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Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 4/14/2016

Guests: Robert Costa, Howard Fineman, Heidi Przybyla, Jeff Weaver, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Francesca Chambers, Ken Vogel, Jane Newton-Small

Show: HARDBALL Date: April 14, 2016 Guest: Robert Costa, Howard Fineman, Heidi Przybyla, Jeff Weaver, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Francesca Chambers, Ken Vogel, Jane Newton-Small

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Our live coverage continues next with a special edition of HARDBALL with Chris Matthews with analysis of tonight`s Democratic Debate.

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Judgment night. Let`s play HARDBALL.


MATTHEWS: Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews back in Washington with a special edition of HARDBALL.

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders were face to face tonight in their last scheduled debate of the Democratic Primaries. Let`s get right to one of the big moments of the night.

Clinton was quick to bring up Sanders` interview with the New York Daily News last week provoking this fight about which has the judgment to be president.


HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If you go and read, which I hope all of you will before Tuesday, Senator Sanders` long interview with the New York Daily News talk about judgment and talk about the kinds of problems he had answering questions about even his core issue, breaking up the banks. When asked he could not explain -


CLINTON: - how that would be done.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Let`s talk about judgment. Let`s talk about Super PACs and 501(c)(4)s, money which is completely undisclosed. Where does the money come from? Do we really feel confident about a candidate saying that she`s going to bring change in America, when she is so dependent on big-money interest? I don`t think so.

CLINTON: This is not just an attack on me. It`s an attack on President Obama. President Obama, you know, let me tell you why. You may not like the answer, but I`ll tell you why. President Obama had a Super PAC when he ran. President Obama took tens of millions of dollars from contributors, and President Obama was not at all influenced when he made the decision to pass and sign Dodd-Frank, the toughest regulations on Wall Street in many a year. So this is- this is a phony attack that is designed to raise questions when there is no evidence or support to undergird the insinuation that he is putting forward in these attacks.



O`DONNELL: Well, Hillary Clinton was also challenged about assertion this week that Vermont supplies the most guns connected to crimes, violent crimes, in New York. Let`s watch that exchange.


BLITZER: Are you seriously blaming Vermont and implicitly Senator Sanders for New York`s gun violence?

CLINTON: No, of course not. Of course not. This is a serious difference between us.


CLINTON: And I want to start by saying, it`s not a laughing matter. Ninety people on average a day are killed or commit suicide or die of accidents from guns. Thirty-three thousand people a year. I take it really seriously because I have spent more time than I care to remember being with people who have lost their loved ones.

So yes, we have a problem in America. We need a president who will stand up against the gun lobby. We hear a lot from Senator Sanders about the greed and recklessness of Wall Street, and I agree. We`ve got to hold Wall Street accountable.

BLITZER: Thank you.

CLINTON: Well, what about the greed and recklessness of the gun manufacturers and dealers in America.


SANDERS: Well, she didn`t answer your question.


SANDERS: You asked her whether she thought that Vermont was responsible for a lot of gun violence, and you made the point that what she said was totally absurd, totally.

BLITZER: I asked her are you seriously blaming Vermont and then implicitly Senator Sanders for New York`s gun violence. She said, no. But go ahead.

SANDERS: Well, why did she put out that statement?

CLINTON: I put it out -

SANDERS: A statement she - excuse me. I think I`m responding now.

BLITZER: You are. Go ahead, sir.

SANDERS: A statement that was refuted by the governor of the state of Vermont who was a supporter of hers who said, "Oh yeah, in campaigns people tend to exaggerate."


MATTHEWS: With me now from the site of tonight`s debate in Brooklyn, NBC`s Kristen Welker who covers the Clinton campaign and NBC`s Kasie Hunt who covers the Sanders campaign.

First, Kristen are we getting the word right now of how they`re spinning this? Who says - let`s start with your campaign that you`re covering, Hillary Clinton. Did they say they won tonight?

KRISTEN WELKER, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, yeah, they say that they think they have a strong night, Chris, and we`re still waiting for them to actually come out to the spin room so we can get them to flesh that out a little bit more. But here is what they are touting. They think one of the strong moments was when Senator Sanders seemed to not be able to point to a specific instance of when her accepting money of her paid speeches from Wall Street corporations actually translated into her lack of action in terms of taking action against Wall Street.

WELKER: He sort of gave a broader answer. And she retorted by saying, Look, you can`t point to an answer. She got a lot of cheers there. And then you saw part of that exchange that you played over guns - this is one of her signature issues. As you know she has been campaigning with some of the mothers that lost sons to gun violence. And Senator Sanders was asked does he owe the Sandy Hook victims and apology for essentially saying that he doesn`t agree with that legislation that they have pursued essentially which would hold manufacturers accountable for gun violence. He said, no, I don`t owe them an apology. They think that that was a strong exchange for Secretary Clinton as well. They think that she held her ground. But look there were some stuff moments for her. There`s no doubt about that in this debate as well particular over the transcripts. She was pressed repeatedly on why she hasn`t released those transcripts yet of the paid speeches that she received. I can tell you the Clinton campaign actually divided about this strategy of not releasing paid speeches. So they think all in all this was a strong night for Secretary Clinton. But look, Chris, there is no doubt what we saw tonight are these two candidates who are locked in the fierce fight right now for New York which could determine this race moving forward. Chris.

