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Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 5/11/2016

Guests: Cornell Belcher, Megan Murphy, Dana Milbank, Heidi Przybyla, Clara Moskowitz

Show: HARDBALL Date: May 11, 2016 Guest: Cornell Belcher, Megan Murphy, Dana Milbank, Heidi Przybyla, Clara Moskowitz

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Donald Trump presents.

Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.

And that`s the big story tonight, Donald Trump, the about-to-be Republican nominee for president of the United States, is bringing his thrill show to the big tent stage of this summer`s fight for the White House. You`ll see entertainment, live entertainment. You`ll see suspense. He promises to pick his vice president right there at the convention. You`ll see reality TV bigger and scarier than "Survivor," and it`s all brought to you by the master himself, the man now just one rival away from the American presidency.

You heard it all promoted right here last night.


PAUL MANAFORT, TRUMP CONVENTION MANAGER: Donald Trump understands media. He`s -- he`s a television star. This is the ultimate reality show. It`s the presidency of the United States.


MATTHEWS: Is Trump coming down to Washington tomorrow to meet with Paul Ryan as a political leader or as the ultimate showman, someone used to controlling the TV narrative, like he did on "The Apprentice" and firing people for entertainment?

Well, the presumptive Republican nominee also makes clear he`s got no plans to change anything he`s been doing. He told "The New York Times," quote, "I think I have a mandate from the people." For Trump, this is the theater of war. Quote, "You win the pennant and now you`re in the World Series. You`re going to change? People like the way I`m doing."

He also made this theatrical comparison. "In a Broadway theater, the absolute best sale is called word of mouth. And people love a Broadway show, it`s better than if you write a good review. Word of mouth is number one thing. And the word of mouth at my rallies is, like, You got to go see it. And you know, one person goes and they talk about it to 20 people."

What is the Trump show, and what is he selling right now? In the past 24 hours, Donald Trump has reaffirmed his commitment to ban Muslims from the country. He`s boasted that after attacking John McCain`s war record, his poll numbers went up 7 points. And his strategist, as I said, Paul Manafort told me that Trump will continue going after Hillary Clinton over her husband`s past behavior.

Well, if Paul Ryan was hoping for a change of tone, from Trump, doesn`t look like that`s coming any time soon.

Michael Steele`s the former -- former chairman of the Republican National Committee and MSNBC political analyst. Heidi Przybyla is a senior political writer for "USA Today." And MSNBC political analyst Ed Rendell is a former governor of Pennsylvania, who supports Hillary Clinton.

Governor Rendell, I have never heard -- it`s almost like Don King, the old fight promoter. Trump`s saying this is going to be the most exciting convention. He`s talking about having music. He`s talking about -- well, it will be a reality. He says he`s going to pick a VP running mate right there at the convention. Everything`s going to be hype. I`ll bet you the broadcast networks, including our own, NBC, is going to be giving this convention a lot more hours than they have done in recent years. He`s going to make this exciting.

Can he do it? And will it matter?

ED RENDELL (D), FMR. PA GOV., MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, he`s probably right. I thought the cable networks gave Donald Trump inordinate coverage, live coverage, which avoided him having to pay for ads. I think he got 20, 30 times the coverage that most of his rivals got, and I think that played right into his sweet spot. So I think there`s something to what he says.

And I think the networks who don`t cover politics just for news, they cover it for ratings -- I think they`re going to fall prey to that. But the Trump show only works if he can convince the American voters that he`s serious enough and substantive enough to be president and he`s not erratic. I mean...

MATTHEWS: When does he have to do that? When does he have to do that?

RENDELL: Some time before the second Tuesday in November because this is a guy who on the day he was going to win the Indiana primary by 15 points and knock out all his rivals, unnecessarily and fallaciously attacked Ted Cruz`s father and said he was part of a plot to assassinate JFK. That`s erratic. That`s bizarre.

MATTHEWS: I`m with you on that one. Heidi, you know that your newspaper was sort of built on the idea of the television set, and you get the boxes where you buy "USA Today" -- looks like a TV set. Did you know that?


MATTHEWS: So you know all that stuff. So your paper really does follow popular, what`s happening right now, the zeitgeist. Can he create a week of fantastic excitement, starting with the convention, where that just boosts up all his numbers?

PRZYBYLA: Well, that`s going to be part of it, Chris. But any journalist who`s worth their salt is going to be covering the real story, which is, is this real unity around...


PRZYBYLA: ... Donald Trump, who`s not there, the businesses that have all pulled out...


PRZYBYLA: ... and that say they`re going to be pulling out. And so any good journalist is going to be tracking down that sort of story, as well.

MATTHEWS: So the "U.S. News & World Report" -- not "U.S. News," but "USA Today" is going to be reserved in its coverage of the Republican convention.

PRZYBYLA: I`m not saying that.



MATTHEWS: Hey, look (INAUDIBLE) end of the show. Ever since the days of the 19th century, there was this -- this honky-tonk, this ballyhoo. You had a big parade, a big -- everything was about big placards, a band playing, lots of noise and excitement for the speeches, lots of jokes. This isn`t new, it`s just elevating it, and he`s saying, This is what I`m doing here. I`m putting on a show for you guys.


MATTHEWS: Bread and circuses.

STEELE: ... elevating it. Remember the last...

MATTHEWS: Caesar did it!

STEELE: The most exciting point at the last convention was seeing someone talk to a chair. So I think we`re going to advance beyond that...

