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Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 09/10/15

Guests: Liz Mair, Jennifer Granholm, Richard Trumka, Andy Parker, ShannonWatts, Jamal Simmons, Susan Page, Matt Schlapp

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Trump`s female support zooms as his zingers zip on. Let`s play HARDBALL. Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews out in Denver. Well, today, Barack Obama defeated a united Republican Party to kill opposition to that five-country Iranian nuclear deal, an historic victory for him and our country by any standard. Meanwhile, what`s the deal with Donald Trump? In the strange political alchemy of 2015 American politics, Donald Trump grows even stronger in the public mind, enlarging his support among Republican voters, especially women. Yes, especially with women. The latest CNN/ORC poll out today shows the Republican front-runner with a huge lead now, 32 percent. Neurosurgeon Ben Carson is second down at 19 percent. Jeb Bush trails in single digits still, followed by Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and Scott Walker. Anyway, it comes as he -- Trump continues to fight with pretty much everyone else in the race, but it is his comments he made about Carly Fiorina in the latest issue of "Rolling Stone" magazine that are getting a lot of attention today. According to the magazine, Trump was watching a television interview with the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard on his private plane, surrounded by his staff, when he said, Quote, "Look at that face. Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that the face of our next president? I mean, she`s a woman and I`m not supposed to say bad things, but really, folks, come on. Are we serious?" Well, both Jeb Bush and Scott Walker called Trump`s attack inappropriate. Aren`t they scary guys?   Anyway, Trump defended his comments today, saying, if you would believe it, he wasn`t talking about her looks. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Probably I did say something like that about Carly. I`m talking about persona. I`m not talking about look. Although when I get criticized for my hair, which isn`t that bad -- you know, you`ve seen me, right? It`s not that bad. But when I get criticized constantly about my hair, nobody does a story about, Oh, isn`t that terrible, they criticized Donald Trump`s hair. But the fact is that I probably did say that about Carly or something about it, in a jocular manner, obviously. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, last night, Carly Fiorina herself told Fox`s Megyn Kelly the comments of Trump speak for themselves. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CARLY FIORINA (R-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Honestly, Megyn, I`m not going to spend a single cycle wondering what Donald Trump means. But maybe, just maybe, I am getting under his skin a little bit because I am climbing in the polls. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Anyway, I`m joined right now by the former chair of the Republican National Committee, Michael Steele, and also, Liz Mair, a former on-line communications director for the Republican National Committee. So Liz, I`ve got to ask you this. Does the RNC have an HR department? Is there any rules out there anymore? This is weird because Trump just got up another 13 points among women. He`s hopping, really going wild among women, meanwhile making these kind of comments. What`s going on? LIZ MAIR, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Yes, well, I think, first of all, it`s worth noting that where Trump started off with women was not exactly as strong as where he started with men. So you know, that plus 13 points might equate to him now having, like, 15 percent support or something.   But realistically, at this point in the cycle, it`s kind of hard to say what`s going on... MATTHEWS: He`s doing better among women now. MAIR: Well, of course he`s doing better. I mean, that`s what the polling shows, right? But... MATTHEWS: Among women than he is among men. His women support is beating his male support. MAIR: We are -- we are somewhat through the looking glass. But I do think that some serious problems that are presented by these comments, quite apart from what everybody is focusing on. It`s really hard to actually go and make an argument to voters that you`re supposed to be this awesome, extremely talented, great, crazy spot of talent who`s good at hiring and firing and leading and managing, when apparently, the only qualification that you think is relevant to somebody`s ability to do the job is whether they`re really good at applying foundation. That`s pretty strange. And that`s essentially what he`s saying with these remarks. And so I slightly wonder whether this is going to come around and bite him in the backside at the end of the day, but maybe not in the way that a lot of people are focusing on. I think there are a lot of people who are focusing on, Oh, are women going to be offended by this? I think a lot of women, Carly Fiorina, included -- and to be full -- full in my disclosure, I`ve worked for her, worked with her quite a bit. I think a lot of women have dealt with people who are going to make, you know, idiotic, stupid comments like this, and we`re quite adept at dealing with that and moving on and not really caring or giving much thought to them. But I do wonder about voters who are drawn to that supposed executive experience, whether they`re going to look at Trump and be, like, Hang on. How`s this guy going to competently staff the federal government and a cabinet if his primary criteria is, like, what you`re using to judge the Miss Universe contest, as opposed to whether somebody`s smart, qualified, what their resume looks like, if they`re tough, if they`re a good negotiator, and if they can sit in a room and get on with people when they need to. It`s just hard for me to imagine that people are going to want to put a guy in the top job if he`s the sort of person who`s going to sort of staff his cabinet with, like, Victoria`s Secret angels (ph). That just seems impossible to me. MATTHEWS: OK, let me go to Michael Steele. I know...   (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: She`s warmed you up for this one, right? But we all know in the corporate world -- and I`m in the corporate world, you`ve been in the corporate world -- that even -- even saying something about someone being attractive in their looks is off base. You`re not supposed to get into that in the corporate setting, in the business setting. You`re supposed to be professional. And everybody`s tried to learn that over the years, the last 20 or so years. How does he get away with it? He`s a guy from business. He`s a Republican. Are Republican women so different than other women that they sort of like this sort of retro behavior, if you will, really retro, caveman. MICHAEL STEELE, FMR. RNC CHAIR, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: No, I don`t think they like it, you know, on its face or even per se. I think what`s happening -- and it`s very interesting because I`ve asked a couple folks about this, men and women -- when you hear these comments, what`s your reaction? And the response is, I generally don`t like them, but -- and it is the "but" that keeps them hooked into Donald. It is the "but" that Donald stays focused. MATTHEWS: Yes. STEELE: It is that piece that draws them to him in a way that they almost excuse these comments. We`ve seen it play out, Chris... MATTHEWS: Yes. STEELE: ... since the early summer, comment after comment. There`s always the "but." It is never, That`s outrageous, period. It`s always, That`s outrageous, but I like what he`s saying about this, that or the other thing. MAIR: But if I can just interject, there is a real problem here for Donald Trump... MATTHEWS: Sure. Go ahead.   MAIR: ... beyond the one that I mentioned, and here`s the problem. Here`s the problem. Today -- I don`t know how many other people noticed this, but I get updates roughly hourly about what topics are trending in Google searches. Today, for, like, eight hours, we were talking about Carly Fiorina. That has not happened with any candidate except for Donald Trump. And I think this is really interesting because you`re going to have a lot of people who are going to go and look at what he said. They`re going to Google Carly Fiorina, and what they`re going to find out is, Hey, look, there`s somebody else who has executive leadership skills and who is an excellent business person who is not a traditional politician, somebody outside of Washington, D.C., establishment. And look, I could vote for her and get all the good stuff that I think I`m getting with Donald Trump without having any of the nonsense. And that`s a problem for him. The reason he attacked her is because she`s rising in the polls. And I think part of the reason she`s rising in the polls is because people know that she has... MATTHEWS: That`s what she says, right. MAIR: ... those strengths and he doesn`t. STEELE: Yes, but her... MATTHEWS: OK... MAIR: So we`ll see. STEELE: Her rise isn`t that high. I mean, remember, the number two guy is at 19, and that`s Ben Carson. And she was not in that list that you showed at the top of the show. MAIR: Not nationally, but when you look at the state level polling, it`s different... (CROSSTALK)   MATTHEWS: But we all -- let me go to Carson here, Dr. Carson. But we all know television, and because of this spat back and forth, or rather one way, because of this insults about her looks by Mr. Trump, no matter what he says about persona, the camera`s going to be on both of them and it`s going to be looking for a back and forth next week when we have the debate, next debate. Anyway, last night, on the religious front, which we`re not supposed to talk about in politics, Dr. Ben Carson told reporters that faith is a big difference -- faith is -- between him and Donald Trump. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DR. BEN CARSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, one of my favorite Bible versus, Proverbs 22:4. It says, By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches and honor and life. And that`s a very big part of who I am, humility and the fear of the Lord. I don`t get that impression with him. Maybe I`m wrong, but I don`t get that impression. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Big surprise, Trump hit back today. Here he is. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: I don`t think he`s a great religious figure. And I saw him yesterday quoting something, and he was quoting on humility. And it looked like he had just memorized it about two minutes before he made the quote. So you know, don`t tell me about Ben Carson. Now, all of a sudden, he gets on very low key. I mean, frankly, he looks like -- he makes Bush look like the Energizer bunny. I`ve met him a few time, but I don`t know Ben Carson. He was a doctor, perhaps, you know, an OK doctor, by the way. You can check that out, too. And we`re not talking about a great -- he was an OK doctor.   (END VIDEO CLIP) (LAUGHTER) MATTHEWS: Well, Michael Steele, I don`t know what to say except (INAUDIBLE) this is so high school. I`m sorry. It`s not a great case for the Republican thinking here. And I don`t care what -- summer -- it`s summer, winter, fall or spring. They`re talking like high school kids, yelling at each other... STEELE: It is. MATTHEWS: ... at recess. STEELE: It`s disappointing. MATTHEWS: You know, first of all, it`s about, Your girlfriend is not as good-looking as mine, and then it`s, You`re not as good-looking as mine, and then it`s, My hair versus your hair, and now I`m a better religious guy than you because I know more Bible citations than you. I don`t think the doctor looked too good. What`s he talking about this stuff for? How about a big fat "no comment" when it comes to religion? STEELE: Or just end that passage, that Bible passage on faith with himself. Put the period there and not go into, Well, I don`t know if that applies to him. And I -- again, I don`t think -- that`s, first off, not very humble to refer back to the Scripture. But more importantly, I don`t that`s the kind of discussion you want to have for the office of president. But do you understand the politics here, Chris? You have an opportunity here to galvanize evangelical Christians across the spectrum, behind someone to solidify the numbers for Ben Carson. Trump knows that. Trump says he`s, you know, leading among evangelicals. That may or may not be true. But the gap could be closing, and he wants to keep that distance. So that`s the politics here, and I don`t think it`s a smart way to play the politics by using faith, one or the other. MATTHEWS: Agreed. Let`s to go Bobby Jindal, the governor of Louisiana. He slammed Donald Trump today on another issue, about his ego. Here`s what he said at the National Press Club. He`s trying on get away from the little kids` table, apparently.   (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GOV. BOBBY JINDAL (R-LA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald Trump is not a serious candidate. He`s a narcissist. He`s an egomaniac. The only thing he believes in is himself. He is shallow. There is no substance. He doesn`t know anything about policy. He has no idea what he`s talking about. He makes it up on the fly. Donald Trump said that the Bible was his favorite book. Yet when asked, he couldn`t even name a specific or a single Bible verse that was important to him or had an impact on him. Well, do you know why? It`s clear Donald Trump`s never read the Bible. The reason we know he`s never read the Bible, he`s not in the Bible. Folks, Donald Trump is not a serious person. This is a carnival act. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Anyway, Trump dismissed Jindal`s attack, telling Bloomberg`s Mark Halperin, quote, "I only respond to people that register more than 1 percent in the polls." So there you have it, Liz Mair. Let`s go back to high school again. This is Republican fight for the nomination for president of the Western world to succeed a president you in the Republican Party all believe has been a disaster. And how seriously is it being taken? Jeb Bush, who everyone still talks about being a front-runner of some kind, is sinking there into single digits. What`s going on? MAIR: Well, I think... MATTHEWS: And it is September. You can`t keep saying it`s summer. It`s still... MAIR: I know. Well, yes... MATTHEWS: ... technically summer, but it`s getting into the fall.   MAIR: Right. Yes. No, I mean, every month, we say this is too weird and it`s going to stop soon, and then we go another month and we have the same conversation, right? I think that one of the things that`s got to start happening is that the other candidates in this race really need to start making themselves interesting and noteworthy to the electorate and raising their name ID. It`s pretty clear that a lot of people are still rallying around Trump because, hey, who hasn`t heard of Donald Trump. And I think a lot of people also need to be going on the attack against him. I actually disagree when we`re talking about the religious line of attack. I think, unless I`m much mistaken, all three of us are Catholic and we probably for that reason have a certain discomfort with this because we`re always getting attacked for not really caring about the Bible because we just like to do all our stuff with Latin and incense and whatever. But with that being said, that does matter to a lot of voters, and we know that when Donald Trump made his comments about communion being, like, a cracker, and how, you know, he`s never asked anybody for forgiveness, that actually did rankle evangelicals. That was a problem. And so I actually do think if people are trying to get that support, probably raising that issue is quite valid, even if it`s something that might seem a little personally distasteful to all of us. I also think, with regard to Jindal, yes, sure, obviously, Bobby Jindal is trying to get attention. Who wouldn`t be, in his situation? But it`s kind of funny. You know, people talk about how Donald Trump does all this real (ph) keeping (ph) and isn`t PC. I think Bobby Jindal actually just kind of, like, upped the ante there. I`ve never seen Bobby Jindal be, like, that straight-talking before. I actually kind of enjoyed that. MATTHEWS: Thank you. You are the -- this is the strangest assessment of anything -- it just gets stranger and stranger, Liz, and you haven`t (ph) started it. I do speak Latin. I know my Latin from altar boy days, and Michael knows a lot more... STEELE: Yes, indeed. MATTHEWS: (SPEAKING IN LATIN) (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Anyway...   MAIR: Tridentine mass (INAUDIBLE) MATTHEWS: It makes me feel good to do that. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: I love speaking Latin in religious terms. Thank you, Michael Steele. Thank you, Liz Mair, for outing me as a Catholic. Coming up -- it`s the doomsday scenario for Hillary Clinton. New polling shows she`s now trailing, believe it or not, Bernie Sanders out in Iowa. And what`s worse, "The New York Times" reports Democratic officials are for something called a plan B, Someone like Al Gore, John Kerry, Elizabeth Warren, or of course, Joe Biden. Plus, Donald Trump says his comment about rival Carly Fiorina`s face wasn`t actually about her looks. Oh, no. It was about her persona. Well, where is the outrage from women`s groups about this kind of talk? The RNC, by the way, says, No comment. Aren`t they nervy? And President Obama steps up Americans reaction to the refugee crisis over in Europe. He`s directing the United States, our country, to take in 10,000 Syrian refugees. But some Republicans are already against the idea of that. Finally tonight, the father of that television reporter who was shot and killed on air down in Virginia -- he`s vowing to do whatever it takes to get Congress to enact gun safety laws. And this is HARDBALL, place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Senate Democrats have successfully blocked a vote to disapprove the nuclear deal with Iran. All 42 Senate Democrats who came out in favor of the nuclear deal voted today against the disapproval measure late this afternoon, and that prevented the Republicans from getting the 60 votes they needed for the resolution to advance to a final vote.   That`s a big victory for President Obama, who won`t have to use his veto power now to get the deal done. And we`ll be right back after this. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. He`s winning in Iowa. It`s Sanders 41, Clinton at 40, obviously very close, with Biden still down at 12. The poll comes just a day after the NBC/Marist poll showing Bernie with a lead in New Hampshire up there, as well. And there it is, Sanders at 41, Clinton down at 32 in New Hampshire, Biden at 16. Can Democrats in the country nominate a socialist, a self-described socialist? I think it`s a pretty good question. Jennifer Granholm was the governor of Michigan. She is, of course, a senior strategist and adviser for the pro-Hillary super-PAC, Correct the Record. And Howard Dean was, of course, governor of Vermont and a presidential candidate, of course, himself, and a DC (sic) chairman. Let me start with Jennifer Granholm. And we put a lot of focus this program about Donald Trump and whether he will swear loyalty to the Republican nominee, even though he`s not been an active party member. Do you think Bernie Sanders should do the same? Should he, even though he`s not a member of the party and has made a point of not being a member and saying so -- should he express loyalty to the eventual nominee and say he will support him or her? JENNIFER GRANHOLM (D), FMR. MICHIGAN GOVERNOR: Oh, I think anybody who`s running on the Democratic ticket should say that they`re going to support the nominee. But Chris, I mean, socialists, whatever -- young people are not into labels, but what they are into is results. And everybody who is part of the bed-wetter caucus -- and both sides have this, but the Democrats definitely have it -- chill out, everybody. We have five months left until the first votes are cast. And truly, the two states that follow Iowa and New Hampshire, which are, of course, South Carolina and Nevada, have her at 30-something points up. It is going to be all right. It is five months out. And I know you have Howard Dean on, and he remembers well, that, at this point in 2003, when John Kerry became our eventual nominee, Howard Dean and Joe Lieberman were ahead of John Kerry. And he didn`t climb out of that until -- until December.   MATTHEWS: OK. GRANHOLM: So, it`s going to be all right. MATTHEWS: OK. Thank you for that. (LAUGHTER) MATTHEWS: Let me to Howard Dean. It seems like we just heard from Jennifer Granholm saying that the party nominee has to -- somebody running for a nomination ought to in any real world, real world, endorse the nominee eventually for the party. You have got to explain to me. Bernie Sanders has given a number of reasons for not being a Democrat. It can`t that be your party in Vermont is too conservative. You have got Peter Welch up there and Pat Leahy and you, Howard Dean. You`re not exactly centrists. You`re liberal Democrats. You`re on the left, center-left Democrats. Why does Bernie Sanders insist even to this day to say, I`m not a Democrat, meanwhile, saying give me the votes of Democratic Party members to make me the nominee of the party? I don`t get it. Why doesn`t he join up, at least for now? HOWARD DEAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: He is doing it for the right reason. I am obviously for Hillary, as everybody knows. But I do respect Bernie. He chose to run in the Democratic primaries because, as he said himself, I don`t want to do anything to elect a right-wing Republican president of the United States. So he has no intention of -- I don`t want to speak for him, but my reading of it is that he has always been a person who did what he said he was going to do. He is running in the Democratic primary because that`s his chance to be president. If he doesn`t win, he may or may not support the Democratic nominee, but he certainly isn`t going to run as a third party. And I think that`s a good thing.   MATTHEWS: Well, why do you think Hillary Clinton`s people are putting out the word? Maybe we should go back -- I will go back to Jennifer on this. Governor, why is the Hillary Clinton campaign putting out the word they have got a firewall in the South? It must be because they believe that Bernie Sanders, a socialist, doesn`t have a prayer in the South and they can take him right across the whole region, because he is not going anywhere with that label on him, which you say is irrelevant, but it is certainly relevant to him, because he embraces it. GRANHOLM: Well, I think that what is important in the South and in other parts of the country -- and this is a 50-state race, obviously -- and we all know that Iowa and New Hampshire are disproportionately white voters. In the South, you have got a much more diverse group. She has got over 80 percent favorability in the African-American community. Frankly, she`s got over 80 percent favorability among Democrats nationwide. She does much better among Latinos. So she is going to do well in parts of the country which have -- which are reflective of a diverse America. And it -- and I don`t -- and let me just be clear. I don`t think her campaign is putting out anything about a firewall. She is not saying firewall. It is just that the polls, as you look at RealClearPolitics right now, the average of polls have her far ahead in those states, probably for that reason. And, by the way, the polls on RealClearPolitics, if you look at the nationwide numbers, she is over 24 points up off of her next rival, which is Bernie Sanders. DEAN: Well... GRANHOLM: So I just want to say that this small -- this one poll in Iowa and the polls out of New Hampshire, she is going to fight for every one of those votes. And she has got new fuel in her tank post-Labor Day weekend. It is very exciting to see her out on the stump today having a great time in Ohio and Wisconsin. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Bernie Sanders is running on his philosophy, on his approach to economic policy in this country, especially on income equality. He is openly saying he has a real problem with the mainstream of this country politically, including the Clintons. And I`m asking you, why is that working?   