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Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 4/11/2016

Guests: Jeff Weaver, Mayor Bill de Blasio, Carole King, Heidi Przybyla, Larry Alex Taunton

Show: HARDBALL Date: April 11, 2016 Guest: Jeff Weaver, Mayor Bill de Blasio, Carole King, Heidi Przybyla, Larry Alex Taunton

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Broadway or bust.

Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.

Well, it`s a battle for Broadway, OK (ph), Hillary Clinton versus Bernie Sanders. We`re eight days away from the New York`s big primary. A slew of New York polls out today show Secretary Clinton with a double-digit lead up there. Look at this. The NBC/"Wall Street Journal" Marist poll out tonight gives Clinton a 14-point lead up there in New York. According to Monmouth, she`s up by 12 over Bernie. A new FOX News poll has Clinton over Sanders by 16 points. Look at those numbers!

Anyway, last week, Senator Sanders backed away from his attack on Clinton`s qualifications for the presidency, but over the weekend, he went after her judgment. Let`s watch that.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If you look at where she is getting her money, from Wall Street and other powerful special interests -- she voted for the war. She cited Henry Kissinger, in a sense, as a model for her. I think those issues will tell the American people that in many respects, she may have the experience to be president of the United States. No one can argue that. But in terms of her judgment, something is clearly lacking.

I have my doubts about what kind of president she would make.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But you would support her, if need be?

SANDERS: Well, and by the way, in terms of experience, no question that she has the experience.


MATTHEWS: Well, meanwhile today, Secretary Clinton questioned Sanders`s preparation on the issues.


HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), FMR. SEC. OF STATE, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have noticed that under the bright spotlight and scrutiny here in New York, Senator Sanders has had trouble answering questions. He`s had trouble answering questions about his core issue, mainly dealing with the banks. He`s had trouble answering foreign policy questions.

I have the best policy toward dealing with what needs to happen to prevent Wall Street from ever wrecking Main Street again. Every progressive economist from Paul Krugman to professors in universities, Barney Frank, they`ve all said I have the plan that will actually work. Senator Sanders couldn`t even answer questions about whatever his plan is.


MATTHEWS: Well, NBC`s Kasie Hunt, of course, covers the Sanders campaign, and Kristen Welker covers the Clinton campaign.

Let me go to Kasie right now. Has Sanders backed away from this "unqualified" charge against her?

KASIE HUNT, NBC CORRESPONDENT: It`s pretty clear, Chris, he has, yes. He made it exactly twice, once at a rally in Philadelphia late last week, and again the following morning at a press conference. And then after that, in interviews on NBC, "MORNING JOE," the "TODAY" show, he backed away from that.

And it`s pretty clear, having talked with some of the Sanders advisers, that that was ultimately an indefensible critique, at least in the long term. It`s just a very difficult argument to be out there making over and over and over again.

And instead, he`s gone back to this critique of her judgment, which, by the way, is something he`s been saying for several months over the course of -- whether it`s the Iraq war or other policy judgments, Henry Kissinger, other areas.

So I think what you`re really seeing right now is Senator Sanders in a crucible that he`s never experienced before. And we talk a lot about how presidential candidates who run for the second time have a much better sense of how it goes because it really is unlike anything they`ve ever experienced before.

And I talked to Jane Sanders, his wife. She says this -- you know, This was harder than we ever thought that it was going to be. And I think he really is experiencing that going into this New York primary. And they know that it`s going to be tough going for him and that he does need to hit back.

But it`s clear that they went a little bit too far and felt like they needed to walk that back.

MATTHEWS: OK. Thank you so much, Kasie Hunt, who`s following the Sanders campaign.

Let`s go to Kristen Welker right now, who`s covering Clinton. Kristen, you`re -- you`re thinking about this. Is Hillary ready? I get the feeling that Bernie Sanders -- he had a lagging period there for a couple weeks, and now he`s back trying to actually win this, which means he`s got to beat Hillary Clinton.

And it looks like he`s out there to beat her, I mean, not just give her a good protest fight, but knock her off politically so that he can be the nominee. It looks like he`s going for it.

KRISTEN WELKER, NBC CORRESPONDENT: I think you`re absolutely right that he`s going for it, and that`s why you saw him sharpen the attacks. We`re seeing very heated rhetoric right now, I think, Chris, on both sides.

But I can tell you that the Clinton campaign is feeling good about their chances here in New York, in part because of all of those polls that you just laid out. And of course, this is a state that she won back in 2008 and she served as senator here for two terms.

At the same time, they don`t think they can let up. And that means campaigning aggressively throughout the five boroughs, courting African- Americans and Latinos, and also focusing on upstate New York, a lot of delegates to be had there.

And of course, that`s an area where Senator Sanders`s message really resonates. We spoke with voters there today who said that they like what he has to say.

Can`t stress the importance of New York enough from the perspective of the Clinton campaign because if she wins this state, Chris, particularly if she wins by double digits, she would almost put this race out of reach for him. It would almost be game over. So this is really a critical win for her.

Now, at the same time, you`re seeing her keep her eye on the general election, as well. She just released that new ad today hitting Donald Trump...


WELKER: ... the campaign telling me, Look, that serves two purposes. It allows her to go after the GOP front-runner and also to make the case to Democratic primary voters that she would be the strongest candidate in the general election, Chris.

MATTHEWS: Yes, I get the message there. I think that`s what she`s up to. Anyway, thank you, Kristen Welker.

On Friday of last week, Sanders` campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, had these strong words for Hillary Clinton. Let`s watch.


JEFF WEAVER, SANDER CAMPAIGN MANAGER: I think if you look at her record and you look at her campaign -- you know, her campaign is funded by millions and millions of dollars from Wall Street and other special interests. You know, she`s really made a deal with the devil, and we all know the devil wants his money in the end. So that`s the kind of campaign she`s running.