MATTHEWS: OK. Thank you, Kristen Welker in Brooklyn.

Let`s go to Kasie Hunt in the same burrow of New York. How are they pushed? Bernie was as very -- Bernie Sanders looked to me like tonight was his last best night to win this thing. He was red faced, overheated, smart as hell. Hitting every point he could. I think it was his real attempt to put her away tonight. I don`t know if he did or not. What are they saying?

KASIE HUNT, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Chris, I think that what you saw was exactly what the Sanders campaign telegraphed was going to happen which was he came out on that stage determined not to let her land a punch on him without making sure that he was hitting back as hard as he could. They were dispensing with this concern that we`ve heard about over the course of the past couple of months that maybe he would have a Rick-Lazio-style moment where he would go inappropriately after a female candidate on stage and come out looking the worse for wear on the other side. He clearly came into this ready to go back and forth with her and he went right into it, and I think you`re right that, you know, they view this - I wouldn`t go so far as to say that it`s a last stand, but there is a recognition that this is really proving ground in many ways that is going to determine how the last month or so of this campaign goes. While he did push back on her, and Kristen mentioned those transcripts as a tough moment for Hillary Clinton, I think that`s right but Bernie Sanders also didn`t necessarily prosecute that case against her and in fact he got a little bit tripped up when she turned and started focusing on his tax returns, him saying that he`s going to release a year of those tax returns on Friday.

MATTHEWS: Yeah, what is his excuse. I mean the taxes were turned in more than a year ago, and he says Jane`s still working on them. I mean it`s one thing to say, well, it`s April 15th tomorrow. A lot of people are rushed to the deadline right now. What is that big deal? Well, what about the `14, the `13, the `12? Those were all done years ago. And he says, my little wife here. My Jane is working on them. Excuse me. That`s passing the buck. It was like he was going to call her up say, By the way, where are those tax returns. I thought it was ridiculous. I`m sorry. Hillary should have gone for the jugular on that baby, or maybe she`s still worried about the 625,000 she got from Goldman Sachs. Anyway, Kasey Hunt, great report..

We got to go to the people on the set right now. The Washington Post, Robert Costa; USA Today, Heidi Przybyla, and the Huffington Post, Howard Fineman.

I`ve watched this and I think I did Tweet something like this is a boxing match. Not a heavy weight. It`s a middle weight so they`re better boxing matches.

Bernie is like the guy who sees the cut on the eye and he keeps hitting it, and he`s a rack and he says that with joy. He says I showed her rack. I got you in the 625,000 bucks you took from those great speeches you gave. He just nails her on that stuff and he won`t quit on them.

HOWARD FINEMAN, HUFFINGTON POST: No, because that`s his whole campaign and the main cut that he thinks he has, the main place he thinks he has Hillary bleeding if we`re in the Madison Square Garden of politics.

MATTHEWS: That`s what it was like tonight.

FINEMAN: Is on money in politics.


FINEMAN: It`s all about the corrupting influences and money.

MATTHEWS: Where`s the transcripts?

FINEMAN: Yeah. It` all about the --

MATTHEWS: (Inaudible) (Multiple speakers)

FINEMAN: Everything that Bernie does funnel into that one question --

MATTHEWS: Yeah, money.

FINEMAN: - corrupting influence of money. It`s preventing us from getting national health care. It`s preventing college education. It`s broadening the gap been the rich and the rest. And he pounding. Now if there were a boxing match, I think he did cut her. I think she did bleed, but she`s the champ. You got to knock out the champ or get a TKO. Now I`m getting technical. I don`t think he did quite either although I thought he was very strong. MATTHEWS: He was swinging.

FINEMAN: And I thought she was a little too legalistic here at protecting her lead.

MATTHEWS: Yeah. I thought she was -- I think if he had a silent look at this TV show, it was a TV show. Two hours. You would see one older guy flailing away red-faced, literally red-faced - literally red faced demanding time every second he wasn`t talking he was going like this, I want it back, I want it back, I want it back. Hillary there smiling away looking somewhat debonair.

HEIDI PRZYBYLA, USA TODAY: She was smiling with one, you know, look and she was pounding him with the other.

MATTHEWS: No, it was the dearest --

PRZYBYLA: I mean she was pounding pretty hard too. She was pounding away pretty good too, Chris.

MATTHEWS: - the dearest was confidence of the front runner.

PRZYBYLA: right.

MATTHEWS: She`s way ahead. PRZYBYLA: Here goal - think about where we were in 2008, at this point where the race was arguably much more contested in terms of the delegates and Obama started to pull back a little bit as the front-runner and hold his punches. She went in for the kill especially on the guns.

MATTHEWS: That`s where he made his mistake by likeable enough is what hurt him.

PRZYBYLA: Yeah. She said things that I hadn`t heard her go that far before saying he is like one of the most reliable voters in terms of the NRA.


PRZYBYLA: And she`s been kind of-

MATTHEWS: That was his wound to curtail.

