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Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 3/2/2016

Guests: Mo Brooks, Cecile Richards, Margaret Carlson, John Stanton, Tad Devine, Anne Gearan, Simon Marks, Nayyera Haq

Show: HARDBALL Date: March 2, 2016 Guest: Mo Brooks, Cecile Richards, Margaret Carlson, John Stanton, Tad Devine, Anne Gearan, Simon Marks, Nayyera Haq

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: A stampede of elephants.

Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews back in Washington.

Well, too little, too late and too loopy, the Republican establishment is trying to keep its presidential nomination from the man who`s now won 10 state primaries and is on the way to tripling that number.

Question. This being a democracy, how do you deny your party`s, nomination to a candidate who people, lots of whom have never done anything like it, have come rushing from their houses to support? How do you hold primary after primary, ask people to show up and vote for -- vote in them, and then when you don`t like their choice, tell them none of it matters, that you`re going to pick someone else to be the party`s nominee for president?

Well, how do you deny the people`s choice and still expect the party to stick together for someone they decided, the people, quite deliberately in primary after primary, not to choose?

Well, Trump racked up wins in 7 of the 11 states holding contests yesterday, while Cruz earned 3 victories and Rubio 1, giving Trump a total of 10 states won. You see them there on the map. Pretty impressive. Trump`s total delegate count stands at 325, Ted Cruz at 237, Marco Rubio at -- at 111, actually.

I`m joined right now by NBC`s Chuck Todd, moderator of "MEET THE PRESS," and MSNBC political analyst Robert Costa of "The Washington Post" -- he`s at "The Post" -- as well as Republican congressman Mo Brooks of Alabama, who supports Senator Cruz for president.

Let me start with Chuck Todd about this. I am confounded by the talk -- it began last night when -- with Ben last night -- about how Republicans are going to deny the nomination, somehow give it to somebody else. How do they do it?

CHUCK TODD, MODERATOR, "MEET THE PRESS": Well, how do they do it?

MATTHEWS: If Trump goes into the convention with the most delegates.

TODD: Well, but if he doesn`t have a majority, he doesn`t have a majority.

MATTHEWS: No, but he has the most.

TODD: He has the most, but he doesn`t have a majority. I agree with you. I think in this day and age, in the 21st century, where every delegate will be their own news organization at this point, OK -- this isn`t -- this isn`t Estes Kefauver in 1956, OK? This isn`t even Kansas City in 1976. As I was talking with Charlie Black...

MATTHEWS: Well, Kefauver lost (ph) the nomination in `52, actually, to Stevenson at the convention.

TODD: Right. So this isn`t even `76, though. So this is going to be, if this does take place, such a transparent and ugly process that everybody`s going to be watching, of which there are no rules because there is no tradition to even follow. Everybody`s going to play their own rules on this.

But if he doesn`t have a majority, and you have two candidates chasing him that together would give them the majority, well, the math is simple. Then they could overtake him, and that is how it could work.

MATTHEWS: If they agreed to...

TODD: If they agreed to...

MATTHEWS: ... flip a coin.

TODD: ... run as a ticket or flip a coin. And look, anything is possible. I went back through with Charlie Back. He worked for Reagan in `76. And he said the whole point of getting Schweiker, he said, was this. We identified -- the Pennsylvania delegates were unbound.


TODD: And we thought, OK, let`s get a Pennsylvania guy. It didn`t work, as it turned out. But that is...

MATTHEWS: Because Jim Baker held them together...

TODD: That`s right.

MATTHEWS: ... for Ford. Anyway, I know all this, but thank you. You know as much.

Anyway, the 2012 Republican nominee, Mitt Romney -- he was the last guy they picked -- has also stepped up his attacks on Trump in recent days. He announced today, Mr. Romney did, that he will make a major speech on the state of the presidential race tomorrow, I believe in the morning. Already, a handful of elected officials and other party figures, a couple governors, a couple senators, have publicly said they won`t commit to voting for Trump if he`s the nominee. Among them, freshman senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska said he`d rather support a conservative -- third party option.

Anyway, here`s what Trump said when asked about that possibility late last night.


QUESTION: Some strongly worded statements coming out in recent days, including one from a senator from Nebraska, Ben Sasse, who said, If Donald Trump ends up as the Republican nominee, conservatives will need to find a third party option.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, they can always do that, and then they`ll just lose everything. And that would be the work of a loser. But look, I`m a unifier. I know people are going to find that a little bit hard to believe, but believe me, I am a unifier. Once we get all of this finished, I`m going to go after one person, and that`s Hillary Clinton, on the assumption`s she`s allowed to run, which is a big assumption.


MATTHEWS: Best performance. Anyway, the Republican leadership in Congress also speaking out. Yesterday, Paul Ryan, the speaker, condemned Trump forcefully for his failure to denounce white supremacist groups. And "The New York Times" reporter that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell gave his colleagues permission to separate their reelection campaigns from Trump, saying, We`ll drop him like a hot rock. That`s Mitch McConnell talking.

Anyway, "The New York Times" also reported that Republican business leaders held a conference call yesterday to raise money for a super-PAC intended to stop Donald Trump from becoming the nominee. This comes as Ben Carson today announced his intention to skip the Republican debate -- there`s going to be another one tomorrow night -- saying he does not see a path forward to his own nomination.

