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Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 5/2/2016

Guests: Francesca Chambers, Paul Butler, Robert Mrazek, Susan Page, Andrew Sullivan, Amy Klobuchar, Nina Turner, Andrew Ross Sorkin

Show: HARDBALL Date: May 2, 2016 Guest: Francesca Chambers, Paul Butler, Robert Mrazek, Susan Page, Andrew Sullivan, Amy Klobuchar, Nina Turner, Andrew Ross Sorkin

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: The Hoosiers bring closure.

Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.

Well, the stop Trump movement appears on the verge of collapse. Senator Ted Cruz and Governor John Kasich formed an alliance and hoped to set up a roadblock for Trump in Indiana tomorrow. But polls now show the New York businessmen set to sweep the state.

The latest NBC News/"Wall Street Journal" Marist poll of likely Republican voters shows Trump with a 15-point lead over Cruz in Indiana. That`s tomorrow.

Cruz is increasingly desperate, of course. Last week, he rushed out his running mate selection, Carly Fiorina, and yesterday, he warned Indiana voters to, quote, "not give in to evil." Well! There was a last-ditch scene (ph), by the way, at one of his campaign stops today when Cruz walked over to a group of Trump supporters, well defined and identified as Trump supporters, and tried winning them over.

Let`s watch this event.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`m running to be everyone`s president. Those who vote for me...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don`t want you.

CRUZ: Well, you`re entitled to your view, sir, and I will respect it. In fact...


CRUZ: I will...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do the math! You (ph) asked Kasich to drop out. It`s your turn. You are the problem.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are the problem, politician. You are the problem.

CRUZ: Can I ask you something? Can I ask you something?


CRUZ: Out of all of the candidates, name one who had a million- dollar judgment against him for hiring illegal immigrants.


CRUZ: Donald Trump...


CRUZ: OK. So you like rich people who buy politicians.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not you. Where`s your Goldman Sachs jacket at? We know your wife works there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`ll find out tomorrow. Indiana don`t want you.

CRUZ: Well, sir, you are entitled to...




CRUZ: Sir, America is a better country...


CRUZ: Thank you for those kind sentiments. Let me point out I have treated you respectfully the entire time, and a question that everyone here should ask...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you Canadian?


MATTHEWS: That -- that was like this afternoon, Trump praised protester. Let`s watch Trump now.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He actually said, How`s your loan doing at Goldman Sachs? That was, I thought, the cool -- whoever he is, I thought he was very cool. I thought him and his friends because they`re not going to be buffaloed by lies!


MATTHEWS: Well, Trump also mocked Ted Cruz for failing to come to the aid of his 11th-hour running mate, Carly Fiorina, yesterday after she slipped off the stage introducing Cruz today. Anyway, Trump called it weird Cruz didn`t do anything to help. Watch.


TRUMP: Then he picks Carly. Carly is perfectly nice. By the way, she fell off the stage the other day. Did anybody see that? And Cruz didn`t do anything! I was -- even I would have helped her, OK? I said, Wow, that`s really cruel. She fell off -- she just went down! She went down a long way, right? And she went down right in front of him, and he was talking, he kept talking. He didn`t even look like -- that was a weird deal!


MATTHEWS: Well, Andrew Sullivan is a contributing editor of New York" magazine right now. His just out cover story for the magazine warns that Trump is an extinction-level event in American democracy. Susan Page is Washington bureau chief for "USA Today" and Jeremy Peters is a reporter for "The New York Times" and an MSNBC contributor.

Jeremy, I loved your piece today. It as the main piece, actually, top righthand, the top piece of the day, right? And I thought it was good because it said something is basically happened, which is all the talk of a "stop Trump" movement`s based upon the idea that Cruz would be the last man standing. The trouble with that is there`s a dynamic there. When you finally get to be the last man, that means that the other people have all fallen and that the front-runner is just in galloping speed by then, and you`re losing support every hour.

JEREMY PETERS, "NEW YORK TIMES," MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it also should mean that people want to vote for you, and that`s been Ted Cruz`s problem all along, and that`s the problem with the "never Trump" movement. It`s "never Trump," and then, OK, so who do we vote for? Falling in line behind Ted Cruz is very difficult for a lot of these Republicans because he`s not a very palatable alternative.

MATTHEWS: Did any of the candidates -- I know this sounds facile or whatever. Did any of the candidates exhibit any kind of charisma opposing Trump for the nomination, Susan?



MATTHEWS: ... just an accident this guy won. He was up against some of the dullest, dullest politicians ever!

PAGE: He is -- he is -- of course, he is pretty exciting.


CRUZ: I mean, he`s pretty dynamic.


PAGE: Trump! Trump! Yes.

MATTHEWS: Yes, but nobody else...


PAGE: I actually think what`s happening with Republicans now is they`re saying, He`s going to get nominated. Let`s make the best of it this year. I think some Republicans are trying to think beyond -- after Trump, what happens to the party. And I think that maybe what Cruz is about to think.

MATTHEWS: Would anybody -- you don`t want to make -- you don`t want to play this game. I`m getting a strong look here from you.

ANDREW SULLIVAN, "NEW YORK" MAGAZINE: Oh, no. I`m just looking at you.

MATTHEWS: I`m just -- I`m just -- Andrew, I just want to say...


MATTHEWS: There`s this thing called politics, and you have to have charisma. You have to have -- is any one of these guys capable of thinking up a joke on the occasion, saying something witty, saying something interesting even, ever?

Look, Trump at least is a stand-up guy. I don`t have to like him or support him, certainly, but he`s a show, and these other guys have not been a show.

SULLIVAN: Thank you. You`re right. We`re now -- we`re not covering a general election anymore. We`re covering reality...


