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Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 09/21/15

Guests: Robert Costa, Ruth Marcus, Michael Tomasky, Matt Malone, April Ryan, Jay Winik

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Great Scott! Walker walks. Let`s play HARDBALL. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R-WI), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We don`t need an apprentice in the White House. We don`t need an apprentice in the White House. We have one right now. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Whoa! Well, good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington. Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin, a strong favorite for the Republican presidential nomination, is no more today. Today, he dropped out of the race altogether, and this is the candidate who mocked, as you just saw, Donald Trump as someone unprepared to be president, to use his word, an "apprentice." Well, now Walker has walked off the field, as Texas governor Rick Perry did, as some other candidates might as well, given their current level of support nationwide, which is about zero. Question for tonight. What`s it take to be a champion in the Republican battle for 2016? Do you have deny the president`s legitimacy, even his legal residence in this country? Do you have to play dumb on whether he`s a Muslim? Or do you have to issue personal manifestos, like you don`t want a Muslim to be president even if there`s no one running. Is that what it takes to stir the souls of today`s Republicans?    Well, Scott Walker`s campaign imploded once Trump hit the scene. Walker was the front-runner himself, as I said, in national polls this spring, and he held a big lead in Iowa as late as this July. But just in the last hour, Walker announced that he is dropping out of the race and he wants others to follow his lead and get out, as well. Let`s watch him. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) WALKER: I will suspend my campaign immediately. I encourage other Republican presidential candidates to consider doing the same so that the voters can focus on a limited number of candidates who can offer a positive conservative alternative to the current front-runner. This is fundamentally important to the future of the party, and more importantly, to the future of our country. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: NBC`s Kelly O`Donnell has covered the Walker campaign since the beginning. She`s with us now from Capitol Hill. What happened? Why now? Why good-bye? KELLY O`DONNELL, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, he did have a meeting with senior outside advisers, and they looked at the hard reality, Chris? What path would Scott Walker have to the nomination? And it appeared the only path they saw fit was all Iowa. Also, I`m told by various sources in the Republican Party that he was simply out of money. So lacking support, lacking cash, he decided within the last 24 hours to end it. I think if you step back and you look at the highs and lows of this campaign, staging and stagecraft sometimes tells us a great deal. When he got into this race, he had a spectacular theater in the round, very expensive rollout.    Today, there he was with a flag behind him, a blank wall, and for a man who usually gives his speeches with his jacket off and sleeves rolled up, having memorized his remarks, today he had the sobering sort of appearance of the jacket on, glancing at his notes, a very stark image difference. And when you look at what happened to his campaign -- he was born in Iowa, spent the first several years of his life there, had great support largely because of neighboring state sort of credentials because Wisconsin -- certainly people in Iowa had a better idea of who he was outside of Washington, D.C., really credible with Christian conservatives. That`s how the story of Scott Walker as a national candidate began. Here is a man who went three campaigns in four years, winning again and again and again. And yet when it came time to be the national candidate performer, he hit several bumps, unable to answer questions clearly, seeming muddled in his responses, and the air just simply came out of the balloon even before Trump ascended. But when Trump entered the stage and took over, clearly, Scott Walker saw his fate change, and he really is the first casualty. Rick Perry had already been sort of a troubled candidate, the other governor who got out of the race. But for Scott Walker, this is a stark and startling day. I always say candidates have their best moment when they announce. Today was a tough moment for Scott Walker. MATTHEWS: Well said, and well reported. Thank you, NBC`s Kelly O`Donnell up on the Hill. Robert Costa`s national political reporter with "The Washington Post," Eugene Robinson`s a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist with "The Washington Post," and David Corn`s the Washington bureau chief for "Mother Jones." Thank you, gentlemen. This is a stunning bit of news. Robert Costa, what can you report? Was there any other story there that we`re missing? Is it just exhaustion and failure? ROBERT COSTA, "THE WASHINGTON POST": No. I just got off the phone with Gary Marks (ph), Walker`s senior adviser. He went on the record with "The Washington Post," said the money dried up. There was a lot of money in the superPAC, not enough hard dollars for the campaign. Walker had a big network of advisers and staffers in Iowa and New Hampshire. The money wasn`t there. The donors weren`t ready to pony up. Another big factor, voters just weren`t taking the bait on this idea of a persona, a profile, the governor with results, a conservative governor. It showed with Perry, now with Walker.    You know, and you also see with Walker -- I talked to Trump himself. Trump did a 30-minute call with "The Washington Post" this evening. He said he`s changed the race, people haven`t adjusted. He offered encouragement to Walker but said this is a different race, and some people just can`t handle it. MATTHEWS: You know, actually, this might have been the Trumpy (sic) stumbling into the truth there because by the very noise level he`s created, a guy like that, who actually had all the tickets... EUGENE ROBINSON, "WASHINGTON POST," MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. MATTHEWS: He was from neighboring Iowa -- I mean, neighboring Wisconsin. He was a good -- politically successful governor, whatever Ed Schultz things of him and... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: ... politically successful. Number three, he had some religious aspect to him, evangelical background, Baptist background. And he fit everything. ROBINSON: Every box. MATTHEWS: We thought they were looking for post-Obama. ROBINSON: He ticked every box. I mean, you know, the down side is he was a terrible candidate. He was not good at running for president... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Why did it work in Wisconsin?    ROBINSON: Huh? MATTHEWS: Why did it work in Wisconsin? ROBINSON: Well, you know, some things are... MATTHEWS: It used to be a big... ROBINSON: ... better this big than they are this big. MATTHEWS: Well, it used to be a great primary state. ROBINSON: Well... MATTHEWS: It used to be a place you could test yourself in. ROBINSON: Well, maybe it isn`t anymore. But he wasn`t good at it, so... MATTHEWS: OK, while you`re on the heater here, is -- not that I can put you on the heater -- was Trump the thing that sort of went into the water, like the displacement, where every -- all the bathtub just flew out? ROBINSON: Sure. Sure. You`ve only got 100 percent to work with, right? If Trump is occupying 30 percent or something like that, that leaves less for everybody else. And -- and where was -- where was Walker...    (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: ... projection of this election forward. As long as Trump can get 25 to 30, he changes the whole nature... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: ... everybody else is getting 7! DAVID CORN, "MOTHER JONES," MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: But it`s also the nature of the displacement. You know, Trump -- you know, Walker was, indeed, kind of a candidate for angry conservatives who thought that the unions had too much control. You know, they wanted to see fighting and they had -- wanted to see some anger expressed. And Walker wasn`t -- was, in a way, their guy until Trump came in and did it... MATTHEWS: OK... CORN: ... about a thousand times bigger. You know, who should really be scared of all this now, is Jeb Bush. MATTHEWS: Agreed. CORN: Resumes, big governor, practical experience -- nobody in the Republican Party wants that dog food! (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: ... waving toilet (ph) paper in the air for these people because here`s what they seem to want -- anger like you can`t even express in a legitimate way, stuff that is so beyond PC. Look at this. Here`s where the party wants to be.    Anyway, the last 36 hours has been a sight to behold. Here`s Donald Trump, the guy Walker wanted to stop, on NBC`s "MEET THE PRESS" suggesting President Obama is some sort of secret Muslim. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CHUCK TODD, MODERATOR, "MEET THE PRESS": Can you imagine supporting or being comfortable if a Muslim ever became president of the United States? DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I can say that, you know, it`s something that at some point could happen. Some people have said it already happened, frankly, but of course, you wouldn`t agree with that. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Now, here`s -- that is so Trumpian (ph), Robert Costa, so Trumpian -- Some people would say we`ve already had a Muslim president, i.e. President Obama. And of course, then he takes a shot at the media. And Chuck is a down-the-road, right down the middle straight guy kind (ph) of analyze this race and report on it. And he takes a shot at him. You know, once the -- because -- because -- because Chuck, being a man of substance and fact, would not believe that Barack Obama was something of Muslim, he was a Muslim. And because he wouldn`t believe he`s a Muslim, he`s challenging the bona fides of the moderator of "MEET THE PRESS." This Donald Trump. It`s ridiculous if you think about the -- actually, what he says, not his aspect or his fun factor, but actually what he says is ridiculous. Go ahead. Your thoughts. COSTA: This is a fundamental divide right now in the Republican Party. I -- when I just got off the phone with Trump, he says he`s not changing his tactics. He`s not going to be politically correct. He will continue to talk about... MATTHEWS: What does that mean? What -- what -- translate -- well, you don`t have to translate that, but "politically correct" means I`m going to continue to say the president is an illegal immigrant who snuck into the country on false identity, some sort of criminal of I.D. theft... (CROSSTALK)    MATTHEWS: ... and also, besides that, a Muslim. Besides that, a Muslim. COSTA: I think you could cast even a wider net, Chris. I think you could say Trump will say almost everything that the party officials and the party elites don`t want to have in the national conversation. I kept saying to Trump, Are you going to change your tactics through the fall? Are you going to listen more to the party? He kept saying no. He said nothing`s changing. MATTHEWS: OK. COSTA: He feels comfortable in his position. MATTHEWS: OK. OK. Hold on there, Robert. Trump refuses (INAUDIBLE) answer questions from ABC`s George Stephanopoulos. Watch this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS: Why can`t you just say definitively yes or no... TRUMP: Well, I haven`t raised the question. STEPHANOPOULOS: ... President Obama was born in the United States -- you`ve raised it many times -- and he`s not a Muslim. TRUMP: George, you have raised the question. I haven`t raised the question. I don`t talk about it. And I don`t like talking about somebody else`s faith. He talks about his faith, and he can do that. But I don`t talk about other people`s faith.    (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: He just ignored the question from Stephanopoulos, where George said, What about whether the president`s a citizen or not? CORN: This is -- this is... MATTHEWS: Whether he`s an American or not. He answered a ridiculous answer about Muslim... CORN: This is about him sending signals, not dogwhistles, but semaphore signals to the Republican base that, You know what? You suspect that Obama`s -- something shady about him? I`m with you. I led the birther movement, and I believe even worse than that. And so he doesn`t have to say it. He just has to say that, I`m not going to answer the question. I don`t want to talk about it. You know, I see it differently. It`s all quite clear. You know, more than half of Republicans... MATTHEWS: OK... CORN: ... believe the president`s a Muslim! ROBINSON: The Republican Party brought this on itself, right... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: ... they put up with this!    