Let me bring in -- let me bring in Robert Costa. Stay with us, Chuck. I need you here, OK? This is a tricky one.

Robert, what is this talk? It just seems to me like a bunch of establishment types running around, talking to each other, but they don`t have a candidate to beat Trump. No one person can they put forward and say he`ll do better politically than Trump. They don`t have a guy like that.

ROBERT COSTA, "WASHINGTON POST," MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Romney`s move is a stinging one. A lot of the campaigns today privately were seething, unhappy with Governor Romney. They`re wondering why he`s stepping into the arena, giving a speech in Utah tomorrow without offering an endorsement, instead offering some guiding, some guidance, some talking points, it seems, is what`s going to be on the agenda for Romney, trying to get the party to have a more coherent message against Trump.

MATTHEWS: Well, like so many times in the history of Mitt Romney, was he just imitating his father, who did the same thing to Goldwater back in `64?

COSTA: The history certainly has a precedent here. We see Romney in his political winter, but very much not a silent presence on the sidelines. He wants back in, not maybe as a candidate, but he wants back in the process.

Remember, back early 2015, he teased a presidential bid, said he was maybe thinking about it again. Romney`s associates tell me tonight he thinks he can be the chief anti-Trump voice in the Republican Party. He thinks the other candidates aren`t getting it done. He may not run, but he wants to be out there as a foil.

MATTHEWS: He strikes me as the very opposite of what Republican voters want this time around.

Anyway, here`s how Donald Trump responded to Romney`s announcement just moments ago. Quote, "Failed presidential candidate Mitt Romney`s having a news conference tomorrow to criticize me, just another desperate move by the man who should have easily beaten Barack Obama."

Congressman Brooks, thank you for joining us. How does this -- how do you react, as a guy pushing for Ted Cruz, to this Romney interruption, intervention, or whatever you call it?

REP. MO BROOKS (R), ALABAMA: I really haven`t paid much attention to it, and so it`s not a concern of mine.

MATTHEWS: Well, what`s that mean? He was the nominee of your party four years ago, and now you don`t think his voice matters?

BROOKS: Well, his voice does matter, but it`s premature. We don`t know what he`s going to say. And he has the right as an American citizen to say whatever he wants to say. Some people will be influenced by it. Some won`t. Principally, though, this is a campaign now between the Trump team and the anti-Trump team. And that`s what I`m more focused on. There are plenty of players surrounding...

MATTHEWS: I understand.

BROOKS: ... those two teams that will have an impact, but I`m focused more on what the principal candidates will say and what they`re going to do for America.

MATTHEWS: How do you outmatch Trump`s delegate strength as it moves forward, with Cruz? Can Cruz unite all the anti-Trump people?

BROOKS: Well, Donald Trump is already behind. Going into yesterday, Donald Trump -- his team was ahead. They had more delegates than did the anti-Trump team. Now Donald Trump is behind. With what happened yesterday, he fell behind the combination of Kasich, Rubio and Cruz, what I call the anti-Trump team. And with Ben Carson looking like he`s going to drop out, that enhances the viability of those three anti-Trump candidates.

And going forward -- if you really analyze the election results yesterday, it was a really bad day for Donald Trump. It was a really good day for Ted Cruz.


BROOKS: And Marco Rubio got what he need to be able to claim some degree of survivability with his victory in Minnesota. But the analysis I look at is this. We`ve got two types of primaries and caucuses, open and closed. Closed is where Republicans choose our nominee, OK?


BROOKS: And Donald Trump has lost 80 percent of the states where Republicans are choosing our nominee. Coming up, we`ve got 20-plus states that are closed primaries, where only Republicans are allowed to vote.


BROOKS: And if Donald Trump continues losing 80 percent of those states, well, there`s over 1,000 delegates in those 20 states. Donald Trump`s going to be in a world of hurt. So we`re going to see how he goes forward trying to recover from his severe losses in the states that only allow Republicans to participate...

MATTHEWS: OK, let me...

BROOKS: ... in the selection of the Republican nominee.

MATTHEWS: Let me ask you a matter of principle. Could you see your party -- would you support an effort to deny the person with the most delegates going into the convention the nomination?

BROOKS: Well, to me, the team that`s going to have the most delegates is in all likelihood the anti-Trump team. Now, do you deny the majority...

MATTHEWS: I`ve never heard of a candidate team. I`ve never heard of such a thing, this coalition you`re talking about.

BROOKS: Oh, sure you have.

MATTHEWS: You have to have a name.

BROOKS: 2008.

MATTHEWS: And what`s the...

BROOKS: 2008, Mike Huckabee and John Glenn -- excuse me, John -- John McCain, Senator McCain, they coalesced on a strategy that helped one win New Hampshire and the other win Iowa. So it`s happened before. It`s happened many times throughout American history.

But I think -- normally, you would not see a team, but when you`ve got Donald Trump, one candidate, that is so belittling, so insulting...


BROOKS: ... to people who normally would be competitors, he has forced them to gel together...


BROOKS: ... into a team against Donald Trump. So it`s a team of Donald Trump`s own making.

MATTHEWS: Let me go back to Chuck.

TODD: Look, it`s fascinating what the congressman is saying, and I applaud him for voicing it because I -- I -- I`ve heard this strategy. And it is this idea that -- it`s funny, two days ago, Cruz, Rubio and Kasich were all desperate to consolidate. No, no, no, no! Rally around me. I could stop Trump. Rally around me.