SULLIVAN: We`re covering a reality...


SULLIVAN: Can I actually finish my sentence?

MATTHEWS: Only after you get me right. We`re covering elections, and the voters are voting for this guy. It`s not just a reality...


SULLIVAN: It is a TV reality show. That`s how you`re presenting it. That`s what we`re looking at here on the TV...


MATTHEWS: Who`s going to win Indiana, the TV show?


MATTHEWS: And how does that work, exactly? People go in the voting booth and say, I`m voting...

SULLIVAN: Trump has changed...

MATTHEWS: ... for a TV show?

SULLIVAN: Trump has the rules.


SULLIVAN: All these presidential debates turned out to be television reality show episodes.

MATTHEWS: Have they ever not been?

SULLIVAN: Yes, they have.


SULLIVAN: When they`ve actually had reasoned deliberation, arguments back and forth. He hasn`t put forward a single sane argument or been rebutted by one because he`s been able to completely change the rules of the game. This is entertainment now. Every fun (ph) he can have, every joke he has...


SULLIVAN: Meanwhile, his platform...

MATTHEWS: I guess I missed most of American history because I remember Ronald Reagan when he debated against Jimmy Carter by saying, "There you go again," and flattening him with that line. If that wasn`t show business, what was?

SULLIVAN: That was one line in the debate. He`s only got one-liners.

MATTHEWS: It knocked him about. How about Mondale said, "Where`s the beef" to Gary Hart? That knocked him out. There is a lot of theatrics in this business.

SULLIVAN: There are, but not all theatrics. And Trump is all theatrics, and when he isn`t all theatrics...

MATTHEWS: And you think people vote for him because they`re entertained by him.

SULLIVAN: No, I think they vote for him partly...

MATTHEWS: Because of his message.

SULLIVAN: ... because they`re frustrated.

MATTHEWS: And what`s his message?

SULLIVAN: His message is there are people to blame for your plight...


MATTHEWS: And who are they?

SULLIVAN: Well, it depends on the day. China is raping us. Mexican immigrants, illegal undocumented aliens are the reason for your problems. We`ve got to actually round up and deport 11 million of them.


SULLIVAN: And Muslims are your problem. That`s what...


SULLIVAN: ... American history.

MATTHEWS: Who has been effective in terms of protecting the American manufacturing base? Who can say, I protected the American manufacturing base...

SULLIVAN: Obama can.

MATTHEWS: ... that`s been disappearing?

SULLIVAN: There`s more...

MATTHEWS: That`s been disappearing.


MATTHEWS: Carrier`s leaving now.

SULLIVAN: Manufacturing output in this country is the highest it has ever been. The question is not about manufacturing...

MATTHEWS: Sure because of productivity but not workers` jobs.

SULLIVAN: Yes. Well, no...

MATTHEWS: Not jobs. That`s what people care about.

SULLIVAN: I know they care about that.

MATTHEWS: And they`re disappearing.

SULLIVAN: They have been disappearing to some extent, yes.

MATTHEWS: Who`s responsible?

SULLIVAN: The -- trade is responsible. The...

MATTHEWS: That`s what Trump says.


SULLIVAN: ... of the global economy. Yes, and Trump`s solution is what?

MATTHEWS: OK, which politician...

SULLIVAN: A trade war.

MATTHEWS: ... is serious about stopping illegal immigration? Name one.

SULLIVAN: I think -- I think...

MATTHEWS: Name one.

SULLIVAN: I think...

MATTHEWS: Besides Trump.

SULLIVAN: ... Cruz (ph) could be. I think...

MATTHEWS: I don`t know anybody.


MATTHEWS: Lindsey Graham, Chuck Schumer and the late Ted Kennedy were serious about a comprehensive -- a comprehensive immigration bill. But...


SULLIVAN: ... Barack Obama. They can`t actually stop or (ph) build a wall or have...


MATTHEWS: Look, the frustration that is explained here by Andrew is real. It isn`t theatrics. Trump is doing well because people are frustrated, like you`re frustrated by his success, but a lot of people are frustrated by the reality. They don`t see anything getting past the Congress on immigration, comprehensive, liberal, conservative, anything. Nothing gets done.

And by the way, Boehner`s one of the reasons for it, wouldn`t even bring it up to a vote. They see nothing happening in their goals, which is getting rid of "Obama care." I don`t want to get rid of "Obama care." I like it. But they don`t see their goals being reached. There`s frustration, which is person (ph) in him.

PAGE: No, I would agree that Trump...

MATTHEWS: It`s not show biz.

PAGE: ... is a showman in some ways, but the reason he succeed is because he has a message that resonates with voters who are so frustrated with the way things are going on. He`s had -- you know, he`s railing against trade deals, for instance, talking about building a wall, which goes to immigration. I mean...

SULLIVAN: Hold on a second. Building a wall. It`s a fantasy, right?

PAGE: But it`s a way of talking about...

SULLIVAN: It`s a complete fantasy.


PAGE: ... trying to do something...

SULLIVAN: So you`re saying that his platform, his actual proposals are mere negotiating position.

MATTHEWS: What`s Hillary say about immigration?

SULLIVAN: I don`t know. She`s a useless candidate, I don`t know what...


MATTHEWS: I`m just asking. It`s -- it`s an empty farce...


SULLIVAN: It`s very easy to demagogue it.

MATTHEWS: Everybody -- it`s demagoguery, of course. And your piece accused Bernie of demagoguery.

SULLIVAN: He is a demagogue, railing against billionaires as if -- as if that`s the real problem. The real problem is we have a difficult, shifting global economy, in which, by the way, the United States is doing better than almost any other country on the planet. And yes, there are winners and losers...


