know that she`s having these problems now, but with fund-raising, with her -- she`s got a suburb organization. PETER HART, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER: He reaches the Reagan Democrats. He reaches across more than anybody else. The difficulty is where`s the opening on the field? And I think that`s his real challenge. And you know, 80 percent said they might vote for him, only 45 percent want him to run. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, here`s the crux of the matter. As Howard mentioned a moment ago, the Quinnipiac poll, which we use all the time, from just last month shows one major vulnerability for Secretary Clinton, trustworthiness. Look at these numbers. Only 37 percent of the country polled say she`s honest and trustworthy. That`s about a third. Nearly 6 in 10 say she`s not trustworthy. These are incredible. Some of that I think is being ginned up by the Republican machine, but they`re real. The numbers are almost exactly reversed, however, for Joe Biden. Look at that. Joe Biden does well on trustworthy. But he hasn`t had a machine going at him. FINEMAN: No, he hasn`t. MATTHEWS: (INAUDIBLE) months. FINEMAN: He hasn`t. And...   MATTHEWS: "The Wall Street Journal," by the way, every day has... FINEMAN: Well, of course. MATTHEWS: ... one column attacking Hillary personally. FINEMAN: Of course. And there`s a lot of hyping of the possibility of the Joe Biden candidacy on the conservative media side, for obvious reasons. MATTHEWS: Yes. What is that obvious reason? I need to be obvioused. (sic) (LAUGHTER) FINEMAN: Well, they want to create as much dissension within the Democratic Party as possible. But that`s why I think that if Joe Biden, in fact, does this -- and in some ways, it feels like his campaign has already begun. MATTHEWS: Yes. FINEMAN: I mean, they`re leaking stuff. They`re having the meetings with the donors. They`re doing all this stuff while they wait. I think they`ve got to decide how much they`re willing to go with Hillary Clinton on that number that you just showed. There are risks to that, as you were pointing out and you were pointing out. MATTHEWS: It`s so personal...   FINEMAN: His only way to get there eventually is over, not around Hillary Clinton. MATTHEWS: Another point, if Hillary Clinton is the nominee -- and I think she`s still, we agree, by far the best bet, who wants to have it on their name that they brought down her credibility and trustworthiness in the general election because all they have to do is show tape of Joe Biden, if he says so, attacking her credibility, her honesty? PAGE: And if... MATTHEWS: That`s a terrible thing to have in an ad come next October. PAGE: If Joe Biden runs and this causes a huge rallying cry for Hillary Clinton, especially among women voters, that`s not something Joe Biden wants to see, either. I think it`s a tough call for him. I think he wants to run. I think he`s got to convince himself that there`s a way in which it makes sense, or that it`s just worth the leap of faith. FINEMAN: Yes. I also think one reason why he was meeting with Elizabeth Warren was not just because she`s a progressive idol, but because she`s a woman and because he`s going to need allies -- if he`s going to go do this, while Hillary Clinton is saying, I want to break that final glass ceiling, that`s a subtext that he`s going to have to deal with. MATTHEWS: It`s tough. By the way, the minute you announce, everything changes. All the people that have been pushing you in... FINEMAN: Right. Of course. MATTHEWS: ... pushing you in, go the other way. It happened with Ted Kennedy in 1 980. I remember it well. Anyway, Howard Fineman, thank you. Susan Page -- do you think he`s going? FINEMAN: I can`t say for sure. It sure feels like it right now.   MATTHEWS: It feels like -- it smells like he`s... FINEMAN: It`s almost beyond the point... MATTHEWS: Who`s pushing this stuff, you know, constantly pushing it? It keeps being... (CROSSTALK) FINEMAN: It`s not quite beyond the point of no return, but it`s getting close. PAGE: You know what I think? The people who are talking don`t know. The people who know aren`t talking. So... MATTHEWS: Sounds like the `60s. FINEMAN: I disagree. I disagree. MATTHEWS: Coming up -- I think... (CROSSTALK) FINEMAN: ... people I talk to know.   MATTHEWS: I think some people have been told to get it out there and keep it hot. Anyway, Americans to the rescue. Boy, this is my favorite story of the weekend. Three Americans received the Legion of Honor in France today after a valiant display of bravery saved scores of train passengers from a well-armed gunman. And here at home, a turbulent day for stocks, with the Dow dropping more than 1,000 points at the opening. But does Wall Street panic (INAUDIBLE) panic create the perfect storm for a billionaire businessman running for president? Apparently, the numbers show they trust Donald Trump. And President Obama scores the backing of two more senators on the Iran nuclear deal, bringing the number of Senate Democratic supporters to 28 as the hard sell continues. Finally, "Let Me Finish" tonight with our pride in those gutsy Americans over there on foreign soil. That`s where you show your guts. And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Our best wishes this weekend to former New Hampshire