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Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 11/02/15

Guests: Governor Terry McAuliffe, Jeanne Cummings, Jeremy Peters, CarenBohan, Michelle Bernard, Robert Redford

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Republican free-for-all. Let`s play HARDBALL. Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington. They were once the staid party, the dignified party. Ronald Reagan would never enter the Oval Office without wearing his suit coat, never take it off once he got there. The first George Bush said in answer to a reporter`s question that the greatest thing about being elected president was the honor itself. But that party, the Grand Old Party of fiscal responsibility, restraint in foreign policy and good manners, has been upended by a romper room of party crashers, government shutdowners, Tea Partiers. Pushing and shoving are now the way of Republican politics, with the strongest pushers and shovers calling the shots, leaving the Hillary-leading Democrats dainty in comparison. A rebellion that began in the presidential race has now broken out on three fronts. First, catch this new NBC News/"Wall Street Journal" poll just out tonight. Dr. Ben Carson is the new leader with 29 percent. Donald Trump follows at 23 percent. Combined, the two outsider candidates are backed by over half the Republican voters. The second mutiny was Capitol Hill, when one speaker of the House was dumped and a new one, Paul Ryan, was forced to accept terms. Speaker Ryan says he`ll do nothing, period, with Obama on immigration. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I think if we reach consensus on something like border enforcement, interior security, that`s one thing. But I do not believe we should advance comprehensive immigration legislation with president who has proven himself untrustworthy on this issue.    CHUCK TODD, MODERATOR, "MEET THE PRESS": Some conservative believe that pledge only means you`ll work with a Democratic president in 2017, if that happens, on immigration. RYAN: I was elected speaker of the House to unify the Republican Congress, not to disunify the Republican Congress. That means my job is to lead us to consensus, and to on big, controversial issues, operate on that consensus. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: That means the right is calling the shot. Now comes the latest front in the rebellion. The presidential candidates are dumping the very institution of the party itself. A Republican chairman has been pushed aside, told to handle parking arrangements while the presidential candidates tend to the hot issues of the debates. "The Washington Post" quotes one campaign manager saying major question is if the RNC should be involved at all. And NBC caught someone involved in the negotiations among the campaigns saying there`s a role for the RNC in planning and logistics and campaigns -- the campaigns want to be dealing with parking? But format, we`re going to do ourselves. Well, I`m joined right now by NBC`s Hallie Jackson, "Washington Post" columnist Eugene Robinson and the HuffingtonPost`s global editorial director, Howard Fineman. Hallie, welcome to the show. HALLIE JACKSON, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Thank you. MATTHEWS: And it seems to me that the Republican Party is becoming unglued. The RNC, that fellow Reince Priebus, doesn`t have much clout. Of course, Boehner had no clout. And of course, the party establishment has been losing badly in all the polls to the outsiders. Now, let`s get into this. How -- how -- how combustious (ph) is this?    JACKSON: Pretty -- I think pretty combustious, if that is, in fact, the word you want to use. Look... MATTHEWS: Actually, that`s not a word. (LAUGHTER) JACKSON: I was pretty sure you made it up. (INAUDIBLE) Look at where Jeb Bush, though, is in these polls, right? He`s down at 8 percent. This is emblematic, I think, of what you`re seeing in the party as a whole, right, with this anti-establishment surge, these people -- this insurgency coming up and trying to block out, really, the rest of the establishment. That`s what you`re seeing not just with Jeb Bush`s polling but why he`s trying to reframe himself now as somebody who is disruptive in politics and... MATTHEWS: They don`t want a moderator in anything, do they. Gene, they don`t want a moderator in a debate. They don`t want a moderator in the party. They don`t want anything organized. It`s just -- now they`re all saying, We don`t even want Ben Ginsburg, the lawyer coming in, and helping us to get together. They don`t want to get together. EUGENE ROBINSON, "WASHINGTON POST," MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: No. This is -- this is like a riot, right? This is a riot inside the Republican Party! And candidates want to take it over for themselves, and in fact, have the power to do that. You know, Trump is... MATTHEWS: Can Trump... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Can Trump just declare some night, My debate night, and invite other Republicans to come... ROBINSON: Who knows. MATTHEWS: ... and some network will cover it?    ROBINSON: Who knows. If Ben Carson can have his on the Internet, where he wants to have it... MATTHEWS: Yes, he said that. ROBINSON: ... (INAUDIBLE) five-minute opening statements or whatever -- they are doing what they want to do, and obviously, the RNC is not in a position to challenge them, or certainly not to... MATTHEWS: The lack of cohesion, I think, these -- these -- I`m finding new words (INAUDIBLE) here -- bespeaks a bigger problem. It`s not really an organized political party, like we say about the Democrats in the old days, it`s not an organized political -- they don`t seem to have anything in common. What does George Bush -- Jeb Bush now have in common with Donald Trump? He wants to blow things apart, and he wants to go back to the plodding, Oh, let`s talk about these things. HOWARD FINEMAN, HUFFINGTON POST GLOBAL EDITORIAL DIR., MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: The point is, I think, that -- as Hallie was saying, that the establishment, such as it is, is virtually nonexistent at this point. And the Tea Party types and the outsiders are actually -- there`s actually ideological unanimity in this new Republican Party. It`s a riot, I agree with you, Gene, organizationally... ROBINSON: Right. FINEMAN: ... because the outsiders want to destroy what`s left of the organization. But ideologically, they`re all on pretty much the same page in terms of immigration, taxes, "Obama care," you name it, but They see what`s left of the establishment as an impediment to... MATTHEWS: What I love... (CROSSTALK)    FINEMAN: ... to destroy it. MATTHEWS: Some guys who are good in Spanish -- just to get down to the basics here, who are more multicultural, like Jeb Bush, who knows how to speak... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: ... defines his family as being an Hispanic family, wants to have Telemundo as a debate sponsor, right? ROBINSON: Right. MATTHEWS: Trump says, I don`t want anything to do with it! JACKSON: But look at what happened... MATTHEWS: It`s (INAUDIBLE) one is, Habla Espanol, and one is, No habla Espanol. Let`s watch this now. Sunday`s meeting showed that while the candidates are unified in wanting to take over control of the debates, there`s little else they agree on. Take the scheduled February debate set to be hosted by NBC News and Telemundo. Jeb Bush is pushing strongly for it to go on. He wants Telemundo there. Let`s watch. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)    UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does it make sense to cancel a Telemundo debate? JEB BUSH (R-FL), FMR. GOV., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No. I think we should have a Telemundo debate. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: So we should have a Telemundo debate because he speaks Spanish now, but when Bush`s campaign`s chief made a similar point yesterday, Donald Trump`s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, reportedly said, If you do that, Trump walks. Then there`s the Rush Limbaugh faction of the party insisting debates should only be moderated by people like Rushbo. Watch this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`ve suggested, how about a Republican primary moderated by Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin? Now, I guarantee you, you would get incredible ratings for that. I`d love to see that (INAUDIBLE) I think a whole lot of people would. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: So part of the fight`s over language and culture. Should we have a couple (ph) of cultures represented, including Hispanic culture? Anyway, Governor Christie now -- he says he doesn`t like having only right-wing moderators. Let`s watch. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)    GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Listen, I can give an observation that someone was not fair or that it wasn`t run well, but not say, like, Oh, well, that`s awful. We shouldn`t do it. Put podiums up there. Put whatever three people you want. Ask me the questions. If I can`t handle that, I have no business running against Hillary Clinton and I got no business wanting to be president of the United States. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: So throw any moderator you want up there. And then, finally, there`s this (INAUDIBLE) fight over moderators, they fight over language and actually cultural participation here -- the rebellion of the kids` table. According to "The Washington Post" (INAUDIBLE) of Sunday night`s meeting the Republicans all had, on the way in, Senator Lindsey Graham`s adviser, Brett O`Donnell (ph), said that he`d be lobbying for equal treatment and no more ghetto-izing of low-polling candidates. Anyway, in response, Trump campaign manager said, Why do I want to let someone White House`s polling at 0.1 percent on that stage so he can take shots at Trump? My question. They can`t agree on the size of the table. They can`t agree on whether there`s Telemundo participation. What else? They can`t agree with the moderator (INAUDIBLE) should we have hot shot right-wingers or just let it play? JACKSON: And... MATTHEWS: This is not a political party. (LAUGHTER) JACKSON: And the other part of it, too, though, is the stakes are so high because this is so high-profile. Of course, Lindsey Graham wants to get up on stage with Donald Trump because Donald Trump is pulling in ratings of upwards of $20 million people, $14 million... MATTHEWS: Nobody ever heard of Marco Rubio until he was invited to the table with Donald Trump. JACKSON: This is not your first rodeo. Look back at the last couple of cycles. Who watched Republican debates in the primary, the first three, this closely in previous cycles? You didn`t because of who you have...    (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Let`s see, Newt Gingrich... JACKSON: Well, in... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: ... Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney. JACKSON: Right! And look at the numbers from `07, the debate, the CNBC/MSNBC debate got about 2 million viewers. Seven times as many people watched last week`s debate. This is a huge opportunity for the Lindsey Grahams of the world. (CROSSTALK) FINEMAN: How can you look away from this (INAUDIBLE) MATTHEWS: Gene, is this a -- is this a wide-ranging newspaper they want to talk to or small periodical? (LAUGHTER) MATTHEWS: I mean, if you -- are they editing this story for everybody to pay attention to or do they just want the right wing to watch the debates?    FINEMAN: Well, that`s the big question, right, and... MATTHEWS: Who do they want watching? FINEMAN: Look, what they`re going to get is they`re going to -- they`re going to -- if they have Rush Limbaugh or whatever moderating a debate, they`re going to -- they`re going to excite and electrify the right, and they`re going to bewilder and frighten the rest of the country! (LAUGHTER) MATTHEWS: But the funny thing, Howard, is the questions they`re going to ask. It`s like the old days of "The Village Voice" on these nuances of what sexual freedoms we want this week. I mean, they`re going to be asking the most nuanced right-wing questions, like we can`t believe! FINEMAN: Right. Well, the... MATTHEWS: How many wars do you want? FINEMAN: First of all -- first of all, Ben Carson and Donald Trump are calling the shots here now. If the two of them wanted to go off and stage a conversation, just the two of them, that would draw. Frankly, it doesn`t matter who the interlocutors are at this point. They`re in charge. And the whole point here is for the conservative message of the Tea Party that all these people to one degree or another embody, not Christie so much and not Jeb Bush, but just about everybody else, and certainly Trump, Carson, Rubio and Cruz. They`re driving this train right now. And they`re trying to dictate terms to the party, to the media and everybody else. MATTHEWS: OK... FINEMAN: And I think they`re...    