MATTHEWS: ... growth rates.

SULLIVAN: No one else is doing as well as the United States. No one`s manufacturing sector...

MATTHEWS: We`re more ambitious than the rest of the world. We`re more ambitious.

SULLIVAN: And we`re doing better than anybody else.

MATTHEWS: I think -- I think Trump has got a real -- I think when you`re going to write the history books of this year, you won`t write down he`s a great entertainer from "The Apprentice." You`ll write down he appealed to something.

You can call it fascism. You can call it anything you want to call it. The names don`t mean much now because we haven`t seen him in action yet. But it appeals to something about nationalistic spirit. The country feels frustrated. It feels the jobs are going away because our government`s not fighting for them. This is all in the public rhetoric today. I`m not making it up.

PETERS: A lot of it thought...

MATTHEWS: And it`s working for him.

PETERS: A lot of it is disingenuous and a lot of it is an illusion. Like, for example, when we saw the guy attacking Ted Cruz, saying, Well, Donald Trump self-funds -- not really. Donald Trump says that he self-funds, but he takes a lot of money from the people who donate to him.

MATTHEWS: Well, what about the Democrats? You know, politicians say stuff...

PETERS: He also...

MATTHEWS: ... all the time that has a high BS quality.

SULLIVAN: But they don`t...

MATTHEWS: Raising the minimum wage is a good thing to do. But don`t tell us it`s going to make a lot of people better off.

SULLIVAN: But they don`t demonize whole sections of the population. They don`t discriminate on the basis of people`s religion. They can`t claim they`re going to actually round up and deport...

MATTHEWS: That`s different than saying he`s an entertainer!

SULLIVAN: ... 11 million human beings.

MATTHEWS: That`s definitely than saying...

SULLIVAN: No, he does them both, like any reality television (EXPLETIVE DELETED), which is what he is -- that`s the character he plays...

MATTHEWS: It`s live TV.

SULLIVAN: ... he has a message as well...

MATTHEWS: We don`t use that word here.

SULLIVAN: He has a message, as well, but his style...

MATTHEWS: Yes, well, here`s the point...

SULLIVAN: ... has completely dominated this election.

MATTHEWS: So what is he? Is he a comedian, a sideshow, or he`s a dangerous fascist?

SULLIVAN: He`s a dangerous neo-fascist who is using reality television and the modern media in a way that is leaving the rest of us in the dust. And it`s terrifying to watch.

MATTHEWS: OK. Susan? You heard that voice lately, what you`re just hearing?

PAGE: He`s -- you know, there are people who agree with you who see him as a dangerous character, but he has tapped into something that has resonated in a way that the 16 Republican candidates didn`t understand, and I`m not sure some of the Democrats understand it, either.

And it goes to real frustrations with -- with white Americans, especially white men, who feel like they`ve just been dumped.

MATTHEWS: I think it has a lot to do with the sense of the country. He talks about the country. The other guys talk about government and society. Bernie`s got a piece of it, too, about society, but I think -- I think -- we`re going to try to figure this thing out.

By the way, we all get to vote in November. You do, too?


MATTHEWS: Andrew Sullivan (INAUDIBLE) welcome.

SULLIVAN: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: Nice to have you aboard, immigrant from a great country, as well, anyway, not (ph) as great. Anyway, Susan Page, thank you, Jeremy Peters. And this is a live show, you know, but you have to be nice about the words we use around here. I apologize for that.

Coming up -- we`ve seen how Donald Trump has been attacking Hillary Clinton. Now it`s Clinton`s turn, and she`s going right for Trump, his jugular, in fact, reminding voters that Trump led that old birther movement against President Obama. Remember that one? Well, that`s ahead.

Plus, the Obama legacy. The president says he doesn`t get credit for rebuilding the American economy because his Republican opponents have spent eight years denying that any progress has been made. We`ve already touched on that tonight. And the highest-ranking conservative now admits that those voter ID -- you know, the photo voter ID laws, the ones Republicans are pushing all across the country and gotten through in 33 states -- that the purpose of these laws is to elect more Republicans. Jim DeMint has admitted it finally.

And finally, the HARDBALL roundtable tonight will be here, and they`re going to tell me something I don`t know. I`ve already told you something I didn`t know until recently, the Republicans admit they do this to keep people from voting.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: It`s appearing more likely by the day that Hillary Clinton will face off against Donald Trump in the general election this year. And according to a new PPP poll, the two likely nominees are locked in a very close race in the all-important state of Ohio. Let`s check out the HARDBALL "Scoreboard" tonight.

It`s Clinton holding a slight advantage over Trump in the Buckeye State, 45 percent to 42 percent. That`s within the poll`s margin of error. Well, 1960 was the last election year in which the candidate who won Ohio lost the presidency.

We`ll be right back.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Well, the general election fight is already being sharpened between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Things got heated over the weekend between the two after Trump tweeted, quote, "Crooked Hillary Clinton, perhaps the most dishonest person to have ever run for the presidency, is also one of the all-time great enablers."

Well, Clinton reacted in an interview with CNN`s Jake Tapper.


HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), FMR. SEC. OF STATE, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, remember, I have a lot of experience dealing with men who sometimes get off the reservation in the way they behave and how they speak. I`m not going to deal with their temper tantrums or their bullying or their efforts to try to provoke me. He can say whatever he wants to say about me. I could really care less.


MATTHEWS: And here`s what Trump had to say about that.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: She said I`m used to dealing with -- and what was the word? Go ahead. She used a certain word, certain...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "Off the reservation."