PRZYBYLA: Yeah. And if the main issue really is Wall Street and the corrupting influence, you know, the subtext all along has been that somehow Hillary Clinton`s campaign contributions have affected the way that she`s voted in Congress, and this is the first time she had an opportunity to kind of put that to rest and to call Sanders out on that and say, well, what are the examples of her-

MATTHEWS: Well, he`s going to go looking for them now. It`s a little late, but he`s going to find something.

PRZYBYLA: It`s a little late.

MATTHEWS: By the way, I thought there was a woman`s moment there tonight. Of course Hillary Clinton`s a woman. But I thought there was a moment there with the majority voter which are women was a tag opportunity. When he started to laugh about the gun violence, and she said it`s not a laughing matter, I think a lot of people who were lost up in the mumble jumble of how to deal with big banks and Dodd Frank, whatever that is to most people, they weren`t following that. But they were following guns because everybody walks the streets afraid of getting knocked off. Let`s face it. There`s still a lot of violence in the streets, even in New York which is pretty safe. And when she went through the number of people killed by guns or suicides or murder, and she went through all that and then he tried that chuckle, aggressive chuckle like she does, and I think he got caught off base for that. Don`t laugh about gun violence.

PRZYBYLA: He doesn`t have a good answer, that`s why. He wants to stand by his vote in terms of the immunity, you know, vote that he took. This is the - exactly the wrong time that you want to be doing that when this lawsuit up in Connecticut that the Sandy Hook families are pursuing has just now you know the Judge has just now decided that this should go forward and he is days before on the record saying that he doesn`t support exactly that type of legal case.

MATTHEWS: I want to get to Robert here. I think it was Bernie`s -- I don`t want to say this because I think he`s raised some great issues in this campaign. I think he behaved this last time like this is his last big shot. Big audience tonight. I bet. A big audience.

ROBERT COSTA, WASHINGTON POST: Big audience and he - a fundamental issue of his campaign, money in politics, he`s going back to the heart and soul and trying to revive those disengaged Democrats and bring them to the floor and say, I`m here for you. I`m a different kind of candidate. I`m an outsider. But he still has to come in his eye of his candidacy when it comes to guns. And she had the poise of as you said of a front runner. She kept her cool and you see the secretary right now poised as you around New York.

FINEMAN: I`m struck by both the use of language Bernie that`s a lot like Donald Trump although with different issues but the same direct no nonsense group brutal talk by him, by Bernie, and the fact that he and Donald Trump overlap on a number of things especially in foreign policy. And again, this time, though, Bernie is the guy on the outside looking in. Right now at any rate Trump is on the inside.

MATTHEWS: He hit her on her foreign policy. I mean if there`s ever an easy way to pick out people with a score card, he`s the dub. She`s the hawk. I mean on every issue taking his side basic on Israel policy and disproportionate and all that. But of course saying she supported the Iraq war. She supports going into - she supported going into Libya against Gaddafi. She supports a no-fly zone in Syria.

FINEMAN: By the way.

MATTHEWS: On every point she was to his right.

PRZYBYLA: I think we`re looking also forward a little bit to the general election here, Chris, because if you listen to her answer on Libya, she doesn`t have a great answer as to why the administration did not have a better plan for the after effects and she wound up at the end of the day putting it on President Obama. Well, that`s that not going to be good enough.

MATTHEWS: Well that wasn`t nice.


MATTHEWS: Most of the time --

PRZYBYLA: She has to come up with a better answer.


COSTA: Most of the time she was wrapping herself with Obama.


COSTA: Except when it came to Libya. Where was his -

MATTHEWS: What was worse, her putting it on Obama or him putting it on Jane?

COSTA: Great summary. If Jane was just a taxes god.


PRZYBYLA: I kind of believe it for a second. She has exchanged his taxes

FINEMAN: Can I say one other thing, Chris, very quickly. I have not heard a discussion at this level of a presidential campaign about Israel and Palestine like heard Bernie Sander`s extended soliloquy on this tonight in Brooklyn, in New York State. It was gutsy, but it also means he knows he`s not going to win New York State.


FINEMAN: He`s not going to win New York State, and he`d rather have his credibility intact. He`s not close enough to win. I hate to be so cynical.

MATTHEWS: No, I think that he`s --

FINEMAN: He`s not close enough to win and that`s going to be part of his explanation for why he didn`t win because he had the guts to go on Palestine.

MATTHEWS: I`m going to think more about that.

FINEMAN: Think about it.

MATTHEWS: That is really discerning because I think it is an easy competition to get into. I`m more pro but look hood than you are, but it`s tough.

FINEMAN: But in New York it always happens. This was historic. In a way this was historic. This was not happening.

MATTHEWS: It was pointed out that when he went after Secretary Clinton.

FINEMAN: He`s not Ron Paul. He`s not Ron Paul.

MATTHEWS: Let me declare one point though on the facts. He said Secretary Clinton didn`t - never mentioned the plight of the Palestinians when talking about APEC which is a conservative pro-Israeli group, but he never went to APEC.

FINEMAN: He never went.

MATTHEWS: So that`s a point too. But if you`re sticking with us tonight, this is great stuff. Still ahead to hear from the top officials of the Sanders and Clinton campaigns. They`re coming here. Governor Cuomo is coming here. This is special edition HARDBALL, the place to talk politics. Tonight`s live from tonight`s Democratic Debate 5 -- 4, tonight`s Democratic Debate. I don`t why I can`t seem to get that straight.