ROBINSON: If you have an irrational hatred of President Obama and think he`s an illegal immigrant or whatever, if you are an Islamophobe, which party are you going to choose, right? I mean, which party makes a home for you? And the answer is the Republican Party makes a home for you! MATTHEWS: Well, look at this. This is really unbelievable. He took a swipe at John McCain for what I think one of the great moments in John McCain`s life, for correcting a voter back in 2008 after she -- a regular person -- called the president an Arab. Here`s Trump`s assessment. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: Did you know they wanted me to speak up in favor of the president? Do you think he`s going to speak up in favor of me? Why do I think he`s not? You remember the famous thing where John McCain just ripped that microphone out of the woman`s hands and -- I don`t know. I thought it was a little bit harsh, to be honest with you. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: OK, anybody that buys this malarkey is probably -- deserves what they get. Anyway, he took on CNN`s Jake Tapper, who challenged Trump to stand up to bigots on the campaign trail, like the one Trump encountered last week. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JAKE TAPPER, CNN MODERATOR: This man said, quote, "We have a problem in this country. It`s called Muslims." This is raw, unvarnished, ignorant bigotry. You are a leader. Do you not have a responsibility to call out this hatred? TRUMP: Well, you know, we could be politically correct, if you want. But certainly -- are you trying to say we don`t have a problem? TAPPER: What`s the problem?    TRUMP: Well, you have radicals that are doing things. I mean, it wasn`t people from Sweden that blew up the World Trade Center, Jake. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: OK, Robert Costa, when he talks to you on the phone, does he talk like that, that all Muslim people... COSTA: He talks exactly like that. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: ... killers and terrorists and that`s why they`re here and... COSTA: He does. He believes... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: By the way, the 9/11 characters were not living in America. They were not residents of America. They were not illegal immigrants. They came here to blow up the World Trade Center. Let`s get that straight. COSTA: So I talked to Walker`s people all afternoon, and they said their big takeaway as they leave this campaign is this Trump thing is not going away. Even if he implodes, it remains as part of the party, Carson -- it could go to someone else. And they said for the party establishment to think this thing will just fade, this phenomenon, this feeling within the party, is a fallacy. It`s not happening.    CORN: They fueled it! They fueled this Obama -- you called it, the irrational Obama hatred for eight years. And now their base expects them to deliver. MATTHEWS: Well, here`s the alternative. Dr. Ben Carson told NBC`s "MEET THE PRESS" yesterday that a Muslim should not be president. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TODD: Should a president`s faith matter? Should your faith matter to voters? DR. BEN CARSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I guess it depends on what that faith is. If it`s inconsistent with the values and principles of America, then of course it should matter. But if it fits within the realm of America and consistent with the Constitution, no problem. TODD: So do you believe that Islam is consistent with the Constitution? CARSON: No, I do not. I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, Dr. Carson doubled down those comments in an interview with "The Hill" newspaper. Carson told them that, "Whoever takes the White House should be sworn in on a stack of -- a stack of Bibles, not a Koran. Muslims feel that their religion is very much a part of their -- of your public life and what you do as a public official" -- this is him being quoted here -- "and that`s inconsistent with our principles and our Constitution." In other words, they`re all theocrats. Anyway, Carson also suggested Muslims cannot be trusted. He told "The Hill" that there is a component of Shia that allows and even encourages you to lie to achieve your goals. So here we are, a religious test. One thing we -- from the beginning of the Constitution as it was originally written, avoid this kind of stupid conversation.    ROBINSON: Of course, the irony is fairly rich because here is a man who is establishing a religious test for office, and in fact, in saying his religion is terribly important for holding office. You know, and then I guess extending that to Muslims. But he`s saying, absolutely, he would be guided by his faith. MATTHEWS: OK, go back what David said a minute ago. Is this the end of a chance for a regular credentialed Republican to win the nomination? Is there so much vote (ph) right now and the polling is so overly lopsided against only -- I think if you add up all the votes for what`s left for Christie, for Kasich of Ohio, for Jeb Bush of Florida, you have maybe 20 percent. ROBINSON: And Rubio. Don`t forget Rubio. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Is the thing so stacked now in the direction of the hawks and the... ROBINSON: Well... MATTHEWS: ... not the hawks, but right-wingers. ROBINSON: I mean, it looks like it. You have to, you know, account for the possibility that there`s, like, a hard core on the outside or -- side, and that there might be a somewhat softer core that could be persuadable. So maybe it doesn`t -- maybe it`s not more than 50 percent for the whole election cycle. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Let me get to Robert. Is there any -- I know you don`t want to predict because you cover it every day, but I do not see how Jeb Bush can win the nomination at the current direction it`s taking. Your -- your assessment. COSTA: So think about -- not just in terms, can Bush win the nomination. Every donor I talked to today says it`s a real battle between Bush, Rubio, Kasich, who`s going to be that establishment person who can take on Trump and Carson, maybe Fiorina -- maybe they don`t have to. but they need to have that mini-race within the broad race to try to get someone to counter the Trump phenomenon.    