governor John Sununu who`s recovering from quadruple bypass surgery. After three terms leading the Granite State, Sununu served as chief of staff, of course, to the first President Bush and has since become an elder statesman in the Republican Party. Went into a Boston hospital on Thursday this past week for angioplasty, but was referred for immediate surgery. That happens Sununu said in a statement today, "I feel very lucky." Good for him. We wish the governor a speedy recovery. And we`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)   MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Three Americans who foiled a possible massacre aboard a train headed to Paris by tackling and disarming the suspect were awarded France`s highest honor today for their bravery by France`s president, Francois Hollande. With grace under pressure, much like the passengers on flight 93 on September 11 who took the fight to the hijackers, these three heroes reacted and jumped into the fight. U.S. Air Force serviceman Spencer Stone, National Guardsman Alek Skarlatos and their friend, Anthony Sadler -- they all went to school together. They`ve been friends since high school -- heard gunfire on the Paris-bound train, turned around and charged directly at the suspect, who was struggling with his AK-47 assault weapon, tackling him to the ground. They used their fists to place the gunman into a chokehold, seized his weapons, tied him up and rendered him unconscious somehow. Anyway, who cares? They stopped the guy. Anyway, the suspect in the thwarted terror attack has been identified as 26-year-old Ayoub El Khazzani. He`s from Morocco and has lived in Europe for several years. Here`s more from the three American heroes who subdued him. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ALEK SKARLATOS, HELPED SUBDUE GUNMAN: In the beginning, it was mostly just gut instinct. We just kind of acted. There wasn`t much thinking going on. ANTHONY SADLER, HELPED SUBDUE GUNMAN: I saw Spencer get up. I saw Alek get up. And those are my close friends, so I just, like -- I couldn`t let them go alone. SPENCER STONE, HELPED SUBDUE GUNMAN: Alek just hit me on the shoulder and said, Let`s go, and ran down, tackled him. We hit the ground. Alek came up and grabbed the gun out of his hand, while I put him in a chokehold. It seemed like he just kept pulling more weapons left and right. He seemed like he was ready to fight to the end, so -- so were we. (END VIDEO CLIP)   MATTHEWS: "So were we." What a great line. Anyway, Christina Coons was a passenger on that Paris-bound train. Christopher Dickey`s the foreign editor of the DailyBeast and Michael Kay`s a former senior British officer. Thank you all. I want to start with Christina. Tell me what you can remember of that incident, Christina. CHRISTINA COONS, TRAIN PASSENGER AND WITNESS: Hi. You know, it started with the gunshots. I heard the gunshot, and I dove under my seat. And I pulled down the tray table for more safety. And I had my phone clutched in my hand and managed to snap some photos of the incident. But most of what I saw was a man stumbling through, and he dropped a bloody bag in the seat adjacent from me and he fell to the floor, and his neck was bleeding. MATTHEWS: Wow. COONS: It looked like he had been shot in the neck. MATTHEWS: You know, Christopher Dickey, you were over in Paris for all those years. You know, it`s so great. This is like Lafayette Escadrille, as far as I`m concerned. This is the America -- this is the "Lafayette, we are here." I`m glad that we can look good in front of the French this time. CHRISTOPHER DICKEY, THE DAILY BEAST: Yes. You know, we looked great in front of the French. And President Hollande has made it clear that he thinks the Americans were great and performed wonderfully. But you`re already starting to see a little sniping from the French press. MATTHEWS: What`s the -- what`s their beef?   DICKEY: Well, their beef is that it seems to be an all-American operation, American and British, or Anglo-Saxon, as they say. In fact, the first person to see the shooter was a guy standing in front of the bathroom he came out of who pushed him back. The second person... MATTHEWS: What good did that do? DICKEY: Not much. MATTHEWS: OK. DICKEY: The second person to see him was actually a French citizen, but who was born in Virginia and grew up in the United States. He teaches English at the... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: And what did he do? DICKEY: He`s the one who got shot. He`s the one who dropped his bag. MATTHEWS: He took the bullet. OK. Michael Kay, let me ask you about the rules of engagement here. They say on the Amtrak here, which is a much safer train to take, they say if you see something, say something. Well, you know, in this situation, saying something would have been ridiculous. Put down those -- rifle, put down that AK-47, that automatic Luger pistol you got in your hand, and the box cutter.   