CLINTON: I love being in Brooklyn. This is great.







KEN BLACKWELL: You called out President Clinton for defending Secretary Clinton`s use of the term super predator back in the 90`s when she supported the crime bill. Why did you call him that?

SANDERS: Because it was a racist term and everything knew it was a racist term.


SANDERS: But where we are today is we have a broken criminal justice system. We have more people in jail than in any other country on earth, and in my view what we have got to do is rethink the system from the bottom on up.


MATTHEWS: Going back to our live coverage of the Democratic Debate tonight in Brooklyn. That was a big moment for Bernie Sanders tonight. The Vermont senator has won eight of the last nine Democratic contests if you count Democrats a board as one of those, but he`s facing an uphill climb in New York State of course with just five days to go. He`s way behind in New York.

I`m joined right now by the senator`s campaign manager, Jeff Weaver.

Jeff, I get the feeling watching your guy tonight that this was the last round of a fight and he was going to go for the knock out. What do you think?

JEFF WEAVER, BERNIE SANDERS CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Well, I think you know the Clinton campaign used it as a slur earlier in the New York process here and said that Bernie Sanders was going to campaign like a brook fight and I think tonight that he did, that he came out strong. I think he was there to debate and I think he did and I think he won the debate quite handily.

MATTHEWS: You think this thing is wearing out or has jumped a shark, the money that Hillary Clinton got in three speech speaking fees, the quarter of a million a piece for three times speeches. You think that`s something that`s still got some legs on it?

WEAVER: Well, legs. Look, people want to know. What was in those speeches? Why did they pay you all that money behind closed doors for those speeches? In fact in some of these speeches she spoke for 20 minutes. She made more in one minute than a minimum wage worker makes in a year. So she supports $200,000 or 225 per an hour for herself, but not $15 an hour for a minimum wage workers? I think has a lot of legs.

MATTHEWS: What do you think is in there?

WEAVER: Let`s find out. Who knows what. The more she wants to hide that-

MATTHEWS: Come on. Come on, Fred. What are you guys angling for? What do you think`s in there? You must think there`s something worth looking at in there. Did she sell out to these guys?

WEAVER: The more she wants to hide it, the more we want to see it. What`s that?

MATTHEWS: Did she sell out?

WEAVER: I don`t think we know what she -- I think we know what she said, but if she doesn`t want to show us that leads one to believe that there`s something in there that they don`t want people to hear. Don`t you think that?

MATTHEWS: See, here`s the question - now, Jeff, I think it`s always interesting to find out what goes on behind closed doors because let`s face it, that`s why we use the phrase "behind closed doors," to get people interested in what happens on the other side.

WEAVER: Right.

MATTHEWS: But your guy wasn`t able to land one punch when Hillary Clinton said name one place where I sold out because of those speeches.

WEAVER: It`s not about - it`s not a question of sold out. I think the question was about the campaign contributions, But look she supports corporate agenda. She supports these trade agreements.

MATTHEWS: Well, yeah. So where did - so how come your guy wasn`t pressed? How come he couldn`t name one time where Hillary made a deal and paid it off?

WEAVER: She`s supports these trade agreements. She supported the Wall Street bailout. She supports a corporate agenda. Come on, Chris. You know how it works. You were there.

MATTHEWS: Well, no, I don`t think it`s that way. I think people will actually believe certain things. I think there are people who are free traders and people who are not, and Bernie Sanders is just like a free trader. He`s going to go against all the trade deals. Hillary stood for most of them. Those are differences of position.


MATTHEWS: Doesn`t that sound like somebody`s got a hooker or a prostitute because they support one of those positions.

WEAVER: Oh, come on. Come on. That`s condemnatory, that kind of language. Come on. Don`t put those words out there.

MATTHEWS: No, you were saying -- no, you just said they do it because they`re paid to do it.

WEAVER: No, no. That`s not what I said. I said they -

MATTHEWS: Yes, you did.

WEAVER: I said they are supported by corporate interests because they support the corporate agenda.

MATTHEWS: I asked you give me an example where Hillary Clinton paid back for something you got from some wealthy Wall Street person, and you gave me the example the trade deals was your example.

WEAVER: No, you got it wrong, Chris. It`s not - they don`t give her money so that she changes her position. They give her money because they like her positions.

MATTHEWS: Oh, OK. That`s different. That`s much benign.

WEAVER: Yes, that is different.

MATTHEWS: Than accusing somebody of doing something for the money.

WEAVER: Well, I don`t think that that`s so benign. Why is it that the corporations think that she`s on their side?

MATTHEWS: Well, it sure beats being on the take.

WEAVER: We think a president - I think we need a president who people know is on a working people`s side. That`s what we need.

MATTHEWS: Ok. Well, let me ask you a question and get back to that question about Hillary Clinton. You believe that she`s been bought by the money she`s gotten in campaign contributions or in speaking fees.

WEAVER: No, no.

MATTHEWS: She`s been bought. Yes or no?

WEAVER: No, that`s not - that`s not what we`re saying.

MATTHEWS: What about your line the other night that she`s sold her soul to the devil? You said she sold her soul to the devil.

WEAVER: I said she made a deal with the devil. It`s a metaphor, Chris.