You know, she supported these terrible trade deals which have devastated American manufacturing in this country. She supported the war in Iraq. She continues to have a very, very hawkish foreign policy which has led to the rise and expansion of ISIS throughout the Middle East.


MATTHEWS: Well, today, Fred (sic) Weaver said Clinton was experienced on paper. Let`s watch that.


WEAVER: Well, look, she`s clearly experienced, right, clearly an intelligent person, experienced person. But resume is not enough at the end of the day, right? So you can look at someone`s resume, and they could be great, but when you do the interview, which is what this whole election process basically is, is a job interview, you learn a lot more than just what`s on the piece of paper. So on paper, of course, she`s experienced.


MATTHEWS: Jeff Weaver joins us right now. Thank you. I missed your name there, unfortunately.


MATTHEWS: You`re a powerful speaker. But you know, this is...

WEAVER: No problem.

MATTHEWS: ... pretty strong stuff. You deal in almost like mythical language. You talk about Hillary Clinton selling her soul to the devil, basically. Do you mean that?

WEAVER: Well, what I mean, Chris, is that...

MATTHEWS: No, selling her soul to the devil, basically...

WEAVER: She has...

MATTHEWS: ... that`s serious basically.

WEAVER: She has chosen to take money from virtually every special interest in the country. Wall Street, the financial industry, the pharmaceutical industry. Greenpeace documented that between her and her super-PAC, $4.5 million from fossil fuel-related industries, the gun lobby -- the gun lobbyists that provided her money.

So on all of these things, she has chosen to fund her campaign in that way. And what we know, Chris, by the fact that Bernie Sanders does it differently, is that you don`t have to fund your campaign that way.


WEAVER: He funds his campaign with small contributions from people all over the country.

MATTHEWS: Well, that`s good. I think everybody thinks that`s admirable. But then you`re the only one out there saying she sold her soul to the devil. The problem with that kind of Faustian charge...

WEAVER: I said she made a deal with the devil, is what I said.

MATTHEWS: Well, what`s the difference? There`s only one deal with the devil, my friend. That`s selling your soul. There is no other deal. It`s Faust. We all know the story, and you can`t get your soul back.

WEAVER: Right.

MATTHEWS: So can Hillary ever get her soul back?

WEAVER: Well, look, the truth of the matter is...

MATTHEWS: This deal you made with the devil -- you`ve said it. If she made a deal with the devil, she ain`t going to be able to undo that deal.

WEAVER: Well, they`re going to come -- they`re going to come knocking the day after the election if she`s elected president. I have no doubt about that.

MATTHEWS: And what`s that mean? "They" -- well, now it`s the -- how many devils are there?

WEAVER: Well, quite a few of them. (INAUDIBLE) Wall Street, the pharmaceutical industry, the fossil fuel industry...


WEAVER: ... and on and on it goes.

MATTHEWS: So you stick to your claim that Hillary Clinton sold her soul to the devil.


WEAVER: No, I didn`t say she sold her soul. Look...

MATTHEWS: What did you say?

WEAVER: ... she`s taking a lot of money from people who are going to come back after the election, knocking on the door, looking for access.

MATTHEWS: Yes, but the devil...

WEAVER: That`s just the way it works. That`s the way it works.

MATTHEWS: The devil! The devil!

WEAVER: That`s the way it works, Chris.

MATTHEWS: She`s dealing with evil.

WEAVER: Chris, you worked in Washington, D.C....


WEAVER: You know how it works.

MATTHEWS: I understand what you`re saying.

WEAVER: You know how it works.

MATTHEWS: I think it`s a pretty -- I think it`s a pretty condemnatory comment. Let me ask you about on paper. Hillary Clinton`s had experience on paper. What do you mean?

WEAVER: Well, look, she`s secretary of state. She was a senator. She was first lady of the United States and of Arkansas. She has an incredibly impressive resume. There`s no doubt about it.


WEAVER: But when you go beyond it and you look at her support of things like the Iraq war, her support for disastrous trade deals...


WEAVER: ... her support for DOMA, her efforts during the 2008 race to keep the governor of New York from giving drivers` licenses to undocumented workers -- when you look at these things over and over and over again, there`s more there than just the resume.

MATTHEWS: Well, there`s an amazing number of things you mentioned I happen to agree with you and your candidate on, as you know. You know my erogenous zone. You`re hitting it. Let me just tell you this. The problem is...


WEAVER: ... condemnatory.

MATTHEWS: No, it isn`t. Don`t be sarcastic. Anyway, it seems to me you got a lot of good arguments, but you overstate your case. First of all, your candidate, Senator Sanders, who you`ve been working with -- working for, for so many years, basically said, I`m not questioning her qualifications. It sounds like you are.

WEAVER: No, it`s about judgment. Look, she has a vast amount of experience. She`s clearly...

MATTHEWS: You said she only has experience on paper. That`s questioning somebody`s resume.

WEAVER: No, no, no, no.

MATTHEWS: You`re saying the resume doesn`t really get backed up by experience, real experience.

WEAVER: No, no. No. The resume doesn`t get backed up by judgment. That`s the problem.

MATTHEWS: OK. Thank you, Jeff Weaver. Thanks for coming on.

WEAVER: Happy to be here.

MATTHEWS: You`re a strong voice -- a strong voice for Senator Sanders.

I`m joined right now by another strong voice, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has clearly endorsed -- wow! By the way, whoever writes your jokes up there, get a new joke writer! The CP (ph) time (ph), all that stuff was a disaster. It was a disaster!