MATTHEWS: That wasn`t advanced very well.

STEELE: That wasn`t advance very well.

MATTHEWS: You know what, when I first saw it, I thought it was very interesting, and then...

STEELE: It started out that way...


MATTHEWS: Nobody liked it.

STEELE: Why are we here?

MATTHEWS: They said it was negative.


STEELE: But here`s the thing. I think -- yes, you`re absolutely right. You`re going to have reporters digging behind the scenes to find out who isn`t there. But trust me on this. There are going to be a hell of a lot more people there than not.

And there are going to be a lot more businesses involved in sponsoring than not because they`re going to want to be a part of what will ultimately be an historic event, number one. Number two, an important political event because coming out of that convention, I think you`re going to find that there`s going to be more of a runway for Donald Trump`s candidacy than anybody is giving him credit for right now, despite all the noise, despite the poll.

MATTHEWS: OK. Let`s talk about gamesmanship, Governor, because I think there`s always a game aspect even in the most serious business. When we deal with the Russians, there`s a game aspect, of course. If Trump doesn`t announce his running mate until they get to Cleveland, that means that Hillary Clinton, who has to make a running mate choice, won`t really be able to react to that, cleverly deal with it, positioning of what the Republicans are up to until she gets to her convention.

Isn`t that going to sort of push her into a position of holding off her announcement until Philadelphia?

RENDELL: Well, it might. It absolutely might. But there`s nothing wrong with that. I always thought -- I always wondered why the presidential presumptive nominee made that announcement before the convention anyway. That`s one of the few things that really was drama at the conventions.


RENDELL: And you remember in 1956, when it Adlai Stevenson threw it open to the delegates, that was the most exciting part of that convention.

MATTHEWS: Sure was.

RENDELL: So I wouldn`t mind if Hillary -- I wouldn`t mind of Hillary kept that under wraps until we get to Philadelphia.

MATTHEWS: You know, Governor, we listened to that in our car radio, our `54 Chevy, my dad and our family in the car as we listened to the Kennedy versus Kefauver. We had all heard of Kefauver because of the crime investigations. We had never heard a Kennedy. Isn`t that amazing? That made him!

RENDELL: Chris, do you know...

MATTHEWS: That made him, that fight.

RENDELL: Do you know who was in that field? Some amazing people were in that field.

MATTHEWS: Al Gore was. Who was?

RENDELL: Al Gore, Senior, Stuart Symington. It was an amazing field.

MATTHEWS: Bobby Wagner. Wagner was in that field. Hubert Humphrey was in that field. My God, we know so much.


MATTHEWS: Anyway, Donald Trump told the Associated Press today he doesn`t think he will release his tax returns -- here`s something to do -- we do want to get out of him -- before November. Wonder why he`s holding them until after November?

Anyway, "There`s nothing to learn from them," he says. Anyway, Mitt Romney was quick to criticize him. On Facebook, Romney wrote, "It is disqualifying for a modern day presidential nominee to refuse to release tax returns to the voters, especially one who has not been subject to public scrutiny in either military or public service. There`s only one logical explanation for Mr. Trump`s refusal to release his returns. There`s a bombshell in them."


MATTHEWS: "Given Mr. Trump`s equanimity with other flaws in his history. we can only assume it`s a bombshell of unusual size."

My God, a bombshell. That doesn`t sound like Mitt Romney talking.

PRZYBYLA: And if the Democrats are smart, they`ll -- they`ll...

MATTHEWS: What do you...


MATTHEWS: ... speculation time.

PRZYBYLA: ... just suggesting...


PRZYBYLA: ... impropriety, right?

MATTHEWS: ... let`s suggest this. He`s not as rich as he says he is.

PRZYBYLA: That`s one. It could also be what we already know, which is taking advantage of various tax breaks...



PRZYBYLA: ... people who are not rich...


PRZYBYLA: ... on property in New Jersey, the -- so you can use a farm tax credit, stuff like that.

MATTHEWS: Which would play into Bernie Sanders and a lot of other...


STEELE: Can I ask a question?


STEELE: Who`s going to care?

MATTHEWS: Well, I`m asking -- no, I think it`s how it`s played.

PRZYBYLA: Well, there`s one thing...


MATTHEWS: Tell me how the Hillary people are going to use this if he keeps his taxes a secret?

RENDELL: Well, you know, I love Michael, but I think, Michael, you`re dead wrong on that. My aunt was a rock-ribbed Republican, and I remember coming home from college and -- she hated Hugh Carey, the governor of New York. And I said to her -- it was Carey`s reelection year.

I said, Aunt Stella, you`re going to get your wish. Carey`s going down. She said, No, I`m voting for him. The other guy won`t release his taxes. I paid $111,622.45 in taxes, and I`m not voting for somebody who`s not going to tell me what they paid.


STEELE: I understand that then, but that`s not this electorate now. And I think we need to be -- I think we need to be...

MATTHEWS: What`s he hiding?

STEELE: Well, I mean, that`s what Democrats are going to ask. That`s clearly...

MATTHEWS: Well, I`m asking! Journalists are asking!

STEELE: I mean, I`m sure he`s probably hiding something, but my -- I guess my general question is, I don`t know how far that`s going to carry (INAUDIBLE)

MATTHEWS: OK, here`s my rule of politics. It`s a simple rule. I got a bunch of them.

STEELE: I think he should be...