MATTHEWS: What`s the difference?

WEAVER: It`s a metaphor.

MATTHEWS: For what? What`s the metaphor for?

WEAVER: What the deal is when you take money from large special interests you can`t expect that you`re going to be able to regulate them effectively. That`s just the way it works. And you know, you talked about this when you interviewed me last time when you talked to the next guest you said, yeah, we know how it works. You go soft on them. You`re not as hard on them as you would otherwise be. Yes, they have more access. I mean that`s the way Washington works. These people are not giving money to candidates for no reason. They`re not stupid.

MATTHEWS: What you said was, Jeff, to clear the record and I think you`d agree on this, the danger of taking money from any interests that you`re not so aggressive in going after them. Let`s face it. That`s the real problem. I think we can agree on that.

WEAVER: That is a problem.


WEAVER: Yeah, of course.

MATTHEWS: I agree with you. So stop talking. Jeff Weaver, thank you. You`re right on that point. Thanks for coming on. He`s only going to get it again and again.

Anyway, gun control is loomed large as an issue in New York of course. Let`s take a look at how Secretary Clinton attacks Sanders over his association with the NRA.


CLINTON: In 1988 as we`ve heard on every debate occasion, Senator Sanders did run for the Congress and he lost. He came back in 1990 and he won. And during that campaign a commitment to the NRA that he would be against waiting periods. And in fact, in his own book 1990 campaign and here`s what he said. He clearly was helped by the NRA because they ran ads against his opponent. So then he went to the Congress where he has been a largely very reliable supporter of the NRA voting - he kept his word to the NRA. He voted against the Brady Bill five times.


MATTHEWS: Wow. We`re bringing back our panel. Of course, Robert, Heidi and Howard. And this sort of, Robert, Heidi and Howard, you know, I think - what was it really about tonight? Who`s been bought? Who`s been owned? Who`s in bed with the NRA? Who`s been bought off by, you know, basically been bought off, tanked, as they say on the hill when they see somebody is tanked. Not drinking too much. They`re getting a tank for somebody. This is serious stuff they`re charging here.

COSTA: It`s very serious stuff. And it`s not just personal between Clinton and Sanders. I think what you saw tonight was a referendum of the Democratic Party over the past 20, 25 years. What kind of party is it? What kind of party is it going to be? Sanders is raising these fundamental questions, is it too close to corporate interest; is it too interested in money?

MATTHEWS: Well, somebody said the other day a pretty bad word describing it.

COSTA: The Sanders campaign has to -

MATTHEWS: It`s prostituting yourself for money.

COSTA: That notion is the cloud that hovers over Sanders` argument about the Clinton candidacy, and I think Clinton with all of her deep roots in the party keeps coming back to the case that she`s ready for a general election, but these lingering questions on the left about Clinton still linger.

MATTHEWS: I wanted to - OK. Good. Heidi, quickly.

PRZYBYLA: Well, I think the one thing we have to point out about today was there was a theme that Clinton came into this campaign or this debate with and she kept hitting it over and over again which is - it`s good to diagnose something, Bernie, but you got to get into the details. You got to offer details. And she hit him on that, on a number of issues where he was supposed to be hitting her, like cracking. And if you want to talk about issues that play in New York State, that was supposed to be one of his trump cards up in upstate and he should have hit on the bank issue.

MATTHEWS: I think she was pretty good on his turf which is the banking, big banks. I think he wins the argument because people don`t like big banks. They don`t like that kind of power on Wall Street. But, you know, she was duking it out with him there.

FINEMAN: Chris, her old - first of all, she clobbered him on the - what we just showed there on guns. I mean she really had him.

MATTHEWS: That was a winner.

FINEMAN: She stunned him on that one. And I think more generally her argument is look, Bernie, I agree with you on the diagnoses you say are the problems, but I can get us half a loaf here. You`re talking a pie in the sky that we`re never going to have. I`m going to give us substinance. I`m going to get us down the road.


FINEMAN: In this environment in this year it`s a really tough argument to make.

And Robert`s also right. I think what`s on trial here. What`s on the dock with Sanders is Clintonism. What I call Clintonism, which was Bill Clinton back joining up with Wall Street with the Democratic Leadership Council in the 80`s and 90`s. Bill Clinton was saying, huh-uh, we`re not going to go, you know, with the unions down the line. It`s not going to be which side are you on, boys. It`s going to be we`re going to get together with big business. That worked for a time, and that`s what Hillary said. She said look at the 90`s, 23 million jobs. It`s hard to sell that in this environment. Very hard.

MATTHEWS: It`s like the old left of the Democratic Labor Party is Tony Blair has mentioned. That`s the old left trying to win back with what Blair tried to create. He was trying to move to a third way. They said no, let`s go back to the old way. We`re going back left again.

Anyway, thank you Robert Costa. Thank you, Howard Fineman. Thank you, Heidi Przybyla.

Coming up much more from tonight`s debate. There`s a lot in there tonight and whether it could tip the scales toward a head. I don`t think it will. You know what, I just don`t think it will. I think people are going to stay where they started tonight. People are going to stay in their corner tonight. We`re going to here however from a Hillary guy. The biggest one in New York. The governor of New York, Andrew COIN is going to be here in a minute. This is a special edition of HARDBALL, a place for politics.