Anyway, let me ask you about Hillary Clinton. This is a very tough fight. Bernie Sanders sounds like he`s not just a protest candidate anymore, he intends to win New York. He is throwing the sink at her. He`s going after her on basic things like dealing with the devil, selling his (sic) soul. These stories about Hillary Clinton because she`s taking money from the wrong people -- they`re getting pretty -- you know, what`s the right word - - metaphysical about this. She`s basically dealing with evil.

Were you counting on this in this debate? Did you expect them to get this tough?

MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK CITY: Look, I think the bottom line is some of these charges just don`t hold water. And let`s take the fossil fuel point. I spoke to this previously. Here`s someone who led the charge for the United States to bring the global community together to end climate change. What the president and Hillary Clinton did in terms of China and in terms of the march to the Paris accord, biggest thing we`ve seen in years in terms of addressing climate change.

On top of that, her campaign platform calls for taking away tax breaks from fossil fuel companies. Equally, her Wall Street platform is in many ways tougher than Bernie Sanders`s and would actually rein in Wall Street and deal with the issues we`re facing right now on Wall Street, not the ones we experienced years ago.

So I don`t know quite what Jeff is trying to get at there.

MATTHEWS: Well, I know.

DE BLASIO: When you look at what someone stands for and what they say they`re going to do, that`s what matters...

MATTHEWS: He`s saying she`s in the tank!

DE BLASIO: You know what?

MATTHEWS: That`s why they say that over and over again, she`s in the tank because of the Goldman Sachs speeches, the $200K-a-pop speeches. He says they must be a hell of a speeches. (sic) I mean, they keep getting her as someone who can`t be trusted because she`s in bed with these guys. I mean, that`s what they`re saying over and over again.

DE BLASIO: And it just doesn`t -- Chris, it doesn`t hold water. Look at what she`s saying she will do for the country. Look at what she stands for. Look what`s in her platform. Look at her history. She stood up to the health insurance companies during the health care reform debate of the -- `93-`94. We remember how dramatic that was. She stood her ground.

She`s -- she went to Beijing, stood up to the Chinese on women`s rights. She has a long history of being a fighter and being tough. Look at what she stands for.

And you know what? The Sanders camp, with all due respect to them, they don`t look at the platform and address the platform. Her platform would bring fundamental progressive change on a host of issues. And she`s doing very well in New York state, as these polls indicate, because she has a message and a set of ideas that fit the people of New York. They also believe she can actually get something done on these issues.

MATTHEWS: You know the charge against politicians who take money from Wall Street or anywhere else, big interests? It`s not that you`re in the tank exactly, but they know you`re not going to be really that aggressive, that when it comes time to be -- it`s sins of omission. You`re not really that tough on regulatory -- you`re not really that tough on legislation that`s really going to restrict these industries because you`ve gotten money from them. You know the problem.

Would it be better off for Hillary Clinton if she hadn`t taken the $600,000 in speaking fees from Goldman Sachs? Would she be more credible if she hadn`t? That`s the argument they make.

DE BLASIO: I understand the argument, but...

MATTHEWS: It`s a good one.

DE BLASIO: ... look, we`ve used the analogy before in all these discussions with President Obama, who a lot of people on Wall Street thought they were trying to achieve a certain relationship with him. Well, look, to his great credit, he went in and he did what was right for the people. He moved forward on Dodd-Frank. He did what he believed was right.

You know, people can support a candidate, but the candidate ultimately has to decide what`s right for the people. Now, I have seen in case after case with Hillary Clinton, she knows how to stand up to powerful interests. No one doubts her toughness, by the way. In addition to Jeff conceding her qualifications and her capacity...

MATTHEWS: On paper.

DE BLASIO: ... I don`t know anyone who doubts her toughness.


MATTHEWS: ... and that has a lot of ramifications -- that has a lot of ramifications for the general election, as well.

MATTHEWS: OK, he`s saying she`s more hawkish. Here`s your chance to advertise the good part of the hawkishness. On Israel the other day, she said that he shouldn`t have said -- that Israel`s government under Bibi Netanyahu has been disproportionate in its reactions of the actions of Hamas, for example.

Do you agree with that? Because she basically comes off in that debate as more pro-government of Israel. I wouldn`t say Israel, but certainly more pro the government of Israel.

DE BLASIO: Well, I think -- I`m one of the people, and I think there`s many people in this country, have real differences with Prime Minister Netanyahu. He`s obviously been very, I think, unfair to President Obama. I don`t think it`s a question of the current prime minister of Israel. We have to protect the state of Israel going forward. And as America`s tried to do for years, we have to achieve a two-state solution. So that`s the balance.

MATTHEWS: I`m with you.

DE BLASIO: But I think we can agree that Netanyahu`s alienated a lot of people in this country.

MATTHEWS: OK. I got to ask you -- I`m being pushed here, but I got to ask you a big New York question. Since the time I was born, you were born, we were born, New Yorkers love it when people come to New York and eat the food.

The worst -- and you`ve got to go to Junior`s. You`ve got to have a cheesecake. You got to have the number one cheesecake. You got to go to Nathan`s for the hot dog. You got to go to Coney Island. You got to eat blintzes. You got to eat stuff you`ve never eaten in your life, and you got to do it with relish so you can appear in "The Daily News" and "The Post" with this slop coming out of your mouth!

Why do New Yorkers insist on that ritual?

MATTHEWS: I think we want to see people really get our culture. And a pastrami sandwich at the Carnegie Deli would be another great example, right?


DE BLASIO: It`s part of who we are, our food and our -- and all the cultures that make up New York. It`s actually a lot of fun to see people connect with it.


DE BLASIO: And you got to ride the subway.

MATTHEWS: Of course.