MATTHEWS: If it looks better than it is, they`ll tell you. I mean, if it`s better than it looks, they`ll tell you. If it looks better than it is, they won`t tell you. If he had a -- he showed he paid a decent rate of taxes all these years, that he made a reasonably defensible history of giving, of charitable giving, why wouldn`t he tell us?

STEELE: But do you really think his tax returns are going to trip up his campaign after everything we`ve seen come out of this campaign?

MATTHEWS: Well, he thinks so.

PRZYBYLA: Well, Chris...


MATTHEWS: That`s why he`s not releasing them! He`s with you, keep them secrete!

PRZYBYLA: I`m somebody who takes advantage of the tax code and the system as it is because we`ve already seen this issue with...


MATTHEWS: Anyway, Senator Marco Rubio said today he will support Trump -- that guys made a 180 -- despite some deeply held reservations about the candidate. Let`s watch what he said -- well, how he`s trying to thread -- this is funny, isn`t it, Governor? This is funny. This is politics. Let`s watch. Hysterical!



SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), FMR. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My reservations about him have been clearly stated, and they remain unchanged.

Everything I said during the campaign, I still believe. But you have to make a choice. And you don`t have a choice here anymore between 17 people or even 5.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To put it bluntly, Senator Rubio, do you want Donald Trump to win? Do you hope in your heart of hearts that he wins and assumes the presidency?

RUBIO: Look, again, all of the policy differences I have with him remain. All of the reservations about his campaign remain. I don`t want Hillary Clinton to win. Donald Trump is the only other choice on the ballot. I recognize that. I have a pledge to support the nominee on top of it, and I intend to keep it.


MATTHEWS: Well, it`s the old "compared to her" thing. Anyway, here`s what he said during the campaign that he apparently, as he puts it, still believes. Let`s watch.


RUBIO: What we are dealing with here, my friends, is a con artist. He is a con artist. This is a con job. Guys, we have a con artist as the front- runner in the Republican Party.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you think a Trump government would look like, Senator?

RUBIO: It would be chaos. No one knows. He`s wholly unprepared to be president of the United States. This is the most important government job on the planet. We`re about to turn over the conservative movement to a person that has no ideas of any substance on the important issues, the nuclear codes of the United States to an erratic individual.


MATTHEWS: You know, what is this "con artist" thing? Isn`t that what they were calling Trump -- I mean, President Obama, a "con artist." That`s the new big thing. How does he come back from that? I support the grifter. What`s he going to say, I`m with the grifter.


PRZYBYLA: If you`re under the age of 60 in politics, Chris, you got to make your decision based on self-interest in these things. That`s why you see Jeb Bush and Lindsey Graham saying, To hell with it. I signed the pledge. I don`t care. I`m not supporting him. But Marco Rubio`s got a long future in politics, so he`s got one toe in, the other toe out. And he`s going to be in a really uncomfortable position because...


PRZYBYLA: ... those of us -- journalists are going to asking him on everything Trump says, like, So you agree there should be nukes in Europe?


MATTHEWS: Governor, is he really auditioning for VP? Is that what he`s doing with this 180 turnaround here, I like him now?

RENDELL: No. And let me tell you, I think he`s hurting his long-term political campaign because he just said he was going to vote for somebody who he described as too erratic to entrust the nuclear codes to. That`s insane.

You`ve got to stick by your guns, bite your lip and say, He`s too erratic. I can`t support him. I`m not going to vote for Hillary Clinton, but I can`t support him.

MATTHEWS: Well, you`re being very sound, but Rubio`s not alone. Rick Perry, the former governor of Texas, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Rand Paul of Kentucky have all expressed support for their former opponent now, despite some very strong language during the primary. Let`s watch this circus of, well, changing of minds. Let`s watch this baby.


RICK PERRY (R-TX), FMR. GOV., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Let no one be mistaken, Donald Trump`s candidacy is cancer on conservativism, and it must be clearly diagnosed, excised and discarded.

BOBBY JINDAL (R-LA), FMR. GOV., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald Trump is not a serious candidate. He`s a narcissist. He`s an egomaniac. The only thing he believes in is himself.

SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald Trump is a delusional narcissist and an orange-faced windbag! What worries me most about Trump, other than all the crazy things, is that I believe that he wants power and I believe, from my point of view, that power corrupts.


MATTHEWS: And they`re now in the coterie supporting Trump. They`re all with him. Isn`t it interesting? Maybe this is why people have the attitude they have about politicians.

STEELE: There you go.

MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you, Michael Steele. Thank you, Governor Rendell. Thank you, Heidi Przybyla of "USA Today."

Coming up -- Donald Trump`s calling Hillary Clinton trigger happy because of her vote to authorize the invasion of Iraq back then. But in a newly unearthed interview from 2006, Trump said Clinton deserved a pass from that because what she heard was based on lies. Well, that`s ahead.

Plus, here`s another group that`s really excited about the possibility of a Hillary Clinton presidency, UFO buffs. They think the truth about extraterrestrials is out there, that the government`s been keeping all secret, and they`re with Hillary now that she`s vowing to open up the government`s files on alien life.

And we`ve talked a lot about Donald Trump`s problems with women voters now. Does Hillary Clinton have a gender gap with male voters? We`re going to balance it out tonight. We`ve got the results of a focus group of North Carolina men who find out -- we`ll find out what they think about Hillary Clinton.

Finally, "Let Me Finish" tonight with that all-American pastime of razzle- dazzle.