TRUMP: Men that are off the reservation. And I said to myself, That`s a horrible expression. Now, if I would have used that expression maybe in the opposite form, it would have been a front page story. She uses it. She gets away with it. That`s a very demeaning remark to men.


MATTHEWS: "Demeaning remark to men." That`s interesting. But last night, Clinton prevailed -- or actually previewed general election attacks on Trump, proving that she`s all ready to take him on, by reminding voters of Donald Trump`s public record.


CLINTON: The leading Republican contender is the man who led the insidious birther movement to discredit the president`s citizenship. And when he was asked in a national television interview to disavow David Duke and other white supremacists who are supporting his campaign, he played coy. We cannot let Barack Obama`s legacy fall into Donald Trump`s hands!



MATTHEWS: Well, that was a great line. Clinton is referring, of course, to Trump`s 2011 crusade to release President Obama`s official birth certificate out of Hawaii. And here`s Trump taking credit for it.


TRUMP: I was just informed while on the helicopter that our president has finally released a birth certificate. I`d want to look at it, but I hope it`s true. I am really honored, frankly, to have played such a big role in, hopefully, hopefully, getting rid of this issue. Now, we have to look at it. We have to see, is it real? Is it proper? What`s on it? But I hope it checks out beautifully.


MATTHEWS: I`m joined right now by Minnesota Democratic senator and Clinton supporter United States Senator Amy Klobuchar.

You know, I don`t know what to say, but you know, he hasn`t talked about that birther thing. But I always thought if anybody of sound mind and body actually thought about what he`s saying is that a white woman from Kansas married a guy from Kenya, and then went over to Kenya and had the baby and then pretended that she was having the baby in Hawaii and had all the birth certificates and everything faked and the hospital -- and the newspaper accounts faked so that she could make him president some day, this woman who wanted her son to be president so she marries an African guy with the name Barack Hussein Obama, names the kid the same thing, all with the idea of making him president some -- whatever your ideology is, whatever your philosophy or good (ph) attitudes (ph), bad (ph) attitude (ph), it`s the craziest, craziest conspiracy theory ever. And he sold it for, what, years? Yes.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D), MINNESOTA: He did. That`s the journey through his mind. And I have to say, look at how he did this effectively throughout the Republican primaries. He -- you know, low energy, you think of Jeb Bush, low energy, "little Marco" Rubio, all those names, all the blaming, all the finger pointing.

MATTHEWS: Big ears.

KLOBUCHAR: All those demeaning words...

MATTHEWS: Big ears.

KLOBUCHAR: All those demeaning words.

MATTHEWS: Big ears, even that.

KLOBUCHAR: And you know what she`s doing? And you -- exactly.

And what Hillary Clinton is doing -- and she started in no better place than Indiana on Sunday -- she`s going to hit back, and she`s going to define him, because he has been literally branding people. He hasn`t been talking about issues. He`s been running a marketing campaign. And the American people deserve better.

MATTHEWS: Let`s talk about the argument we just had. I think you overheard with Andrew Sullivan, who is very passionate, of course.

And he says that Trump is basically a showman, a guy who used television values, obviously crazy lines like you`re talking about, shtick if you say it in a show business sense, and he`s a good showman, and that is all he is.

And I wonder, is that the reason he`s winning the Republican nomination, that he is a good show? Is that?


MATTHEWS: Your thoughts.

KLOBUCHAR: I think that we also know that a number of policies that they have been pushing -- and it wasn`t just him -- there are other candidates - - just aren`t in sync where the people of America are.

And so you look at where Hillary Clinton is, who has now won, what, three million more votes, two million more votes than any of her other rivals on the Democratic or Republican side, she`s been talking about the issues.

And the differences between her and Bernie Sanders are so small compared to what we`re talking about with these guys. They are debating what the percentage rate should be on student loans and how we can save money for students. Some of their candidates have been talking about getting rid of the Department of Education.

She`s talking about her approach internationally, her qualifications. Donald Trump is talking about nuclear arms in Asian countries and building a wall and not letting Muslims in this country. There is a major difference between the two parties. And I think she just started laying that out last night. And that`s what you`re going to see going forward.

MATTHEWS: Well, obviously, Democrats are eager to capitalize on Trump`s history of remarks about women.

Arkansas Democrat and U.S. Senate candidate down there Conner Eldridge released this Web video tying his Republican opponent to Trump`s behavior. Let`s watch this.



I would look her right in that fat ugly face of hers.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN: He once sent her a picture of herself with the words "The face of a dog" written on it.

TRUMP: The boob job is terrible. They look like two light posts coming out of a body.

Blood coming out of her wherever.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, you treat women with respect?

TRUMP: I can`t say that either.


MATTHEWS: You know, we have heard all that, Senator, that I`m amazed and dismayed by like everybody else, because I never thought you could get away with that kind of public behavior. And it is public.

But look at the latest numbers from Ohio. He`s in a race with Hillary, neck and neck. And that`s a wonderfully, what do you call it, bellwether state. We know Ohio is for real. He`s doing well there. What is going on? Women are voting in Ohio in this polls.

KLOBUCHAR: Well, again, we`re not in the general election yet, Chris. Right? That ad is running right now down in Arkansas. We`re not even close to being able to put this stuff out here.

And when women do hear those words, when they hear about him talking about the women card, it demeans not just Hillary Clinton, really all women who have tried to get ahead in their lives, not just in politics, in business, at their workplace.

And I think that is going to be a major issue in this campaign. And when people have gone too far with this, see what happened in Missouri when Todd Akin talking about legitimate rape. The voters responded in two days when they started hearing about that.

So, that`s why I think it`s going to be very important not just on the economy and all these issues to bring them out, but also to bring these words out, because I have seen this before. And when people go too far and people feeling they`re demeaning not just the candidate, but demeaning all women, the women are going to respond to that. They are not going to take this.