Post-super-Tuesday, the conventional wisdom is, Oh, boy, all of us need to participate in stopping Trump. John Kasich, your job is to stop him in Ohio. Marco Rubio, go do your job in Florida.

Congressman brings up a very important point about these open and closed primaries. Eight of the next 13 contests between now and March 15th, closed Republican primaries. And he is right. Oklahoma and Arkansas, where Oklahoma Trump lost, Arkansas, he almost lost -- those were closed Republican primary states. You`ve got four this weekend...


TODD: ... and they`ve been strong for Cruz, in particular. The Florida primary is closed, only registered Republicans.


TODD: So this is -- this is -- if you can`t stop him now -- the opportunity is there to stop Trump. 8 of the next 13, by March 15th...


TODD: The opportunity is there. The strategy the congressman outlines is not...


MATTHEWS: OK, let`s bring in...

TODD: There`s a lot of -- there`s a lot of viability to that.

MATTHEWS: Robert Costa, here`s the challenge I keep making. The American people have gotten used to picking presidential nominees in the primaries. They`re used to picking the one with the most votes. That`s the guy or woman who wins, the one with the most votes.

Come this summer, they all of a sudden, the people went out and voted in the snows of New Hampshire and out in Iowa when it`s just as cold -- all went out and voted and picked perhaps Donald Trump as the leading candidate. Then they`re told, No, that`s now how it works.

It`s sort of like in Iran, where the mullahs get to make decisions in the end and the voters don`t really matter. It seems to me that`s going to be awful hard for people to buy, that democracy isn`t democracy, it`s the -- Oh, the second or third guy really wins because somehow, there was a coalition that went together and they ganged up on Trump and said, Oh, we`re going to pick Rubio or we`re going to pick Cruz, but not the guy who had the most votes.

I don`t think that`s going to sell, and I think Trump will walk right out the door...


BROOKS: I respectfully disagree for a moment, if I might interject...

COSTA: Based on my reporting, I`m not so sure that`s going to work. I`m not sure it`s going to be effective. You look at these "Stop Trump" organizations. They haven`t been active on the airwaves in a significant way. Trump is steamrolling through many of these primaries.

I talked to a lot of party leaders today, called around, and they said they had a cautionary message. They said they`re worried if they go too hard against Trump, those white working class voters, who are turning out in record numbers in these primary and caucuses -- will they even show up in November if they feel like they`ve been wronged and they came out and their candidate was somehow pushed aside at a convention.

So there`s a lot of discussion at the highest levels of party. Does it really make sense to have an all-out assault?

MATTHEWS: Well, let me ask you, Congressman, about fairness because Trump, who`s got all kinds of problems and he`s a mixed bag, at best -- we all know that- he goes into this convention, he`s going into this process saying, I`m running for the Republican nomination, and I`ll stick with this process as long as they`re fair to me.

You`ve just said a few moments ago he`s a special case. We`re going to do something to him we`ve not done to other candidates.

BROOKS: No, that`s not true.

MATTHEWS: We`re going to gang up on him. Well, you said you got to stop Trump for a particular reason, not because he`s the front-runner, but because he`s Trump. That`s why you have to have four people in a coalition to stop him.

BROOKS: If we had more time, I could get into specifics, but there are valid public policy reasons. There are valid character reasons that motivate people to form this coalition.

And let`s be sure about a couple of things. The rules are very simple. If you get a majority of the delegates, you`re the nominee. Delegates are legally obligated to vote for the person that they`re committed to on the first ballot, sometimes beyond the first ballot.


BROOKS: And so if Donald Trump wins, where winning is defined as getting the majority, he is the Republican Party nominee. Now, at some point in time, this coalition, so to speak, the anti-Trump team, they`re also jockeying amongst themselves to be the one who leads that team, and so that`s going to get a little bit rocky at times, too. I`m sure there`s going to be tension over there.

But again, the principle is very simple. Majority rules, and if Donald Trump wins enough delegates to form the majority, he`s it. But if another candidate has a majority of the delegates, then that candidate is it. How can you deny the nomination to another candidate who can claim a majority of the delegates when the law and the rules say that`s the standard by which someone prevails? It`s not whether you win a state. That`s like getting a first down.

MATTHEWS: OK. I`m just...


BROOKS: ... is the delegate breakdown.

MATTHEWS: I`ll go back to this. If going into the convention in Cleveland, Donald Trump has the most delegates, there will be civil war if he doesn`t get the nomination. Thank you very much...

BROOKS: Well, we`re in a very difficult situation -- if I could -- respond?


BROOKS: Do I have time?


BROOKS: Very difficult situation. On the one hand, Donald Trump is bringing in a lot of independents and Democrats, and that`s a positive, OK? But on the other hand, he`s alienating as much as 20 percent of the base Republican voters who are publicly or privately saying they will not vote for Donald Trump as our nominee.

That puts us all in a very difficult situation. And I wish that Donald Trump did not use so much profanity. I wish he did not insult so many different people the way that he does so he could capture this 20 percent. But there are a lot of people who really want in the White House a person of integrity, a person that their kids can look up to.


BROOKS: So any alienation that is occurring is because Donald Trump has intentionally or otherwise alienated them. And to now say...


BROOKS: ... that he is a uniter, not a divider, is silly.