MATTHEWS: OK... FINEMAN: ... pretty successful at it. MATTHEWS: I see a pattern here. FINEMAN: Pretty successful at it. MATTHEWS: I think you`re smart. And I think what`s come apart here, is Reince Priebus started this idea we`re going to suppress the vote. We`re going to have only the people we want voting, basically, middle-aged white people. We`re going to make it harder for minorities in big cities to vote, people that don`t have cars to vote. We`re going to make it -- and then we`re going to get into controlling the debates. And remember... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: ... make sure nobody like Chris Matthews has anything to do with our debates. Fine. I can accept the PR. And it`s all this control. And it`s -- and what they`re really trying to do, it seems to me, is thwart demographics. They`re trying to make sure they completely control the topics, the issues. Don`t say anything about evolution. Don`t ask any science questions because that`ll offend our people. ROBINSON: Yes, but... MATTHEWS: Right? (CROSSTALK)    MATTHEWS: -in the Reagan library debate several cycles ago, someone dared to ask -- it was a call-in question -- dared to ask, Do you believe in evolution? For (ph) the hands (ph) -- they were so furious about that that Reince Priebus said, No more debates with wild (ph) questions. ROBINSON: Right. FINEMAN: The fact is that given their own autopsy of what happened in 2012, they should be begging to have Telemundo debates! They should be going to every possible venue that expands the Republican base. But as you`re pointing out, they`re doing just the opposite, and it`s because the people I mentioned are controlling the game. JACKSON: And the other thing this does, though, if you look at it, it opens up... MATTHEWS: They should have a debate on black radio. FINEMAN: Absolutely. MATTHEWS: That would be -- that would be interesting... (CROSSTALK) JACKSON: If they try to control it, it opens up Republicans to this line of attack that they cannot handle tough questions. And that`s what you`re seeing folks like Chris Christie and John Kasich pushing back on, both of them saying tonight that they`ll have a debate. They`re not going to sign this agreement that`s... MATTHEWS: Yes... (CROSSTALK)    MATTHEWS: I`d I like to have a debate. Are you against abortion under all circumstances, any circumstance, period? Are you for same-sex -- outlawing same-sex marriage permanently? I mean, ask them these -- are you doing anything on climate change, anything? These are important questions, aren`t they? ROBINSON: Oh, those are gotcha questions! MATTHEWS: And I`d also ask... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: ... another economic recession? What are you going to do? We already have zero interest rates. Hallie Jackson, thank you. You add dignity and... JACKSON: Thank you. MATTHEWS: ... prowess to our effort here. Gene, as always... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: ... but what`s that to your -- new kid on the block stuff. Anyway, thank you, Gene Robinson. Thank you, Howard Fineman. Coming up -- could gun safety become a winning issue for the Democrats? Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe, a big Hillary Clinton supporter, is taking on the NRA in what could be a strategy for Democrats heading into 2016. (INAUDIBLE) Terry`s coming here next, Governor -- Governor McAuliffe -- I -- you know, it took him a while for us to get used to that, Terry.    Plus, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are the two big winners of last week`s debate. We`ve got the stats on that. We`re seeing it in the polling. And now Cruz has predicted that the American -- the Republican race will come down to just the two of them, the two Cuban-Americans, he and Rubio. Imagine that? Rubio for the establishment, him for the outsiders. And yes, tonight, the great Robert Redford`s coming with us tonight. He stars as Dan Rather in a new movie "truth." Finally, "Let Me Finish" with the travails of Reince Priebus. And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics. I love that name! (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: President Obama today traveled to Newark, New Jersey, to highlight his efforts on criminal justice reform. In an interview with "NBC NIGHTLY NEWS" anchor Lester Holt, the president reflected on his legacy and the need for his successor to carry on the fight for racial justice here. Let`s watch. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am very proud that my presidency can help to galvanize and mobilize America on behalf of issues of racial disparity and racial justice. But I do so hoping that my successor, who`s not African-American, if he or she is not -- that they`ll be just as concerned as I am because this is part of what it means to perfect our union. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: That`s our country today. And we`ll be right back.    (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TERRY MCAULIFFE (D), VIRGINIA GOVERNOR: I`m sick and tired of politicians talking and not getting things done! We need to lead the way here in Virginia! And after the tragedy that we had down at Smith Mountain Lake, after the tragedy that we had at Virginia Tech, I took executive action and I banned every firearm in every state office building! (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Wow. Welcome back to HARDBALL. That was Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe at a rally late last month. Today, he`s barnstorming the Commonwealth of Virginia ahead of tomorrow`s elections for state senate. Democrats are trying to take the senate back from Republicans, and the race is expected to be close down there. McAuliffe is pushing gun control as a major issue, gun safety, a tough position to take in a state that`s home to the National Rifle Association`s national headquarters. And when it comes to 2016, Terry McAuliffe is a long-time supporter, of course, of the Clintons. He headlined a Hillary Clinton rally last month in Virginia after her marathon Benghazi testimony. He thinks she has the right stuff. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MCAULIFFE: Inside and out, she knows the foreign policy, what needs to be done for the country. And this woman should be president of the United States of America. So you let the Republicans keep doing what they`re doing, their debates. I mean, they`re entertaining to watch. I mean, I get a kick out of watching them. I don`t learn anything about what they`re going to do for America. (END VIDEO CLIP)    MATTHEWS: Wow. And today, the Trump campaign says they`ve submitted more than enough signatures to qualify Trump for the Virginia presidential primary ballot in March 1st of next year. Virginia will be pivotal in the 2016 White House race, of course. And joining me now from Richmond is Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe. Terry, it`s great to have you on. Governor, I`m sorry. I have to get used to... MCAULIFFE: Thank you, Chris. MATTHEWS: ... your greatness! But it is important to get it right. You know, I`m impressed by your guts going at it for gun safety in a state that is Virginia. What`s changed? Why do people now open their ears and hearts to the idea of keeping bad people from getting their fingers on guns? MCAULIFFE: Well, as you know, Chris, when I ran for governor, this was a top topic for me. I talked about it every single day. It`s important. Here in Virginia, we had one of the worst tragedies ever at Virginia Tech, 32 individuals were killed, 17 injured. We just had a tragedy, two journalists killed on live television. Enough is enough. I`m tired of the politicians bought and paid for by the NRA. It`s time to stand up. It`s time do something about it. It`s time to shut the gun show loophole down. It`s time for background checks. So I`m trying to do that through the legislature, and that`s why everybody in Virginia who`s watching, please make sure you vote tomorrow. I need one seat to get control of the Senate, and we can pass common sense gun laws here in Virginia. As you know, in Virginia, we`re considered a source state. We saw last year thousands of guns that were purchased in Virginia went to other states and were involved in a crime. We need to shut it down. Gun show loopholes need to be stopped. Everybody should go through a background check. And we need to make sure that we get people elected to office who support these goals. Common sense. MATTHEWS: How do you get the gun owner, the guy who -- or the woman who believes in the 2nd Amendment fully who does do hunting, who does load their own shells, who takes a real interest in it, reads all the magazines -- how do you get that person to say, You know what? Nuts and criminals shouldn`t have guns.    MCAULIFFE: Well, I think we`re there, Chris. Eighty-five percent of Americans, according to the Pew Research, say that we should have background checks. Listen, I`m a gun owner. I own three guns. I just took my two boys hunting last weekend. But you know what? I went through background checks. All we`re trying to do is say that individuals -- issues with mental illness, domestic abuse -- there are individuals who should not own firearms. This is common sense. And that`s why I did an executive order. I just banned all handguns, no open carry in any of our state office buildings every single day. They need a safe environment. So, I took action. Individuals in Virginia today, if you have a protective order against you, you cannot purchase a firearm. But guess what? You can still own one. So, I`m going to work with our attorney general to work with our prosecutors and the judges to say, no, no, if you have got a protective order, you can`t buy one. But guess what? If you have got one, you need to hand it in. This is common sense. This is why elections matter. That`s why I need the Senate here. I need one vote. Common sense, I`m trying to push the Medicaid expansion, Chris; $2.4 billion a year, we`re forfeiting in Virginia. MATTHEWS: I know. That`s a loss, yes. MCAULIFFE: Common sense. MATTHEWS: Well, good luck with that. MCAULIFFE: K-12 investment, that is what people want. Our economy is booming. When I became governor, I inherited a large deficit. You know what? We just turned that into the largest surplus in Virginia history. Our economy today, 4.3 percent unemployment, lowest in the Southeast of the United States of America. We are creating jobs. But part of my job as governor is to keep our community safe. So, I have been a voice day in and day out for commonsense gun restrictions. I ran on this issue. I brought it up last year. But what happens here in the legislature is, 7:00 in the morning, with no recorded vote, it dies in a committee. I need to have one chamber that can work with me to pass it and then we can get some leverage and get some commonsense things done. I`m trying to be a problem-solver to move Virginia forward.    MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about your state and its power in our country, not just economically, and it is a booming state. MCAULIFFE: Yes. MATTHEWS: But electoral power. I was watching. You probably watched too that great documentary done on Mitt Romney after he lost. He actually looked pretty good in that documentary. MCAULIFFE: Yes. He did. MATTHEWS: And there he is watching on election night, and he goes, God, I`m even in Virginia. That means I have lost Ohio. I love it when -- I didn`t think he was that shrewd politically to see the way the states calibrate. Your state is a bit to the right of Ohio. It seems to me, if Republicans can`t get -- they need Ohio to win. They never won without it. If they don`t get Virginia, they are not going to get Ohio. Does that make sense to you? Your state is really one of those key deciding states right now. MCAULIFFE: I think we are one of the five or six key swing states. Republicans cannot win the White House if they don`t win Virginia. We are going to win Virginia. It is a true swing state. We win it for Hillary, Hillary is going to be the next president of the United States. We are working very hard here. Why. Common sense. But Virginia has always been a strategic state. But you got to remember, Chris, when I ran for governor, I broke a three-decade trend, whoever wins the White House, the other party wins the governor`s mansion. I carried in with me my lieutenant governor and my attorney general. First time in 24 years Democrats swept. We control all five statewides. And President Obama has carried this state twice. The problem I`m dealing with tomorrow is, this is an off, off, off year, no statewides, no federal candidates. That`s why I have been barnstorming the state to say, if you want common sense, pro-growth, move our economy forward, commonsense gun restrictions, the Medicaid expansion, please come out and vote tomorrow.    