MATTHEWS: What about having two women on the Democratic ticket? What do you make of that as a way to really emphasize this issue?

KLOBUCHAR: Well, I think, you know, Chris, there is some history in the United...


MATTHEWS: Somebody like you -- somebody like you on the ticket with Hillary Clinton.

KLOBUCHAR: There is some history -- OK -- there is some history in the United States history here of one-gender tickets, like every single one of them. That`s one.

However, I think Hillary is going to pick whoever she thinks is best. And there`s a lot of good names out there, a lot of good names that she could look at, a lot of good people with good experience. And I`m sure she will pick the most qualified person.

MATTHEWS: The reason I say you is because you`re enormously popular.

Thank you so much, Senator Klobuchar.


KLOBUCHAR: Thank you, Chris. It was great to be on.

MATTHEWS: Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, thank you.

Nina Turner is a former Ohio state senator. And she is backing Bernie Sanders right now.

Ms. Turner, here is what Senator Sanders said yesterday about the Democratic contest.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (VT-I), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What is unfair is, when I win a state by 70 percent of the vote, and superdelegates in that state vote for Hillary Clinton because they`re part of the Democratic establishment. That`s unfair.

What is unfair is, before I even get into the campaign, Hillary Clinton has some 400, 500 superdelegates who are on her side. That is unfair.

It is virtually impossible for Secretary Clinton to reach the majority of convention delegates by June 14 with pledged delegates alone. She will need superdelegates to take her over the top at the convention in Philadelphia. In other words, the convention will be a contested contest.


MATTHEWS: Senator, usually, in a debate, you agree on definitions before the debate starts, but here`s Bernie Sanders, your candidate, saying there is a new definition of a contested convention.

It`s not having a majority of the delegates. It`s a majority of the pledged delegates. Well, that`s a new definition. I know why it suits his purposes, but can you change the definitions right in the middle of a campaign, in fact, in May of an election year?

NINA TURNER (D), FORMER OHIO STATE SENATOR: Well, Chris, I think what he`s primary talking about is the fact that we still have 10 contests within the United States, and we have a few, you know, four others, D.C., Guam, et cetera, and That every voice needs to be heard.

And so we want to make sure that, throughout this process, that no one should be trying to push Senator Sanders out of that contest if there are more pledged delegates to earn, and it`s not over until it`s over. And at this point, Secretary Clinton has a little over 1,600. And Senator Sanders has a little over 1,300. So, it`s not over yet.

MATTHEWS: Do you think his campaigning of late is helping Hillary Clinton or anybody win the Democratic -- having a Democratic victory this November? Is helpful to the Democratic effort?

TURNER: I think so, Chris.

This is a disruption election, and I know that you have critiqued and been involved in many elections. This is like none other that we have seen certainly in the...

MATTHEWS: I agree with you on that, Senator, totally. It`s a totally new one.

TURNER: Yes, in the 21st century.

And people are crying out on both the left and the right. They don`t want status -- they do not want status quo politics as usual. And Senator Sanders is really speaking to that on the left.

And I think a robust debate is helpful for the Democratic Party, but more importantly, Chris, I think it`s helpful for America, so that we awaken the sleeping giants right here in this country and to get people to start to pay attention to the process and to get involved and engaged in the process.

MATTHEWS: OK, last question, yes or no. It`s pretty tough.

Was your candidate, Senator Sanders, right or wrong to give Hillary Clinton a bye on the e-mail issue?

TURNER: Well, Chris, that was his decision. He was running.

MATTHEWS: Give her a pass. Are you with him on that? Was that the right decision? Or should he have exploited that?

TURNER: Well, Chris, it was his decision, so I don`t want to prejudge his decision. It was his decision.

MATTHEWS: I`ll tell you, I will post-judge it.


MATTHEWS: It was a signal to me he was running as a protest candidate, not as a guy really willing to win.

TURNER: I know you have been saying that, Chris, but you know Senator...

MATTHEWS: Because, when you want to win, you take every advantage you can get. That`s how you win your elections. You take every advantage.


MATTHEWS: He`s going after her on the speeches. He`s hitting her every day on the speeches.

TURNER: Well, that was...

MATTHEWS: So, he`s willing to play tough. So, don`t kid me about that. He`s not a softy.

TURNER: Well, I`m not, Chris.

But what I`m saying is, is that was his decision. Whether it was right or wrong, it was his. He`s the candidate. But I understand exactly where you`re coming from.


MATTHEWS: We agree again. It was his decision, and, politically, it was probably the wrong one.

Anyway, thank you, Senator Turner. Please keep coming on and we will keep arguing.

TURNER: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: Still ahead, legacy building. The jobless rate has fallen, the stock market is up certainly, doubled almost, and the deficit is down, so why isn`t Barack Obama getting more credit? Why isn`t he getting more respect? Remember the comedian who used to say that?

Anyway, I will speak with a reporter who sat down with the president on this very topic. And that`s coming up next.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.



BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Here we are, my eighth and final appearance at this unique event. And I am excited. If this material works well, I`m going to use it at Goldman Sachs next year.




MATTHEWS: Does anybody look as good in a tux? He obviously has a valet at the White House. The guy has got the pocket square. Everything is right.

Anyway, welcome back to HARDBALL.

That was President Obama joking about leaving the office at the White House Correspondents Dinner on Saturday night. It was a big night for him.

As he nears the end of his second term, it was a chance to poke fun at his legacy, of course, as well as the candidates who hope to succeed him.

Here is how the president accounted for rising approval rating over the last couple months.


