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Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 1/21/2016

Guests: Tad Devine, John Stanton, Francesca Chambers, Sabrina Siddiqui, Gavin Schmidt, Chris Mooney

Show: HARDBALL Date: January 21, 2016 Guest: Tad Devine, John Stanton, Francesca Chambers, Sabrina Siddiqui, Gavin Schmidt, Chris Mooney

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Big numbers in Iowa.

Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.

O, Canada -- welcome home up there to Ted Cruz. A new poll out of Iowa shows that Donald Trump has gotten his message across about where Ted Cruz is coming from. The new CNN/ORC poll has the Calvary-born Cruz tobogganing a halt in Iowa, down at 26 percent, with Trump pulling ahead to 37 percent, an 11-point double-digit jump on the one-time Canadian.

Even bigger news tonight on the Democratic side of Iowa. Senator Bernie Sanders suddenly looks headed for daily double in American politics in Iowa and New Hampshire. Way up in New Hampshire already, the CNN/ORC poll out tonight has him, Sanders, at an outstanding 51 percent in Iowa to Hillary Clinton`s 43 percent -- 50 percent usually means gold in politics. We`ll get to Bernie and Hillary next and dig deep on that one.

But first, this wild situation where Trump is standing for many reasonable establishment Republicans as the last stand against the menacing Cruz. Reason -- there`s an old expression in Washington politics. It`s about how you treat people and how you get treated by people because of it. What goes around comes around.

Ted Cruz is now getting his own treatment by other Republicans, some he`s called liars, people like John McCain, who won`t even give Cruz the minimum regard of being constitutionally eligible to run for president. They just don`t like Cruz.

Bob Dole told "The New York Times" the party would suffer "cataclysmic" and "wholesale" losses if Mr. Cruz were the party nominee for president and that Donald Trump would fare better. Nobody likes Cruz, Dole said.

And here`s what Dole told my colleague, Andrea Mitchell, last month.


ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Could you support Ted Cruz if he ends up with the nomination?

BOB DOLE (R-KS), FMR. SENATOR, FMR. PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Well, I would -- I might oversleep that day.


MATTHEWS: "I might oversleep that day." Iowa governor Terry Branstad is attacking Cruz by taking a page from Trump`s playbook that Cruz is a mouthpiece for the Texas oil industry.


GOV. TERRY BRANSTAD (R), IOWA What we`re doing is we`re trying to educate the people of Iowa he is the biggest opponent of renewable fuels. He is heavily financed by big oil. He hasn`t supported renewable fuels, and I believe it would be a big mistake for Iowa to support him.


MATTHEWS: Well, according to "The Atlantic`s" Molly Ball, former Senate majority leader Trent Lott now says he`d take Trump over Cruz. Robert Murdoch of FOX News is backing Trump over Cruz. He tweets, "Cruz bets uniting white conservatives and evangelicals is enough to win. Meanwhile, Trump is appealing across party lines, surely the winning strategy."

Anyway, "The Wall Street Journal" ran a scathing editorial recently against Cruz by calling him a phony for his "New York values" attack on Trump. Quote, "Mr. Trump is a better politician than we ever imagined and he`s becoming a better candidate. If Ted Cruz is an everyman from the provinces, Hillary Clinton is Mother Teresa."

NBC`s Katy Tur is with the Trump campaign in Las Vegas. NBC`s Hallie Jackson is with the Cruz campaign out in New Hampshire. And Robert Costa is national political reporter with "The Washington Post."

We want to hear from all three of you in order. First of all, Katy Tur, what do you make of these numbers that show Trump rather dramatically ahead in Iowa?

KATY TUR, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Couple things. One of them is that that CNN/ORC poll is talking about first-time or caucus goers, not likely caucus goers, new caucus goers. And that`s what we`ve been seeing all along, people that maybe have not caucused in the past. If they come out, they are going to be generally supporting Donald Trump, and that`s going to put him over the edge with Ted Cruz.

If we see people who have caucused in the past come out, that`s where Ted Cruz`s numbers do a little bit better than Donald Trump. So it all depends on whether or not he`s able to get these first-time caucus goers out.

And I think that the likely answer is yes. When we go to these rallies in Iowa, sometimes these people are waiting for hours out in the very bitter cold, negative temperatures at some point, waiting to get into these Donald Trump rallies.

So the idea that they won`t necessarily line up or show up at a caucus venue seems a little bit absurd to me on the face of it. But we`re going to have to wait and see how it goes out (ph).

Second thing, Donald Trump says that he is leading because, essentially, he`s the better candidate. What he`s been trying to do is cast doubt, when it comes to Ted Cruz for the past few weeks, cast doubt on his eligibility, cast doubt about those loans from Goldman Sachs and CitiBank, saying tonight that he talks like a debater. He doesn`t talk like a regular person. He`s trying to question -- make voters question Ted Cruz. And so far, it seems to be working, Chris.

MATTHEWS: Anyway, here`s a Trump -- here`s Trump himself at a rally today in Las Vegas basking in these rising poll numbers.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Cruz is going down! He`s going down.


TRUMP: No, he`s having a hard time. He looks like a nervous wreck. He`s going down. He had his moment. He had his moment. He had his moment, and he blew it.


MATTHEWS: Well, there is a salesman. Let`s go to Hallie Jackson on how`s Cruz taking these numbers. What is he doing to undermine the credibility of these numbers?

HALLIE JACKSON, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, so far, I think the Cruz campaign would be pointing to the organization that they have on the ground in Iowa, touting its strength, touting the fact that they`ve been there in Iowa for a very long time and are trying to put boots on the ground where they need them.