MATTHEWS: OK, thank you.

TODD: Prisoner`s dilemma. He just outlined the prisoner`s dilemma very well, right?

MATTHEWS: What`s the prisoner`s dilemma?

TODD: Well, they sit there and on one hand, he`s bringing more people in. On the other hand, he`s alienating more people. And it`s...

MATTHEWS: And on the other hand, they want to make the decision by the closed -- closed primaries where Republicans make the decision.

TODD: Well, and there you go. I mean, it is -- the Republican...

MATTHEWS: You want a bigger party?

TODD: It is the Republican Party.

MATTHEWS: You want a more homogeneous conservative party, don`t let anybody vote in your primaries. Anyway, thank you, Chuck Todd. Thank you, Robert Costa. And thank you, U.S. Congressman Mo Brooks.

Coming up, Hillary Clinton`s big victories last night prove she has the deep support of African-American in this country. Without such support, how long can Bernie Sanders stick around in this fight?

Plus, the global reaction to Donald Trump as he locks in his status as the likely Republican nominee. From Mexico to Russia, people around the world are watching, and they`ve got plenty to say about Trump.

And if the general election campaign between Clinton and Trump truly started last night, what will be the record turnout? What will it do (ph) -- we`re seeing on the Republican side mean for November? We just talked about that, all those new voters Trump`s bringing in. Should Democrats be worried?

Finally, "Let Me Finish" with the problem facing Republicans. It goes back to the birther thing and their failure to stop that talk.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: Six newspapers in New Jersey today have called on Governor Chris Christie to resign. The editorial boards write, in part, "What an embarrassment. What an utter disgrace. We`re fed up with Governor Christie`s arrogance. We`re fed up with his opportunism. We`re fed up with his hypocrisy. We`re fed up with his sarcasm. We`re fed up with long neglect of the state to pursue his own selfish agenda. We`re disgusted with his endorsement of Donald Trump after he spent months on the campaign trail trashing him, calling him unqualified by temperament and experience to be president. And we`re fed up with his continuing travel out of the state of New Jersey on New Jersey`s dime, stumping for Trump after finally abandoning his own presidential campaign." Well, there you heard it.

A new poll shows Christie matching his all-time low approval rating in the state. Just 30 percent of New Jersey voters approve of how he`s handling his job, 61 percent of New Jerseyans disapprove. According to Fairleigh Dickinson University, which conducted the poll, Christie`s approval dropped 6 points following his Trump endorsement.

And we`ll be right back.



HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you all so much. What a Super Tuesday!

Instead of building walls, we`re going to break down barriers and build...


CLINTON: ... build ladders of opportunity and empowerment, so every American can live up to his or her potential, because then, and only then, can America live up to its full potential too.



MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

That was Hillary Clinton last night with supporters in Florida, reveling in her sweep of the largest Super Tuesday states. Clinton`s Southern strategy worked. She won Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and even a nail-biter up in Massachusetts which I was watching all day.

But Bernie Sanders didn`t leave empty-handed either. He won Colorado, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and his home state of Vermont, where he spoke last night.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (VT-I), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I know that Secretary Clinton and many of the establishment people think that I am looking and thinking too big. I don`t think so.

At the end of tonight, 15 states will have voted; 35 states remain. And let me assure you that we are going to take our fight for economic justice, for social justice, for environmental sanity, for a world of peace for every one of those states.



MATTHEWS: Well, exit polls showed that Hillary Clinton strength came from a variety of groups, including Hispanic voters, who she won 66 to Bernie Sanders` 33. Black voters also gave her strong support, especially black women.

Clinton received 36 percent of their vote, while -- 86, I should say -- while Sanders got the rest, 13.

Anyway, Bernie Sanders, meanwhile, found support with solid backing from white male voters, winning 54 percent of those men -- men compared to Clinton`s 44.

Well, joining me now is Tad Devine, a senior adviser to Bernie Sanders` campaign, who always come on this show. We like that. And Jonathan Capehart and Anne Gearan, both of "The Washington Post."

What did you make of last night? I was trying to be really straight about it by saying before what I thought were my calibrations. If he wins four, pretty good night.

TAD DEVINE, SENIOR BERNIE SANDERS CAMPAIGN STRATEGIST: Yes. I thought it was a good night. We tried to win five. We won four. We almost won Massachusetts. We targeted those state. We made a great effort there.

MATTHEWS: But you called -- he called for -- he said he was going to win Massachusetts.

DEVINE: He says he is going to win I think almost every state he is in. Come on.


DEVINE: Listen, he`s very optimistic. He feels the Bern himself, I think, in front of those crowds, and I don`t blame him.

But we fought hard in Massachusetts. And we came very close. We were up against a whole political establishment. I think they emptied out city hall at about 2:00 yesterday in Boston. OK?

MATTHEWS: Marty Walsh. The mayor is a tough opponent. DEVINE: And yes. And we respect that, OK?

MATTHEWS: And Tommy Menino was before him up there.

It`s old time. It`s fascinating, just for a second. You guys do have the great message. There`s no doubt, you and Trump, in totally different ways, have -- I`m talking like your guy now.



MATTHEWS: You`re from inside the Beltway.

No, and you guys definitely have the message this year, the clear messages. But Hillary has got the old-school connections, Harry Reid, you know, John Lewis, and Jim Clyburn, in all these states, and old politics seems to still work.