And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: Vice President Joe Biden has spoken out about whether he regrets not running for president this time, a decision he made following the death of his son, Beau. Here`s what he told ABC`s Robin Roberts.


JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I had planned on running. It`s an awful thing to say. I think I would have been the best president. But it was the right thing not just for my family, for me. I - - no one should ever seek the presidency unless they`re able to devote their whole heart and soul and passion into just doing that. And Beau was my soul. I just wasn`t ready to be able to do that.

Now, my one regret is my Beau`s not here. I don`t have any other regrets.


MATTHEWS: Wow. Well, Joe Biden in a candid moment there, saying he thinks he would have been the best president this time.

We`ll be right back.



DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Although not in government service, I was totally against the war in Iraq, very proudly, saying for many years that it would destabilize the Middle East. Sadly, I was correct.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Donald Trump has long claimed, as you just heard there, of (ph) an opposition to the Iraq war. It was one of his main selling points when it comes to his foreign policy (INAUDIBLE) major address last month.

Now Trump`s dialed up his attacks on Hillary Clinton for her 2002 vote to authorize that Iraq war, calling the former secretary of state "trigger happy" when it comes to foreign intervention.

Here`s Trump this Saturday.


TRUMP: On foreign policy, Hillary is trigger happy! She is. She`s trigger happy. She`s got a bad temperament. You look what she did -- and look at this. I just wrote this down, Iraq, Libya -- she voted Iraq. Let`s go into Iraq. I voted against it, except I was a civilian, so nobody cared.


MATTHEWS: Well, yesterday, Buzzfeed unearthed a 2006 interview in which Trump told "New York Times" columnist Maureen Dowd that Clinton should get a pass for her vote to authorize the war. Quote, "He thinks Hillary should be forgiven for her horrendous vote to authorize the war. Don`t forget that decision was based on lies given to her, he says. She`s very smart and has a major chance to be our next president."

This comes after the chief architect of the Iraq war, former Vice President Cheney, said on Friday that he`ll support Trump as the nominee of the Republican Party. While Trump has repeatedly said he was against invading Iraq from the beginning, there`s no record of him opposing the war before it was launched.

Here`s what he told Howard Stern, of all people, in September of 2002, before the war drums got really hot.


HOWARD STERN, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Are you for invading Iraq?

DONALD TRUMP, CHAIRMAN & CEO, TRUMP HOTELS & CASINO RESORTS: Yes, I guess so. I wish it was -- I wish, the first time, it was done correctly.


MATTHEWS: "Yes, I guess so."

I`m joined right now by two MSNBC political analysts, Governor Howard Dean, who supports Hillary Clinton, and David Corn of "Mother Jones."

David, we know where the neocons stood. They were hawks. We know where the hawks like Cheney stood. They were hawks. OK. That`s what they are. The people I really hold against it for the Iraq War are those casual country club people, Republican, who just say, well, what the heck? Yes, let`s do it. Don`t think. Don`t discern. Just follow along into war.

They were the people, the bad people. How about some discernment? He`s showing there no discernment. He just went along with it.

DAVID CORN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: We call them the I guess so crowd.

MATTHEWS: Yes, I guess so with going to war?

CORN: Yes. But I think at this point I time, we have to stop being surprised that anything that Donald Trump says at the moment might have been contradicted by anything he said before that.


MATTHEWS: Let`s take an issue you and I care about, though.

To me, I do pay attention to the fact that Barack Obama was against the war. I do pay attention that this fellow, Governor Dean, was against the war in the beginning. I pay attention to people who made that big discernment. You know what? I think this war is being sold by ideologues and I`m not for it. I don`t care evidence they pretend to have. They want this war.

Let me go back to the governor. Where is Trump?

HOWARD DEAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, here`s where Trump is.

Trump is taking his weakness and trying to make it into a strength. This is what is going to cost Trump the election at the end of the day. This is Barry Goldwater revisited. He knows nothing about foreign policy. He`s making this stuff up as he goes along. His core constituency that got him the Republican nomination is not the same as an American constituency.

Most people do not vote on foreign policy. They do vote on whether the candidate is erratic or not. And Trump is going to get a lot of votes because he`s against the establishment. At the end of the day, he loses because he`s too scary. He`s erratic.

MATTHEWS: In that quote we found, though, Governor, it looks like he just goes along with the establishment.

DEAN: He doesn`t know what he`s talking about. He makes it up as he goes along.


MATTHEWS: And on the campaign trail, Trump has called for less -- catch this -- less intervention in the world. We know that.

But at the same time, as he just said, I`m against Hillary because she was for Libya and Syria and Iraq. Anyway, but he also calls himself the most militaristic -- catch this -- even more militaristic than George W. Bush. Catch this.


TRUMP: I`m the militaristic person here. I`m the militaristic person in this room, believe me. I`m the most militaristic person. Militaristic. Militaristic. I`m much more militaristic than Bush, even the brother.


MATTHEWS: I have heard a politician say he`s the most militaristic candidate.

CORN: A, I don`t think he knows what the word really means.


MATTHEWS: What, Franco? What is he talking about?

CORN: You`re right. It sounds like Mussolini.

But the thing is, he will say anything at any given point in time. He`s totally transactional. He`s totally situational. And he`s trying to talk to all sides of the Republican Party.


MATTHEWS: Let`s try to explain to people, like we`re all trying to figure out what he said.

Is he an interventionist? He says he`s not.


CORN: But he is.

DEAN: Chris, he doesn`t know what the hell an interventionist is, and he doesn`t care.