OBAMA: In my final year, my approval ratings keep going up.

And here`s the thing. I haven`t really done anything differently. So it`s odd. Even my age can`t explain the rising poll numbers. What has changed? Nobody can figure it out.




MATTHEWS: Those are the pictures they showed in the room there at the hotel.

Anyway, time will ultimately tell how the Obama legacy ranks in history, of course, but as Hillary Clinton pointed out, on a more serious note, his legacy will also be shaped by whoever follows him into the White House of course next year.

Once again, here is Clinton yesterday.


HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We cannot let Barack Obama`s legacy fall into Donald Trump`s hands.


CLINTON: We can`t let all the hard work and progress we have achieved over the last 7.5 years be torn away.


MATTHEWS: Well, President Obama recently smoke with Andrew Ross Sorkin of "The New York Times" about his legacy and why he doesn`t get much credit for rebuilding America`s economy.

This is from the piece: "How people feel about the economy, Obama told me, giving one part of his own theory, is influenced by what they hear. He went on: `And if you have a political party -- in this case, the Republicans -- that denies any progress and is constantly channeling to their base, that things are terrible all the time, then people will start absorbing that.`"

I`m joined right now by the author the piece, Andrew Ross Sorkin of "The New York Times." He`s also of course on CNBC and he`s co-creator of "Billions," a fascinating show on Showtime.

Andrew, thanks for joining us.


MATTHEWS: Now, how much -- just get -- let`s get to the political part before we get to the numbers

How much does Obama -- I have heard him say this before about the power of television and negative advertising. He once said to me or some of other - - some of us -- that the reason Obamacare had a hard time starting was you had $200 million in negative advertising thrown at it.

Does he believe that just repetition...

SORKIN: Oh, yes.

MATTHEWS: ... the big lie, if you will, if you want to get really brutal about it, has power?

SORKIN: Absolutely.

He believes that we have heard over and over again that the country is going to hell. We have been told this from -- frankly, from both political parties, but in particular the Republican Party, and, as he said, you absorb it.

If you look at polls, by the way, some of the best-off folks in America, people making $250,000 and more, if you ask them how the country is doing, they poll -- purely on the poll will tell you it`s worse frankly than people at lower tiers.

So there is no question that the message is a big piece of this.

MATTHEWS: Well, let`s start at the top, Donald Trump.

He is a rich guy. People think he knows the economy because he has made a lot of money and they think he knows what he`s talking about. So, when he keeps saying everything -- but he does find those iconic things, like the loss of Carrier to Mexico, that they`re dropping perfectly for him to say we have got to keep these highly skilled jobs in this country.

They`re not Third World jobs, if you will, the kinds of jobs you figure anybody can do without any training. They`re jobs that require skill and training and they pay pretty well. They are the jobs we have to keep, I think, and that`s the kind of thing that I think hurts people`s feelings about the future, the hopes.

SORKIN: Well, I think there`s a couple things going on.

First of all, Donald Trump will tell you repeatedly that we`re a Third World nation, which, of course, we are not.

MATTHEWS: Of course.

SORKIN: And he says that on the stump regularly.

But, more importantly, there is very much truth to the fact, by the way, that there are people in this country that are hurting. That`s absolutely true. But when you`re going to measure this man`s legacy -- when I say this man, President Obama`s legacy -- and to whatever degree you think can a president can control or influence the economy, to me at least, and I know to him, you have to do it on a relative basis.

You have to say to your self, where we were when this started? What did it look like when we felt like we were about to go off a cliff into the abyss, and where are we now? And, by the way, what happened during this period, which is to say, not only are we at 5 percent unemployment, when at one point we were at 10 percent unemployment. We have created all sorts of jobs.

And even though it may not feel like that all the time -- and I know there`s a lot of people out there who are going to watch this and say, what, are you crazy? This country really is going to hell.

But -- and wages are an absolute issue. But on a relative basis to where we could have been -- and I know it`s a counterfactual, but that -- it`s the hypothetical. It`s the counterfactual which the president effectively is going to always be playing against, because he was -- his job was to effectively get the country off the gurney.

And now we`re sort of in rehab. And -- but people don`t like that. And it`s hard to measure that on a relative basis.


Well, as I said, you`re one of the creators of the hit show "Billions." It`s about a charismatic hedge fund manager played by Damian Lewis -- he of course was "Homeland" -- and his adversarial relationship with a crusading U.S. attorney who is played brilliantly by Paul Giamatti. Here is a clip.


PAUL GIAMATTI, ACTOR: Out there, you guys always talk so tough, but you always end up in here. Why is that?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Because he knows he`s a crook.

GIAMATTI: Innocent people will never take a hit like that.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Beyond the pale. My client... DAMIAN LEWIS, ACTOR: You got me, Rhoades -- $1.9 billion, that is going to hurt, but not like a shark bite. It`s more like a, what, a bee sting.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Bee sting? No. That hurts. More like a horsefly.

GIAMATTI: One of those little green horseflies.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Yes, a nasty nip.

LEWIS: No, more like an ant, like a red another.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Yes, stings for a minute, but doesn`t ruin the picnic.


MATTHEWS: Are U.S. attorneys as smart as the businessmen they have to watch?

SORKIN: Well, I actually would argue they are. I would argue they are.

But, of course, what this show tries to do in many ways is sort of play with that sense of gray at a time when so many in this country have this very black and white view of all of this. But when you get inside the room, of course, you feel the vision gets a little bit more blurry.


Anyway, Andrew Ross Sorkin, a sophisticated gentleman who covers Wall Street.