DEVINE: Yes, it does. And, listen, we`re up not just a very formidable opponent, but I think the entire establishment of the Democratic Party. But we`re going to take them on and I think we have got a path to victory.

MATTHEWS: Anne, is it`s still open, still doable by these guys?

ANNE GEARAN, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Numerically, it`s extremely, extremely difficult, as we have been talking about all day, how narrow that path is.

MATTHEWS: Well, 35 states to go.

GEARAN: Numerically, it`s possible, but it`s extremely difficult.

MATTHEWS: Explain that, because if only 15 states have voted, and 35 have yet to vote, how can it be close to being over?

GEARAN: Because -- it isn`t. I mean, we have got a ways to go. The nomination will not be locked up for weeks and weeks from now.

But after two weeks from now, when a number of big states vote, including Florida, the path for Sanders to put together -- the number of delegates in the number of states still to go gets -- shrinks astronomically.

It`s hard right now. It gets functionally impossible, according to the math we have done, a few weeks from now, which is not to say that he does not remain a significant force in this race, a significant threat to her.

He is clearly making the most of that. She is clearly responding to it. Her message is changing. Her stance is changing. Her cadence is changing. And that`s largely because of him.

MATTHEWS: We all wait for events to occur, because events do occur. It`s an amazing thing. Like, in life, things happen.

Is there anything that could happen between now and the next couple of weeks that could stop Hillary Clinton from winning this thing? Is there anything to the e-mail potential indictment, or is that just stuff being pushed by the right?

JONATHAN CAPEHART, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, stuff being pushed by the right, chatter from inside the Beltway.

But unless and until it happens, she is well on her way to the nomination. I mean, as Anne said, numerically, it`s becoming harder and harder for Senator Sanders to catch up with her.

And also let`s not -- think about the significance of what happened yesterday. You could say that South Carolina was a big deal for her, because, you know, the African-American firewall of voters proved to be very, very strong.

But then you go to Super Tuesday, where you had a whole lot of states with varying demographics, and not only did she win the African-American vote where the African-American vote is strong, Alabama, Georgia, but the fact that she won Massachusetts, where Senator Sanders campaigned hard...

MATTHEWS: I like the way you lowered your voice for Alabama and Georgia. That was great.


MATTHEWS: Deep South.

CAPEHART: But, you know, what I`m taking from her victories last night, Massachusetts plus those Southern states, is that this new American majority that Steve Phillips writes about his book "Brown Is the New White" is present right there.

And that is 28 percent -- using voter data and census data, 28 percent of the American electorate progressive whites and 23 percent of progressive people of color add up to 51 percent of the electorate.

A Democrat can win the presidency if they come out to vote. And the key part of that is the African-American vote. President Obama showed in two elections that if you get African-American voters out, the person could win.


MATTHEWS: If you don`t have -- Hillary Clinton has gender going for her, at least with older women. She has race going for her with the historic connection between the African-American and the Clintons.

But when you don`t have those two, the white males go for Bernie. White males are not liberals. They`re not all progressives. There are a lot of moderate Democrats who are not lefties at all.

DEVINE: That`s right.

MATTHEWS: And yet your guy gets them. So, why are -- you`re getting the residual, which tells me, unless you have got gender, well, you will have, unless you have race, which you will have, there`s something that is missing in the Hillary message that`s open to you guys.


MATTHEWS: You`re able to get your message across with white men, who are not historically left.

DEVINE: Sure. And a lot are them independent too.

And when independents can come to this process, we tend to do better. And, by the way, Massachusetts, listen, she beat President Obama by I think 15 points in 2008 in Massachusetts, OK? So this is not a bad place for Hillary Clinton. I think it`s remarkable.

When we started off, our first poll in Massachusetts, we were down 23 points in December.

MATTHEWS: But it`s New England.

DEVINE: Well, yes, it is New England.

And it`s incredible that we could come back from so far behind and practically beat her. Listen, I think one of Hillary`s problems so far in all of these races, in all the four states we had yesterday that we targeted, she was ahead by 20 or more points when we started this race. And we won three out of those four.

MATTHEWS: Can you get behind the caucuses and the campuses, though? Can you get into the -- with all the states voting, so many states every week, Bernie can`t retail this. He can give a great speech in Austin. There`s no doubt, with a big crowd. He can go somewhere, Oklahoma City, maybe, and get a big crowd.

But these are sanctums, if you will, of liberalism.

DEVINE: We can. And I`ll tell you how.

With voters and families with under $30,000 and even $50,000 a year, that`s where we`re beginning to make the break. And I also think we`re going to do better and we must do better -- and I stipulate to that -- with African- American, with Latino voters.

By the way, we won a huge victory in Colorado yesterday, the biggest turnout in the history in the caucuses. And even though there is no exit poll, it had to be because of the huge Latino support in Colorado.

MATTHEWS: Does he believe -- I watched him last night. Did everybody watch him?

Did you think -- I thought Senator Sanders thought he was going to still win this thing. I thought that. Did you, Jon?

GEARAN: To your point, right?

MATTHEWS: It was not a concession speech.

By the way, I said this last night. I can`t tell anymore the difference between concession speeches and victory speeches.


MATTHEWS: I want to say nice try to my opponent. They don`t that anymore. They don`t say I beat my opponent. They don`t say I lost to my opponent.