MATTHEWS: And congratulations on that beating that pattern of buyer`s remorse. You`re right, every other year. It always seems that the year after a presidential election Virginia goes the other way. Terry McAuliffe, governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, good luck tomorrow in the Senate races. MCAULIFFE: Thanks, Chris. MATTHEWS: Joining me now is political editor for "The Wall Street Journal" Jeanne Cummings. Jeanne, a couple things that I want to remark on in terms of national projections. Hillary Clinton, strong on gun safety. That is a rarity for one of the two-party candidates. And she is probably going to be the -- she is the front-runner right now to win the nomination. To stick her head and neck out like that, there is no interest group out there, there`s no pandering. That`s just sheer guts to come out for gun safety that I can see. JEANNE CUMMINGS, "THE WALL STREET JOURNAL": Well, there is the start of an interest group. The mayors against gun violence are growing. It`s a growing movement. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Yes. CUMMINGS: And, frankly, we are developing a very large community, sad to say, of survivors of victims of violence in schools. MATTHEWS: Will they be there in election week when everybody is thinking about every other issue? Will they be still thinking about gun safety? CUMMINGS: They will. And those parents are committed to trying to make change, especially -- the parents of the slain journalist in Virginia has made it very clear he wants to...    (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: OK. What about Bernie Sanders, who appeals to a lot of people who are young and progressive, and rightly so? And they love the nostalgia I think of the `60s a bit too, some of that that I remember. What about him on guns? Because, as he says, his defense for being so slow on guns is because he`s from a rural state. Is that a defense in the big debates coming between he and her? CUMMINGS: Well, I think it`s a fair argument for him to make, "I`m from Vermont and I was just representing the views of my constituents," which is fine. It`s not courageous. But he will have to explain then, when you get in the White House, who are you going to represent then? Are you going to be a gun safety rep or are you going to revert back to what you did when you were representing Vermont? And I think one of the reasons that Hillary Clinton is raising this issue is because it`s a clear distinction between her and Bernie. And there aren`t that many. MATTHEWS: Yes. You always want to go where the other person can`t go. And she is going there. I think it`s very nervy on her part. I give her credit for you. Thank you, Jeanne Cummings from "The Wall Street Journal." Up next: Ted Cruz thinks the Republican battle will come down to him -- of course he does -- and Marco Rubio. Of course he does, this as a new poll shows Rubio actually gaining quite fast up in New Hampshire as an establishment candidate. This is HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)    (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Got some birds and we had some fun. And no reporters were shot. So, it was a good day. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Boy, that`s funny, isn`t it? No reporters were shot. Welcome back to HARDBALL. That was, of course, the inimitable Ted Cruz out pheasant hunting with Steve King, continuing his jabs at the media, while pheasant hunting with Congressman Steve King in Iowa this weekend. An NBC News poll, by the way, Friday confirmed the consensus view last week that Ted Cruz along with his Senate colleague Marco Rubio were the breakout stars of the third Republican debate. Now a new poll out just today shows that Rubio has received a bounce in the key first primary state of New Hampshire. According to Monmouth University, Trump and Carson still lead the pack, but Marco Rubio has now moved into a third place with 13 points, a significant number, actually, a gain of nine points since September. Rubio`s gaining on the eastern side of the board and after receiving the backing of billionaire Paul Singer last week, Rubio was today endorsed by Colorado Senator Cory Gardner. According to "The New York Times," Cruz is also eying Rubio as a long-term rival -- quote -- "Mr. Cruz is privately telling colleagues that he" -- I didn`t know he had colleagues -- "that he believes the race for the party`s nomination will boil down to a contest between himself and Mr. Rubio." Well, Rubio and Cruz have much in common. They`re first-term senators. They are both 44-year-olds. They are both Cuban Americans, but they represent very different wings of the party. Cruz is an insurgent conservative firebrand, while Rubio has more establishment appeal. I`m joined right now by the HARDBALL roundtable tonight.    Michelle Bernard, president of the Bernard Center for Women, Politics and Public Policy. Jeremy Peters is reporter with "The New York Times" and Caren Bohan is deputy U.S. elections editor at Reuters. Caren, I near what you have to say on this, since you`re new. This battle, I really do believe that Rubio has figured out a lot of things. How to raise a lot of money by being a hawk. All the hawks. "Shellie" hasn`t jumped in yet; Adelson is not there yet. But Singer is there, Braman. I don`t even know all these guys, but they are very hard on the Middle East politics, very hawkish. And also he is the future. He challenges Hillary, you could argue, on the age front, if there`s going to be a challenge there. He`s cute. He looks good on television. I shouldn`t put him down for being cute. It`s better to be cute than not. He comes as a really symphonic speaker. Everything he speaks seems to be part of a large symphony of thought. It`s coherent. It`s a bit lyrical. He knows how to talk. OK? Is he the guy to watch if the two outsiders begin to fade? CAREN BOHAN, REUTERS: He is an extremely talented politician. And anyone who has watched Cruz and Rubio knows that both of them are very talented. The problem is... MATTHEWS: Who is likable? BOHAN: They are both likable. MATTHEWS: Cruz is likable? Oh, come on now. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: There is a mutiny here. There is a mutiny.    (CROSSTALK) BOHAN: Cruz is likable in a room with grassroots conservatives. He really knows how to fire them up like nobody else. And he connects with them. MATTHEWS: That`s what is the new likability. OK. BOHAN: Rubio is good at that kind of retail politicking. He`s very good at the one-on-one campaigning. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Oh, he`s good at that too. Well, that, I didn`t know. That`s good to know. Is that true? Do you find that, too, that Rubio is good out in the street, out walking around door-to-door? JEREMY PETERS, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": I`ll tell you what is striking about when people listen to him, because let`s remember a lot of them don`t know a whole lot about him. He`s not the national figure that Cruz is. MATTHEWS: There is not a lot to know. PETERS: Well, he hasn`t been around all that long, right, on the national stage. And he hasn`t built... MATTHEWS: First-term senator, and the speakership in Florida is a rotational speakership. It`s not like you work your way up to it.    