SORKIN: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: Up next: Here they go again. Another Republican admits voter I.D. laws actually help conservatives. Big surprise. We have always thought that. Now the top guy, Jim DeMint, at Heritage is admitting it. We had a couple Pennsylvania guys do it already for us.

Anyway, the roundtable will able to look at these block the vote efforts. Could they have an effect in 2016? They got to have an effect when you make it harder to vote, because that makes older people and sometimes minorities unable to vote.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.



Well, candidates tell us every vote counts, you heard that a lot, right? Yet tough new voter ID laws make it harder for some voters to even cast a ballot. During an interview with a conservative radio program on Friday, however, former South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint now headed the Heritage Foundation, a very conservative group, says the Republicans are reaping the benefits of photo voter ID laws. Here they are.


FORMER SEN. JIM DEMINT (R-SC), PRESIDENT OF THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION: It`s something we`re working on all over the country because in the states where they do have voter ID laws, you`ve seen actually elections begin to change towards more conservative candidates.


MATTHEWS: Well, according to "The New York Times" and Ballot Media since 2006, 33 states have enacted voter ID laws. Just since 2006. That`s the new thing. We never had it before. Texas is one of the states and its new laws being challenged in court. Recently, Ted Cruz joined an amicus brief for four restrictions that allow voters to use gun licenses as identification at polling locations but won`t accept student IDs or even an ID issued by Native American Reservation Authorities. I wonder why they figure that one out.

With each restriction, states are making it tougher for minorities, older Americans and disabled to get their votes to count. However, easy for gun owners.

Joining me right now, the HARDBALL round table. David Corn is an MSNBC political analyst and Washington bureau chief for "Mother Jones", Francesca Chambers is with "The Daily Mail", and Paul Butler is a law professor at Georgetown and a former federal prosecutor.

Paul, thank you for joining us.

Head this -- I mean, it`s so flagrant. We had a couple guys up in Pennsylvania, the party chairman, some other senator up, they just said it. We did this to beat Obama, to beat the Democrats.

PAUL BUTLER, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: You know, these guys are accidently telling the truth because the purpose behind these laws are supposed to be prevent voter fraud. But guess what? We have a lot of problems in the country. Voter fraud is not one of them.

The effect that these voter ID laws have voters especially strict laws like Texas where you have to have certain kinds of photo IDs, they suppress the vote, they suppress democracy, especially people of color, elderly folks --

MATTHEWS: Yes, explain though. Explain that for people. Why is it people of color are hit hard by this?

BUTLER: You know, about 14 percent of all Americans don`t have the appropriate IDs, but when it comes to people of color who are disproportionate and poor, less likely to have things like driver`s license.

MATTHEWS: Yes, like a car.

BUTLER: Yes, yes. So they know that and that`s why, you know, the thing Chris is, is not only the people who have the IDs, it`s the people who are concerned they might get turned away so they don`t even show up. So, there is no way of knowing --

MATTHEWS: It scares me. You know, David, I grew initially we lived in the old part of the city of Philadelphia, in row houses. My grandparents -- until my grandfather decided t get a driver`s license at 65, never had a car, because you can`t use a car. You took the subway. You walked to church. You walked to the store.

There`s nowhere to park. They had to put the trash cans out when we came to visit, you know, to keep a spot. It wasn`t like everybody owns a car.

People don`t know that, they live in New York, Philly or Chicago, people don`t drive everywhere in New York, but they`re --

DAVID CORN, MOTHER JONES: Well, in urban environments and in very poor environments --

MATTHEWS: By the way, parking is 30 bucks a night sometimes.

CORN: Urban environments and low income areas, you have fewer driver`s licenses. It`s just a fact. And this is part of a bigger trend. The Republicans are on the wrong side of the demographic shifts in America.

MATTHEWS: But they know what they`re doing here.

CORN: The only way they can maintain power at the state and local levels, is to play with these voting rules. They do the same thing with early voting, they do the same thing like not funding polling places.


MATTHEWS: OK, Francesca, they`re alternative, but the outreach program to reach minorities and meet people that are, you know, incapacitated to vote, or they can screw them out of voting. They seem to make their choice, to be blunt about it. No Republicans out there raised -- you raised the flag. We raised the flag here. I never heard a Republican raise the flag and say stop cheating. Our party should be the Party of Lincoln on this, at least.

FRANCESCA CHAMBERS, THE DAILY MAIL: Well, in 33 states that we`re talking about with voter id laws, it seems to be realistically, though, that the only way we can get those turned around would be through the state legislature passing laws that overturn them, or it would have to go through the courts. So, for the time being, the situation would be that if you`re an outreach group, you are a group that reaches out to minorities and you want those people to vote for your candidates and issues also be making them aware of the fact that they need to have a voter --


MATTHEWS: I agree with that. That`s good grassroots work. But if you look at a map here, I`m looking at it, it`s the same map as the partisan map of the United States. The states that haven`t done this screwed people out of voting are the Democratic states. It just is. And the Republican states are the ones that are doing it. So, that`s what is going on.

The round table is staying with us.

And up next -- I agree with you -- local political people should be teaching people how to get those licenses and that`s one thing we`ve lost with the political machines that have become faded out.

We`ll be right back. They`re going to tell me something I don`t know.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: You want to tune in tomorrow, we bring you complete coverage, of course, of the Indiana primary. That`s the big one tomorrow, at 6:00 p.m., I`ll join Brian Williams, of course, and Rachel Maddow for full results and analysis.

And then, at 11:00 p.m. tomorrow night, we`ll have a special edition of HARDBALL for you as we look forward to the big fight. That`s going to be coming I think tomorrow.

And my big prediction, we`re looking at Hillary Clinton versus Donald Trump. Not a daring prediction at all. It looks pretty clear right now that`s where we`re headed. It`s all coming here tomorrow night at 11:00 when we talk the big fight, the big one. That`s Hillary versus Trump.