CLINTON: We worked hard to really keep New York values at the center of who we are and what we do together.





SANDERS: Secretary Clinton called them out. Oh my goodness. They must have really been crushed by this.


SANDERS: And was that before or after you received huge sums of money by giving speaking engagements behind them? They must have been very, very upset by what you did.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. That was Bernie Sanders mocking Hillary Clinton over her position on the financial industry. Clinton hit back at a Sanders on protecting the gun manufacturing industry. Here she goes.


CLINTON: I believe that the law that Senator Sanders voted for that I voted against giving this special protection to gun manufactures and to dealers is an absolute advocation of responsibility on the part of those who voted for it.

SANDERS: Just to reiterate so there is no confusion, that caves a go. Before it was popular, in a rural state with no gun control, Bernie Sanders said let`s ban assault weapons, not see them distributed in the United States.

WOLF BLITZER: Thank you, Senator.


MATTHEWS: Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York is a Clinton supporter.

Governor, thank you for coming on tonight. This was winners and lose losers tonight. Hillary Clinton, your candidate was very strong in going after Senator Sanders, Vermont, for his lassitude I suppose you might call it in fighting guns or fighting for gun control. Can you tell us what impact guns from Vermont have had in violence in the streets of New York?

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: Yeah. Well, first, Chris, thank you. Good to be with you. Don`t underestimate the gun issue in the state of New York. It`s a very big deal. Sandy Hook was in Connecticut. It`s just a few miles from New York. It`s resonated. And this is a big issue. I passed the Safe Act in New York which was very controversial, but I believe the smartest Gun Control Law in the country right after Sandy Hook happened. And look, Senator Clinton knows the politics of New York also. We also have is rural parts of New York State, and I passed the Gun Control Law and I took a political beating for it from upstate New York rural communities. So we understand the politics here. But the immunity law for gun manufactures is an outrage. The only industry in the United States, Chris, that has immunity by law is the gun manufactures. And remember what happened at the time Gore was running against Bush. Smith and Wesson had signed a Safe Gun Agreement to do away with the lawsuits. The Safe Gun Agreement would have changed the way guns were manufactured, designed and distributed. Bush said, "Don`t sign it because if I win, I`ll get the gun manufacturers immunity," and that`s what he did and that`s the Bill we`re talking about. So this to me is the most salience issue that is germane in this entire debate. And it matters in New York and it`s going to matter in a lot of other states too.

MATTHEWS: Let`s talk about Wall Street. You know the U.S. Congress for years now, almost 20 or 30 years now, is unable - members are not able to take honorarium. They can`t take money for speeches. Nobody`s allowed to do it because it looks like it creates a conflict of interest with lobbyist and people want something from them. In our industry, if somebody where I work, you know, they give a speech for money, even for charity you can`t do it anymore. And so everybody knows you take money from somebody it`s going to look like some kind of deal under the table.

Hillary Clinton has taken over $600,000 from Goldman Sachs. Isn`t that going to be a problem explaining that this is not a quid pro quo there, that she wasn`t bought. Because these people, you just heard them tonight, Jeff Weaver, they`re not giving in on this baby. They`re going to keep hitting her on it.

CUOMO: Yeah. No, I- Chris I hear you and I understand the implication. But look, welcome to our campaign finance system, right. That`s why I advocate public finance.

MATTHEWS: No personal money. No, she took the money for personal use. These were speeches for her own personal income.

CUOMO: I understand. But I think the basic point is if someone gives you a lot money, can you be independent, right.

MATTHEWS: That`s right.

CUOMO: That`s basically Senator Sander`s point over and over again. The implication is you take money from someone, you`re going to be influenced. And they do that all across the board. It`s not just on the federal level. I hear it. Local people hear it. My answer is if you are a person who can be influenced by a contribution, you`re the wrong person to be in elected office because there`s going to be a lot of temptations. And if you can be corrupted, you will be corrupted. So you`re the wrong person for the business.

But even on the big banks, I think what you hear over and over, the more they debate, they agree on the what needs to be done. Where they disagree is on the how do you do it. And I think Senator Clinton is more prescriptive in the factual realities of making change. With Senator Sanders uses a broader brush. And as people who have worked in government who actually accomplished things, I understand what Senator Clinton is saying. You have to get a piece of legislation passed. Unless you think both houses go Democratic, it means you`re going to have to appeal to the Republicans. To appeal to the Republican, you`re going to have to compromise, etcetera. So she tends to have a more granular analysis of how you get it done.

But they are both saying they want to get to the same goal except for guns in my opinion.

MATTHEWS: Who`s going to win next week and by how much?

CUOMO: Hillary`s going to win. I don`t want to do the points, but I think she`s going to win. Look, I don`t play the expectation game. It was her home state. She has to win by X. I think that`s just setting a bar. But I believe she`s going to win. I believe it`s going to be by a healthy margin. But look, Senator Sanders, God bless him. He`s run a good campaign. He has a strong message. It`s simple. It resonates with young people. He`s getting big numbers of young people out in the crowds. So this is a real race, Chris, you know.


CUOMO: And I think the race he`s running has to be respected too.