What do you -- what does this say about when men -- men -- especially men - - are -- should be ready to fight and do so? MICHAEL KAY, FORMER SENIOR BRITISH OFFICER: Chris, this -- we live in a new world order today, contemporary warfare, asymmetric warfare. And we live in a world where terrorism now, unfortunately, is everyone`s issue. Now, what I`m not advocating is, is that everyone jumps into a scenario like this. What those four brave men did was laudable, incredible laudable, but not everyone is trained in unarmed combat. And I would be surprised if any of them were. But the military guys clearly had a sense of duty, they had a sense of wanting to protect, and they used their experience and their risk assessment. Military guys are very good at risk assessment to actually apprehend this person to prevent a catastrophe. And it would have been a catastrophe. But that`s not everyone`s duty. I went to South Lebanon, and I couldn`t move in South Lebanon without people stopping me and asking me, what am I doing? And that`s women with phones, children who have eyes. If they see something that isn`t right, they will say something and they will phone it up the chain of command. And that`s the way it works. We need to get better at this. Now, that said, you go to Penn Station at rush hour or if you go to Gare du Nord at rush hour or King`s or Euston station in London at rush hour, it`s an incredibly busy place. There is an overt police presence, but it`s not enough; it`s not enough to prevent something like this. And let`s get away from radical Islam as well. International crime, drug trafficking. It could be a psychopath with a gun. MATTHEWS: Yes. KAY: There are components here that are fueling this problem. It`s globalization. It`s things like Libya, where there are Kalashnikov galore getting onto the black market. It`s a whole big problem. MATTHEWS: OK. Let me get back to the personal here. I just want to point out that when the people who were lined up, Chris Dickey, lined up 9/11, they cased those planes, those planes, those flights, and made sure there would be very few men on those flights. They knew that there might be some gutsy guys on those planes, and they made sure there were very few of them. They were doing their own calculations for hell.   DICKEY: Sure, but that was big-time terrorism. This guy is a lowlife who decided to take... MATTHEWS: He had an AK-47... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: ... on it. DICKEY: Well, look, he had an AK-47. He had ammunition. He was carrying a Luger, on the other hand, and shot somebody with a pistol. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Do you imagine what you can do with an automatic pistol on a plane, a train? (CROSSTALK) DICKEY: ... got a Luger. This guy was obviously collected arms wherever he could get them. But the point is, this is amateur hour in the world of terrorism. And that`s really the scariest thing. That`s the scariest thing. MATTHEWS: Christina Coons, thank you so much for taking the time to come on the program tonight.   COONS: Thank you. MATTHEWS: Christopher Dickey, I have been reading you forever. And, Michael Kay, it`s always great to have you on our programs. Up next: Donald Trump tries to capitalize on economic uncertainty. Could this climate of fiscal panic out there right now translate into votes for him next year? I think -- I don`t think this panic is going to last that long, I hope. This is HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. There was a historic trade-off in the stock market today. We all know by now the Dow plunged more than 1,000 points after markets in China hit the skids. The stocks ended the day, however, lower by nearly only 600-point loss today, after the -- falling more than 500 points on Friday. That`s 1,100 points we have lost in two days of trading. It`s been a rough couple of months, by the way, for the market, and no one has been feeding off the insecurity quite like Mr. Donald Trump. Last month, he said our economy was going to be like Greece on steroids. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Our country is in trouble. We owe $18 trillion, going up to $21 trillion very soon. Once we hit $24 trillion, we`re Greece, we`re Greece on steroids. We`re a large-scale version.   (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, yesterday, the doomsday predictions continued. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: The middle class is the one, they`re getting absolutely destroyed. This country doesn`t have -- won`t have a middle class very soon. When I look at what`s happening to our country, our country is going down. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: And this was his message today as stocks plunged again. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: I have been telling everybody for a long time China is taking our jobs, they`re taking our money. Be careful. They will bring us down. You have to know what you`re doing. We have nobody that has a clue. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, Trump is positioning himself to be the great hope for the economy, I suppose.   