This is a guy who makes up his decisions intuitively at the moment. And tomorrow it could be a different decision. And the economy can survive somebody like that, because we`re a big decentralized country. And the government doesn`t really control the economy.

This country cannot survive a president who believes that you can make your decision today and then make a different one tomorrow and then make a third one the next day.


MATTHEWS: Let me ask you questions.

Listen to a voter out there. They got to make decisions on two or three issues. It may be civil rights, it may be treatment of women, it may be the economy, most people. It may be can you trust this guy to keep us safe?

OK. How do you make a decision on Trump? Is he a hawk or a dove?

CORN: Well, he`s both.

MATTHEWS: What does that mean?

CORN: Because he talks out of his both sides of his mouth.


MATTHEWS: Is he likely to take us into war?

CORN: I don`t know what he`s going to do. I don`t think we can predict anything with this guy.

And the thing is, the voters that he`s attracting so far, I don`t think they are making decisions policy-wise. They are making decisions, no, on the attitude they get from him. What is his attitude? What is his attitude? And whether he`s hawkish or not interventionistic, he has the same attitude. Everybody else is wrong.


DEAN: This is not how wars start.

Wars start by miscalculation and by making stuff up as you go along. Wars start when you say something you don`t mean, when you`re too aggressive or not aggressive enough. He has no idea what he`s doing. He has no idea what he`s doing. He makes Barry Goldwater looks like a statesman in terms of foreign policy.

CORN: But Barry Goldwater had an ideology. He had been a senator. He had positions.


DEAN: But those positions were pretty dangerous.

CORN: Well, they may have been dangerous, but you knew what they were.


MATTHEWS: There were nice things about Goldwater you can defend, like his libertarianism. But his position on the use of nuclear weapons was crazy. He said leave it up to the generals when to use nuclear weapons.


DEAN: But there`s one thing that having a bad position is -- that is -- more scary than having a bad position is having a position that you make up on the day of, and on the next day you may do something else.

MATTHEWS: Let`s watch the Trump record, Governor. Once the invasion of Iraq was under way in March 2003, Trump called the war a military success, which it was initially, and said Wall Street would react positively. Here`s how he grades a war, Wall Street. Watch.


NEIL CAVUTO, FOX NEWS: What do you make of just how Wall Street has been reacting to what our military guys have been doing?

TRUMP: Well, I think Wall Street is waiting to see what happens.

But even before the fact, they are obviously taking it a little bit for granted. And it looks like a tremendous success from a military standpoint. And I think this is really nothing compared to what you are going to see after the war is over.

CAVUTO: What do you mean?

TRUMP: Well, I think Wall Street is just going to go up like a rocket.


MATTHEWS: Well, that`s not what happened, but that`s just predictions. Well, we don`t know.

CORN: Again, whatever he says at one moment has nothing to do with the next moment.

He called Hillary a wonderful secretary of state. Now she`s crooked Hillary.

MATTHEWS: OK. Then why do the people who liked him in the beginning of this campaign like him now?


CORN: Because they like his anger. They like his popping people in the nose. And they are not being driven by, is he an interventionist or is he more hawkish? And he`s very good at tagging people and making these sort of big points. But there`s no details.


MATTHEWS: I think it`s an attitude towards the way things are and the big shots running the country.


DEAN: I agree with all of that.

The trouble is, the closer you get to the election, the more people will try to think about their own safety and their own families. You cannot be safe with Donald Trump in the White House.

MATTHEWS: If Hillary Clinton gets reelected -- get elected -- I misstate - - not reelected -- I think safety is a big part of it.

I think he`s riskier. I think it`s a simple nonideological assessment. You want a safe president, Hillary is probably your bet.

Anyway, I still think she`s more hawkish than I would but, but then again I`m dovish.

Anyway, Howard Dean, thank you, Governor, and David Corn.

Up next, we got a real balanced group here, by the way.

Anyway, E.T. fans, take note. Hillary Clinton says, if she becomes president, she will release details about the secret Area 51. And you who care about this know who you are.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


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

The man accused of carrying out last year`s shooting rampage at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood has been found incompetent to stand trial. Robert Dear`s trial is on hold until after he undergoes treatment.

Federal officials say the deadly 2013 fertilizer plant blast in West Texas was caused by a criminal act; 15 people were killed in that explosion. No arrests have been made.

The United States is condemning today`s car bombings in Baghdad that left 93 people dead and 165 wounded. ISIS has claimed responsibility for those attacks.

Brazilian researchers say they found evidence that the mosquito-borne Zika virus may be evolving into a new one that is more likely to cause brain cells and cause birth defects.

And a steep sell-off for stocks. The Dow slid 217 points, the S&P shed 19, and the Nasdaq dropped 49 -- back to HARDBALL.


HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There`s a new name. It`s unexplained aerial phenomenon.

JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE": Unexplained aerial phenomenon, really?

CLINTON: Yes. Yes. UAP. That`s the latest nomenclature.

KIMMEL: I like the one old. I like UFO. I don`t know why.

CLINTON: Well, I think we can use them interchangeably. But I would like us to go into those files and hopefully make as much of that public as possible. If there`s nothing there, let`s tell people there`s nothing there.

KIMMEL: What if there is something there?

CLINTON: Well, if there is something there, unless it`s a threat to national security, I think we ought to share it with the public.


MATTHEWS: Well, that was Hillary Clinton on "Jimmy Kimmel" saying that if she were president, she would like to release information on Area 51, that Air Force base in Nevada some people believe stores classified government files on UFOs.