DE BLASIO: That`s also part of it -- and actually connect with the people of New York City. We enjoy that.

MATTHEWS: I`ll bring my tokens. Just kidding.

DE BLASIO: All right.


MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you, Bill de Blasio, the mayor of New York. That`s for -- thanks for joining us tonight, sir.

Coming up, "Gestapo tactics" -- that`s what Trump`s new convention manager, Paul Manafort, is accusing the Cruz campaign of. Talk about the word you`re not supposed to use! As the fight for delegates heats up, the Cruz campaign says those comments are an attempt to distract voters from Trump`s failure. But looking at this nomination ballot, can you either lock in -- he (ph) -- well, Trump locked it up before the convention. That`s still the big question in New York for him next week. Looks like he can.

Also, New York native Carole King is coming here to join our roundtable. She`s actually -- this great lady`s going to sit among our roundtable The legendary singer/songwriter has more than 100 hit singles to her name she wrote. Well, tonight, she`ll talk New York state politics and her support for, of course, Hillary Clinton.

Plus, just eight days away from the critical New York primary, Carole and the roundtable will tell me something I don`t know -- I can`t wait for hers -- about politics in 2016 and this presidential election.

Finally, "Let Me Finish" tonight with -- about the big noise we keep hearing from the Big Apple this week.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: We`ve been covering right now the big battle for Broadway next week. The Democrats fight ahead of the New York primary next Tuesday. And the team at "Saturday Night Live" are on the case, as well, with their take on Hillary Clinton and her adopted home state.


KATE MCKINNON, "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE": Enough about the past. It`s time to look forward to the future. And right now, my focus is here in New York!


MCKINNON: God, I love being back in the fat apple, my home state!


MCKINNON: Except for Illinois and Arkansas. But they already voted for me, so we cool. We cool.


MCKINNON: And gosh, New York has been cold this week, hasn`t it? In fact, my head is getting a little chilly. I better put on my favorite hat that I`ve worn so many times over the years.


MCKINNON: Here we go. That`ll keep me warm while I eat my favorite dinner, a classic New York City street hot dog!


MCKINNON: What a delicious real (ph) bite that was. And for dessert, all you New Yorkers know that I am just nuts for nuts!


MCKINNON: And later tonight, I`m going to take in that hot new Broadway show that`s got all of NYC abuzz, "Chicago"!


MATTHEWS: By the way, did you see the price tag on her Yankees cap?

Anyway, we`ll be right back.



DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And I say this to the RNC, and I say it to the Republican Party. You`re going to have a big problem, folks, because there are people that don`t like what`s going on.

We have got a corrupt system. It`s not right. We`re supposed to be a democracy. We`re supposed to be -- we`re supposed to be, you vote, and the vote means something, all right? You vote and the vote means something.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

Remember that old line from the Brooklyn Dodgers, "We was robbed"?

Well, that was Donald Trump yesterday calling the process of delegate selection corrupt, or, we was robbed. While Trump has won the majority of contests so far, most of the states, Cruz has consistently outmaneuvered Trump in the backrooms in the handful of the states where the voters pick the delegates at conventions. Isn`t that cute?

Over the weekend, Cruz swept all the 34 delegates that are up for grabs out in Colorado, where they have a convention, instead of a primary or caucus. As NBC reports, Trump supporters in the state said -- quote -- "They were frustrated with the campaign`s chaotic and uncommunicative campaign which failed to reach basic levels of competence."

Well, now Trump`s convention manager, Paul Manafort, who has taken on a larger role within the campaign, is accusing the Cruz campaign -- you will not hear this often in politics -- of using gestapo tactics. That`s what Manafort now calls the Cruz operation, gestapo tactics, comparing Cruz`s delegate selection operations to the secret police of Nazi Germany.

Here it is, not to be forgotten.


CHUCK TODD, MODERATOR, "MEET THE PRESS": What is fair game to win a delegate? Is threatening a fair game? Is -- these a fair game?

PAUL MANAFORT, TRUMP CONVENTION MANAGER: That`s not my style. It`s not Donald Trump`s style.


MANAFORT: But it is Ted Cruz`s style. And that`s going to wear thin very fast.

TODD: You think he`s threatening delegates?

MANAFORT: Well, he`s threatening -- you go to these county conventions and you see the tactics, the gestapo tactics, the scorched-earth tactics.

TODD: Gestapo tactics? That`s a strong word.

MANAFORT: Well, you look at -- we`re going to be filing several protests, because the reality is they are not playing by the rules.


MATTHEWS: I heard that line the other day on Sunday on "Meet the Press." I could not believe a guy used that phrase.

Anyway, in response, a Cruz campaign spokesperson issued the following statement. "It`s no surprise that Trump`s team will lash out with falsehoods when facing a loss to distract voters from their own failure."

And today Cruz mocked Trump for calling the process unfair. Let`s take a look.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The latest thing he seized upon is when people vote against him, they`re stealing the election. It`s a really odd notion. What is this democracy of which you speak? Wait, wait, do you mean voters get to vote? No, no, no.



MATTHEWS: Well, the problem is that Cruz is arguing a difficult argument.

I`m joined right now by MSNBC political analyst Howard Fineman, global editorial director of The Huffington Post, of course, and MSNBC national correspondent Joy Reid.

The thing is, whatever the think of Trump, he has the case, which is democracy. People all voted. The people that got the most votes -- the guy or person who wins the most votes should be the nominee, rather than somebody who got less votes, because no matter what they do at the convention, they have got to pick somebody who has less votes than him and argue that he`s a better candidate.

Doesn`t sound Democratic. Cruz is very good at the backroom cigar stuff where you go in the backroom and get delegates one at a time at conventions, very republican form of government, but not democratic form of government.