He tweeted -- quote -- "Depression. Be careful of China. This could get very messy. Vote Trump." Well, CNBC`s Dominic Chu is with us. Dominic, are the people with the worst-case scenario types, the most unhappy, unhopeful people in the world think we`re going to be in a panic situation by the time voters vote next February? DOMINIC CHU, CNBC CORRESPONDENT: It`s interesting that you bring that up, because, obviously, the economy has been such a huge part of everything that we look at here at CNBC. And for the coming election, the thing that we haven`t talked about a lot is the way that this economy is going to go. And Donald Trump has been stepping up to the microphone to say all the things that he has been. But the reality of situation for a lot of people out there is, this is going to be a hot-button top pick for years to come because our economies really are that intertwined. Remember, China is a huge financer of the deficits that we run here. They buy a lot of our debt, our treasury bills, notes and bonds. And for that reason, with China, they are also a huge trading partner. There is no doubt that this is going to be a balance about jobs, about good-paying jobs in Middle America, about just what is going to happen with our import and export balances and everything else. That`s where it`s going to hit home for mainstream America. And that`s the why reason why Donald Trump is spending so much time on this particular topic with regards to China. MATTHEWS: OK, Dominic, is this a bungee jump or a freefall we`re in right now? CHU: You know, it`s interesting. I wish I could tell you what is going to happen in the markets here. I don`t have a crystal ball. If I did, I would be rich right now. But what I will tell you is, over the course of the past five, six, seven years, ever since the depths of the financial crisis, we have seen some pullbacks like this, and the market has always managed to rebound. Whether or not it goes like that this time around remains to be seen. But we did see something like this in terms of the market sell-off back last fall, when we saw Ebola and all that scare coming out. MATTHEWS: Yes.   CHU: We also saw something like this back in 2011 as well. And the market managed to rally back. So, right now, it`s about risk tolerance for a lot of Middle Americans right now. MATTHEWS: Yes, how long -- and how long you put off retirement too for some people. Anyway, people with 401(k) right now are getting hurt and they`re getting scared. Anyway, CNBC`s Dominic Chu, thank you, sir. CHU: You got it. MATTHEWS: Anyway, Jonathan Allen, of course, is chief political correspondent with Vox. And, Jonathan, thank you for joining us, because it does seem a little ghoulish on the part of Mr. Trump, who is generally talking up America as a country. This is hurting our country. Isn`t this a little dangerous of him to be talking it down, talking down the economy? JONATHAN ALLEN, VOX: I think it actually fits -- I think it actually fits into the larger narrative of making America great again, because he is talking about how America is not as good as it used to be. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: The country itself is not as good as it used to be, not the leaders?   (CROSSTALK) ALLEN: That`s his message. His message has been that the country isn`t as good as it used to be, some yesteryear where it was better. So, I think talking down the economy and the way things are going now and saying I`m going to ride to the rescue is actually potentially a winning formula. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Is he leading the panic, though? Is he yelling fire? ALLEN: Oh, absolutely. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: How does that -- I have never seen that work before. (LAUGHTER) MATTHEWS: Anyway, Trump, you may be on to something here, Mr. Trump. He blows away, by the way -- look at this -- on the issue of the economy in the latest polling, 45 percent of Republicans and independents who lean Republican say Trump is the best candidate to handle the economy, 45 percent. Now, look at Jeb Bush. This is embarrassing for the rest of these people. Nobody has anybody faith in the rest of them, Jon -- 8 percent for Bush, Fiorina, who comes from a business career, 6, Kasich 5, Carson, who has no business background, 5.   These people are miniature politicians. And he`s the giant. ALLEN: Give your team a raise. That`s the most important figure in that entire CNN poll that came out. MATTHEWS: I thought so. ALLEN: Forty-five to eight. I mean, people are responding to Donald Trump right now in a way that you wouldn`t expect. And, look, they look at him and say, hey, this guy made money. This guy understands finance, even if he -- he may not be an economist, but the American public is not making... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: But who do we blame this on? I mean, traditionally, the Republicans blame everything on debt, national debt. And, OK, it`s a fair charge, except, in this case, this president, Barack Obama, has grown the debt basically to deal with the economic calamity he inherited with the stimulus package and all the spending on unemployment and costs -- and taxes that weren`t paid -- weren`t required because we had such a lousy economy in those first couple years. That debt comes from a Republican legacy of W. ALLEN: Oh, absolutely. MATTHEWS: That`s a fact. (CROSSTALK)   ALLEN: Talk about big war spending, tax cuts. MATTHEWS: I would raise on that issue. But the other question is, are we too much in debt to other countries generally? Do we trade to our disadvantage? This thing he does where he blames Latinos, he doesn`t like them, I guess he hates them, and then he blames Asia, he blames Obama for being from Kenya, he blames Greece for being Greece -- he has hit all the continents with blame right now. ALLEN: He`s a protectionist -- populist, protectionist, nativist. MATTHEWS: Is that going to work? Blame the other countries? ALLEN: Yes, I think it`s working. It seems to be working right now on both sides. You see this tremendous fervor for these populist candidates. And part of that is protectionism. You have seen it with Donald Trump on the right and Bernie Sanders on the left. MATTHEWS: OK. I bought a spiral notebook the other day. I was reading it -- kids use for school, but I was using it for some research, made in Vietnam. It`s even copy books. ALLEN: American flags made in China. MATTHEWS: Oh, God. Anyway, thank you, Jonathan Allen.   