Amy Chozick of "The New York Times" writes that -- quote -- "Mrs. Clinton has vowed that, barring any threats to national security, she would open up government files on the subject, a shift from President Obama who typically dismisses the topic as a joke. Her position has elated UFO enthusiasts, who have declared Mrs. Clinton the first E.T. candidate."

That`s their quote.

Clinton`s campaign chairman and her husband`s former adviser John Podesta, an "X-Files" fanatic, according to "The Times," has pushed for the disclosure of this information for years.


JOHN PODESTA, CLINTON CAMPAIGN CHAIRMAN: I think it`s time to open the books on questions that have remained in the dark, on the question of government investigations of UFOs.

It`s time to find out what the truth really is that`s out there. We ought to do it really because it`s right. We ought to do it because the American people, quite frankly, can handle the truth. And we ought to do it because it`s the law.


MATTHEWS: Well, Clara Moskowitz, is the senior editor of "Scientific American." She covers space and physics.

A couple questions. Thank you for coming on, Ms. Moskowitz.

One, is there any physical evidence on this planet, has anyone ever found, of UFOs?

CLARA MOSKOWITZ, "SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN": Well, look, I would be the first to admit it if there was. But, no, there`s absolutely no reason to think aliens have been here.

MATTHEWS: No evidence of spaceships, of flying saucers, E.T.s of any kind? None? It`s never been discovered or detected or claimed?

MOSKOWITZ: Absolutely not.

Take Area 51. OK, we know that that`s where the government tests experimental aircraft. So, if people have seen weird-looking aircraft flying around, it seems perfectly reasonably. All of the claimed evidence can be explained in perfectly logical, normal ways like that.

MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about the other question I have, which is to do with communication.

We have all seen the Jodie Foster -- not everybody -- I have seen it. I see everything, I guess -- the Jodie Foster movie "Contact." Have we -- in our efforts to try to offer up the chance to have some foreign intelligence respond to us ever gotten a response to those broadcasts, those transmissions?

MOSKOWITZ: We have not gotten any response.

Occasionally, like, we have seen a signal that got everybody excited. But so far, everything has a perfectly logical astrophysical explanation. It doesn`t mean we have stopped searching. People are actively looking, because pure statistics says, sure, maybe life is out there. It seems reasonable. We see planets everywhere we look out in the universe.

But so far, there`s not a shred of anything resembling scientific evidence that aliens exist anywhere.

MATTHEWS: Anybody in public life, like people like me in journalism and been in politics, you come across people who have strong beliefs about conspiracies they believe.

Usually, unfortunately, I meet a lot of them, and they come up and they always have a unitary theory. Of course, if they believe John Kennedy was shot by the mob or by somebody else on the right, they will say that. And then they will also say that Bobby Kennedy was shot in the same mysterious way.

Some people just have an inclination for conspiracies. Where you would connect -- what would you say about people who believe there`s a situation where the government of the United States knows about E.T.s and knows about space creatures coming here and has, for whatever reason -- and this is the hard one -- why do they think they have covered it up?


They think that we can`t handle the truth, except people love that stuff. It would be one of the most inspiring discoveries in the history of mankind.


MOSKOWITZ: I think people would be eager to share that evidence.

MATTHEWS: That`s right.

MOSKOWITZ: So, the whole government conspiracy just doesn`t fly, because, first of all, it`s not plausible that they could keep something a secret this well for this long, something that huge.

And the motivation is just not there at all. You would definitely have a whistle-blower, right?

MATTHEWS: Why do you think Hillary Clinton wants to open the files?

MOSKOWITZ: I have to say, I really don`t know.

MATTHEWS: It could be pandering politics. I know politics. I don`t know the foreign stuff, alien culture potential, but I can tell you I know what politics is.

If there is a group of a million people out there, and nobody is going for them yet, and they`re UFOs aficionados, Hillary would go for them like any other politician. She`s just the first one to grab for them. I know how politics works.

There must be some people out there who want to hear this, want to hear the files are going to be opened, and will vote on that one issue. I`m sure there`s probably a couple hundred thousand people like that.


MOSKOWITZ: Maybe it`s about government transparency. I`m all for releasing the records.

Look, I think that let`s put this mystery to bed. Right? Those few people who still are holding out because they think there`s a conspiracy will see the records and realize there isn`t. I`m all for releasing that data.

But I can`t imagine that there`s going to be a huge political gain in that.

MATTHEWS: I think they will say it`s a cover-up no matter what comes out. That`s the way the mind works.

Thank you, Clara Moskowitz. I love your clear thinking and logic and scientific, well, method.

Up next, mind the gap? We have heard a lot of talk about women`s concerns about Donald Trump, but what about men? This is fascinating. What they`re saying about Hillary Clinton. This is the pro-men part of the show, in terms of our analysis tonight.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When she says on national TV, vote for a women because you`re a woman, that`s a woman card.



Welcome back to HARDBALL.

That was a Donald Trump supporter, of course, who believes that Hillary Clinton is playing up or has played up the so-called woman card this election system. He was part of a roundtable of male voters in North Carolina put together by MSNBC, three Trump supporters and two likely Clinton voters.

And take a listen to their differing views on Clinton and Trump.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She did nothing about all the women in Bill`s life. Nothing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think she`s to blame for -- for Bill Clinton`s wandering?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because he will never do it again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I do believe that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you got dog in you, you got dog in you. It ain`t because your wife is not whatever.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Trump is playing the man card. He is also coming up, he`s appealing to white males and he has no principle.


CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC ANCHOR: Joining me right now is MSNBC national correspondent Tony Dokoupil, who interviewed those voters down in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Tony, how did you get those guys to speak out in such a way we`re not used to hearing on television? Just a thought.

TONY DOKOUPIL, MSNBC NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They`re in their hometown. They were in their element. They felt completely comfortable. In fact, those guys meet to talk politics about once a month. So, they were completely comfortable when answering my questions. Now, I went down there looking to get a reaction to Donald Trump`s strategy against Hillary Clinton, bringing up the woman card, bringing up the 1990s, her reaction to her husband`s behavior back then.

What I found instead was the man card, this idea that there`s a man card. It`s really fascinating and I think important for Donald Trump to pay attention to what came out of that meeting because he -- if he wants to win North Carolina, he`s got to take those independent voters, those Bernie voters and bring them to his camp, because he`s not going to get those conservatives, right?

That conversation suggests he may not get those Democratic voters because they don`t like his style. They don`t like the machoness. They don`t like the low energy comments, calling opponents little this or go home to mommy. That`s a man card, and they don`t want to be dealt in.

MATTHEWS: But the guys you interviewed do or what? How would you describe their feelings about that?

DOKOUPIL: The Trump guys certainly do. So, here is the bad news on the flip side for Hillary Clinton supporters. Hillary Clinton super PACs are spending a lot of money trying to remind and educate voters about some of the things that Donald Trump has said about women in the past. Does Donald Trump respect women? I put that question to that group of men, and Trump supporters said, look, we know that some of the things that come out of his mouth aren`t exactly OK when it comes to talking about women, talking about their bodies, talking about their personalities, being less important, however, it`s entertainment. So, Donald Trump is able to connect with these voters on two levels.

The words come out of his mouth, they give him pass and they say deep down in his heart, we think, you know, we know he respects women. Everybody does. Of course you do.

So, that`s bad news for Hillary Clinton. All this money to remind voters that Donald Trump may not be a friend of women doesn`t seem to be landing where she wanted to.

MATTHEWS: I think they were trying to be politically correct to you. But we`ll see.

Anyway, I think when they talk to the media they always clean up their act. Anyway, Tony Dokoupil, thanks for that great report.


MATTHEWS: All right. I agree with you, I guess.

Last night, I pressed Trump convention manager Paul Manafort on his campaign`s attacks on Hillary and Bill Clinton. Here he goes.


MATTHEWS: What is this thing about Hillary Clinton being married to somebody who is an abuser of women? How do you make that case?


MATTHEWS: You have a case?

MANAFORT: Stay tuned.

MATTHEWS: Have you heard his case?

MANAFORT: We have things that we`ll be talking about in this campaign where we will not be letting her get away with playing female card.


MATTHEWS: We`ll have things to talk about.

Joining me right now is the HARDBALL round table tonight. Cornell Belcher is a former Obama pollster, Megan Murphy is with Bloomberg, and Dana Milbank is a columnist with "The Washington Post".

So, Dana, what do you make of this in when I heard first guy talking, I`ve heard that, you`ve heard that life before in life, I mean, he doesn`t like Hillary Clinton. It`s not like -- he doesn`t like Donald Trump except he thinks Donald Trump shares his view of Hillary Clinton. I think, it`s so much pro-male as he doesn`t like the woman running for president.

DANA MILBANK, THE WASHINGTON POST: I think there`s a lot more in this country than a lot of us thought or would like to admit. We saw it during the primary. There`s a lot more racial animosity than we thought existed and I think --

MATTHEWS: How does Hillary get hit on the racial front?

MILBANK: In the primary against his opponent, Trump brought out a lot of latent racism. I think you`re going to see, there`s a lot of gender role anxiety because of changes that are occurring in this country and people don`t admit. They may not even know it to themselves. But when you prompt them and give them some sense of gender anxiety, they gravitate towards Trump very quickly. So, he can exploit the gender gap the other way and get more men worried about --

MATTHEWS: What about this hidden anti-Hillary hating. I`m looking at the numbers for Bernie Sanders. I`m skeptical about how well he does in the general elections match up. But some of that I think maybe they prefer him to her. They just don`t like her. Could that be it? I`m just wondering.

Bernie, they don`t know who Bernie is. Bernie is not that well known in the country at large. He`s well known by people watching these programs. They keep up with it. The young kids on campus certainly know who he is. I wonder if anybody can tell the story of Bernie Sanders who are saying they`re for him in a general matchup.

MEGAN MURPHY, BLOOMBERG: Well, I think -- I`m not sure with Bernie, it`s so much the woman card with Bernie sanders. I mean, that`s what I think was so puzzling about this, the woman card. They`re just called the female card, whatever card he`s playing. I`m not sure, because when I look at Donald Trump, if you think women have been given a boost up in life because they`re women or because they`re females, you`re already voting for Donald Trump.

If you look at Hillary and you say, OK, she`s had a hard life as a woman. She`s been through very different issues with her message, et cetera. And when I look at Donald Trump appealing to this, and I look and, who are you going for? Are you going for more white working class males that are already voting for you, or are you trying to target women?

Hardly any woman will vote for anyone because they are being told the woman card has used the card to get ahead because they`re women. When I look at the woman card, I say why aren`t you say she`s an out of touch woman or man. She`s richer than you. She`s tight with the bank. She`s not going to do anything ever. She`s established politician. That card sells with the people he needs to win over to gain traction.