HOWARD FINEMAN, NBC CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I think that Donald Trump has a point about Colorado. As you said, they don`t even have a primary.

MATTHEWS: No. Why not? What, are they chintzes?

FINEMAN: I don`t really, completely understand why, other than the party wants to leave the party in power. They want the party insiders to be in power.


FINEMAN: So, Donald Trump has a point about that. What he doesn`t have a point about, or what Paul Manafort didn`t have a point about is that those are gestapo tactics, because the fact is, those were the rules in Colorado.

If Donald Trump wanted to win the delegates in Colorado, he had to get down off the podium, he had to stop speaking to a crowd of 10,000 people, and organize his way to getting those delegates.

MATTHEWS: I am a history buff, Joy, so just hold with me.

Let`s look at the two cases in our memory that use -- gestapo was used, this kind of rhetoric. This is not the first time a politician has used this kind of rhetoric to attack his -- keep moving -- his enemies. Keep moving the prompter. Geez, what are we waiting for?

At the close of World War II in 1945, Britain`s -- my hero Winston Churchill, he went up against the opposition party, Clement Attlee, who was bringing health care and other things, and said, labor would need a secret police to implement its socialist policies.

This is Churchill. "No socialist government conducting the entire life and industry of the country could afford to allow free, sharp, or violently worded expressions of public discontent. They would have to fall back on some sort of gestapo."

Anyway, in 1968, I will never forget this, when anti-Vietnam War protesters clashed with the Chicago police during the Democratic National Convention out there, Connecticut Senator Abraham Ribicoff slammed the police for their tactics. Here`s Ribicoff.


SEN. ABRAHAM RIBICOFF (D), CONNECTICUT: With George McGovern as president of the United States, we wouldn`t have to have gestapo tactics in the streets of Chicago.



Joy, at that time, Mayor Daley put a cut across his neck, like cut this guy off, and used language which nobody wanted to be proud of. But the voice readers could tell what he was saying. It wasn`t nice to Ribicoff.

But the word gestapo, sell your soul to the devil, is there anything -- like, how about British understatement occasionally in these campaigns, Joy?


JOY REID, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: No. And it`s interesting that you chose 1968, right, because, of course, that was the sort of the end of, sort of high watermark of the backroom deal placing a nominee on the ballot through these nondemocratic processes.

MATTHEWS: Hubert Humphrey.

REID: Hubert Humphrey getting on the ballot that way, Hubert Humphrey, who was just imposed on the Democratic Party in 1968.

But what is interesting is, talking to a lot of Trump supporters here, most of the people we have talked to in this diner here, Mike`s Unicorn here in Staten Island, Trump voters, but the attack on process, the attack on the party process, the backroom-dealing process, that is actually classic Trump campaign. It`s part of what his appeal is.

No matter how the extreme that rhetoric is, using that term gestapo tactics, the reality is that people I have been talking to, they don`t trust the process. They don`t trust the party. And so Donald Trump is essentially running against this sort of evil of the establishment, and essentially saying any outcome other than him getting the nomination, is to quote Paul Manafort -- I was sitting a desk away when he said it.

I think everyone`s jaws dropped. But I think that the voters that like Donald Trump, they already feel that way about the party.

MATTHEWS: I don`t think he made a mistake. I think they`re building towards something. They`re building towards a cataclysm, a catastrophe at the convention in Cleveland. If he`s shorted by 100 votes, and he says give me it, I got 100 votes, I`m only 100 short, or 200 short, he says I want the gimme, and if he doesn`t get it, then he was robbed.

FINEMAN: Yes. Well, Chris, he`s building toward the threat of the catastrophe.


FINEMAN: That`s what they`re doing here.

MATTHEWS: How would that work out for him?

FINEMAN: That`s why Paul Manafort said what he said. I talked to people very close to him, in the circle of the Trump campaign, who said that Paul -- that what Paul was doing is impressing Donald Trump in saying, here`s how we`re going to do it.


FINEMAN: We`re going to threaten to destroy the convention and the party if we don`t get what we want, if we`re close enough to grab it.


FINEMAN: That`s basically what he`s saying. They`re not going to rest this on arcane parsing of rules in the rules committee. That`s not going to happen.


MATTHEWS: OK, let`s go, 200 votes short, 200 delegates short, how far is he willing to make this case, 200, 300 short? He gets to 1,000, it`s enough?

FINEMAN: Well, first, he`s going to argue that if he has more votes and more delegates than anybody else, he should be entitled to it. And if they don`t flinch at that, then he will try -- then he may walk.

As you have said earlier today, a great end for Donald Trump, who I`m not sure wants to be president anyway...

MATTHEWS: Yes. Nothing`s more dramatic or simple. Walk away with no more responsibility.

FINEMAN: Walk away, and he has sort of somewhat of an arsonist mentality sometimes anyway.

MATTHEWS: I wouldn`t go that far.

FINEMAN: No, but what he wants to tear -- his point is, the system is broken, the system is corrupt. I also know...


MATTHEWS: But it`s Samson in the temple, too.


FINEMAN: He`s constantly being advised by his family, by other advisers in the Republican Party and elsewhere, make the pivot, Donald. Become presidential. Give the insider speeches. Study this briefing book. He`s not interested in that, because he wants to do it his way, which is the way to say that everything on the inside is corrupt, and only I am pure, and that`s how I`m going to run.

He has refused to change his strategy all along. And there`s no reason to expect that he will do it now.

MATTHEWS: Here`s Cruz trying to stop that tactic, which I agree completely. On Saturday night, Cruz said he`s trying to stop it in the first ballot and then it`s all over. In other words, he believes if he stops Trump short of 1,237, he wins.

I want you to respond to this, Joy.