MATTHEWS: What do you think- I got to get this last - what do you think of that sweetheart Ted Cruz referring to you as being representative of New York values?

CUOMO: Yeah. I think he - look, I hear it as a complement.

MATTHEWS: I thought you might.

CUOMO: Yeah. After what he said, I`m surprised he had the hutzpah to come to New York. And tell him to look up hutzpah, Chris, and if he doesn`t understand what it means tell him to call me and I`ll explain it to him.

MATTHEWS: Okay. Thank you so much, Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York State.

Up next I`ll speak with the Democratic National Committee chair, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz . She`ll be here. You`re watching HARDBALL, A Place for Politics.




CLINTON: If you go and read, which I hope all of you will before Tuesday, Senator Sanders` long interview with the New York Daily News talking about judgment and talk about the kinds of problems he had answering questions about even his core issue, breaking up the banks. When asked, he could not explain how that would be done.


SANDERS: Let`s talk about judgment.


SANDERS: And let us talk about the worst foreign policy blunder in the modern history of this country.


SANDERS: I lead the opposition to that loss. Secretary Clinton voted for that one.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to our special edition of HARDBALL tonight. I think the two candidates questioned each other`s judgment tonight although that was a nice word to use. It was much tougher than that. What`s the battle doing to the Democratic party`s hopes of winning in November however. I`m joined now by someone who cares a lot, the chair of the Democratic National Committee, Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

You know I just was thinking, first of all, a matter of technical fact here. Was this the last debate there`s going to be between these two candidates? Is this it?

REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D-FL), DEMOCRATIC COMMITTEE CHAIR: Well, the candidates previously agreed as you know, Chris, to an additional four debates for a total of ten. And we`ve been taking since we added those four debate, we`ve been taking each debate as it comes, and we after the debate tonight will go back to the negotiating table between the two campaigns and the DNC and, you know, the proposed networks that want to put on the debate and we`ll take on the next one you know over the next two weeks. They originally said that they wanted to do that debate in May.

MATTHEWS: Don`t forget us. Don`t forget us, Madam Chairman. Don`t forget MSNBC.

SCHULTZ: Absolutely.

MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about the question. Do you think this one was a tough debate? They used civilized language, civil language like judgment. But these are almost questions of character here, going after somebody for taking money from Goldman Sachs and still maintain their independence, you know, going to war. These are really tough questions that it was a very tough debate tonight even if the language was civil.

SCHULTZ: You know I think both candidates exercised muscle for sure, and they demonstrated by pointedly differing with one another, not on the goals, but on how to achieve them, that either one of them would be a tremendous fighter on behalf of the American people and will be able to go toe to toe with the misogynistic bigoted extremist that are running on the other side of the aisle, if we can even get them to talk about the issues that are important to the American people and stop whining and complaining about the system being rigged and you know being vulgar every other minute.

MATTHEWS: Yeah. Thank you so much, Democratic chair, U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida.

SCHULTZ: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: Much more on tonight`s debate when we return. And this is HARDBALL, A Place for Politics.



SANDERS: If I hear you correctly, Madam Secretary, you are now coming out finally in favor of lifting the cap on taxable income and extending and expanding Social Security. If that is the case, welcome aboard. I`m glad you`re here.


MATTHEWS: We`re back with this Special Edition of HARDBALL. Tonight I`m joined by Francesca Chambers. She`s up in Brooklyn where the debate was held tonight. Ken Vogel, chief investigative reporter at POLITICO, and Jane Newton-Small who`s correspondent with Time Magazine.

Let me go to Francesca up there. What did we see on television, Francesca? What was only visible and knowable by someone there?

FRANCESCA CHAMBERS, DAILY MAIL, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think that one thing that we`ve all observed, Chris, is that the night attacks between the candidates were sharper than in some of the past debates. We saw a different side of Bernie Sanders show up here tonight. Was really willing to engage in attacks with Secretary Clinton and not willing to back down from a fight.

MATTHEWS: Well, what do you think he was up to because he was really pushing the what I always call sort of the moods on the face of Hillary Clinton? He kept punching the Iraq war. He said that two or three times. He went after her on the taking of money for speaking fees from Goldman Sachs. He kept hitting that wound. He seemed to really want to bring her down by hitting her really vulnerable points and like hurting her. You know what I mean, politically. He was out to win this fight. He wasn`t here just protesting Democratic centuryism. He was trying to knock her down, knock her out.

CHAMBERS: Well, it`s clear, Chris, that the Sanders campaign understands at this point that they have to do something dramatic to be able to win not just in New York on Tuesday, but to win this election. And the kind of fight that they were fighting before is just not going to cut it at this point. He has to differentiate himself from Secretary Clinton on the issues that you just stated, and the way that he`s been approaching it in the past few days frankly wasn`t working.

MATTHEWS: Thank you so much for joining us from up there, Francesca.

Let`s go to Ken Vogel. Ken, you first, then Jane. The differential between previous fights and tonight, clearly he was trying to hit the sore points again and again like in a boxing match. I used the reference because it really felt watching it, I tweeted that this feels like a boxing match bag, bag, bag, punch, punch, punch.