PETERS: Right. And he is not into the politics of provocation like Cruz is. He hasn`t developed this huge nationwide -- well, huge maybe is overstating it, but a large national following. When they listen to him, they say, wow, OK, he`s very articulate. He has a lot of -- like you said, a lot of thought there. But guess who else that reminds them of? A young first-term senator, very bright and articulate. For Republicans, I think that is more of a problem. MATTHEWS: That he`s another high flyer with not a lot of anchor, right, a lot of lift, but not a lot of base, ballast. You get a guy who is so new, has a problem paying his bills, apparently. I don`t really care that much, but apparently he is pretty difficult to -- he`s credit carding it and things like that. A lot of people can identify with that, not in a presidential candidate. I think if you pick -- if you`re a Republican -- and I know you are sometimes -- if you pick a Republican like Cruz or Rubio, you`re kissing off the Northeast, just kissing them off. I can`t see Pennsylvania, New Jersey and the New England states going for either of these guys. They are not moderate enough. (CROSSTALK) MICHELLE BERNARD, FOUNDER, BERNARD CENTER FOR WOMEN, POLITICS AND POLICY: Right after -- but Rubio is someone who gives the impression that he could -- quote, unquote -- "evolve" once again. Right after he was elected to the Senate... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Because he has. But he`s going right. BERNARD: He was more conservative. MATTHEWS: Will he come back?    BERNARD: I think he is going to continue to swing center. I think he`s a dark horse general election candidate. He`s got -- the Obama -- quote, unquote -- "problem" is also not a problem in the sense that he`s got a great story to tell. MATTHEWS: I think he`s smart. BERNARD: He`s smart. MATTHEWS: I like the fact he talks about immigration, not because he is Cuban American. They`re in a particular category. I like the fact he talks about E-Verify, about the need to enforce immigration rules. He doesn`t just B.S. it. He says we need to let people come in and become citizens. But -- he did, at least. And we also have to make sure we regulate immigration like every other country reasonably and progressively. He talks about it like he knows what he is talking about. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: That`s Rubio. Cruz doesn`t. BOHAN: Rubio and Cruz is -- Rubio has a history of compromising, not only with moderate Republicans, but with Democrats. Cruz, his whole brand is built on the fact that he does not compromise. MATTHEWS: Even with his own leadership. He calls Mitch McConnell a liar. (CROSSTALK) BOHAN: And that`s where I think that Rubio could appeal in the Northeast.    MATTHEWS: Donald Trump yesterday tweeted about the skirmish between Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush. He knows how to exploit these things. "I told you in speeches months ago that Jeb and Marco do not like each other. Marco is too ambitious and very disloyal to Jeb as his mentor." He also took a shot at Rubio on immigration. "Marco Rubio will not win. Weak on illegal immigration. Strong on amnesty and has the appearance to killers of the world as a lightweight." Jesus. In an interview earlier today on Bloomberg -- quote -- "With all due respect," he went even further. Let`s watch. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He was a member of the gang of eight, which basically wanted to have everybody come in and take over our country. All of a sudden, he went down in the polls and he immediately changed and got out. He is totally driven by what the public thinks. Bush got creamed in the debate. But he doesn`t -- if I were the messenger, because the message is great. His delivery was poor. But the message is great. He doesn`t show up. Marco doesn`t show up to votes. He doesn`t do things that you`re supposed to do. I think he is a highly overrated person. I called him a lightweight. I think he`s a lightweight. I hope I`m wrong about that. But I watched somebody on Joe`s show this morning. He`s talking -- he`s fawning over him. He says how handsome he is, how good -- I don`t know. I think I`m better looking than he is. Am I better looking than him? Another thing I didn`t like about him and I don`t like about him, he was -- he should have been more loyal to Bush. He was very, very disloyal to Bush. I don`t like that. (END VIDEO CLIP)    MATTHEWS: Jeremy, this guy lives off the land. He reads the paper every day. He finds out what he can -- what dirt he can do. Oh, he`s disloyal to Bush. I will stick that to him. He can`t pay his bills. I will stick that to him. PETERS: Yes. MATTHEWS: But there is a question. At what point do the people want to now if the guy`s got a good credit rating? PETERS: Well... MATTHEWS: When are they going to ask about his attendance at work? If you are hiring somebody, don`t you want to know a couple of things, credit rating, do they pay their bills, and, two, do they show up for work? And if both are no`s, doesn`t that become relevant as you get closer to picking a nominee? PETERS: Well, that`s the attack that is coming on his personal finances. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: You guys are good at this, by the way, "The Times." (CROSSTALK) PETERS: I would say -- I would put more of it on Jeb Bush.    But they have been pushing this a lot. They have been pushing the voting record stuff a lot, right, because they think if they... MATTHEWS: Jeb has. PETERS: They think if they can make him look like he is too ambitious, that he`s too much of a guy in a hurry, he can`t be bothered to show up for the day job... MATTHEWS: Slapdash. BOHAN: Exactly, that he will look unserious. But let`s remember, they used that same argument against a lot of other people, Republican and Democrat, John McCain, Barack Obama. All these senators who have run for office... (CROSSTALK) BERNARD: Just the not showing up. PETERS: I do know that Marco Rubio`s people believe and they have seen evidence that they are in strong position to ride this out, because you know what? People hate Washington. And if you`re not showing up at the Senate... MATTHEWS: I know. Anything bad looks good. Anyway, the roundtable is sticking with me.    