MATTHEWS: Right now, it`s granulated. ROBINSON: Yes. CORN: It`s spread out. Jeb Bush had a shot at the beginning of being the establishment front-runner. He had all the money. He just doesn`t perform well. He doesn`t convey well. And so you`re left with John Kasich, who is -- you know, is trying to campaign as the moderate, although he`s governed as a conservative. But he`s not a very disciplined guy. I`ve been on TV with him. I like him a lot. He`s very open-minded when you debate him, but I don`t think he has necessarily the fierceness. And Rubio is kind of the interesting thing here. He`s playing rope-a-dope now. He`s sort of backing off, not engaging in any side fights. I think he wants to be the last establishment-friendly Republican standing. And they say, Oh, my God, you got to go with... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: I really don`t like that outcome because he`s a hawk, but I do see it coming. ROBINSON: Yes, no, I -- and I agree with you that Jeb Bush really has a tough road to the nomination, I mean, because -- because... (CROSSTALK) COSTA: ... $100 million.    MATTHEWS: OK, let me... (LAUGHTER) (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: You know what I think? I think the end doesn`t justify the means. And what scares me about what`s going on in the American right now, they don`t believe that anymore. They believe any -- any means is justified to get to where they want, to blow up this country`s political system right now and to start it with something new. So they`re willing to use a guy who`s using deceit, dishonesty and really bad anti-American talk right now against -- to get what they want, and that`s the sad tragedy unfolding right now. People will vote, encourage the nomination of someone who is actually saying things that are absolutely knowably not true. Anyway, thank you, Robert Costa. Thank you, Gene Robinson and David Corn. The end does not justify the means, and never will. Coming up -- there are new signs that Vice President Joe Biden may be getting into the presidential race. Biden`s wife is said to be on board now. But is he ready emotionally? By the way, I thinks he wants to get ready for this. I think he`s in the on-deck circle, as we say in baseball. He may stand there a couple months, but I think he`s there. Plus, Jeb Bush got big applause in last week`s debate for saying that his brother, W, kept us safe. Well, he didn`t. He must have forgotten 9/11, the war on Iraq, the financial crisis, and now Democrats are hitting him (ph). That was too big a claim. And on the eve of Pope Francis`s first visit to the United States, both sides of this country, left and right, are looking to his Holiness to bolster their own political positions. What else is new? Finally, "Let Me Finish" with a few words on my Aunt Eleanor, who spent her life teaching children with challenges.    And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Well, Carly Fiorina was the clear winner in last week`s debate, according to a new on-line poll from NBC News and SurveyMonkey. But Trump isn`t -- well, still holds a commanding lead over all in the race. Trump`s at 29 percent, which is up 7 points since August. Carson has 14 percent, which is up 4 points since August. Fiorina is now in third with 11 percent, up 3 points sine August. We`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "FACE THE NATION") JOHN DICKERSON, HOST, "FACE THE NATION": Give us three words that is the real Hillary Clinton. (LAUGHTER) JOHN DICKERSON: Just three. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Just three? I can`t possibly do that. I mean, look, I am a real person, with all the pluses and minuses that go along with being that. And I have been in the public eye for so long that I think -- you know, it`s like the feature that you see in some magazines sometimes. Real people actually go shopping, you know?    (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. There are a few -- a couple new polls out there today that give different impressions of how well Hillary Clinton is doing among Democrats. This is Hillary Clinton. First, there is the CNN/ORC poll. Earlier this month, Clinton led Bernie Sanders by only 10 points. In the latest numbers, Clinton has expanded that lead to 18. Vice President Biden come in at third at 22 points. That`s one poll there. Then you look at another one, the numbers move in a different direction in NBC News/SurveyMonkey -- I love the name of the poll, online poll, Monkey Online poll. Last month, that poll had Clinton beating Sanders by 24 points. That lead has now, according to poll, shrunk in half to 12 points. But it`s that third-place finisher that everyone has their eyes on right now. Joe Biden has not said yet if he will get into the race. But according to "The Wall Street Journal" this weekend, front page, by the way, they say he is getting close to yes. Vice President Joe Biden`s aides in recent days called Democratic donors and supporters to suggest he is more likely than not to enter the 2016 race. Also, significant sources tell NBC News that Jill Biden, the vice president`s wife, is fully behind him if he decides to go. But the potential candidate himself is still sounding conflicted. In an interview conducted with the Catholic newspaper "America" -- Catholic organization America Media -- America Media last Friday, but released today, Biden said it was a family decision to be made. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are just not, you know -- it`s not quite there yet, and it may not get there in time to make it feasible to be able to run and succeed, because there are certain windows that will close. But if that`s it, that`s it. Like, it`s not like I can rush it. It`s not like -- it either happens or it doesn`t happen. I know that`s not satisfying to anybody. But people who have been there, I know they understand.    (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, that was probably Matt Malone in that picture. He;s president and editor in chief of America Media. He conducted the interview with Vice President Biden. And April Ryan, our friend here, is Washington bureau chief of American Urban Radio Networks. She interviewed Hillary Clinton on Friday. We have fresh meat, as we say in this business, fresh information. (LAUGHTER) MATTHEWS: Father Matt, thank you for joining us. FATHER MATT MALONE, AMERICA MEDIA: Of course. MATTHEWS: It`s not your role in life to determine -- you`re not Jack Germond or David Broder, or me, certainly not me. (LAUGHTER) MALONE: Not even close. MATTHEWS: You`re not -- your job is not to read the tea leaves, but read them. (LAUGHTER)    MALONE: Well, look, I don`t know if he`s going to run. But I met a man last Friday who doesn`t know whether he is going to run either. I really believe that. I think that this is -- as you probably know, sir, this is not about optics. It`s not about positioning. He really is struggling here. He`s been through a deeply traumatizing human experience. And then he`s confronted with this enormous decision in the wake of it. And -- but there was a shift in how he talked about his grief. He`s spoken about this once before with Stephen Colbert on "The Late Show." And he focused a lot on the grief and the sense of loss that he suffered with the sense of his son Beau Biden. In this interview, he said that he has really turned a corner and is focused more on memorializing Beau`s life and trying to translate the principles for which Beau stood into his own actions. And that`s a process of grieving that any human being has to go through. But I also think that it`s a process that he has to go through in order to get to a final decision on this question. MATTHEWS: Well, if you say there is a conflict, then there a countervailing force here, which is a lifelong ambition to be president of the United States. This guy was elected to the U.S. Senate at the age of 29. He has never lost an election for reelection as senator. He got elected to the vice presidency, selected for it and then elected twice. He clearly sees himself -- I can read this much -- as the person who would be a great president, and I believe he believes a better president than Hillary Clinton. That`s why this is a conflict, right? That`s up against the grief. But both are in his heart, right? MALONE: Oh, I think that that`s true. MATTHEWS: Or you don`t detect the other ambitious part in there? MALONE: Oh, no. He`s a politician, so of course one detects that.    MATTHEWS: Right. MALONE: But, yes, and he has -- he`s already run for president on two different occasions. And it`s been a longstanding ambition of his. And that`s in direct conflict with what he`s experienced in the wake of this family tragedy. And I also think that he doesn`t want to be seen in any way to be benefiting from this tragedy with all of this attention. MATTHEWS: I understand that. Hold on, Father. Let me go to you about Hillary Clinton. I mean, Hillary Clinton is trying to go through some kind of -- Secretary Clinton -- through some kind of -- transformations in political personality are very hard to come by. And she is obviously a very -- what`s the right word? I`m trying to get a word that doesn`t offend anybody. She is careful what she says about herself. APRIL RYAN, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORKS: Right. MATTHEWS: I think that is a fair way to put it. And she is not happy when people then try to pry into who that person is. She would rather talk objectively about policies, I think. And right now, though, she is trying to open up by doing the entertainment shows and yukking it up with people. And she`s trying to show some -- I don`t think it`s going to work. But it`s clearly what she is trying to -- did it work with you? Did she open up with you? RYAN: Yes, Chris, I have known her for about 20 years now, you know, when I first came...    (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Who is she? RYAN: She is a very interesting person. She is -- she is someone with a pedigree that no one else has. She`s a very serious person, but she also is a person -- I have laughed with her on many occasions. MATTHEWS: Yes, I know. RYAN: Even Saturday night, I was able to joke with her. MATTHEWS: OK. What is the difference between her sitting with you and chuckling away sister to sister and what you see on TV when she gives those speeches? Is there a difference in personality or not? RYAN: Yes, I think because we have more of a familiarity with each other over the decades, that... MATTHEWS: If there was a secret camera in the room and you were just kidding around, what would we see from Hillary? RYAN: You would see a very easy-going woman who would laugh, a woman who is a woman. You would see a lot of that, I guess like you say -- like you said, sister to sister come through. MATTHEWS: Yes.    RYAN: For instance, the human piece, I was stuck at the Congressional Black Caucus dinner with my cousin. We were standing next to each other when she came in. My cousin happens to be former Congressman Ed Towns from New York. MATTHEWS: Oh, I know him. RYAN: Yes. MATTHEWS: He`s a preacher too. I know him. RYAN: Yes, he is. So, we were standing there and she came in. And we were standing next to each other. And I said, this is my cousin. She said, really, your cousin? And we had to explain how it was. And she wanted to find out about what was going on with us. And then we also took a selfie. This is who Hillary Clinton is. But she has to be very careful, because she was the woman of diplomacy in the Obama administration. She was a senator. You have to see her in a serious light as well. But there is a fine line for women. MATTHEWS: I think that`s right, formality and professionalism. RYAN: Yes. MATTHEWS: We see it in our business. You have young women especially who come in, they may have a couple of degrees even. And they have to be a bit more formal than young men.    RYAN: Right. MATTHEWS: It just seems to be the way it is. It shouldn`t be that way. (CROSSTALK) RYAN: It is a higher standard for women. MATTHEWS: Yes. Anyway, last thought from you, Father Matt. Do you think he is running? MALONE: I honestly don`t know. I honestly don`t know. But I think that he is closer too than he was before. MATTHEWS: Pretty good track out there. I like this guy. Thank you, Father. I think -- I think he`s right there on the edge. (CROSSTALK) MALONE: I`m not getting any information from upstairs, though. I`m just saying that.    