The other thing that Ted Cruz is trying to do is undermine Donald Trump, right, Chris? He`s trying to paint Trump as this establishment guy.

You ask what`s the reaction of people who may or may not support Cruz or Trump. I got to tell you, just talking with some folks anecdotally here in Manchester at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics, where we were tonight -- a couple of students said, yes, it`s a little bit of a stretch to paint Donald Trump as establishment, although that doesn`t mean it`s not going to work for Cruz in the long run potentially.

That said, you got to point out everybody that`s gone after Trump so far hasn`t really done, hasn`t improved much in the polls at all. So we`ll see if this strategy works for Ted Cruz.

MATTHEWS: Well, as you said, Hallie, Cruz is hanging a lantern (ph) on his bum (ph) by trying to tar Trump with the label of establishment candidate. Actually, it`s more like 10,000-watt bulb emblazoned with the word "establishment."

Here`s Cruz during just one event in New Hampshire yesterday. Watch how many times he says that word.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The Washington establishment is rushing over to support Donald Trump.

Mr. Trump is welcoming the support of the Washington establishment.

Mr. Trump`s pitch to the Washington establishment is he`s a deal maker. He`ll go and cut a deal with Chuck Schumer and Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi.

The Washington establishment knows who`s willing to keep the gravy train going.

Let me encourage other members of the establishment to keep supporting Donald Trump.

(INAUDIBLE) Washington establishment. More and more, the establishment calling out their support for Donald Trump.

He said he was the establishment.

The establishment.

He`s attracted to Donald Trump. You can understand why the establishment (INAUDIBLE) is unifying behind him.


MATTHEWS: Robert Costa, that was "The Barber of Seville" we played there by Rossini, I`ve been told. I do like it. It`s very familiar to all of us.

What do you make of this, like, a Woody Allen movie, the keyword here is "establishment"? I don`t know how many times he said it, but is he -- he`s treating his audience like they`re idiots. How many times do you have to say something to make a point?

And what is the point? Does anybody think Donald Trump is part of Washington? He`s not part of the establishment. He`s never held office. He`s never been part of any party organization. He`s never been a delegate to a convention, as I know of. How does he figure as an establishment figure? I don`t get it. Your thoughts, your coverage.

ROBERT COSTA, "WASHINGTON POST," MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Senator Cruz is using the label, Chris, because he needs Trump to be seen as establishment, especially after Governor Palin has endorsed Trump this week, and you see some elements of the right coming toward Trump. Cruz is trying to push back and say, I`m the lone conservative in the race.

The other thing he`s battling right now is this is deeply personal. It`s not just political. The establishment figures in the Republican Party have a distaste for Cruz going back to 2013 and the government shutdown, the way he handled primaries in 2014. And this is revenge for them. The knives are after Cruz, and he`s battling from all sides.

MATTHEWS: Let me go back to my argument that what goes around comes around. I`ve heard that from lobbyists, I`ve heard that from politicians, the old pros -- I was going to say "old farts (ph)," but the guys who`ve been around politics forever. They always say that in the cloakroom. Every time a guy gets in trouble or gets bashed or a woman gets in trouble, they go, What goes around comes around. In other words the way you behave day to day ends up in your scorecard.

Does he -- well, let me go -- I should go to Hallie on this. Does he know what`s happened to him? Does he know that this has come home to roost, calling people liars, trashing people? Does he know this is what`s being paid back to him today?

JACKSON: I don`t see -- I mean, how do you -- how do you not, right? I mean, how do you not see that?

What Ted Cruz would say and what he has said to me and to others in the past is sort of massaging this, that -- you mentioned the "liars" comment, saying, Well, what I said was -- you know, when it goes back to this idea of Mitch McConnell saying one thing behind closed doors, et cetera -- he pushes back a little on some of that, but he has worn this establishment hate like a blanket, especially in this election season, when it does him a lot of good to be the outsider.

You know, you got to look at what Senator Lindsey Graham said today over on Capitol Hill. He was talking about Donald Trump or Ted Cruz. He said, Hey, it`s like get shot or get poisoned. It`s pretty much death either way. And I`m paraphrasing there, but there is no love lost between Senator Cruz and his congressional colleagues.

And I`ll tell you, Donald Trump is using that. At Donald Trump`s rally today...


JACKSON: ... he says, Hey, these guys in D.C. like me, he said, because I can cut deals. I can`t do everything by executive action, Donald Trump says, so I am able to go to Washington and get the support that Ted Cruz cannot.

MATTHEWS: I think it`s interesting. E.J. Dionne, who was on last night, the great columnist, said in the paper today in his column, syndicated column, that it could be the greatest irony of all times if the establishment begins to come out, as some of them are, for Trump.

Anyway, Ted Cruz has an ability to tick off pretty much everyone. Here`s what he said about the late President Kennedy.


CRUZ: JFK would be a Republican today.


CRUZ: He stood for religious liberty, and he would be tarred and feathered by the modern Democratic Party. You know, look, as JFK said, some men see things as they are and ask why. I see things that never were and ask why not.


MATTHEWS: You know, it`s impossible to come up with a list of how many things Cruz has been wrong on, but I`ll give you one more. Jack Kennedy never said that. That was Bobby Kennedy`s line from George Bernard Shaw, and everybody who covers any history knows that. That`s the line he used to cue the press who were covering him it was time to run for the buses. It was very well known, if anybody pays attention to history. Obviously, Ted Cruz pays no attention to history or he wouldn`t be out there imitating Joe McCarthy so often.