Maybe he`s on to something. But I hope he`s not on to catastrophe. Up next, among this field of 17 Republicans, does the final battle come down to Trump vs. Jeb? A look at how Bush and the other GOP contenders are trying to outsurvive. Anyway, you`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) RICHARD LUI, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Hi. I`m Richard Lui in the MSNBC newsroom. The largest wildfire in Washington State is now that state`s largest ever. It`s more than 400 square miles, larger than the size of New York City. The man charged in the killing of a Louisiana State Trooper is now suspected of killing his roommate. The trooper was shot last night as he approached the suspect, who had just driven into a ditch. And six people are hurt after a tour bus plowed into a building, New York rescue crews using the jaws of life to reach the critically injured driver -- now back to HARDBALL. MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Well, nasty words are escalating between Donald Trump and Jeb Bush. Trump used former first lady Barbara Bush in an Instagram post against her own son today. Here it goes. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)   QUESTION: Would you like to see him run? BARBARA BUSH, FORMER FIRST LADY: No, I really don`t. I think it`s a great country. There are a lot of great families. There are just -- there are other people out there that are very qualified. And we have had enough Bushes. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, Mrs. Bush, the former first lady, has since said she heartily endorsing Jeb`s candidacy. Jeb Bush`s counterpunch, of course, that Trump doesn`t offer any realistic policies and isn`t a real conservative. Here he goes. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is a guy who was a Democrat for most of the last decade. I don`t think he represents the Republican Party. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, Jeb Bush went to the Texas border today to highlight immigration policy. And this morning, Trump mocked Bush`s trip and said he`s just too soft on immigration. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: I think it`s great that he`s going to the border, because I think he will now find out that it is not an act of love.   When the people -- you know, he said that people crossing are crossing as an act of love, which came back to haunt him. He will find out it`s not an act of love. I was down on the border. It`s rough, tough stuff. This is not love. This is other things going on. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, for all the Jeb and -- Bush -- jabs at each other, a prominent Bush supporter is warning other GOP candidates not to look to the Bush campaign to finance a solo assault to take down Trump. Mike Murphy, who has been around forever, tells "The Washington Post" -- quote -- "If other campaigns wish that we`re going to uncork money on Donald Trump, they will be disappointed. Trump is frankly other people`s problems. We would be happy to have a two-way race with Trump in the end, and we have every confidence that Governor Bush would beat him." It`s still August, of course. And David Axelrod reminds everyone that it`s very early in the 2016 presidential race. Axelrod offered to put it in terms Mr. Trump can understand, telling Maureen Dowd over the weekend: "We`re still in the swimsuit competition. It gets harder in the talent rounds" -- one of the great quotes of the year so far. Joining me right now at the roundtable is "The Atlantic"`s Molly Ball, "Washington Post" columnist Jonathan Capehart, and Republican strategist John Feehery. Jonathan, finally, somebody has come out with a good line. (LAUGHTER) MATTHEWS: This is not the swimsuit division. I mean, it`s just sort of up front. But the fact is, what about this Michael Murphy argument that, in the end, it`s going to come down to two, the insider, Bush, the outsider, Trump trumping all the other outsiders? Is that -- is that P.R. strategy or is that really a possible turn of events here, that it`s going to be that? JONATHAN CAPEHART, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, of course it`s -- of course it`s a possible turn of events. There are other people in this race who could possibly be the Jeb person in the...   (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Who could be the Jeb person? CAPEHART: No, no, no, in the Trump vs whoever. But that`s why you see Trump... MATTHEWS: Do you think Jeb has any competition for the establishment role, for the incumbent? CAPEHART: Well, let me finish the point. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: No, no. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: I think there is a question about who`s going to be the outsider, but I still think it`s going to be Trump at this point, but I think Jeb is clearly the inside guy. CAPEHART: Right. But that`s why Trump and Jeb are beating up on each other. Trump knows that Jeb Bush is the one person standing between him and the nomination and Jeb knows that Trump is the one person who is sucking out all the oxygen, keeping attention away from him, keeping his poll numbers down. So, they`ve got to clobber each other.   The longer you have all of these people in the race, the longer Trump is going to -- MATTHEWS: Molly, did you see the number we showed the last segment? Forty-five percent of Republicans trust Trump to deal with the tricky economy, right? Eight percent trust Jeb, 8 percent. This guy has been around forever. He`s been governor for two terms. He`s from this family, the Bushes. His brother was president. His father was president and one in 12 Republicans trust him on the economy. I`d say he`s got some ground to make up. MOLLY BALL, THE ATLANTIC: Well, this is the problem, is that Jeb`s people would like this to be Jeb versus Trump, but it`s Trump versus everybody else, and everybody else splintered a million ways. MATTHEWS: OK. BALL: You know, the point that the Republicans make who are trying to -- MATTHEWS: Splinter is a good word. They are all in single digits. BALL: Yes, they`re all grasping at the grounds there, and so when Republicans try to say, well, look, you know, three quarters of the party, 75 percent, is not for Trump but they`re for everybody else, they can`t consolidate. And so, Jeb`s people would like him to be the one they rally around but I think there are other choices for these sort of establishment- minded Republican. You got John Kasich who a lot of people like Jeb are starting to gravitate towards. You`ve got Marco Rubio. You even Scott Walker who I think has made his pitch to be sort of the inside outside guy. MATTHEWS: John, pick up here. Suppose the big noise is through the fall, this guy Trump, who seems to have an ability to get on the news and thinks he has a protean ability to speak new words every day. I`m not sure he`s running out yet. He might be. He sounds like he might be running out of words. JOHN FEEHERY, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, listen, think about -- MATTHEWS: But if he can keep this up through Thanksgiving, and get in to the primaries and caucuses, it seems to me it will be him against Bush.   FEEHERY: Think about Trump`s messaging. It`s so much more sharp than Bush`s. Bush is all over the place. I think Bush has really got to up his game. MATTHEWS: Is he Rumpelstiltskin? Is he even asleep too long? He always looks like he`d just been woken up. Well, now that you ask me about that, what is the narrative? Is that the word we use now, narrative? Is that the word we use now, narrative? FEEHERY: His campaign has to get the act together or Jeb will not be the one against Trump. It will be the Kasich or Walker or Rubio. A lot of people talk about Rubio. Bush has got to get it together and he hasn`t gotten together so far. MATTHEWS: Anyway, Jeb Bush continues to chase after Donald Trump`s huge lead in the polls. The pair exchanged barbs, but neither has really landed a killer punch right now. Here they are going after each other one at a time, here they go. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Jeb Bush is a low energy person. For him to get things done is hard. He`s very low energy. JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Look, there should be a little more focus on solving the problems and talking about ideas that matter. Rather than just kind of coming in like a tidal wave and saying things that are just outrageous and don`t make sense. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Has anybody in your lifetime look like either one of these two guys? I mean, Trump is so outrageous and so eddies, every second he things of something and the other guy thinks that`s a good question. One guy is totally slow motion. He`s the ultimate tortoise. The other guy is the hare, but we are used to politicians somewhere in the middle like Bill Clinton, you know? BALL: Well, and for Jeb, a lot of his support is peeling off because people just aren`t convinced he has the fire in the belly.   MATTHEWS: Does he look like it? BALL: He doesn`t look like it. That`s why Trump`s critique is on target, because when he makes statements like that, he just sort of wonders. He`s not very focused campaigner. So, I think now that he`s gone on the attack against Trump, this is a big strategic pivot that he made last week. MATTHEWS: I think people -- BALL: Can he make it more pointed? MATTHEWS: I think people want somebody`s who`s at least excited, because the country is really worried and they want to hear somebody excited to get in the fight. Excited about it. FEEHERY: Well, that`s right. I don`t think Trump is Jeb`s biggest problem. His biggest problem is his brother. And he`s got to define himself not against Trump, but distinguish himself not against his brother, which is really -- people are sick with the Bushes. No doubt about that. MATTHEWS: It would have been helped not to hire Paul Wolfowitz as his foreign policy adviser. Anyway