CRUZ: I believe the first ballot will be the highest vote total Donald Trump receives, and on a subsequent ballot, we`re going to win the nomination and earn a majority.



MATTHEWS: Joy, what do you think of that? Because if you come in short in the first ballot, that`s the one people are going to look at and say that`s the most popular ballot. That`s the one based on voters.

Whatever happens after that is smoke-filled rooms.

REID: Right. Yes. Indeed.

And you have to remember that you have two campaigns that are doing the opposite thing. Trump is relying on all just feeling. Right? People`s anger and rage toward the Republican Party, toward the system.

What Cruz is doing is, he is doing process. He`s 100 percent process. He`s been actually going back to the conventions in Colorado, and Louisiana, making sure that they have got that second ballot vote locked down. He`s actually doing the process argument. He`s doing it the right way.

Donald Trump, just for an example, here in New York, this is a closed primary state. We have asked voters that were Democrats that actually really like Donald Trump whether they had actually registered themselves as Republicans to vote for him. And the answer so far today, at least among the Democrats we talked to, was no. It hasn`t been a campaign, an on-the- ground campaign to actually convert Reagan Democrats who like Donald Trump into people who can actually vote for Donald Trump, including two of his own kids. Right?

I think the thing is, Trump has ignored process throughout. He`s done so in New York. He still will very likely win New York. He has more fans. He has more fans here. But it`s all process vs. all feeling. And I think that Trump just believes that that emotion, that raw emotion will mean they have got to give it to him, that they can`t walk away from that Cleveland convention and let it be set literally or figuratively on fire by denying him the nomination.

MATTHEWS: I`m just -- I`m distracted, Joy, by what`s behind you. That looks like a good comfort food restaurant behind you. I think I want an open-faced roast beef sandwich. That`s what I want.


REID: Yes. You should get it. This is a great place, Mike`s Unicorn.

MATTHEWS: I like it, Mike`s Unicorn. It looks like a good place to eat. Thank you.

REID: And the food is great and the people are great.

MATTHEWS: Thank you. It`s worth the ride to Long Island.

REID: Yes, it is.

MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you, Howard Fineman and Joy Reid.

Up next, the great Carole King joins the HARDBALL roundtable tonight, as we discuss the battle for Broadway between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MILISSA REHBERGER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Milissa Rehberger. Here`s what`s happening.

CIA Director John Brennan tells NBC News his agency will not engage in harsh techniques like water-boarding even if ordered to by a future president. Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump has said, if elected, he would authorize water-boarding, even though the practice was banned in 2009.

And police say they have arrested more than 400 protesters at the U.S. Capitol for unlawfully demonstrating. Protesters called for Congress to end big money influence and politics and demanded free and fair elections, according to the group`s Web site -- back to HARDBALL.

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

Well, with just eight days now to the New York primary, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are battling borough to borough, if you will. In an interview today, by the way -- and this is a little surprising -- Vice President Joe Biden weighed in on the 2016 race and the prospect of a woman president.

Here`s the vice president.


JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This country is ready for a woman. There`s no problem. We are going to be able to elect a woman in this country.

QUESTION: Would you like to see us elect a woman?

BIDEN: I would like to see a woman elected.

MAN: That`s it.

BIDEN: No, that`s all right. I would like to see -- I don`t mind -- I`m not getting into that.


QUESTION: I would like to ask one more question.

BIDEN: The president and I are not going to endorse, because we both, when we ran, said, let the party decide.


MATTHEWS: Who is this guy interrupting the vice president of the United States?

Anyway, the voters will decide next Tuesday in New York, of course. Secretary Clinton`s dominating the Empire State, according to a New York NBC/"Wall Street Journal"/Marist poll. Clinton leads Sanders by 20 points among women, 20 among women, by four among men.

Joining me right now at the HARDBALL roundtable, the great Carole King, who needs no introduction. I will just introduce you, who is supporting Hillary Clinton, of course. News political reporter Perry Bacon. And Heidi from the "USA Today." Two objective people, one partisan here.

What do you think of Joe Biden? Because, obviously, people behind him on his staff, they are afraid he`s actually said something. He`s like the queen of England. You`re not to get involved in politics. He did.

CAROLE KING, HILLARY CLINTON SUPPORTER: The last time he did that, he came out ahead of the president.

MATTHEWS: On gay marriage.

KING: Yes, exactly. But he was very careful to say, you know, we`re not endorsing, and...

MATTHEWS: Well, he was. There`s only one woman running. Come on. And he`s endorsing.

KING: Yes, he was, obviously. It appears that he was.

MATTHEWS: Perry, what unleashed him on this one?

PERRY BACON, NBC NEWS SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I think he was asked, you know, should we have a woman? He was asked and prompted about that question, about should we have a woman president? I`m not surprised.

But you know who Joe Biden`s favorite candidate is. Joe Biden. So we should be clear about that. He thinks Joe Biden would be doing very well if Joe Biden was running.


MATTHEWS: Is he looking for the latest news on the e-mails?

BACON: Maybe a little bit.



HEIDI PRZYBYLA, "USA TODAY": The context was he was asked. He was asked about the feud. The setup there was, he was asked about the feud between Bernie and Hillary.

And he as kind of trying to show that he has an even hand and he supports both of them. So, I didn`t necessarily view it as an endorsement. But I think that his handlers clearly got uncomfortable at that point that it might veer off into that direction. And this would be a perfect storm, disastrous time to do that, given that a lot of Democratic watchers feel like New York might be the final kneecap for Bernie Sanders, and what`s the first thing she needs to do after New York, is unify those voters behind her.


MATTHEWS: Let me get to -- Heidi, you`re on the hot question there, which is, she will win New York, it looks like, and Trump will win New York, it looks like. But they both have to win the whole thing.