Anyway, Kennedy`s grandson responded in an op-ed in Politico, the magazine, today, writing, "I find this notion and the suggestion that Ted Cruz is somehow taking up my grandfather`s mantle absurd. Were my grandfather alive today, he`d be excited about how far we have come as a nation since 1963. He would feel a sense of urgency about the challenges that lie ahead. And he most certainly would not be a Republican."

Anyway, the op-ed was eerily reminiscent of this famous moment in the 1988 vice presidential debate between Dan Quayle, such as he was, and Lloyd Bentsen.


SEN. DAN QUAYLE (R-IN), VP NOMINEE: I have as much experience in the Congress as Jack Kennedy did when he sought the presidency.

SEN. LLOYD BENTSEN (D-TX), VP NOMINEE: Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you`re no Jack Kennedy.



MATTHEWS: Robert Costa, why would a senator, who everybody tells me went to Princeton and Harvard law school and is very smart, be such a dingbat about history? And that`s the right word for it. Your thoughts.

COSTA: I`m a reporter, Chris, and my sense is with Cruz, there`s a confidence there that has propelled his candidacy, but it also rubs a lot of people in Congress and in the Republican Party the wrong way. They see a swagger. They see a flare for the dramatic that has made his own party his foil and his target, and they don`t like it.

MATTHEWS: Doesn`t anybody who works with him know what Jack Kennedy said and what Bobby Kennedy said and when he does this little imitation of one, he gets the guy wrong? You know, I don`t know -- he`s swinging for the fences with, I don`t know, a roll of toilet paper.

Anyway, thank you, Katy Tur, and thank you, Hallie Jackson, and thank you, Robert Costa.

Coming up warning signs. I think Hillary Clinton and the Democratic establishment getting a little nervous about Bernie Sanders. Wait until they all see these numbers tonight. Sanders`s rise in the polls has coincided with a more forceful warning call from big-name Democrats, including Hillary herself. I`m going to speak with a top Bernie adviser tonight. He`s coming right here.

Plus, Sarah Palin`s facing backlash for her comments that seemed to blame President Obama for her son`s misbehavior. Veterans` groups are not pleased with the former governor`s comments -- I should say former half- governor`s comments -- in the wake of her son`s -- Track`s, that`s her son`s name -- domestic violence arrest the other day.

And hottest year ever -- 2015 -- that`s last year -- goes down in the history books as the world`s warmest in record. Has the time come for science deniers to face the facts?

Finally, the HARDBALL roundtable will tell us something I don`t know.

And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: Well, Donald Trump has certainly made the Republican primaries more interesting. But could another New Yorker shake up the general election? A new on-line poll from The Morning Consult shows if Michael Bloomberg were to jump in as an independent and face Trump and Hillary Clinton, things could get tricky. In that scenario, Trump gets 37 percent, Clinton gets 36, Bloomberg 13. The poll shows Clinton is knocked out of her front-runner position by a Bloomberg entry.

And we`ll be right back.



HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), FMR. SEC. OF STATE, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: That`s why I am proud to be a Democrat running for the presidency.


CLINTON: I`m going to remind, starting here in Iowa and moving across America, people of the fact that the economy does a whole lot better when we have a Democrat in the White House!



MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. That was Hillary Clinton, of course, in Iowa earlier today, driving home the biggest difference between herself and her rival, Bernie Sanders, that she is a Democrat and he is not.

But Clinton didn`t stop there. She took direct aim at Sanders by making the argument that she`s a more electable choice and best suited to work within the system to get things done.


CLINTON: I`m not interested in ideas that sound good on paper but will never make it in the real world. And that gets us to the choice that you have to make in this caucus. Now, Senator Sanders and I share many of the same goals, but we have different records and different ideas about how to drive progress.

In theory, there`s a lot to like about some of his ideas, but "in theory" isn`t enough. A president has to deliver in reality.



MATTHEWS: Boy, she`s working hard. And with less than two weeks to go until the Iowa caucuses, Hillary Clinton is feeling the squeeze. You can feel it there. As I mentioned, a new CNN Opinion Research poll shows Bernie Sanders now having pulled ahead of Clinton by 8 points. He`s at 51 -- now, that`s an impressive number in any poll -- to her 43. 43 would normally be an impressive number.

Sanders now has strong leads in both Iowa, and of course, in New Hampshire, where he`s been leading, which must be making Clinton`s team very nervous at this hour, professionally nervous.

Joining me right now is Senator Sanders`s campaign strategist, Tad Devine, and Sabrina Siddiqui. She`s political reporter with "The Guardian."

Now, I want to ask you both -- obviously, you`re in and you`re watching, so I`m going to start with you on this thing. What is your big break in Iowa? What`s going on? "Socialist" is not a bad word. We`ve seen the numbers, 43 percent of caucus goers say, yes, no problem, it`s not a bad word. In fact, they call themselves socialists.

So what`s changed in the ideological spectrum that puts Bernie Sanders in a real potential to win that thing out there?

TAD DEVINE, SANDERS CAMPAIGN SR. ADVISER: I don`t think anything`s changed in the ideological spectrum. I think Bernie Sanders has a message that`s connecting with voters. So he understands the economy of this country is rigged. He understands it`s sending all the wealth to the top. And he understands the corrupt system of campaign finance is holding it in place. And that message is the reason he`s (INAUDIBLE) running.