GRANHOLM: Well, I think he has touched a nerve. I`m sorry, Howard, if -- you go ahead. DEAN: No, well, I was just going to say, first of all, I think Hillary is going to end up winning Iowa. It has to do with organization and people -- the reason I didn`t win Iowa is people had trouble -- trouble with -- have trouble in Iowa nominating insurrectionists. And I was an insurrectionist, and Bernie is an insurrectionist. And I think it`s great. I am a big fan of Bernie Sanders. But I think, at the end of the day, organization wins. Hillary is the most experienced, most qualified to be - - person to be president of the United States on either side of the aisle. New Hampshire, I`m not so sure. Bernie is next door. He`s got a lot of advantages. I think it`s a great race. I think it is very good for the party that this is happening. And I think Hillary is going -- I think she`s got the right message and she has got the right gravitas. (CROSSTALK) GRANHOLM: Can I just get back to, though -- just to your point, Chris, about this issue about what he is standing for? MATTHEWS: Sure. GRANHOLM: He is talking about income inequality. So is she talking about income inequality. DEAN: Right. GRANHOLM: She is out there. Today, she was talking about paid leave. She`s been talking -- Richard Trumka is going to be on with you shortly. She`s been talking about profit-sharing for workers. She`s been talking -- you look at Jeb Bush`s tax plan that he put out, it is all redistribution to the top.   She opposes all of that. So this campaign is going to be about economic issues in large measure and more, and she is right there on making sure that it is built out for the average citizen. MATTHEWS: Well, this is just unusual for me. Help me along here, Governor, both of you, both governors. What is the difference between a Democrat and a socialist? Governor Granholm first. GRANHOLM: Well, you know, traditionally, of course, a socialist is someone who believes that the government can own the means of production. Now, whether that is still true today in terms of how you define and what a Democratic socialist is, I think Bernie Sanders would probably say, not to speak for him, but that government should be much more involved in redistribution. But what she is favoring is making sure that government works for everybody. It is not about the government owning the means of production. MATTHEWS: What do you think it means? When you`re up there with the guy, what does he mean when he says, I`m a socialist? DEAN: He really means he is a progressive Democrat. And that`s what he really is. He calls it -- he doesn`t like either party because he thinks both parties are beholden to corporate interests, which there`s some truth to. But he -- I don`t think he is much more of a Democrat -- of a socialist than anybody in Europe is. He is a left-wing Democrat, is she he is. He`s a progressive. But he is very independent. And he classifies himself... MATTHEWS: Is that the same thing to you? DEAN: Yes.   (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Is that the same thing to you? DEAN: From a working perspective, yes. There`s no more socialists left in Europe. Even the French Socialist Party isn`t really socialist anymore by the dictionary definition. And I don`t think Bernie really is either. But he`s entitled to call himself whatever he wants. MATTHEWS: Yes, I know, because new labor tried to be old labor this past election in Britain and didn`t go anywhere. DEAN: No. That`s the problem. MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you, Governor Granholm. You were very good to come on the show, and come back again. GRANHOLM: You bet. MATTHEWS: Governor Dean, thank you so much. DEAN: Thank you. GRANHOLM: Thanks again.   MATTHEWS: Well, old labor didn`t work. New labor still works. I`m joined right now by the AFL-CIO president, Richard Trumka. Mr. Trumka, thank you for joining us tonight. We have had an interesting philosophical debate. But I have to bring you into it. Do you have any problem? Could you endorse Bernie Sanders if he took the right positions that he does on trade issues and other inequality issues? RICHARD TRUMKA, PRESIDENT, AFL-CIO: I think Bernie Sanders is taking the right issue on all issues that are important to working people, about jobs, about inequality, about the right to a voice on the job, so that we can have and get a fair share of the wealth that we produce. I think he is doing that and I think that`s why he is having success. I don`t think people care about labels, what they call themselves. They have tried to do that too long, and people are fed up with that. They want someone who is going to solve their problems. I don`t have a job. My kid doesn`t have a job. Our wages our stagnant. We`re falling behind. Help us fix it. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: I know. I`m with you on those issues. But nobody has called him a socialist, except Bernie Sanders calls himself one. You don`t think that`s important? TRUMKA: I don`t think people care. I don`t know what the difference is between a Democratic socialist and a Democrat. I don`t really know what the difference is. And I think most voters don`t care. They want to know where he stands on the issues. They want to know where everybody, all the candidates stand on the issues.   They want someone who is going to solve their problems, who will fight for them, who will create an economy that will let them win and change the rules so that they get a fair shot at winning. MATTHEWS: OK. Let`s talk about fairness. Where are you on the vice president of -- Joe Biden on the trade issue? He apparently is with the president on that. He`s made it pretty clear he`s with the president on that trade bill that you guys oppose as the international -- all the international presidents are against it, and you`re the leader. At the same time, Hillary Clinton has been a bit out there trying to avoid, I think, taking a hard-and-fast position. You have been tough on Hillary. You say you want her to take a position. Biden has taken a position against you on the issue. You seem to be more supportive of Biden than you are of Hillary. TRUMKA: That`s not so. Joe Biden is a good friend. He`s been a friend of mine, personal friend, for years. He`s been a good champion of working people. If he decides -- and it will be his decision -- whether he runs or not, he will have to face that very issue. And it will be a negative for him in an election, in a primary and in a general election. Her not taking a clear, concise position is holding her back. It is as if she is working to get our vote, but not our support. If she gets our support, there is nothing that can stop her. MATTHEWS: Well said. Thank you so much for coming on, Richard Trumka. And thank you being patient tonight, sir. Up next, the big rally on Capitol Hill today on gun violence. it`s a good cause. We`re going to talk to the father of that TV reporter killed in that horrific on-air shooting down at Virginia last month about what he hopes can get done here. And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.   (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MILISSA REHBERGER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Milissa Rehberger. Here`s what`s happening. Authorities in Arizona say a total of 11 vehicles have now been hit by gunfire in the Phoenix area along Interstate 10 over the last two weeks. Police have called the shootings domestic terrorism. A judge ruled that the six police officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray will stand trial in Baltimore. And Vice President Joe Biden, who is weighing a potential White House run, is in New York for a taping of "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert" -- now back to HARDBALL. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SHANNON WATTS, FOUNDER, MOMS DEMAND ACTION FOR GUN SENSE IN AMERICA: Alison Parker and Adam Ward were shot and killed on live television. Alison and Adam were simply doing their jobs. The victims in Charleston were simply going to church. The women shot and killed in Louisiana were simply watching a movie in a theater. These people weren`t in the wrong place at the wrong time. They were in the right place at a time when their country has the wrong gun laws. (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: That was Shannon Watts, the founder of Moms Demand Action, speaking at the National Day of Action Rally for Gun Safety on Capitol Hill today. It is one of 50 rallies taking place around the country organized by the group Every Town for Gun Safety, of which former New York Michael Mayor Michael Bloomberg is a major supporter.   Watts was joined by Andy Parker, the father of television reporter Alison Parker, who was shot and killed while on the air in Roanoke, Virginia, just two weeks ago. Andy Parker was also -- has also inspired the social media campaign Whatever It Takes, which has become a rallying call, whatever it takes for gun safety advocates. And, today, he vowed to fight any member of Congress who opposes his effort to expand background checks on gun sales. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ANDY PARKER, FATHER OF ALISON PARKER: Folks, that is what it`s going to take to bring about change, keeping the pressure on our lawmakers until they do the right thing. It`s just doing the right thing. And if they won`t, we will find their replacement. (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: The most recent data from Pew Research shows that support for gun control measures has dropped 20 percentage points since 1999, from 66 percent down to 46 percent. And despite that drop, that drop, 85 percent of Americans say they favor expanded background checks on gun purchases. Well, according to The Brady Campaign, an estimated 40 percent of guns are sold today without background checks, 40 percent, two out of five. I`m joined right now by gun safety advocate Shannon Watts of Moms Demand Action and Andy Parker, father of Alison Parker. I want to talk, first of all, to Shannon. Shannon, every time we go to a new horror, we think, well, this will be it, that people will wake up who don`t have a fascination with guns, who see the need for some kind of, well, sobriety about the way we think about things and take up the argument of the NRA, which is guns don`t kill people, people do, so let`s keep guns away from the people who should not have them. And yet nothing happens.   Your thoughts, Shannon. WATTS: Well, I would argue that with you. I think something has happened, something with Moms Demand Action and now Every Town for Gun Safety. We have three million members in three years. The NRA has five million members and they have been around for decades. So, we are catching up very quickly. We`re actually winning in the states. We are passing laws that keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers and that close the background check loophole. We are getting policies in place in businesses like Starbucks and Chipotle and Target to have laws -- or policies around guns, just like they do attire or smoking. It is Congress that shamefully has not acted since Sandy Hook. And if this Congress won`t act, we will have to get the Congress that will. But in the meantime, we are not going to stop making noise. We`re going to kick and scream and yell every time there`s a shooting tragedy like this, because it`s the way to effect change. MATTHEWS: Let me go to Andy about your daughter and your feelings. What do you think you can get done? PARKER: Well, whatever it takes. I think that, you know, not to diminish the loss of other victims that have had -- suffered the same loss that I have, I think that there was a crest and there was a movement and, as Shannon was saying, there was progress being made. But Alison and Adam were killed on live TV in front of 50,000 people. And I think that now they`re -- I think people are saying, enough is enough. We`re calling for just closing gun loopholes. Of course, this is a mental health issue. And -- but it is only half the solution. We don`t have the market cornered on people that are mentally disturbed, but we seem to have the market cornered on people that have -- that are mentally disturbed that have access to guns. So, I have to believe, and I`m going to stay in this fight as long it takes and do whatever it takes to win it.   