It`s all the same speech. Rubio gives victory speeches when he comes in third every time. I mean, he won one out of 12 yesterday and declared victory. That`s what you call confidence, I guess.


CAPEHART: The last point I will make is that the key demographic is African-American women.

Terry McAuliffe is governor of Virginia because African-American women came out to vote in droves. And we saw that. You showed in a lot of the states African-American women put Hillary Clinton over the top.

MATTHEWS: A lot of connection there. A lot of real connection.

Anyway, thank you, Tad Devine. Thank you, Jonathan Capehart. And thank you, Anne Gearan, both of "The Washington Post."

Up next, the 2016 election here in the United States hasn`t just attracted attention of Americans. The entire world is watching, in their usual superior manner, by the way. What global leaders and citizens of the world have to say -- what is a citizen of the world -- have to say about Donald Trump in this wild election year.

This is HARDBALL. We`re going to talk about how the world is looking at us right now. Stick around. It will be novel.

Anyway, here we are the place for politics.



VICENTE FOX, FORMER MEXICAN PRESIDENT: I`m not going to pay for that (EXPLETIVE DELETED) wall. He should pay for it. He`s got the money.


MATTHEWS: That`s Vicente Fox, former president of Mexico.

Welcome back to HARDBALL.

That was former President of Mexico Vicente Fox last week rebuffing, there`s a great word, Donald Trump`s demand that Mexico pay for a wall on this country`s southern border.

He`s joined many others around the world now who are talking about Trump their potential -- our potential next president. Not in kind ways. The recent cover of the German magazine "Der Spiegel" called Donald Trump American`s agitator, and a French newspaper called him the American nightmare.

Trump has also received the endorsement of one you don`t necessarily want these days, of France`s Jean-Marie Le Pen, the former leader of the hard- right National Front Party. He`s also received praise from Russia`s Vladimir Putin.

Anyway, Great Britain`s Parliament last month debated whether to ban Donald Trump, in fact, from their country, from even coming into it. And Trump`s Christian faith was questioned by of course Pope Francis earlier this month.

After Trump retweeted a quote attributed to Italian fascist Benito Mussolini, op-ed columnist Roger Cohen wrote this in "The New York Times" - - quote -- "Europe knows how democracy collapse after lost wars in times of fear and anger and economic hardship, when the pouting demagogue appears with his pageantry and promises. America`s Weimar-lite democratic dysfunction is plain to see. A corrupted polity tends toward collapse."

Well, I`m joined right now by Simon Marks of Feature Story News, as well as former State Department spokesperson Nayyera Haq.

Nayyera, does this surprise you? Is this another chance -- not to defend Trump, another chance to whack at us and the cowboy mentality of our country?

NAYYERA HAQ, FORMER STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON: Well, there is the stereotype of the ugly American overseas. And that stereotype...

MATTHEWS: Explain it. What are we like?

HAQ: It`s brash, it`s loud, it`s walking over people, not really recognizing any kind of diversity or connections with other people, and just, you know, blazing our way however we want to around the world.

We`re fitting that stereotype with Trump dominating the airwaves. Unfortunately, the world is looking for us for leadership. And so the world is on fire. They`re looking to us to help put it out, and instead we seem to be throwing more fuel onto the very issues that have people all worked up around the world.

MATTHEWS: You know who I think he appeals to? Not the American of the Declaration, or the American of the Bill or Rights, or the American of the Constitution, not even the American the `50s, where some people thought.

Way back to when we got here and took it from the Indians, that`s the America. It`s the continental land mass, the country, not the nation. He appeals to that. And it`s us against the Russians over there, not the Soviets, the Russians, against the Mexican people, against, you know, everybody in the world. Against the Chinese. We`re against everybody. It`s our country fighting them.

And that`s the nationalism we have not gotten used to yet. We`re not -- Americans don`t even know that word nationalism.


I think that in terms of the reaction that I hear from people overseas, I was in Mexico City last week, and there was absolute astonishment that he genuinely thought this wall could be built.

People were dismissive of the idea that this could ever get through Congress, that this would ever happen, but also coupled with fear.

MATTHEWS: But don`t they know about the antagonism towards a big rush of immigrants over the years, the last couple, 20 or 30 years?


MARKS: Of course they know. They`re aware of it, but they are mused by the notion that you might actually seriously talk about building a wall and last night citing the Great Wall of China as an example of, they were able to do it and they didn`t have Caterpillar trucks.


MATTHEWS: Can you decide, do they truly think we`re on the verge of having a demagogue rule this country, a dangerous demagogue?

HAQ: One of the best things I have seen online about Trump and how that works is the gentleman who said, you all in America think this is an election, we`re looking at it as an I.Q. test and you`re failing.

And the challenge is that in places like Europe that have had a history of dealing with American isolationism, where we did not step up in World War II.

MATTHEWS: I think there is a lot of feeling. I don`t consider it all malignant either. I think a little bit of isolationism after the Iraq War makes some sense, by the way.


HAQ: But, Certainly, when you`re upsetting your allies, that`s not a good way to start.

People who are not aligned with our policies, Russia, not helping the U.S. in the Syria challenge, when those are the people who are praising you and your allies are trying to vote to not allow you in the country, not a great way to start a new presidency when it comes to foreign relations.

MATTHEWS: You should be a spokesman. I`m just kidding.