or John Bolton. Anyway, the roundtable is staying with us. And up next, President Obama finds two more Democratic supporters for the Iranian nuclear deal as his hard sell continues. And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)   MATTHEWS: We`re less than a month away from Pope Francis` trip to the United States and the new poll shows swing state voters support his efforts on climate change. He`s a politician now. According to a Quinnipiac poll, in three swing states, about six in ten voters agree with the pundit`s call for a world to do more than tackle climate change. Fifty-eight percent of Ohio voters are with the pope, 59 percent of Florida voters say the same, 63 of Pennsylvania voters back the pundit. Pope Francis will arrive on September 22nd and make stops in Washington, New York and Philadelphia. And we`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: We are back. Well, President Obama and other proponents of the nuclear deal with Iran got a huge boost this weekend when Minority Leader Harry Reid announced his support for the deal. In fact, today, Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow became the 28th senator in the Democratic side to back it. The president needs 34 votes to sustain a veto if it comes to that. But take a look at these numbers in three key swing states in Pennsylvania, 61 percent oppose the deal. By the way, this polling question says do you support the deal or not? It has no explanation what the deal is. In Ohio, 58 percent oppose it and in Florida that`s 61. So, the PR battle is being won by the opponents. Clearly, all the big money full-page ads, et cetera, et cetera. Anyway, yesterday, Brent Scowcroft knows what he`s talking about. The national security advisor to both Presidents George -- actually George H. Walker Bush and Jerry Ford, had this warning for Congress. Quote, "Let us be clear there is no credible alternative for Congress to prevent U.S. participation in the nuclear deal. If we walk away, we walk away alone, decades of experience strongly suggests that there are epochal moments that should not be squandered. President Nixon realized it with China, Presidents Reagan and George H. Walker Bush recognized it with the Soviet Union and I believe we face it with Iran today." We are back with our roundtable, Molly, Jonathan, and John.   Jonathan, your thinking about my feeling is that the president of the United States is the only commander-in-chief we have now, will have for the next year and a half. If this thing goes down, we`re killing his main foreign policy initiative with nothing to replace it because he`s going to be around with the next year and a half. CAPEHART: Right. MATTHEWS: So, either it`s war with Iran which he will not wage, we all agree. CAPEHART: Right. MATTHEWS: Or it`s nothing. CAPEHART: Right. And -- MATTHEWS: Because that`s where it will leave us if this goes down? CAPEHART: And so, your argument is this would be a no confidence vote of the president and a huge foreign policy -- MATTHEWS: Yes, for the whole world to hear. CAPEHART: Right. And I agree with you on that. But I would say it would be also a no-confidence vote in America. You`ve got Republicans who are not only defying the commander-in-chief but also by pulling the United States out of an agreement that it didn`t negotiate alone with Iran, it`s the P5 plus 1. United States is one of those countries. And so, you`ve got Republicans who are yelling and screaming at the president, he`s not a good negotiator, he gives everything away, he`s squandered America`s greatness.   So, you`re going to pull, you`re going to reject this deal where you`re going to have countries around the world who Republicans say they can`t trust Obama because he doesn`t keep his word. So, now, they`re going to yank out a deal where you will have there foolproof, as you say, the United States -- that the United States can`t be trusted. MATTHEWS: What do you make about Republicans being 100 percent against this? They had one guy Flake from Arizona, he pulled out. It does look like a partisan. They brought Netanyahu into the Congress of the United States to trash the president. It seems like they`re going all out in something that should be a close call. Everybody whoever thinks about this deal says, yes, on its merits, yes, but there are problems with it. Thoughtful people go, yes, it`s a tough one, but I`ll go this way or that way. But the idea of an entire political party rejecting it then bringing Netanyahu to take his side of the fight as opposed to somebody from this country`s side is pretty partisan behavior. Would you agree? BALL: Well, look Brent Scowcroft -- MATTHEWS: Is this partisan? BALL: I think some of it is partisan, and some of it is sincere. They think -- MATTHEWS: The entire Republican Senate is against this on its merits. BALL: And you have some Republicans who are not in the Senate, like Scowcroft, who are in favor of it. MATTHEWS: OK. BALL: And what he said in his op-ed.   