MATTHEWS: Why do you think members of Congress buckle to the pro-gun people, even on background checks, which our polls show people overwhelmingly support, NRA members support? Everybody supports the need to keep guns away from dangerous people. And yet the people who vote in Congress for a living respond to the real Second Amendment fanatics, if you will. PARKER: Well, it is all about money. They`re afraid of the NRA not contributing to their campaign. It is pure and simple. And that`s the irony of it, as you say, that most of the -- most NRA members, they want background checks. They want to close the loopholes where you can go out and purchase firearms at these flea market gun shows. They`re for that. And yet the membership looks at any kind of closing of the loopholes as an assault on the Second Amendment. And I have said it 20, 30 times on every interview. We`re not trying to take people`s guns away. We`re for the Second Amendment. MATTHEWS: I know. PARKER: We just want to keep guns out of hands of these people that are crazy. And the other -- one of the other solutions is that there`s -- HIPAA has created such an issue that you can`t share medical information. You can`t share information about people that potentially have mental illness. So it -- there`s really another -- it has to be a two-pronged attack. I agree. Certainly, mental illness is part of it. But when you add guns to the equation, this is what you get, 88 murders per day. MATTHEWS: Andy, thank you. And, by the way, now that we`re talking about the Constitution, the amendments to it, we should remember the First Amendment and your daughter Alison and Adam. And the guts it takes for especially young people to go out there and stand in sometimes tough neighborhoods all over the country, they go out and they report the news every day, right out there with the public, no protection, because they trust our country. They trust to take care of them, behind they`re out there delivering the free news to us, the truth. And you should be very proud of your daughter, very proud of what she was doing.   PARKER: Chris, she was -- thank you. She was one of you -- she was one of you guys. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: That`s an honor to hear that. Thank you so much. Shannon Watts, keep up the good work. You have been in it for a while. Stick with it. We will be back after this. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. It`s worth going over exactly what Donald Trump said about his fellow Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina. Trump hasn`t disputed the quote. He told "Rolling Stone", quote, "Look at that face. Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president? I mean, she is a woman and I`m not supposed to say bad things but really, folks, come on. Are we serious?" All day Trump has been peppered with questions about the outrageous remarks. He tried to deflect them on CNN. Here he goes. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)   CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Why do you talk about how women look so much? You know, it`s not presidential. It`s probably not even kind. DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (via telephone): Look, I`m talking about persona. Look, here`s another one -- (CROSSTALK) CUOMO: You said, "Look at that face, look at that face." TRUMP: I said nice things about you so at least he says nice things about some people. When she and other people hit me on things, nobody ever comes to my defense. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, on ABC`s "The View", Trump tried persona line one more time. Joy Behar wasn`t buying it. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP (via telephone): I`m talking about her persona. She failed miserably at Hewlett-Packard. She failed at Lucent. She was before that, she was at Lucent. She did then run for the Senate. She lost in a landslide. Now, she`s running for president. I`m talking about her persona. (CROSSTALK) JOY BEHAR, THE VIEW: But then why don`t you talk about her brain instead of her face?   (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, Trump`s remarks about Fiorina`s appearance cued Hillary Clinton who told Trump today -- bring it on. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Of course, we hear from candidates on the other side about turning back the clock on women`s rights. And there is one particular candidate who just seems to delight in insulting women every chance he gets. I have to say, if he emerges, I would love to debate him. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, Donald Trump hasn`t apologized for those comments and his party`s leaders haven`t either. HARDBALL reached out to the Republican national committee to ask if it was appropriate for Trump or any other candidate to attack another candidate`s looks. And we got a flat no comment from the director of communications of the RNC. So, they`re staying out of it. Joining me right now are people who are not going to stay out of it. HARDBALL roundtable, Jamal Simmons is a Democratic strategist, Susan Page is "USA Today`s" Washington bureau chief, and Republican strategist Matt Schlapp was White House political director for George W. Bush. Let`s take it in that order. What do you think is getting away with here? There`s something missing in this way we normally judge behavior. The way we do in life. You`re not supposed to make comments like that about people`s looks in any polite society. Even in politics -- Jamal. JAMAL SIMMONS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Chris, we know that Donald Trump is playing by different rules. And the reality here is there are a bunch of people who are angry with the establishment. They`re fed up. They`re OK with him doing something like this because he is their voice and they trust him to do it. They`re going to give him as much leeway as he needs, as long as he keeps fighting for the things they believe in. He is not mortal when it comes to stuff like this, at least not yet.   SUSAN PAGE, USA TODAY: We keep thinking this time he`s gone too far. No, this time he`s definitely gone too far -- and each time he goes up in the polls. I think there will be a point where he goes too far. This comment, pretty offensive but not out of character of the other things that he said. So, I`m not sure this is the one. And his refusal to apologize is, in fact, part of his appeal. That he`ll say whatever he thinks. You can agree with it or not, but there`s no way he is going to back off anything. MATT SCHLAPP, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Yes, I think that -- you know, if you look at this -- what I just simply don`t get, Chris, is that I think Carly Fiorina is very appealing. She is a great candidate. She is really coming across to people in a very positive way. I think when he takes on members of the press, he gets away with it with a lot of Republican voters. When he takes on more moderate Republicans, like John McCain, he gets away with it. Taking on Carly Fiorina who is a strong conservative and a candidate who`s really rising in the polls, he missed it, which is why he`s pulled back. And that`s why he`s saying a question about person, because he knows he overreached. MATTHEWS: Did you believe him when he said it was persona? SCHLAPP: I`ve got to take him at his words, but I think he is backpedaling. He`s backpedaling. He is definitely back pedaling. SIMMONS: Chris, there`s no way that he wasn`t talking about persona. The reality here is, he talked about her face. That`s what he said. It had to be what he meant. PAGE: I agree with that. I think he said face, he meant face. Very hard to back off. Also, how do you look at your persona? I don`t really get that. MATTHEWS: Let me ask Matt, who`s a Republican. Are Republican women a little more different than Democratic women? I mean, Democratic women I think are more politically correct. I`m just guessing. You tell me if I`m wrong.   