And the question is, you have got voters under 45 all for Bernie, under 35 extremely for Bernie 2-1. And you have some people saying, a third of the Democrats, a third of the Bernie people, I will not vote for Hillary.

How do you bring them around? Why would somebody on the left not vote for somebody on the center-left, if you will, where Hillary is, I think, against somebody on the right or weird right like Trump?

PRZYBYLA: Well, this is where we get into dissecting that vote of who are these people that say that they won`t vote for her. And are they really going to feel like that when -- and this is going to be the big watershed - - they realize what the alternative is?


MATTHEWS: They don`t know that yet?


PRZYBYLA: We`re in the heat of a primary right now.

MATTHEWS: I remember the PUMAs, so-called. I can`t remember what it meant, public unity -- party unity, my -- people saying, I`m not going to back Obama. But they did.


KING: Exactly.

You have been around long enough to remember that maybe not everybody comes on board, but they do. And it is necessary to do that. And I think -- I have also spoken to a lot of people who are for Bernie Sanders and on the same -- by the same token, Hillary Clinton supporters. There`s a not a lot of, I`m not going to support.

There are some. But those that are saying it, I think, will be brought along in the end, because they definitely don`t want any of the Republicans.


MATTHEWS: Yes, but they more common than just we`re against the other guys, too. I`m a little more positive about this. They are both Democrats. Well, Bernie`s become a Democrat.

BACON: Yes, Bernie`s become a Democrat.

MATTHEWS: But they do share a lot of belief in what the government can do positively.

BACON: When you talk to the young people, they really feel like Hillary is of the establishment. She doesn`t -- on issues, they do not -- they`re not excited about Hillary`s campaign right now.

I just wonder -- I do wonder if she has to pick a vice president who does appeal to the Bernie coalition or something like that. That`s looking forward.

MATTHEWS: Well, that`s going to be it. That`s the convention reality in Philadelphia. When they get to Philly...

KING: Jumping the gun.



MATTHEWS: We always run the gun -- jump the gun.

KING: Which, I want to say, she is -- you talk about those big poll numbers.

I know her. I have spent time with her. And she is working, fighting to earn every vote.


KING: She really, really is.

MATTHEWS: So, is going to pick a vice president on the right or left?

KING: She`s not thinking of --

MATTHEWS: Sherrod Brown who I think makes the most sense, even though you lose a Senate seat, or Joe Manchin, to appeal to sort of white Appalachian sort of guys.

KING: So, you`re going there. You`re not letting me --

MATTHEWS: I`m asking you both. No, I`m jumping ahead.


PERRY BACON, NBC NEWS: Let`s go there. Why not ask a man like Cory Booker --


BACON: We talk about, is this youth gap -- I don`t think Joe Manchin solves the young person gap.

MATTHEWS: By the way, Hillary has a real prejudice toward the Ivy League.


MATTHEWS: They love that thing. They`re cute about that.

The round table is sticking with us. Up next, these people tell me something I don`t know. I can`t wait to hear from Carole King. Maybe we`ll hear it in lyrical form.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: We`re back with the HARDBALL round table.

Heidi, tell me something I don`t know.

HEIDI PRZYBYLA, USA TODAY: Chris, this is directly relevant to what we were just discussing. This week has been a slugfest, right, the past week between Hillary and Clinton which raises the specter of whether there`s going to be lasting damage to the party. I decided to report this out. I went right to the easiest source which would be a Republican who would jump on this, right? Wrong.

Republican pollsters even at this point are admitting that I talked to Bill McInturff --

MATTHEWS: Yes, I know him.

PRZYBYLA: Yes and said, look, quote, "Though they will all come together in the fall. They will try to make sure that the Republican nominee loses." That the specter, even Republicans at this point are admitting that the specter of a Cruz or Trump presidency means that the Democrats will completely unite. It really says something. They start talking about the enthusiasm gap, we`re going to come back to it.

MATTHEWS: I think Trump in is trouble, Trump out is trouble.

Carole King?

KING: Shall I sing it? I have been a surrogate for various candidates. I spent all of 2004 going out and speaking for John Kerry, who was my friend before.

MATTHEWS: Nice try.

KING: And he wound up giving me the Kennedy necklace.

MATTHEWS: No ambassadorship?

KING: Nope. Didn`t want it. Happy to have this.

I am going out in New York, I`m from Brooklyn, I grew up in New York.

MATTHEWS: Where in Brooklyn?

KING: Where in Brooklyn? Sheepshead Bay.

MATTHEWS: Yes, down the (INAUDIBLE), Avenue Z.

KING: We renamed it.

MATTHEWS: I have friends down there.

KING: But -- so, I will be going around New York state, and telling people why I trust Hillary Clinton so much. I know her heart. I`ve spent time with her. She is a good person. And she has stood up to all those attacks. And she`s tough. She is tough.



BACON: So, the Senate Republicans` reelection arm last week, the head said Republican Senate candidates like Rob Portman should run like they`re running for the sheriff office. The idea being they need to talk about local issues as much as possible.

MATTHEWS: Why are they doing that?

BACON: To get away from -- they say both Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are kryptonite and they should avoid them if possible.


MATTHEWS: -- to the Founding Fathers, if you don`t hang together, we`ll hang separately.

BACON: Hanging separately, exactly.

MATTHEWS: Thank you, my roundtable tonight, Carole King, Perry Bacon, and Heidi Przybyla.