MATTHEWS: If you had one issue to run on, would it be Citizens United? It`s the non-democratization of American politics, where it`s run with money, where big money doesn`t just sit there and somebody`s having a nice vacation in Hawaii, but they`re using it to affect our political system. I think that`s when (ph) you put it together.

DEVINE: I agree -- you know...

MATTHEWS: They`re rigging the political process.

DEVINE: You know, Chris, when I worked for Al Gore, I argued with him that he shouldn`t talk about campaign finance. We should talk about other issues.

And I want to tell you something. This country has changed so fundamentally in the last 16 years. And people understand that this corrupt system of campaign finance is holding a rigged economy in place.

MATTHEWS: Meaning by corrupt?


DEVINE: Yes, here is what it means, that when we have super PACs who take unlimited amounts of money from corporations and individuals and then use that money to distort the political process and buy elections, OK, that is what is destroying American democracy today.

He recognizes that. He says no super PACs. I`m going to rely on small contributions. People are relating to it. And they think he can fix a rigged economy.

MATTHEWS: How does Hillary Clinton, having done three speeches for Goldman Sachs for $600,000, fit into that, because you guys hit that again and again the other night?

DEVINE: We did. I think it hurts, because I think people understand if you are going to be beholden to these banks, whether it`s the financing of your campaign or the money you take directly from them, you are not going to be able to fix the economic problem in America today.

MATTHEWS: Is she on the take?

DEVINE: Listen...


MATTHEWS: No, because you`re saying -- but you won`t put it into words.


DEVINE: Has she done something illegal? No.


MATTHEWS: You`re saying she took money from Goldman Sachs. Why is it relevant?

DEVINE: Has she done something illegal? No, she has not. And that`s the problem.

MATTHEWS: Is she beholden to Goldman Sachs?

DEVINE: I think she is, yes, absolutely. She`s beholden not just to them, but to these interests that are funding her campaigns, funding her super PACs and preventing her from doing what we need.

MATTHEWS: Did they buy her?

DEVINE: I`m not saying they bought her.

MATTHEWS: I`m trying to say the words you will accept, because you are making the same point.

DEVINE: Well, I just told you what words I would accept. OK? Listen, the system is corrupt. She is part of the system.


MATTHEWS: But Bernie is not part of the system. So, you can`t blame the system. He didn`t do it.

DEVINE: Bernie has rejected that system. He could have had a super PAC. He said no. He could have taken money from big...


MATTHEWS: He doesn`t do honoraria for big corporations?

DEVINE: No, are you kidding? Never. He wrote a book and gave the money to food kitchens in Vermont. OK. No, he doesn`t.


MATTHEWS: Let`s go back to super -- this is a tough one for Secretary Clinton because once the sand starts going through the hourglass, once the slippage -- I think it is somewhat ideological.

I don`t think socialist is the bad word it was. I think a lot of things are different. I think anger against the rich, the very rich, the exponentially rich, the billionaires, as your guy likes to say, billionaires and millionaires, is different than it used to be.


And I think that is why you have seen the urgency with which she sharpened her attacks against Senator Sanders in recent weeks and really honed in on the electability argument to kind of make an appeal to voters that anger alone is not enough. You have to have a candidate who is pragmatic, who would actually know how to channel that anger into realistic proposals.


MATTHEWS: I think she probably has the track record to be a better claimant for the center. Just a fact. She will go to the center better than Sanders will.

But you look at these matchups, it`s not there. Hillary is not beating the bejesus out of Donald Trump or Ted Cruz. Those numbers are very close for her and Sanders.

SIDDIQUI: They are close, although there is an extent to which she comes with a lot more baggage. I think the amount of attention focused on Hillary Clinton in terms of attacks from Republicans, in terms of...

MATTHEWS: Oh, you mean Sanders would be better in a matchup?

SIDDIQUI: I think that when faced against a Republican where you actually have the contrast, then there is that indication that you could put too much stock into these early poll numbers.

MATTHEWS: OK. What does your guy say if I walk up to him and say, look, Hillary Clinton is part of the Clinton foundation, the family foundation, the history? Everybody knows they are center-left.

They`re not hard left. Your guy is hard left and says so. He`s a socialist, Democratic socialist. How does he move to the center for the general to get that suburban moderate Republican voter or moderate independent? How does he get that vote?

DEVINE: We are not going there, OK, because our theory of the case...

MATTHEWS: You are not going there in November?

DEVINE: No, we`re not.


MATTHEWS: Well, how are you going to win in November?

DEVINE: You want to know why. Because it is not 1968 anymore.

Let me tell you, America is a very different place than it was when I worked for Walter Mondale and 89 percent of the vote was white.


MATTHEWS: But there is no socialist in Senate except one. You`re saying it`s a different place, but you have people like Toomey as senator from Pennsylvania.

DEVINE: Sure. There are two theories of how to win this election, go to the middle, which I think is the Clinton theory, expand the electorate, which is the Sanders theory.

OK, we`re going to bring new people in the process, we`re going to get people excited, we`re going to have young people participate like they did in 2008.


MATTHEWS: If Senator Sanders manages to win this series of primaries, wins the most delegates, goes to the convention in Philadelphia, wins the nomination, he is not going to turn to the center?

DEVINE: That`s right.

MATTHEWS: He is not going to pick a running mate to the center?

DEVINE: I have no idea who he would pick as a running mate, but I do know this, that our strategy -- that, I can talk about.