SCHLAPP: Yes, I think that what we`ve seen in the polls, all we can do is look at the polls, and you`re not seeing any kind of big gender gap amongst Republican voters. But I think, look, it`s different when he takes on personalities and celebrities and members of the media. When he goes after the only woman running for president, who`s a very credible candidate, I think he himself knows that he crossed the line. It`s going to boomerang with I think all kinds of women voters. By the way, I think it`s going to boomerang with male voters. I just think this is beyond the pale which is why he pulled back. MATTHEWS: Let`s hope so. Anyway, the HARDBALL roundtable is staying with us. And up next, crisis response. President Obama steps up the administration`s reaction to the Syrian refugee crisis, 10,000 coming here. This is HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: With Pope Francis coming to Philadelphia in two weeks, please check out a new article I wrote about growing up Catholic there in Philadelphia, and the latest edition of "Philadelphia" magazine. The magazine`s cover is a picture of the Holy Father based on the 2008 campaign poster for Barack Obama. And there you see it. Pope Francis will be in Washington and New York before his big visit to Philadelphia. And we`ll have extensive coverage of MSNBC of all of it here in all three cities. We`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: We`re back with a HARDBALL roundtable: Jamal, Susan and Matt.   Well, President Obama today says he wants to let 10,000 Syrian refugees into the United States proper over the next course of the next year. The situation has become, of course, dire with tens of thousands of refugees escaping their war-torn region in a desperate attempt to seek safety and shelter in Europe. Well, shocking video like this taken along the border between Greece and Macedonia illustrates the extent to which the crisis is getting out of control. It appears to show a Macedonian police officer beating a migrant with his baton, including a man holding a child. Anyway, that`s what we`re looking at right now. Jamal, and, Susan, and, Matt, I want you to tell me what your reaction was when you heard President Obama was making basically an executive decision to bring in 10,000 of those refugees. Jamal, first. SIMMONS: On a humanitarian basis, this is absolutely the right call. I think we all remember who read history about what was going on in the 1930s and `40s and the United States being reluctant to take in Jewish migrants at the time. This is something that`s right. Politically, though, you can see why this is a fraught decision. I`m not sure it`s not completely analogous. Chris, Jimmy Carter, you know, bringing in Cuban refugees in the 19 -- I think it was 1980, ended up costing Bill Clinton his governorship in Arkansas that year. It`s a tough -- it`s a tough decision to make politically, and it may not just affect the president who`s not running for reelection, but other politicians in his time of immigration being a big issue in our country. PAGE: You know -- MATTHEWS: You can`t certainly blame for what`s called Mariel boatlift. Yes. PAGE: That`s true, and it was very difficult political situation for Bill Clinton then.   I disagree on the politics of it now. I certainly agree, it`s the right thing to do. We want European nations to step up and address this crisis. We have to do something ourselves. I actually think it`s not analogous to the situation for Cubans, because for one thing, the United States played a role in creating the situation that has led to this devastating situation in Syria, and that gives us not only our traditional responsibility in the world to look out for people in peril, but also a very particular one with these Syrian refugees. So, I think that the 10,000 -- I don`t think it`s going to end there, I think we`re going to see thousands and thousands more over the next several years brought into this country. And, of course, we want to be careful and do the vetting that we do to make sure this isn`t something opportunistically by people who want to do harm to us. But you look at these pictures, how can you not respond? SCHLAPP: You know, my view -- MATTHEWS: Why are we responsible? Syria was never an American colony. Why is the United States as a country somehow morally or politically responsible for what`s going on and is going on in Syria today? PAGE: There are two reasons. One is because we failed -- two reasons, one is because we failed to do more when there might have been a possibility of some moderate Syrian opposition against the Assad regime in Syria. Famously, Hillary Clinton was among those who urged President Obama to do more than he did. Secondly, the collapsing situation in Iraq. The very difficult situation there in the wake of the U.S. war is contributing to the turmoil in the region that is created, the situation that sent these people fleeing. MATTHEWS: Go ahead. Quickly, Matt. SCHLAPP: Look, all I would say is I`d like to see a plan, number one. I don`t think he has a plan for the region. And number two, for God`s sakes, go to Congress and try to get some consent on an issue that`s important as this. MATTHEWS: Thank you. Well said. Thank you, Jamal Simmons. Thank you, Susan Page. And Matt Schlapp, with something I might agree with. We`ll be right back after this.   (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: 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.>