Up next, these three are going to tell me something I don`t know, beginning with Michelle here. You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (NEWSBREAK) MATTHEWS: Michelle, tell me something I don`t know. MICHELLE BERNARD, BERNARD CENTER FOR WOMEN: So the fight, red state versus blue state feminist is back in full form. On Friday, Carly Fiorina will be going back to "The View." The last week, the ladies of "The View" on ABC mentioned, noted that her face in their opinion looked demented after the last CNBC debate. Carly Fiorina struck back -- struck back and said there is nothing more scary to the liberal media than a conservative woman. But she failed to note she made fun of Barbara Boxer`s hair in 2010 when she ran for her Senate bid. So, on Friday, she will have explaining to do. MATTHEWS: To take on Boxer would be a challenge. She lost to Boxer. (LAUGHTER) MATTHEWS: Yes, Jeremy? JEREMY PETERS, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Marco Rubio, who has taken a lot of heat over the course of his career for intermingling his personal finances with state party finances back in Florida -- MATTHEWS: I think it`s called mixing.    PETERS: -- expect more of that to come back up. MATTHEWS: Thanks to "The Times"? PETERS: In a -- not thanks to "The Times". But I think thanks to his political opponents. MATTHEWS: I think that is the mother load of news coming. CAREN BOHAN, REUTERS: So, Chris, we all know there is this intense competition between Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio playing out for the donors. MATTHEWS: Yes. BOHAN: So what -- we do know that, but what we don`t know is that the Jeb supporters are putting out the word that people shouldn`t flock toward Rubio because of his position on abortion. Rubio takes a farther right position than abortion than Jeb. MATTHEWS: How far can you go, no exceptions? BOHAN: No exceptions. MATTHEWS: Period -- BOHAN: So, the argument is, if he is taking a position like that, he`s going to have a hard time running on that against Hillary Clinton.    MATTHEWS: I think the donors` wives, if they`re males, better be careful, because they`re watching that. What you just do? You gave millions to who? Anyway, thank you. The HARDBALL roundtable, Michelle Bernard, Jeremy Peters, and Caren Bohan. By the way, the social issues are very important to donors, too. Up next, he`s one of Hollywood`s most iconic actors and he`s no stranger to history or politics. Robert Redford will be here to discuss his latest role as a famous journalist. You can`t be more famous. And this HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Former U.S. Senator Fred Thompson died Sunday in Tennessee after recurrence with lymphoma. At age 30, Thompson was selected as Republican counsel in the Senate Watergate Committee where he made a name for himself in his questioning of Nixon aide, Alexander Butterfield. By the way, Thompson was the one who popped the question about a White House taping system. Decades later, he won the Tennessee Senate seat himself, vacated by Al Gore, and would eventually run for the Republican nomination in the 2008 presidential campaign. But Thompson also made a name for himself outside of politics appearing in more than 20 feature films like "The Hunt for Red October." And as a tough Manhattan district attorney with a booming voice Arthur Branch on the NBC show "Law and Order." Fred Thompson was 73 years old. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: We are back.    Renowned actor Robert Redford is famous for movies he starred in about politics and journalism, movies like "The Candidate", where as a U.S. senate hopeful, his character challenges the political establishment. And another about investigative journalism in "All The President`s Men" or a movie about broadcast television journalism with a romantic drama, "Up Close and Personal." And now, he is starring in a new film about a crisis in journalism and the movie is called "Truth". It recalls the firestorm about the 2004 CBS "60 Minutes" report investigating then-President George W. Bush`s service records in the Texas air national guard. Several producers and executives at CBS lost their job because of that report, including the legendary "CBS Evening News" anchor Dan Rather. Robert Redford plays rather in the film. Let`s watch. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Andrew, I need him. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where? You`re not taking him. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You say that, but here I am. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You got him? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stash in a hotel two blocks up. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let`s go. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dan, you can`t leave your own party. I`ve got 50 affiliates and their wives waiting to talk with you.    UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You want to finish this off. I already had three. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: General, this is Dan Rather. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: General. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you for doing this. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Robert Redford joins me now. Robert, thanks so much for joining us tonight live. What made you want to get into this hot -- talking about a hot issue? I mean, it`s the end of Dan Rather, who is a friend of mine and I like to think you are, too. Boy, talk about controversy, the media, the world we`re in right now, with the fight over the debates and the moderators. You are in the middle of a stew right now, I think. Your thoughts? ROBERT REDFORD, ACTOR, "TRUTH": Well, right in the middle of the stew -- well, I don`t think I`m in the middle of the stew going on politically right now. I mean, for me, this is a personal opinion, it feels like loony tunes and note-so-merry melodies. To me, it`s kind of depressing in terms of what we could be hearing but aren`t. So, but that`s my personal opinion.    