MATTHEWS: You really are smart. I do think that a demagogue`s problem is, he has to always -- or she has to always top the latest outrageous statement.

And at some point, like Joe McCarthy, you get in serious trouble because you have to keep exciting the crowd. And Trump`s problem is, he needs publicity every couple days. Fight with Vicente Fox, fight with the pope. Fight with somebody. What happens when he fights and it just gets completely out of hand, people say this guy is out of control?

MARKS: Chris, the impact of this, imagine sitting in South Africa and watching this as Donald Trump escorts African-Americans out of rallies, people who have just been sitting there doing absolutely nothing.

There a demagogic impact of that. And that reflects back on the United States and leaves world leaders saying to President Obama when they travel here, what`s going on?

MATTHEWS: I think the choking of that photographer will definitely make the world news.

We have to go. But thank you. Please come back, and thank you, Simon Marks. Thank you, Nayyera Haq, for joining us.

Coming up, was last night a preview of the 2016 general election, November election coming up this year? Believe it or not, we`re going to actually pick a president by the end of this year. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton came away with the most wins and sounded an awful like they`re already going past their primary fights headed towards each other in a very nasty way.

The roundtable is coming here next. You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.




While neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump, technically, have locked up the nomination by last night, both seemed to transition rather quickly to a general election argument in their party speeches. Clinton worked to counter Trump`s angry rhetoric with the pitch for love and kindness.

This grabbed me. Let`s watch.


HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It might be unusual as I`ve said before, for a presidential candidate to say this, but I`m going to keep saying it. I believe what we need in America today is more love and kindness.


Instead of building walls, we`re going to breakdown barriers and build --


Build ladders of opportunity and empowerment.

The rhetoric we`re hearing on the other side has never been lower. Trying to divide America between us and them is wrong. And we`re not going to let it work.


MATTHEWS: Well, meanwhile, Donald Trump sent a signal for how the campaign will unfold from his side, suggesting any charge against Clinton will be fair game. In fact, all the charges will fair game apparently. Last night, he accused her of being a criminal. Catch this.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am a unifier. Once we get all of this finished, I`m going to go after one person. That`s Hillary Clinton.

I don`t know that she`s going to be allowed to run. What she did is a criminal act. If she`s allowed to run, I would be very, very surprised. But if she is allowed to run, honestly, it will be a sad day for this country, because what she did was wrong.


MATTHEWS: Are we looking at the shape of the political landscape to come for the next eight months.

Anyway, I`m joined right now by tonight`s roundtable: Cecile Richards is president, of course, of Planned Parenthood, John Stanton is Washington bureau chief for "BuzzFeed News", and Margaret Carlson is a political columnist for "Bloomberg News".

It seems to me that Trump has basically said any charge or rumor against Hillary Clinton is now in my agenda to pursue. Everything goes -- in fact, calling her a criminal. What`s that about?

MARGARET CARLSON, BLOOMBERG VIEW: You know, at Trump rallies, there are some signs that say "Hillary for prison", and when he sees it, he goes like this. But I mean, she is under FBI investigation, so there is some basis at least for him doing this. It`s not a totally trumped up charge.

MATTHEWS: Well, innocent until proven guilty might be a good stand by logic.

It looks to me like Hillary Clinton, even though she said she`s going to be nice and talking about -- has really found a theme, which I don`t think she`s had before, which is we`re not going to let Trump become president. And that seems to be a pretty powerful message.

CECILE RICHARDS, PLANNED PARENTHOOD: Yes, I think it`s a very powerful message. And I think, particularly when folks begin to focus more on what he actually stands for. I was interested any think it was an MSNBC poll that show that numbers of his supporters are pro-choice and yet he`s actually taken a position that he wants to outlaw abortion.

MATTHEWS: Nobody believes him.

RICHARDS: Well, I think, look, I think --

MATTHEWS: He is for Planned Parenthood because he wants to work the suburbs, obviously. He wants to win the general election. So, he has to say nice things about your organization.

RICHARDS: Right. But then, when folks find out that he may like us, but he wants to make sure that no one can actually go to us for health care, I think it`s going to be difficult for him to win in November.

MATTHEWS: How would he do that? How would he do that?

RICHARDS: That`s what he said. I mean, obviously, this Congress has already tried to defund Planned Parenthood and all he --

MATTHEWS: Could you exist without federal money?

RICHARDS: I mean, we`ll exist no matter what, but it would mean millions of folks couldn`t come to us for basic health care, including, you know --

MATTHEWS: John, why is he going both ways of Planned Parenthood. He`s saying, I like the organization that does good, which is not what any other Republican says, but obviously goes down the line when it comes to the funding.

JOHN STANTON, BUZZFEED: I`m not -- I don`t know, look --

MATTHEWS: I think he`s running for president. That`s what I think he is up to.

STANTON: He`s playing a dangerous game, which I don`t really know that I ever want to try to do. I`m not horribly scarred from that. But I think he does this all the time, right? He says two things. For him, it doesn`t matter whether they line up. He`s going to say them. And by and large, his followers are OK with this, because he`s constantly just sort of like, if they don`t like that, then ten seconds later, he`s going to say something crazy that`s going to make them upset and get their blood boiling and get --

MATTHEWS: People do what works. You notice a couple of weeks ago, when Hillary Clinton went after him for sexism, misogynist comments and behavior in his show and other places, and he came back and hit Bill Clinton.