Coming up, a look at one of the great intellects of our time, the occasional HARDBALL guest, the late great Christopher Hitchens, believe it or not. His story is going to be amazing to you.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: We`ve got new numbers in the race for Pennsylvania. Let`s check the HARDBALL scoreboard. On the Democratic side, Clinton is on top with an 11-point lead. She`s got 49, Sanders at 38. On the Republican side, Trump`s nearing the 50 percent mark. Right now he`s at 48 percent. Kasich is down at 22 percent. Cruz down to 20.

We`ll be right back.


MATTHEWS: We are back.

Well, there wasn`t an icon the late British writer Christopher Hitchens wasn`t ready to take on, from Mother Teresa to Henry Kissinger, to the British royal family, to American political families with names like Clinton, Bush and Gore. All were subject to his withering essays and rhetorical assault.

A frequent HARDBALL guest, by the way, here was Hitchens in 2002 going after George W. Bush -- going after George W. Time and their time (ph).


CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS, BRITISH WRITER: If you think of all the things you don`t like about George Bush, if you`ll me say, if you don`t like Bush cozying up to the boardrooms, if you don`t like him panicking about civil liberties. If you don`t like him being ventriloquist for General Sharon, you look at Al Gore, Al Gore was already worst on those three things.


MATTHEWS: Well, he covered all the bases with that. An avowed atheist, Hitchens often debated friends and foes on the topic of religion often on this program. Christopher died in 2011. Now, one of his closest friends, evangelical writer Larry Alex Taunton, joins us to discuss his new book which is beautifully written, "The Faith of Christopher Hitchens".

I guess, Larry, just tell us, give us a pitch for the book. I think it`s a short book. It`s an airplane ride, a couple of rides. But you`ll really get something out of it. What do you get of a book about a guy`s dying year who is an atheist?

LARRY ALEX TAUNTON, AUTHOR, "THE FAITH OF CHRISTOPER HITCHENS": Yes. Chris, first of all, thank you. But I think one of the things I`d hope people will get from this is we live in a culture that is increasingly factionalized. And yet, here was Christopher Hitchens and myself, an evangelical Christian, who managed not only to debate one another but to enjoy each other`s company and a friendship.

MATTHEWS: Well, what was he searching for? I mean, everybody gets something from someone else and you learn from other people and your friend, especially, I think. Was he using you as a final sort of due diligence about whether he was right or wrong about God?

TAUNTON: You know, that`s a good way of putting it, Chris. It`s very interesting. Christopher, after his diagnosis with esophageal cancer which he knew to be a death sentence, Christopher took two lengthy road trips with me. One from his home in D.C. to my home in Birmingham, Alabama. And another one, a month later, through Yellowstone National Park.

And here he was -- I mean, it`s extraordinary, almost unbelievable. He has a Johnny Walker scotch squeezed between his knees. His glasses perched on the end of his nose and reading aloud from the Gospel of John, as I`m thriving through the Shenandoah Valley and we`re discussing the merits of that book?

MATTHEWS: And what were the merits to him?

TAUNTON: Well, you know, I think Christopher was genuinely trying to explore whether or not Christianity, at the end of the day, had real merits. I mean, this was a man staring eternity in the face and who is contemplating I think a broader defection than the political one that he did in 2001.

MATTHEWS: Why did he drink so much and smoke so much? I mean, it really did kill him. Do you think he knew he was doing it?

TAUNTON: I think he did, Chris. His father died of esophageal cancer and he knew that was a result of smoking and drinking in tandem.

MATTHEWS: All those nights at Timberlakes in Connecticut Avenue.


MATTHEWS: All those nights at the bar at Timberlakes, yes.

TAUNTON: Yes, you know, he told me in short that he liked it. And he said that he really didn`t expect to live as long as he did.

MATTHEWS: Well, you got to read this book. Larry, again, you write very beautifully about a guy who only wrote beautifully. I was friends with him. I thought he had a lot of guts, especially when he went after Clintons, which nobody in the left did.


MATTHEWS: I didn`t agree with him on the war in Iraq. He took some positions that drove me crazy. But he`s a wonderfully good guy to me. My father and at our first book party for HARDBALL back 100 years ago when he wrote it, he showed up like Richard Burton, and he opened his shirt a couple of buttons, and he spoke like just Burton quoting from Shakespeare.

My dad just said he never met anybody like him. It was real treat for us to meet this incredible character, Chris Hitchens.

Anyway, great that you wrote this book. I`m so glad you did, Larry Alex Taunton, for giving us the book called "The Faith of Christopher Hitchens".

And we`ll be right back.


MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with the big noise from the Big Apple.

One big lesson I`ve learned is the power of New York as this subject of New York news. Take the most powerful broadcasting and print engine in the world, New York City, and combine it with a story all about New York and you have a story that`s not only hot but downright explosive.

My point, winning New York next Tuesday is going to matter, much more than the delegates at stake, much bigger than you can imagine right now looking ahead to it.

If it`s Trump, he`s heading out to other big eastern states, Pennsylvania for one, where he`s already riding high in the polls. Winning New York by over 50 percent, which he`s headed to do, would take him to 50 percent in Pennsylvania and elsewhere.

OK, I`ll say it -- as goes New York, so will go a good number of other states that look to it. They will be impressed that after Trump`s bad luck, he can still win on Broadway, that he wouldn`t choke when he hit the Big Apple.

Same with Hillary Clinton. She needs a big win. If she beats the guy from Brooklyn, who still sounds like it, the case for Bernie Sanders winning the nomination will be extremely hard to make, extremely. So, watch this one.

Catch the debate Thursday night this week and our strip down of it afterwards that night because this one is the big one. Trump is going to win, I believe. That will keep him on track for winning that magic 1,237 delegates.

If Bernie pulls an upset in Hillary`s backyard, that will be chaos to the Democratic side. If she nails it down, people will say she did it in New York. New York, New York. The town so nice, they did name it twice.

That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.