Our strategy to win the election is to expand the American electorate, to bring young people in, to bring disaffected people in, to give people hope who don`t participate in the process. And we will expand it to such an extent, that we will -- he will elect Democrats up and down the ballot.


MATTHEWS: You don`t see another McGovern here?

DEVINE: No. I see a Johnson landslide if Bernie is the president. That is what I see, against a guy who is totally out of the mainstream on the other side. That`s what I see.

MATTHEWS: How does the Kool-Aid taste?


MATTHEWS: Thank you very much, Tad Devine. I know you are a smart guy, but, boy, you have this religion I have never heard before, because you were with Al Gore. You were different.

DEVINE: Well, that`s right.


MATTHEWS: You believed in these things differently.

DEVINE: I believe in it now, I`ll tell you that.

MATTHEWS: Don`t go to the center. This is a hell of a statement tonight.

Tad Devine, spokesman, said it tonight.

Sabrina, do you believe it? He is not going to the center in the general.


SIDDIQUI: I will have to believe it when I see it.

MATTHEWS: OK, believe it when you see it. we all will.

Thank you.

The HARDBALL roundtable will be here next to break down the latest numbers on both sides. These are huge numbers for Bernie Sanders and for Donald Trump today coming out of Iowa. Anyway, we are going to talk both races, R and D`s together.

And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

The new CNN/ORC poll out of Iowa today shows the presidential race is shifting on both sides, Democrat and Republican. Among likely Democratic caucus-goers, Bernie Sanders has opened up an eight-point lead. Look at him, 51 percent. Now, that`s impressive to Hillary`s impressive 43 percent.

And among the Republicans, Donald Trump -- I should say between them, Donald Trump has reclaimed his spot at the top of the lead, leading now over Ted Cruz by 11 points 37-26. A large portion of respondents in this poll did not turn out to caucus in previous years, so keep in mind the data assumes that there will be a significant larger turnout in 2016, which I did assume.

I am joined right now by the HARDBALL roundtable, Jonathan Capehart, MSNBC political analyst and opinion writer for "The Washington Post," and Francesca Chambers is White House correspondent for "The Guardian." And John Stanton is Washington bureau chief for BuzzFeed.

In reverse order, does Hillary Clinton have a way of turning this around in the next week-and-a-half?



MATTHEWS: In a week-and-a-half?

STANTON: In a week-and-a-half, I think she can. I think it is going to be difficult. It`s going to be much tighter than they want it to be.

But she still is sort of the front-running candidate in the party. I think in Iowa there is still a lot of support for her. I don`t think you are going to see as big a shift in terms of the amount of people who are going to turn out on the Democratic side as you are on the Republican side

I think Trump is going to drive a lot more folks that don`t normally caucus.

MATTHEWS: More than Bernie?

STANTON: But I think more than Bernie.

MATTHEWS: Francesca, I am looking at the college towns out there. And I just wonder, with Grinnell and Iowa State and University of Iowa, Drake, that I`m going to be looking caucus night at those areas and see if they do again what they did with President Obama.

FRANCESCA CHAMBERS, "THE GUARDIAN": On the Republican side, Donald Trump actually just...

MATTHEWS: Let`s stay on the Democratic side.


MATTHEWS: Hillary Clinton, what does she do to stop the sand from coming through the hourglass?

CHAMBERS: So, on the Democratic side, she is having a rally with Demi Lovato.

MATTHEWS: Who is Demi Lovato?

CHAMBERS: Demi Lovato. For the youth. It`s for the youth, Chris.

MATTHEWS: Answer the question. Who is she?

CHAMBERS: She is a very popular pop singer. She`s a pop singer who is very popular with young people. She has had a star of "Scandal" out there. She`s had Lena Dunham.

She is clearly trying to reach out to the younger people who would be interested in that sort of a thing.


MATTHEWS: Does she remind you of Hillary Clinton?


MATTHEWS: This singer you are talking about?

CHAMBERS: I don`t know that she necessarily reminds me of Hillary Clinton, per se, but she...

MATTHEWS: Does she evoke Hillary Clinton in any way?

CHAMBERS: But she is definitely a very good singer. I think a lot of young people really like her songs.

MATTHEWS: And they will be moved to vote for Hillary Clinton, rather than somebody else who excites them like Bernie Sanders?

CHAMBERS: They would be moved to come to an event and hear about Hillary Clinton as a result of that.


MATTHEWS: John, break the tie here. My belief is you get somebody -- if you want Bruce Springsteen because you want the working-class white guys, whatever you want, certain kinds of people you go through. And you have to connect with them somewhat when you bring in the person.

Bring in Carole King, that suggests a traditional liberal, that kind of thing, right, progressive. But what do you do here? Hillary is trying to get this young singer in who I never heard of, which I appreciate you`re right, I`m wrong.


CHAMBERS: You have heard of Katy Perry, right?

MATTHEWS: I`m out of it. I`m out of it.


MATTHEWS: I don`t know hockey. I don`t know hockey. I don`t know modern music. OK. I know Tony Bennett.

Go ahead.

JONATHAN CAPEHART, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: If you talk to people on both campaigns, this poll that is out -- and you put that caveat in there -- they are taking it with a grain of salt. They know that the numbers are a lot closer than the polls would suggest.


MATTHEWS: OK, Jack Germond. I didn`t bring you on here so you can buzzkill here.


MATTHEWS: I know an old rule of politics. Act on numbers. If numbers start shifting, you got to act.

CAPEHART: Yes, there is something going on. Look, Hillary Clinton lost Iowa in 2008. And so it`s imperative...