KEN VOGEL, CHIEF INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, POLITICO: Yeah, and you know a lot of it is stuff that they have litigated in the past. They`re clearly going after the - it`s sort of like a choreographed fight and it`s the same, the same jabs that we`re seeing over and over again. What you can see that really stuck out to me was just how much on their - on each other`s last nerve they are. When Bernie Sanders would start to go into one of his sort of candid attacks on Hillary, she would laugh at him this sort of bitter laugh, and then he laughed at her when he started to go - when she started to raise the point about guns and then saying that there`s a -

MATTHEWS: And she tagged him.

VOGEL: And she really went after him. But it just goes to show you that this is a long campaign. We`re winding to the end. Everyone else kind of sees how it`s - how it`s playing out, that Bernie Sanders is not going to win, and this was sort of his last chance I think to really make a statement before a big primary and I don`t know that he really did frankly.

MATTHEWS: You know what he kept doing? Like his favorite punch was he`s saying, Oh, you called them out on Wall Street. Oh, that must have really hurt them. Was that before or after you took their money? I mean money that she`s been bought, that she`s working for them. She`s on the take. It isn`t just the ideological difference. He said she`s made bad decisions in her personal life basic taking the money.

JANE NEWTON-SMALL, TIME MAGAZINE: And he still is you know is portraying himself as the dreamer, the big visionary, the big picture guy who can sort of you know and then when asked like why haven`t you raised money for the Democratic Party, and he was like well, I`ll raise money for them the same way I raised money which is by just getting millions and millions of people brought into the system, right.

MATTHEWS: Yeah, in other words I`m not going to do it.


NEWTON-SMALL: And she can - and she continues, the wife is like no, Bernie, we can`t afford this jet-ski. We need to pay for college. We need to like get this done. And she`s always the pragmatist. She`s always the devil is in the details and you can`t do this. It`s not going to work.

MATTHEWS: Is that how it works, the wife is the reasonable one?


MATTHEWS: I doubt it. I think it works both ways.

VOGEL: Chris, I think that the attacks over being bought and sold, you know, it`s like a broken record. We`ve played it so many times.

MATTHEWS: How do you make up for this when you go to shake hands out in Philadelphia, oh, yeah, by the way all during the campaign I accused her of selling herself, selling herself, her soul to the devil, blah, blah, blah. Jeff Weaver is saying the thing over and over again and he won`t pull back. And then it`s oh, by the way, she`s my best bet for president now.

VOGEL: Right.

MATTHEWS: Or does she say at least she`s better than Donald Trump.

VOGEL: That`s the point.

NEWTON-SMALL: And that`s why he looked so uncomfortable when she was saying, I`ve done this before. I stood there with Barack Obama when I lost to him in 2008, and we unified the party, and she`s saying Bernie needs to unify the party, and he`s looking like -

MATTHEWS: Yeah, but Obama never called her - Obama never said she was on the take anyway.

VOGEL: And it`s also an attack that could really hurt her running against Donald Trump whose whole candidacy is about the fact that politicians are all on the take and he`s not. It really plays into his hands.

MATTHEWS: We`ll save the tape anyway. Ken and Jay will be with me for final thoughts on tonight`s debate in this presidential debate that continues. Apparently this will not be the last debate although it looked like it tonight. We`ll be right back after this.


SANDERS: If we approach this arrow as if we were literally in a war, you know. In 1941 under Franklin Delano Roosevelt we moved within three years. It took three more years to rebuild our economy to defeat Nazism and Japanese Imperialism. That is exactly the kind of approach we need now.

BLITZER: Thank you.




MATTHEWS: We`re back right now with Ken Vogel and Jay Newton-Small. Jay, let`s start with the headlines tonight, you know. What`s the headline for tomorrow`s papers and big magazines coming up?


NEWTON-SMALL: Like Time Magazine. I think the headline is Hillary was laying the ground for the general election. So you saw her with Ted Cruz talk about New York values. You saw her with Donald Trump talking about women and misogyny.

MATTHEWS: And abortion.

NEWTON-SMALL: And Abortion. And then also global warming. So the issue is talking about being the great unifier and that was her ending comments. And then really with Bernie I think it was laying the ground for why he lost, you know. At every turn it was saying, well, I`m telling truths to power on global warming and I`m telling truths to power on Palestinians.

MATTHEWS: That`s how he started the race. I don`t think he thought he was going to these - he`s come incredibly far. I mean standing up to Hillary it`s like the Democrat, you know. Maybe that`s what he`s going to end up being, the guy who ran on the issues.

VOGEL: Yeah, I think that`s right.

MATTHEWS: Absolutely.

VOGEL: And I think this is a little bit like a legacy debate for him particularly on the question of the Middle East and Israel versus the Palestinians. He laid out a very robust and unapologetic defense of the Palestinians. I haven`t heard him go that far on that issue.

MATTHEWS: No, that was like the Cairo speech from Obama.

VOGEL: But so striking particularly in New York where it`s such a powerful issue.

MATTHEWS: I know. I know.

VOGEL: It`s like why are you doing this. Did you think this is the way?

MATTHEWS: Well, maybe like you said, legacy thinking.

Thank you, Ken Vogel. Thank you, Jay Newton-Small.

I`ll be back tomorrow night at 7 p.m. Eastern for more HARDBALL. Much more ahead on this presidential race here on MSNBC next.