Bill Clinton went into -- somewhere. Didn`t come out for weeks. So he may think it works, Trump.

CARLSON: Yes. And you know, he has previewed what he is going to do, and that`s one line, which is to say that, you know, Hillary was complicit with her husband during the troubles in the White House and impeachment. He`s going to pursue that line. And he`s going to do Planned Parenthood, because of all the candidates, he likes that lightweight Marco Rubio, the very least. So he wants to fight him in the suburbs.

MATTHEWS: I`ll give you a chance here. This is the first time, because the Republican senators refuse to review, even consider a nomine for the Supreme Court. We have eight members of the court, one missing. You have a Texas case right now, which is very hot.

RICHARDS: Exactly.

MATTHEWS: Reducing the number of abortion clinics from 40 to 10, basically making it a major part of your life to get to an abortion clinic hundreds of miles away. So, is this going to make the issue of choice, a major campaign issue?

RICHARDS: It already is a major campaign issue. And you`re right. I mean, this case was just heard before the Supreme Court today. I thought the arguments made were very clear, that women are suffering in Texas, who don`t have access to basic healthcare.

And what we`re already seeing, really interesting, I saw "Cosmo" just did a poll of their readership and millennials basically said that the two number -- the first and second issue for their readers were health care access and reproductive rights. And the Supreme Court vacancy and what`s up before the courts is really --

MATTHEWS: It`s going to bring up -- Democratic turnout has not been great so far. It has not been.

RICHARDS: Well, I think they`ve had a very competitive primary and I think November, though --

MATTHEWS: There should be more people voting.

CARLSON: The excitement is on the Republican side.

MATTHEWS: It seems to be. It`s strange. But maybe this will -- the court decision on Texas is going to gin up a lot of interest.

RICHARDS: Absolutely.

MATTHEWS: Anyway, we`re all watching Anthony Kennedy, as we always do. Watch Anthony Kennedy.

Anyway, the roundtable is staying with us.

And up next, these people are going to tell me something I don`t know, the best part of the show, because we learn something very important.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: Well, Dr. Ben Carson has now announced he won`t appear at tomorrow night`s debate, Republican debate, and does not see a path forward to the nomination. So, he`s out. And that leaves Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and John Kasich left in tomorrow night`s Republican lineup and in the Republican race for president. So, it`s really down to six people, as our possible next president.

Join me for complete pre- and post-debate coverage here on HARDBALL. We`ll be here at 7:00 p.m. tomorrow night Eastern, and back at 11:00 p.m. for two hours following the debate. So come join us for the night`s key moments.

We`ll be right back.


MATTHEWS: Back with the roundtable.

Cecile, tell me something I don`t know.

RICHARDS: Great news. A report just out, we`re at a 30-year low for unintended pregnancy in America and 40-year low for teen pregnancy. And so, we could just get politics out of health care. We could actually do an incredible --

MATTHEWS: So, birth control is good.

RICHARDS: Yes, birth control is good. It`s working.

MATTHEWS: It works.

RICHARDS: Working.

STANTON: So, there`s a growing number of people that want Mitch McConnell to try to step in with John Kasich to try to get him to get out to allow sort of Rubio and Cruz to do this thing. That seems like something he may end up doing, but the one thing he`s not going to do is go to Rob Portman and tell him to disavow his endorsement of Kasich because if Portman were to do that, it could hurt his chances in November. So, the people who are pushing him should probably drop that because there`s no chance McConnell will do something like that.


CARLSON: So, Governor Christie has had a hard time, we might say, since he endorsed Trump and we could all see it on TV last night and six papers have called for his resignation. He is going to be spending less time than he has on the campaign trail with Trump.


CARLSON: It`s not working for him.

MATTHEWS: OK. Lot of people thought --

CARLSON: Did you see him last night?


MATTHEWS: -- behind him.


MATTHEWS: Anyway, Ms. Cecile Richards, thank you. Paul Singer, thank you. Margaret Carlson.

We`ll be right back.


MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with the problem facing Republicans. It`s called Donald Trump.

You went along with him when he trashed the president as an illegal alien, when Trump again and again accused Barack Obama of being born outside the country, of being because of that, being an illegitimate holder of his office.

Well, the monstrosity of that indictment needed to be felt and understood by the Republican big shots back when they had a chance to do something about it. Did they truly believe Trump`s birther charge, do they think the president`s mother had slipped over to Kenya, had her son, named him Barack Hussein Obama and then whisked him back stateside to get him prepped for the country`s highest office? Did they really believe the birth certificate and the birth announcements in the Honolulu newspapers were a fraudulent caper meant to get her son, her infant son to get all cleaned up to be president? Did they?

And if they didn`t, why didn`t they say show? Why did the top Republican in the country, the speaker of the House John Boehner, when asked about members of his caucus who had taken up the birther cause, fob off the question by saying it wasn`t his job to tell people what to think?

And why didn`t the party leadership draw the line when Trump did the same birther number on Senator Ted Cruz or when he tested the same power of suggestion on Marco Rubio? Well, now, they`ve got him. They`ve got a likely nominee for president who if he gets sworn in next January will have ridden a cart to the U.S. capital with a man he had dismissed as an illegal immigrant, that`s if Trump gets that far.

Long before then, the party needs to ask itself something more basic, yes, more basic, than who it wants as our next president. Has it no decency?

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

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.