MATTHEWS: Why did she lose then? Maybe she will lose now.


MATTHEWS: Hip young people that know who this singer friend of yours is.


MATTHEWS: ... Hillary, like me, never heard of her either.

CAPEHART: Chris, but in order for Iowa 2016 to be like Iowa 2008 for Bernie Sanders, he has to pull people out in the way that Barack Obama did.


MATTHEWS: How old do you have to be, quickly, to vote in Iowa in the caucuses?


CHAMBERS: Seventeen.

CAPEHART: Twenty-one.

MATTHEWS: Seventeen.

CHAMBERS: Seventeen. You just have to be eligible to vote by the...

MATTHEWS: Seventeen. So, that is the kind of thing you learn here on HARDBALL, 17. All you have to do is be 18 by the time of the general election. Seventeen is fine. So, you`re going to get all the college campuses from freshman to senior to go.

CHAMBERS: Correct.

STANTON: She is splitting that youth vote a little bit. But the Demi Lovato voter is not a Bernie Sanders voter. That is a girl that is like a sorority girl.


MATTHEWS: So, now that you didn`t know that people could vote at 17, you are telling me how they are going to vote.

STANTON: Well, yes.


MATTHEWS: The HARDBALL roundtable -- John, we`re helping you here.

The HARDBALL roundtable is staying with us.

And up next, Sarah Palin blames her son`s PTSD on President Obama, of course, on the president, much to the dismay of veterans groups.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: We`re back with the HARDBALL roundtable.

Appearing at a joint rally with Donald Trump yesterday, Sarah Palin opened up about her son Track Palin, an Iraqi War veteran, who was arrested in Wasilla on Monday night.

As NBC News reported, Mr. Palin was -- quote -- "charged with interfering with the report of domestic violence, possession of a firearm while intoxicated, and assault on his girlfriend." The girlfriend told police Track Palin punched her in the face, kicked her in the knee, and threatened suicide with an AR-15 assault rifle.

At the rally yesterday, Palin said she could relate to families of veterans with PTSD, but also suggested President Obama is to blame. Here she is.


SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: Our vets and you deserve a commander in chief who will respect what it is that our forces go through.

I can talk personally about this. I guess it is kind of an elephant in the room, because my own family going through what we are going through today with my son, a combat vet having served in a Stryker brigade, fighting for you all America, in the war zone.


PALIN: My son, like so many others, they come back a bit different. They come back hardened. They come back wondering if there`s that respect.

It starts from the top. The question, though, that comes from our own president, where they have to look at him and wonder, do you know what we go through? Do you know what we are trying to do to secure America?


MATTHEWS: Anyway, now veterans groups are pushing back against Palin, saying the president isn`t to blame for her son`s behavior.

Paul Rieckhoff, the director of the nonpartisan organization Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, told NBC News: "It`s not President Obama`s fault that Sarah Palin`s son has PTSD. PTSD is a very serious problem, a complicated mental health injury. And I would be extremely reluctant to blame any one person in particular. I hope this doesn`t become a portable chew toy in a political campaign."


Track Palin, by the way, enlisted in the Army in 20 -- actually 2007 and spent a year in Iraq in 2008, while George W. Bush was president.

Anyway, what do you make of this, John? She is trying to deal with the fact of a problem in the family. And every politician practically seems to have a problem in the family from Billy Carter on to Sam Houston, Johnson, the brother of Lyndon Johnson, to Bill Clinton had some half-brother show up. There are relatives out there.

STANTON: Look, the Palin family has had a lot of run-ins with the police. They have had a lot of this kind of drama.

And instead of having the story become about that, she was able to immediately frame it as how she wanted, how best to handle it, which is this is a story about President Obama being bad to vets.


MATTHEWS: Well, do Iowa homeschoolers and related evangelicals buy it?

STANTON: Sure, because I think that they already are -- they are predisposed to buy anything she says anyway.

MATTHEWS: Well, under the Obama -- Jon, under the rubric of it`s always Obama`s fault.

CAPEHART: Right, Obama derangement syndrome.

Politically speaking, it was from their point of view, that campaign`s perspective, it was brilliant, what she did. But it was also despicable, absolutely despicable, what she did. And to try to pin it directly on the president the problems of her son is just wrong.

And, also, I think just sort of, in doing that, belittling the real issue here of PTSD, it is a very serious -- and she could have talked about her son.

MATTHEWS: It`s not a chew toy.

CAPEHART: Yes, exactly. She could have talked about her son and PTSD in a way that didn`t overly politicize...


MATTHEWS: Well, let`s take a look here.

Donald Trump was asked about Palin`s remarks yesterday, telling CNN that he suggested that she talk about her son.

Let`s watch that part.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (via telephone): I said it would be appropriate. There was tremendous press, and I think it`s something that`s very important to discuss, not even for her son but for so many other sons and daughters coming back from the Middle East where they have, you know, traumatic problems. They have tremendous problems, and I told her. I actually suggested it.


MATTHEWS: Well, he suggested that she`d bring it up, because she can`t hide a story that big, that close to your involvement. But I wonder if he told her to bring it up as a "blame the president" thing.

FRANCESCA CHAMBERS, THE DAILY MAIL: Well, it didn`t sound like it from that interview. But I could see how he would want her to address it at the rally because the rumors are circling. She missed an event earlier that morning. I was at that event when she was a no show and then, of course, tried to say that`s how the media is putting a spin on it. But the campaign had said she would be at that event that day. She did not show up.