MATTHEWS: No, I know. I know. I know. I appreciate that. I think he is in the on-deck circle, as we say in baseball, and he`s going to stay there as long as he can. April Ryan, as always, I like your input there, and -- yes. RYAN: Thank you. MATTHEWS: No. I think we all learn things as journalists. We are lucky to get inside once in a while and we ought to share that, like my leg that went a little wild there for Obama that time. RYAN: Oh, I`m sorry to hear that. MATTHEWS: You have to explain those things to people, so you get the full reportage. (LAUGHTER) RYAN: All right. MATTHEWS: Up next, a new book argues that if -- FDR didn`t do enough. It says he didn`t do enough to stop the Holocaust. It`s a tough indictment. It`s actually a fascinating book and beautifully written by Jay Winik. Anyway, that`s ahead. And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)    MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. In a new book -- it`s an amazing new book, "1944: FDR and the Year That Changed History." There it is. It`s on the shelves right now. Author Jay Winik tells the story of what he calls of the most pivotal role in World War II, which was the most pivotal event of the 20th century. Having mobilized this country for war, President Franklin D. Roosevelt worked to secure Germany`s unconditional surrender. He decided that at Casablanca. It was his perseverance that would eventually bring that war to its end. And by 1944, it was only a matter of time really by then. Time, however, was not on the side of Europe`s Jewish population, millions of whom would perish as the hands of the Third Reich even as the tide turned against the Axis powers. And those diabolical forces would continue to carry out the systematic extermination of Jewish prisoners at secret camps like Auschwitz, which was hidden in the forests of Poland at the time. Winik tells these parallel narratives in terrifying detail. And while he credits Franklin Roosevelt for his bold leadership in the war, he faults the former president for not doing more to stop the Holocaust before Germany`s eventual surrender in 1945. I`m joined right now by "New York Times" bestselling author Jay Winik. You`re a beautiful writer. It`s one of those books I pick up and with the all the seriousness of it, I don`t sit around underlying. I whip through it, it`s so well-written. It grabs you with the war. It grabs you with Roosevelt, the great man of the 20th century, and it grabs you with the heart. I want you to tell people now, so they will buy the book and think about this, about how frighteningly diabolic the Nazis were, how they convinced Jewish people, high-I.Q., smart people, sophisticated people, that they were going off to some place to do some work (INAUDIBLE) that they are not going to get killed, they`re going to have some lousy meals, but they are going to come home. How -- talk about how they tricked those people into getting on those trains, how they tricked them into going day to day down the path the S.S. wanted them to take to their deaths. JAY WINIK, AUTHOR, "1944: FDR AND THE YEAR THAT CHANGED HISTORY": Right.    From the very beginning, the final solution was enshrouded in the greatest of secrecy. They rounded up the Jews, a stunning number, if you think about it, 750,000 of them. That`s as if you took the entire population of Boston at the time. And, in effect, they would be herded from Boston to Washington and led to their executions. But the Nazis, as you say, didn`t let on to it. They did it under a veil of secrecy. They were put in the trains. They were told, you are going to be resettled to a work camp. And then, ultimately, at the end of their four-day voyage, there would be these great plumes of flames that would go up into the sky. And when they landed, they were exhausted and they were tired. And the Germans are saying, out, out, out, rouse, rouse, rouse. But they didn`t let on they were going to the gas chambers. They said you are going to go take a shower. You are going to be disinfected. They took off their clothes. They were handed bars of soap. They put their clothes, what they did have, on hooks. And they said, remember the hooks afterwards, the Germans did. MATTHEWS: The number on the hook for your clothes. WINIK: Remember the number on the hook for your clothes. And then one mother once said, she said, I want to be with my husband. And they said, together afterwards. And then a little boy said, I want to be with my mother. Together afterwards. And then they were herded down into this cold and forbidding chamber. And, all of a sudden, the lights would flick on and flick off. MATTHEWS: They tortured them for hours before they killed them, just for sadism. WINIK: They tortured them for hours, pure -- purely sadism. It was just terrible. MATTHEWS: What about the -- tell about the time when the German Red Cross was coming to examine the camp, to investigate the camp. And they picked 7,000 Hungarian Jews and fed them OK. They weren`t being treated by badly.    WINIK: Right. MATTHEWS: Just to keep them alive for the inspection, then the next day killed them all. WINIK: Right. MATTHEWS: In one day. WINIK: Right. No, these 7,000, they were there as a kind of Potemkin village, a kind of fake... MATTHEWS: Yes. WINIK: ... a fake village where they were treated well. They had good food. Even the S.S. would come in and play with the little children. MATTHEWS: OK. Let me ask you the tough question. WINIK: Yes.    MATTHEWS: You say that FDR had the opportunity to do something about Auschwitz. If he had bombed, ordered the Allied bombing of Auschwitz, wouldn`t he have killed a lot of people there and maybe not even touched the gas chambers? They were all there in barracks. If he had bombed from high-altitude bombing, wouldn`t he have just added to the killing? I`m not sure. It wouldn`t have been the intention, of course. WINIK: Right. No, it was arguably a tough call and an agonizing choice whether to bomb or not bomb. I think what`s safe to say, and if we look at two other things that happened, one, the RAF shortly before the calls to bomb Auschwitz kind of came up from humanitarians, they carried out a bold strike in which they bombed a prison, and they freed several hundred -- several hundred RAF fighters. MATTHEWS: Where did they go? WINIK: Well, a number of them were killed in the strike. But a number of them flew off into the woods and went to freedom. And I think it was the symbolism of that that was so galvanizing. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Well, I think everyone should read this book and have the argument in your heart and your head. I still think FDR is one of the greatest that we have ever had leading our country. WINIK: I couldn`t agree more. He was a great military leader. MATTHEWS: And I think he was pro-Jewish. I don`t think you could ever say he wasn`t.    WINIK: Absolutely. MATTHEWS: Anyway, if that`s the right word. Anyway, thank you, Jay. WINIK: Hey, thank you, Chris. MATTHEWS: You`re a great writer. It`s another great book by Jay Winik, "1944." Really buy it. And you will take a couple weeks with this. I`m about 180 from the end. But I have really gotten into it. And you will love reading it. It`s not one of these tomes that you -- once you put it down, you can`t pick it up. This is easy to read. Thank you, Jay Winik. Up next: Jeb Bush is getting hit by Democrats for saying his brother -- he shouldn`t have said this -- kept us safe. Isn`t he forgetting 9/11 and the unnecessary war with Iraq? You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (NEWSBREAK)    (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know what? As it relates to my brother, there is one thing I know for sure -- he kept us safe. I don`t know if you remember -- (APPLAUSE) (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Jeb Bush defended his brother`s record last week at the Reagan Library. In so doing, he managed to reignite the debate over George W. Bush`s legacy. Here`s a new TV ad that drives home its point with devastating efficiency. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, POLITICAL AD) BUSH: You know what? As it relates to my brother, there is one thing I know for sure -- he kept us safe. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two million jobs gone in the past year. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You`re talking about this tremendous toll and human cost the storm has taken. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The number that no one wanted to reach in Iraq -- 4,000 Americans dead.    UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What we are seeing now is nothing less than the worst nightmare that one could imagine. BUSH: He kept us safe. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, the group behind that ad, Americans United for Change, was founded in 2005. And while it`s not affiliated with any campaign, its president also heads up the pro-Clinton super PAC, Correct the Record. Well, put that together if you will. In a tweet yesterday, Jeb Bush slammed the ad and singled out the Democratic front-runner by name, Hillary Clinton, "Your political machine`s 9/11 ad is disgraceful." That was Jeb`s word, "As a New Yorker, you know the leadership my brother provided after 9/11." I`m joined right now by the roundtable, the HARDBALL roundtable: Howard Fineman, global editorial director of "The Huffington Post", Ruth Marcus, editorial page columnist with "The Washington Post", and Michael Tomasky is a columnist with "The Daily Beast". Start with you right across. I think Jeb Bush stepped in it. I think that was too much of a blanket defense and made the campaign at least for a while about his brother and 9/11, which his brother has to defend it, therefore he does. HOWARD FINEMAN, THE HUFFINGTON POST: In an effort to start the general election campaign right now with Hillary Clinton, like forget all that Trump stuff going on, it`s me against Hillary -- in his effort to do that, he really overstated it and really stepped in it. MATTHEWS: Oh, by blaming this out on Hillary. FINEMAN: Yes, blaming it on Hillary. MATTHEWS: But it is Hillary`s crowd.    FINEMAN: Of course, it`s Hillary land. It`s from somewhere in Hillary land, OK? But in doing so, he made this blanket statement getting him exactly where he doesn`t want to go as an establishment insider, which is defending the record of the past of his own brother. MATTHEWS: So, he has to defend the crash. He has to defend 9/11, the extremely unpopular Iraq war, all because he said, "He kept us safe", to that crowd out, unrepresentative crowd at the Reagan Library. RUTH MARCUS, THE WASHINGTON POST: Slightly unrepresentative. He stepped in it once at the debate and then he decided to step in it again with this tweet. I think Howard was exactly right, but almost understated it. It`s like hi, I`m Jeb, I`m running for a third Bush term. Not a good plan. MATTHEWS: What army does he hope to lead with this? Ruth, what`s the army behind him ready to take orders now because of what he`s doing? There is no army of the establishment. There is no army of the status quo. They`re a target, not an army. MARCUS: You know, when it comes to his family, he just gets reflexively defensive of them. And that`s a nice thing for a family. It`s a bad thing for a politician in his position. MICHAEL TOMASKY, THE DAILY BEAST: Remember where this line originally came from, "does he keep us safe" line, it was toward the end of W`s administration. And they were trying to say, they were starting to do stories about what is his legacy, what is his legacy, and they were trying to think of something positive to say. Economy? Now, we can`t say that. Shrunk government? Can`t say that. Oh, he kept us safe. Well, he kept us safe, except for that one night. Secret Service kept Lincoln safe except that one night. But, you know, they talked past that, and Cheney and all these people said, we kept us safe, he kept us safe, he kept us safe. And it became gospel on the right, but nobody else believes it. FINEMAN: As you were saying earlier on the show, it`s the non- establishment out of the box candidates who are crushing the establishment types. Jeb just ran further into the establishment with this. MATTHEWS: Yes, into the bunker. FINEMAN: Back into the bunker.    MATTHEWS: It is so -- we are looking at polls now. I can`t see them right now. Jeb Bush at 9 percent, what do you make of that? This is a brother of a president. FINEMAN: What I make of this chart here is you`ve got Donald Trump, Carly Fiorina and Ben Carson, the three total outsiders dominating the race. You`ve got Marco Rubio, a desperate fourth because he is sort of a new face. He hasn`t been in it that long. And then you have Jeb bringing up the rear, hoping to be the top guy in the establishment which is sort of like being the top team in the third level of the British soccer league. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: I`m sorry. I see this race going to Marco Rubio, it terrifies me. He`s the biggest hawk running. He is a beautiful speaker, a very attractive young candidate who knows how to spell bind. I think people like Adelson, with the money and also the audience out there. And you`re right. He is the young new breath. He`s an Obama. MARCUS: Terrifies you compares to what, Chris? Terrifies you compared to Trump? MATTHEWS: The fact they are going hawkish beyond hawkish. Yes. It scares me. MARCUS: By the way, if somebody showed that chart five months ago, no one would have believed it. TOMASKY: Bush still has a decent chance to be up there. He still has a decent -- MATTHEWS: Tell me that. TOMASKY: Well, because. You know, if Trump holds, there is going to be, Trump is going to do OK in Iowa. He`s going to do OK in New Hampshire. He`s going to start getting delegates.    MATTHEWS: So, your theory is Trump has to win and beat everybody else on the hard right, so these unacceptable is a nominee and therefore they have to go back to Bush. TOMASKY: It might come down to Trump versus some non-Trump. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: If Bush is the nominee, there will be a third party challenge. FINEMAN: Bush had to win a play-in game among the establishment to be the lead establishment candidate. MATTHEWS: Maybe Hillary is better off being tongue-tied. Just wait this out. Maybe you don`t want to get in the way of this noise. MARCUS: Bush has 9 percent but he`s got a ton of money, don`t forget that. MATTHEWS: The dog doesn`t like the dog food. Anyway, the roundtable is staying with us. Up next, Pope Francis, more elevated, is coming to America. And there`s a big political debate waiting here when he arrives. He`s going to be speaking before the U.S. Congress, by the way. And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.    (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Let`s take a look at this it`s from today`s crossword puzzle in "The New York Times." Sixty-one across, the clue is hardball, airer, five letters. It`s MSNBC, the place for politics. That`s not a tricky question. We`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: We`re back with the HARDBALL round table: Howard, Ruth, and Michael. President Obama will welcome Pope Francis to the United States tomorrow. The pope has shown himself to be passionate about tending to the poor. In one of his first important writings as pope he called out the world`s, quote, "new idolatry of money" and added that "we can no longer trust in the unseen forces and the invisible hand of the market" to take care of the neediest. You know, I do think he looks upon us as a capitalist country, pure and simple, and I do think he`s going to learn it`s more complicated than that. We do have a decent safety net, Social Security, Medicare. We do have civil rights requirements. We do have antitrust. It`s not just wild cowboy capitalism. But I think that`s the picture you get from Argentina. FINEMAN: Well, that`s certainly what you get from Argentina, and he`s -- in addition to being pope, he`s pure Argentine. But I think he makes a good point. I think any great nation, certainly one with the ambition of ours, needs to balance the market and faith and the family. What he`s calling for here is balance. MATTHEWS: Yes.    FINEMAN: And I think most of the American public if you look at the polls as they head into this presidential election do think something`s out of whack. MATTHEWS: But which way do they want to balance it? Less government or more government? FINEMAN: Well, I think that`s the argument in the election itself but I think faith is an important part of it. And, by the way, for the Democrats, at their peril, they ignore that part of the balance. MATTHEWS: I think they do. FINEMAN: At their peril, they ignore that part of the balance. They`re the ones that need to be standing close to the pope tomorrow. MATTHEWS: By the way, the more you fight the abortion issue, the more you make it about abortion, the less about the rights to make that decision, the more the conservatives win. MARCUS: The pope I confidently predict, being a papal expert -- MATTHEWS: Well, you probably are. MARCUS: -- is going to say some things that the left will cheer and some things that the right will cheer -- MATTHEWS: How do you know? He`s going to balance that too. MARCUS: Can I give you my papal fantasy?    My papal fantasy is that he would stand up and say something about the legitimacy of all the world`s religions and say something that we would understand to be directed to Ben Carson about Islam and presidents. I know it`s not going to -- FINEMAN: And/or Donald Trump. MARCUS: And/or Donald Trump. But Carson was even worse. MATTHEWS: Well, I think he could say something like Abrahamic religions like our three, Islam, Christianity, Judaism, all comes from Abraham, yes. TOMASKY: Yes, he`ll probably do that. But, look, he has been much more pro liberal than he has been pro- conservative if you want to just put it down on paper because he`s been very surprising. He`s held the line on those certain questions relating to abortion and so forth. MATTHEWS: Yes. TOMASKY: But he has put inequality, climate change much more -- MATTHEWS: You mean this becomes a ball of fire, that would become a life issue. TOMASKY: Yes, yes, I think so. But he`s put that much more at the center. FINEMAN: Oddly enough, Bernie Sanders gave that speech at Liberty University.    MATTHEWS: Well, we all need to hear that. Anyway, thank you, Howard. Thank you, Ruth and Michael. I hope it`s a good visit by the pope. When we return let me finish with a few words about how much another religious person, Aunt Eleanor, who just died at 92 and spent her whole life starting in the 1940s teaching kids with real challenges, what we now call special education. You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this: My Aunt Eleanor just died at 92 and I`ll be giving the eulogy tomorrow afternoon. That`s her on the right there with my Aunt Agnes. She began teaching in the 1940s and spent much of her life teaching children with special education needs. She was incredibly patient as a teacher and enjoyed the children for their small achievements because she knew the pleasure they took in them. I don`t think I`ve ever met anyone so completely at home in who she was, how she chose to spend her life, how she had committed her life right the way through and never looked back. It couldn`t be better. That`s what my aunt said when someone asked her how things were going. She had very -- well, she had so many nephews, nieces, great nieces and nephews, great grand nieces and nephews that it was hard to get the list together, but every one of us never missed getting a card for our birthday, Christmas and Easter, not one of us didn`t feel her attention, her love, her prayers. She always showed up. She always cared and never judged. She was unaffected by this stuff that drove other people`s lives. She knew what mattered, what was permanent.    When I got my job at the White House, for example, and was so proud to tell her, she had one question. Is that a permanent job? Well, of course it wasn`t. Maybe that was the young girl speaking who had grown up in the Great Depression talking. Maybe it was someone who just didn`t think such things were all that important. As one who in the family was having a baby, who was sick, who needed help, that was what was important to her. Sister Eleanor Agnes Shields of the Sisters of St. Joseph. And tomorrow, we celebrate her life with the sisters who shared her life and purpose, with her family she never left. 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.>