We`ll be right back.


MATTHEWS: We`re back with the HARDBALL roundtable.

By the way, the camera caught me talking to Francesca about how come student IDs were not OK, but gun licenses were. We`ll have to figure that out in a later show. It seems to be political maybe.

Anyway, David, tell me something I don`t know.

CORN: OK. We have this big fight coming up in California between Trump and Cruz. It may not matter but what`s going to happen is it`s going to continue to destroy the Republican Party of California. Eighty-seven percent of Latinos in California have a negative impression of Donald Trump. So in if he gets all this attention it`s going to make it even harder for the Republican Party, which is in tatters in California.

MATTHEWS: Especially if he wins the primary out there.


CHAMBERS: Well, we know that Donald Trump has been saying Hillary Clinton only has one thing going for her and that`s the woman card. She has seized on that started giving woman cards to her donors. She raised $2.4 million off of that woman card effort at the end of last thing.

MATTHEWS: OK, I think she`s on to something.


BUTLER: Barack Obama is cool with hip-hop, edgy racial humor. At the White House Correspondents` Dinner, Larry Wilmore called him the "N" word affectionately. The president was fine with that. He even made a joke about CP time, colors persons time. There`s a concept African-Americans can say things white people aren`t allowed to say. The president`s cool with that. He`s kind of the Richard Pryor or Dave Chappelle of presidents.

MATTHEWS: Wow. A politically -- well, an anthropological development in our society. Anyway, I was surprised he liked it. I`ve heard different thoughts.

Anyway, thank you, David Corn, and thank you, Francesca Chambers. And thank you, Paul Butler, for Georgetown University Law School.

HARDBALL back after this.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

These days, politicians face some nasty critics out there. But in a movie titled "The Congressman," a lawmaker from Maine is caught on video by one failing to stand, simply failing to stand and recite the daily Pledge of Allegiance on the floor of the House. And here`s what happens next.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Congressman Winship, is it true you dissed the Pledge of Allegiance?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you say dissed?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Diss -- did you diss the pledge?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you know who wrote the Pledge of Allegiance?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. And it wasn`t etched on the tablets Moses brought down from Mt. Sinai either.

The Pledge of Allegiance was written by a national socialist by the name of the Francis Bellamy, who believed that the government should take over the schools. He ordained the pledge should be recited while all American schoolchildren stood and gave the so-called Bellamy Salute.

Have you ever seen the Bellamy salute?

No? Here it is. Cooler heads prevailed and that part of the pledge was dropped after Hitler declared war on us.


MATTHEWS: Well, of course, she runs out and gets that Nazi -- anyway, as the incident snowballs in the movie, the congressman played by Treat Williams retreats to Maine where he starts to answer the question of what it means to be a real American.

Here to help me answer that is the film`s writer, co-director, and once politician himself, former U.S. congressman for New York, Robert Mrazek.

Bob, thank you for coming on.


MATTHEWS: I thought it was the greatest portrayal ever of a real-life congressman. Tell me what inspired you to do the whole thing about Americanism and what it really is. It isn`t nationalism, about my country right or wrong, it`s about?

MRAZEK: Yes, we live in very cynical times, Chris. And people have begun to question the bedrock values of this nation -- honor, sacrifice, courage. We have people questioning whether John McCain was a war hero, after he was shot down over Hanoi and imprisoned and tortured for five years in Hanoi Hilton.

Our movie is a movie about hope, it`s about redemption, it`s about second chances. It`s a throwback, I guess, like me in some respects. In that, you know, it`s not bleak. It`s not cynical.

There are a lot of bleak and cynical movies out there. Our movie is about the transition of a man who happens to be a congressman at a certain point in his life. And facing the real question of what it means to be an American.

MATTHEWS: Well, it`s freedom and you have -- I know you wrote it. So, I`ll praise you for it. That speech at the end is amazing. It talks about -- don`t get me for not standing up and saluting, but giving the Pledge of Allegiance, that`s a ritual. I know what this country`s really about and I have -- one of the things it`s about is not having to do that, ironically. And the audience gets it.

MRAZEK: I hope so. I think so. We`ve gotten enough feedback from audiences that they have appreciated the fact that even though the Pledge of Allegiance has good words in it, and we`re not quarreling with those words, we don`t need to recite them every morning to prove we love our country.

MATTHEWS: Let me sell the movie a little bit. What I have is the truth of it all. First of all, you have the sleazy staff who has no loyalty to the boss, and basically screws him, because he`s so ambitious to get the guy`s job. The former type member, George Hamilton played the perfect sleaze, the lobbyist on Capitol Hill, always the perfect tan, trying to get young people to be seduced to his corruption. You`ve got all of that. And you have the media exploiting this guy and making him into a Nazi because he was honest enough to explain the derivation of the pledge and all that went with it.

MRAZEK: Yes, I mean --

MATTHEWS: The young reporter looked like she could not wait to get on the air with that.

MRAZEK: Right, exactly.

MATTHEWS: She thought she`d gone to heaven.

Robert Mrazek, great guy. You`ve got to see this movie if you care about what it`s like to be a congressman. If you`ve ever seen "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," this is the sequel, OK? This is "The Congressman".

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

Tomorrow, I`ll join Brian Williams and Rachel Maddow for special primary coverage starting at 6:00 p.m. Eastern.

And stay up all night. Actually, 11:00, if you stay up that late, we`re going to have a HARDBALL edition at 11:00 tomorrow night. We`ll talk about the future of the national election between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. We`re going to be forgetting about the primaries for a while.

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.