So, the point when they got to Tulsa, she had to say something to explain her absence maybe or address what was going on because it was overshadowing her endorsement of Donald Trump at that point.

MATTHEWS: You know, it takes -- in normal American politics, say five, ten years ago, this would be a big problem for a candidate or a big problem for a surrogate. The son shows up in the police books. He gets booked for interfering with the police activity basically, punching his girlfriend in the face, being drunk by using a fire arm or having a firearm. I mean, that ends up --

CHAMBERS: And she didn`t deny that those things happen, by the way.

CAPEHART: Here is the thing. This isn`t the first time. This is not the first time that you eluded to it earlier, that Track or someone in the family has been involved in a police incident. So, you know --

JOHN STANTON, BUZZFEED: I think, under normal circumstances the family didn`t have the problems they wouldn`t have to do this. People understand PTSD is a serious issue.

MATTHEWS: This is the night (INAUDIBLE) aspect of Sarah Palin. She is a fantastic representative to a certain part of the country that feels disrespected, country whites, if you will, just people of out of the country. They don`t have a lot of advances or obvious advantages, I should say. They don`t like the way they are treated by us, by the media. They think we`re snobbish, about to look down on them. This kind of thing is unfortunately part of the epidemics, this heroin thing, they`re all part of that world. They are not great.

But she is not a person who could be president of the United States, that`s why he is going after somebody last night said, do you think he should be president or, like Omarosa, or do you just think she is a good class representative? I think she`s a great class representative. I don`t think she`s really up for the presidency or vice presidency or it seemed as even governor of Alaska. She didn`t like that job.

Anyway, the round table is staying with us. And up next, these people are going to tell me something I don`t know, something (INAUDIBLE) I know a lot. I don`t know anything about popular music, obviously.

And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: Well, catch this: a Pittsburgh`s man obituary weighed into 2016 politics this week with a unique, beyond the grave request. Jeffrey Cohen died this week at the age of 70 and is survived by his wife, sons and grandchildren. His "Post Gazette" obituary describes the chiropractor as a voracious joke teller and goes on to say, quote, "Jeffrey would ask that in lieu of flowers, please do not vote for Donald Trump."

We`ll be right back.


MATTHEWS: We are back again with the HARDBALL roundtable.

Jonathan, tell me something I don`t know.

CAPEHART: So, today, Chris, the mother of Eric Garner, the man who was killed by police in Staten Island, she endorsed Hillary Clinton today for president. Now, this is significant because she now joins the mothers of Trayvon Martin and the mother of Jordan Davis, the kid who was killed over loud music, as people who have endorsed Hillary Clinton -- people, African- American mothers who lost kids to police brutality.

And the key thing in the Eric Garner mom`s endorsement is that Hillary Clinton is talking about how we can be strategic into trying to solve the problem. It crystallizes right there the distinction that Hillary Clinton.

MATTHEWS: And eight years ago, the African-American Democratic vote was her challenge. This year, it`s her money in the bank. Isn`t it interesting?


MATTHEWS: Francesca?

CHAMBERS: Well, the other way she`s been trying to distinguish herself from Bernie Sanders is by going off and hitting that health care plan that he released right before the debate the other night. She says she wants to tear it up, rip Obamacare up and start over.

Well, even her supporters don`t necessarily believe that is what Senator Sanders wants to do. I polled a bunch of them and they were just not buying that, also saying, though, that they wouldn`t necessarily want to see their taxes raised to pay for such a health care plan.

MATTHEWS: Whoa, but they want to be a socialist but they don`t want to pay for it?

CHAMBERS: This was the Hillary Clinton rally.

MATTHEWS: That was a hell of a big deal.

CHAMBERS: This was a Clinton rally, not a Sanders rally.

MATTHEWS: I see. All right.

STANTON: I`m going to define the word Bama for you right now. It`s a D.C. slang term being defined by our mayor, Mayor Bowser, and her handling of the snow problem that you saw on Wednesday night. We got --

MATTHEWS: Half inch of snow and five hour delay.

STANTON: Crippled the city, she lied to her people in saying that they put out trucks when in fact they didn`t put them out.

MATTHEWS: Did she lie? Is that the right word?

STANTON: Oh, they lied. She said they put out salt trucks and there were no salt trucks until 9:30 at night. They don`t have enough salt trucks to salt the streets anyway. They are using beet juice as chemical treater, pre-treater. We have a huge snow storm coming. And that is --

MATTHEWS: Busses were now having go down Nebraska Avenue out there. They had to stop because they were afraid they couldn`t stop it Wisconsin, is that scary? That is a half inch of snow.

Somebody said something brilliant today, John, everybody, they said D.C. is the most northern/southern city and still it acts like a southern town.

Thank you so much for that.

Thank you to my, remember when Kennedy once said, the efficiency of the South and charm of the North.

Anyway, roundtable, John Stanton, Francesca Chambers, and Jonathan Capehart.

Up next, 2015 breaks a record for the world`s hottest year ever. Why isn`t climate change accepted as reality?

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

Even as millions along the East Coast now are preparing for a monumental blizzard, scientists from NASA and NOAA, the country`s top experts at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, have established this fact: 2015, the year just passed, was the hottest year in history. It smashed 2014`s global temperature record, and it wasn`t even close.

But according to "The Washington Post", the new figures, quote, "could fuel debate over climate change in an election year in which the two main political parties remain divided over what to do about global warming and indeed whether it exists or not."

Here`s some reaction from the right politically after President Obama spoke about making climate change a priority.