MATTHEWS: The voting members of the United States Senate are 100 percent - - FEEHERY: The partisan Republican Chuck Schumer, gosh, how partisan he is. Listen, people have real problems with this agreement and it`s not just Republicans, it`s also Democrats like Chuck Schumer. MATTHEWS: What`s your problem with it? FEEHERY: It`s a bad agreement. MATTHEWS: What`s your problem with it? What`s your problem with it? FEEHERY: It`s a bad agreement. It puts in danger our biggest ally in the region, which is Israel. MATTHEWS: How does it do that? FEEHERY: Well, it gives the Iranians all kinds of money they can fund terrorist -- MATTHEWS: It stops them from developing a nuclear weapon. What`s your plan? FEEHERY: I would like them to have a deal that Israel could sign off on and they won`t sign off on --   MATTHEWS: Israel is going to sign a deal with Iran? FEEHERY: Not necessarily but they could be part of the negotiating process. MATTHEWS: What would he sign? FEEHERY: This is against their -- Israel thinks this is going to be the end -- MATTHEWS: What deal would Netanyahu sign? FEEHERY: I don`t know what the deal is. MATTHEWS: Is it conceivable? FEEHERY: I don`t know what the deal is. I know Chuck Schumer, that partisan Republican -- MATTHEWS: No, he`s not, he`s concerned about Israel. We know that. FEEHERY: And he`s against this deal. He thinks it`s a bad deal. It is a bad deal. CAPEHART: But to Chris` point --   MATTHEWS: But you have a hard time explaining why it`s a bad deal. FEEHERY: I can tell you one thing for sure, the state of Israel -- MATTHEWS: Your eyes are lighting up but I`m not getting an answer out of your head. Give me one particular reason what`s wrong with it on its merits. FEEHERY: It gives all kinds of money to the Iranian regime to fund all kinds of terrorist activity. MATTHEWS: It ends the sanctions so they stop building nuclear weapons. FEEHERY: Right, and -- well, we`re not sure about -- MATTEHWS: They don`t? FEEHERY: Well, we`ll see. What we know, in the short term Israel thinks it`s a bad deal. MATTHEWS: So, why don`t we turn it over to the Knesset? Why have a foreign policy in this country? By your argument it`s so single minded, one issue. Of course, that country is against it anyway. And by the way, in Israel there`s a mixture of opinion. Go ahead. CAPEHART: Well, I was going to say that the Republicans have no credibility here because they`ve been saying --   FEEHERY: What about Chuck Schumer? CAPEHART: They`ve been saying it`s a bad deal since before there was a deal. MATTHEWS: If he`d gone the other way, that would have been news. Go ahead. CAPEHART: Because Republicans have been saying there was a bad deal before there was an actual deal to read. At least Senator Schumer waited for the deal to come out, sat in his Barcalounger in Brooklyn and read through the deal, had his concerns. FEEHERY: And said it`s a bad deal. CAPEHART: And came out against it. Meanwhile -- (CROSSTALK) FEEHERY: How can you say Chuck Schumer made the right decision and the Republicans made the wrong decision when they came to the same conclusion? You can`t! CAPEHART: Republicans knee jerked their way into rejecting this deal. MATTHEWS: You are underestimating the intelligence of our viewers. Anyway, thank you, John Feehery.   I mean, Chuck Schumer is going to defend the interest of Israel and it`s legitimate he do so. FEEHERY: All right. MATTHEWS: OK, there`s nothing wrong with it. FEEHERY: Why can`t our president do the same thing? MATTHEWS: OK, he has other concerns. Anyway, thank you, Molly. Thank you for being reasonably quiet during this back and forth. And Jonathan Capehart and John Feehery, thank you all gentlemen. Here, we disagree. When we return, let me finish with our pride, which we do agree on, on those three gutsy Americans. Let`s talk about something we can agree on. You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with three Americans who refused to be victims. They jumped out of their seats on a speeding train and took down a terrorist. What it all reminded me of were the guys on Flight 93 over Pennsylvania that day, 14 years ago, especially the American who yelled "Let`s roll", and this time one of the three heroes yelled "Let`s go." It reminded me of the other unknown man who raced up the world trade tower when everyone else was racing to safety. "It`s my job", he said, racing past.   Today`s editorial in "The Wall Street Journal" said -- and I can`t improve -- quote, "The men who subdued el Khazzani represented a strain in American culture that doesn`t shrink from individual acts of heroism for the larger good." How can I not agree with that? I grew up with tales of Audie Murphy and Colin Kelly in World War II, and Sergeant York of the First World War, of men who did amazing things and, yes, we need heroes, and we`ve got them. Three American guys on a train heading from Amsterdam to Paris out for a good time but every instant ready to risk all to do what was needed doing. We know that for sure because that`s exactly what all three did. I have met young people who can`t tell you who John Wayne was or Gary Cooper, never heard of them. Fortunately, they were taught this week that being an American sometimes means having the guts to do what has to be done. If we ever lose that faith, we are really in trouble. Ernest Hemingway had something important to say when he called courage "grace under pressure" last seen thanks to a trio of young Americans on a fast-moving train on foreign soil. That`s HARDBALL. Thanks for being with us. "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now. END 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.>