MATTHEWS: What about the movie? I`m talking about what happened with Dan Rather. At the heart of it is an investigative report on George Bush`s air national guard story which is a hell of a good story. Did he, in fact, show up? Was he given special treatment? These are all good questions. But then the whole thing came down to the documents that Bill Burkett produced that turned out to be highly questionable, to put it lightly. REDFORD: Well, look, for me, I`m all about story. That`s what I`m about, is what`s the story? You know, and who are the characters that embody the story. But for me at that time that was a story that I don`t think ever got fully told. It was an open and shut case. It popped up and went back down again so fast you wondered, well, wait a minute, wasn`t there more to this? We never knew until now. So, I think what the film does or tries to do is to open it up to look at what the full story was and let the audience decide for themselves how they feel about it. MATTHEWS: How do you think rather comes off? REDFORD: As me playing him or Dan himself? MATTHEWS: No, you`re great. In fact, you`ve opened the door to my applause now. I think you really caught him, his formality, his good old boy -- his Texas thing combined with his formality the way he`s a bit awkward personally. He`s a good guy, but he`s very awkward. I think you captured all of that. And so did Cate -- I don`t know here, but she`s just charismatic. That`s all, the way she played it. But really got rather -- REDFORD: Cate can do anything. MATTHEWS: Yes. REDFORD: Thank you. It was not an easy -- it was a challenge for me as an actor. But I enjoyed that because I had to play somebody that was very well known on a nightly basis and everybody knew what he looked like. And if I was going to play him I couldn`t -- if I mimicked him that would be a caricature of him and that would be terrible. On the other hand, how to get an essence of a guy, and you hit some of the points, Chris. He`s very polite, he`s very -- he`s -- he has a genuine compassionate exterior. But what I found out, what sat underneath that was a tremendous kind of a wolf desire to get to the truth. And so that dichotomy is what interested me.    MATTHEWS: You know, I look at all your movies and I think about -- you`re going -- the series about winners. And "The Candidate" being one of them. "The Candidate" I still think is the best political movie. I`ve seen them all. I think you got that. Investigative reporting, you have the fabulous Woodward-Bernstein team. You captured the excitement and the honesty of those guys, the courage to take on a presidency and all his men and to have them do it just as two young guys. I mean, there`s -- you really do find the romance in politics and in journalism and especially when they clash, like this movie shows. REDFORD: Well, that`s because -- that`s because what I`m most interested in is the characters themselves. With Woodward and Bernstein, when I went into that, and I spent four years working on that project, there was a similarity, by the way, with what`s happening with Rather and Mary Mapes and Woodward and Bernstein, there`s a difference because with Woodward and Bernstein, they were going after the truth, they were digging in to get to the truth against the odds of an administration that did not want that revealed. MATTHEWS: Yes. REDFORD: But they had the support of their bosses. They had Kay Graham and they had Ben Bradley. They had their support. On this situation, you had Rather and Mapes trying to do the very same thing, but in the end, they did not have the support of their bosses because you look at the picture then you get into the whole thing about the conjunction between corporations, media and journalism. And I remember -- boy, I`ll tell you. I`m a big devotee of honest good news. And I remember there was a time, and I think the film says this. There was a time when the news was sacrosanct. There was -- that`s what it was. Entertainment had its area and the news had its area. It was sacrosanct. Slowly what happens, entertainment at some point begins to creep into the news and to change the dynamic. I think that`s kind of sad because I think news is vitally important. MATTHEWS: Yes. I think you`re right about the feature pieces they do. By the way, I`ve never told you this but I`ve got to tell you, I was in the Peace Corps on my way home from two years in Africa. I go to Mombasa in Kenya and I go to see "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid." I thought I had come home. That was America. You know, the country had changed in two years, and that movie was such a cultural iconic piece. Number two, a little more applause here for Robert Redford. I think "Quiz Show" is one of the best movies ever made. And you made it. That movie is perfect.    REDFORD: Thank you. MATTHEWS: And it gets better every time I see it. Robert Redford`s done it again with "Truth." Thank you so much for coming on the show tonight. And it`s in theaters right now. And we`ll be right back. REDFORD: Thank you, Chris. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this: For a good many months, I`ve criticized the Republican Party for trying to stop people from voting who they assume will vote for the Democratic candidates. It`s gotten to be pretty clear that the party`s efforts in legislatures across the country, setting tougher requirements for voting such as government-issued ID cards is limiting minorities, young and old people, from the voting booth. Well, more recently, the Republican Party officialdom have tried to control the electoral process in another way, hugging control of the debates under the leadership of Party Chairman Reince Priebus, the same man who has overseen the voter suppression effort, the goal has been to ensure that only the media organizations the party prefers should be keeping order and asking questions at Republican presidential debates. Well, the reason for this, which the party has admitted, is to avoid having uncomfortable questions being asked, questions like do you believe in evolution? Whatever. The fact is and the Republican leader has asserted it is a fact that there will be no such questions about science, no hands up if you agree questions asked, period. That`s the way they want it. OK. So, now the question at the table is whether the Republicans should be allowed to ask themselves questions by people they believe are at least as conservative as the most conservative among them. This is what one candidate said. Ted Cruz is proposing the three moderators be Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, and Sean Hannity. Well, that would be fun, wouldn`t it? But what happens when you have only the voters you want voting, white, middle-aged and minimally well-off, when you have debates run only by the party itself, all topics safely predictable, and even have the questions all coming from people guaranteed to have opinions on the outside rail of Republican thinking. Who do you blame defeat on then? 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. 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