GLENN BECK, THE GLENN BECK PROGRAM: Mr. President, I say this with as much respect as you deserve. Screw global warming. What the hell is wrong with you?

If you actually believe that global warming is the biggest problem we face, with terror all around the world and $18 trillion debt, $9 trillion of which is yours, no real allies left that trust us, riots in our streets, riots in our university campuses, race relations worse than I`ve seen since the 1960s, and a distrust of our fellow Americans unlike anything I`ve ever seen, you, sir, are either delusional or you`re the dumbest son of a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) on the planet.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I won so many environmental awards. Shock shockingly. No, it`s true. I want really immaculate air. I want clean crystal water. I want a lot of things.

It is a disgrace what`s going on. And to have this man embarrass us by standing up and saying that global warming is our biggest threat, we`ve got to get him out so fast and thank goodness we only have a year left.


MATTHEWS: Well, that`s pandering of the worst kind.

Joining me right now is the director of NASA`s Goddard Center Institute of Space Studies, Gavin Schmidt.

Thank you, Gavin. Thank you for joining us about this.

Now, NOAA, who`s been keeping the numbers since 1880 on the temperature of our planet?

GAVIN SCHMIDT, NASA`S GODDARD INSTITUTE OF SPACE STUDIES: So these are station that`s have been kept by national weather services all across the world. The U.K. office, the National Weather Service in the U.S., the Canadians, the Brazilians. It`s a network of stations that goes back to the 19th century.

NASA and NOAA, we both independently collate these information, combine it with ship measurements from the oceans, buoy measurements from the oceans, and come up with an analysis of the global mean temperature normally every year. And this year, as you already reported, was a scorcher.

MATTHEWS: What has caused the scorch year?

SCHMIDT: So the long-term trends, that`s really what`s most important. This record would not have happened without those long-term trends. They`re being driven mainly by the increase in greenhouse gases. And that`s dominated by carbon dioxide, which comes from the burning of fossil fuels, oil, gas, and the like.

MATTHEWS: So, the heat`s being captured within the atmosphere. Is it a trend or is it a cycle? Some people say we`re just going through a cycle. I`m giving you the devil`s advocate role here.

SCHMIDT: No. It`s a trend. We look at all the things that could be changing climate. We look at internal oscillations. We look at natural cycles. We look at volcanoes, the sun, deforestation, air pollution.

All of those things have distinct fingerprints for how they change the climate. And when we look at what`s actually going on, the heat in the ocean, the heat in the atmosphere, there`s only one thing that really fits and that`s the increase of greenhouse gases. Those are totally attributable to most of the trend that you`ve seen over the last 40 years.

MATTHEWS: And last question, what`s the danger here, say, over the next -- if these projections continue, if this trend continues?

SCHMIDT: We`re already seeing the impacts. We`re seeing the impacts with heat waves. We`re seeing the impacts with intense precipitation. We`re seeing the impacts on sea level rise, changes in the Arctic Sea ice. Like there are many, many changes that we`re already seeing. And that`s just going to get worse. And that`s only with one degree C above the 19th century.

MATTHEWS: OK, thanks so much, Gavin Schmidt, for joining us tonight with the science.

Joining me right now is a guy who writes about science, Chris Mooney of "The Washington Post", who wrote that great piece on 2015 being the hottest year on record. He wrote it today.

Let`s take a look at what Ted Cruz said yesterday about the scientific measurement of climate change.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The computer models predicted that the earth would warm dramatically. There`s one little problem. The satellites that actually measure the temperature that we`ve launched into the air and they measure the temperature, they have recorded no significant warming whatsoever for the last 18 years.


MATTHEWS: Chris Mooney joins us right now from "The Washington Post."

I know you`re an objective reporter. You don`t want to get into this back and forth. But the science here, let`s talk about some things. We have some pictures here. Let`s talk about -- look at these pictures of glaciers up in Alaska. That`s part of the United States.

Look at the before and after. You look at this picture on the left, which is a glacier. You look on the right. It`s a sea coast. And there`s another picture just like it up there. There`s another one there. There`s another picture. This is a dramatic difference in reality.

We have photography here. It`s not trick. It`s not photoshopping. This is real.

CHRIS MOONEY, THE WASHINGTON POST: Absolutely. Climate scientists have been pretty clear and they have been increasingly certain that humans are driving climate change just as you heard from Gavin Schmidt. I mean, the degree of certainty that they ascribe to that conclusion has just gone up and up and up and now, it`s very high.

MATTHEWS: What did you make of what Ted Cruz, the senator said? What is he talking about when he says satellite readings aren`t proving it?

MOONEY: Well, I think the first thing you need to know is again when NASA and NOAA announced this temperature record, that record is not based upon the satellite record that Ted Cruz is talking about. It`s based upon measurements of the planet`s surface from thermometers, weather stations --

MATTHEWS: Yes, regular readings from the 1880s.

MOONEY: Right, right. And that`s what NASA and NOAA use, and you say why do they use that? They`re very confident in that data.

MATTHEWS: Yes, I think this is one of the cases where I really have to detest the arguments made by Glenn Beck and others. Years ago when I heard him deny this, why are you doing it?

Is anything important -- as important as trying to save this planet? I don`t know what people think about. It`s not a game. And it is our biggest long-term concern.

Obviously, terrorism is right now. But in the long term, saving the only place we have to live is fairly important if you think about it. That takes effort, though, Glenn.

Anyway, thank you, Chris Mooney of "The Washington Post."

And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.