MATTHEWS: Who are those people? Moderate women? Are they moderate?

MURPHY: They are moderate higher, more affluent Republicans.

CORNELL BELCHER, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER: But also, I think he`s crazy like a fox, because I think, look, he has -- he has a male gender gap advantage. The advantage is not outside of what Bush had.

MATTHEWS: Tell us about that. Tell us. Is this year any different?

BELCHER: No, no. I mean, Bush had a 10-point advantage with men, over Kerry. Romney, God, I almost forgot his name --



MATTHEWS: You`re the expert here. What is the reason? I don`t think it`s just abortion rights and choice. But isn`t there -- what is the essential reason why women tend to be Democrats and men Republican?

BELCHER: Well, I don`t think there`s one variable. When you look at the issues, you know, the Democratic Party does line up more where women are. But also, you have to look at what Donald Trump did play the male card in the primaries. He beat his opponents by playing the male card.

MATTHEWS: Which is --

BELCHER: He was a big strong guy. He was more male. He de-maled most of his opponents.

MURPHY: They can be de-maled?

BELCHER: Yes, they can de-maled.

MATTHEWS: Pretty much. I think we know what he has --


BELCHER: Ask Jeb Bush.

MATTHEWS: How about ask Joni Ernst?


BELCHER: Part of their brand is the strong man, strong leader brand. He`s certainly encapsulates that.

MATTHEWS: I love having you here. I can do an hour with you. Do men like the old, my generation, older than us, we like the John Wayne model. I mean, John Wayne, meaning the leader comes into town, cleans up the town. He`s the boss. We accept him in the military.

BELCHER: That was Ronald Reagan on the horse.

MATTHEWS: How are women different than that?

MURPHY: He can ride in on a horse and clean up the town.

BELCHER: I agree.

MATTHEWS: They don`t like the macho boss kind of guy.

BELCHER: We`re still dealing with stereotypes of what a woman`s role should be. Hillary Clinton in 2008 was trying to overcompensate.

MATTHEWS: OK, why are men out there? The negative view. I think you think is negative view. Why do men who are anti-Hillary accuse her of enabling? Why not say, you know, I`m a guy, she`s a woman, I don`t think guys should mess around, Clinton did, and she`s been a victim of that.

Why do they make her the cause of his bad behavior? Why do they do that?


MILBANK: These are people who are never going to be with Hillary Clinton to start. They`re looking for whatever reason to oppose her. And frankly, that`s not going to catch on with the majority.

MATTHEWS: Why are they saying it? Why are they saying, enabler, enabler?

MILBANK: I suppose that`s a lot easier than saying, I don`t think a woman should be president. I think she should be back baking cookies. They know they can`t say that.

MATTHEWS: What do you think that`s about, blaming her not him?

MURPHY: Why, I think it`s exactly what you said. I think it`s a little bit, more political correct saying that I just don`t want a woman to be a president or I just can`t stand her. I mean, is she really an enabler? This word has entered the lexicon.

MATTHEWS: It`s everywhere. And Trump thinks it`s a winner.

BELCHER: It`s sexism, Chris.

MATTHEWS: OK, I`m listening here. I`m here to learn.


MATTHEWS: Everybody likes Angela Merkel. Everybody likes her. You know why? She brings the money.

The roundtable is staying with us.

And up next, these three will tell me something I don`t know. And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: We`ve got new numbers now in two key Senate races for 2016. Let`s check the HARDBALL scoreboard.

In Ohio, incumbent Senator Rob Portman, a Republican, is trailing by one point to former governor, Ted Strickland. Strickland is ahead, 43-42.

And in Pennsylvania, look at this. Another one-point race there as well. Incumbent Republican Pat Toomey barely ahead by one-point of Katie McGinty. It`s Toomey 45, McGinty 44.

These are going to be great races.

We`ll be right back.


MATTHEWS: We are back with the HARDBALL roundtable.

Dana Milbank, tell me something big I don`t know.

MILBANK: Well, Chris, this could be the last time we meet because tomorrow I`m going to make good on my promise to eat an entire column I wrote saying Trump could not win the nomination.

MATTHEWS: Can you eat an online column?

MILBANK: No, that would be enforced. The chef has actually asked me to sign a waiver. He has prepared for me, among other dishes, the crispy newspaper crusted calamari, newspaper and pork dumplings, and a taco bowl with grill newspaper guacamole which I think could be the winner.

MATTHEWS: Are you going to ingest these products into your being?

MILBANK: It`s not consumed by the body. It comes much the way it goes in.

MATTHEWS: Newsprint.


MATTHEWS: Food. Anyway, good for you. I love a man who`s honest to his word. See?

MURPHY: Well, clearly. He`s playing the man card.

MATTHEWS: No woman would do that.

MURPHY: No woman would eat newspaper guacamole.



MURPHY: Quick one. So, there`s talk about Donald Trump and whether he`s going to be able to raise money in the Silicon Valley. Peter Teal is sort of PayPal founder, one of the early fundraisers for Facebook. He`s a delegate for him in California.

He`s not however going to be part of the finance committee at this point in time. People think he could be an entree to raise more money.

MATTHEWS: You know, an all time problem with the Rockefellers could never raise money because why should I give a buck to the Rockefellers. Is that a Trump problem?

MURPHY: Well, Peter Teal is worth about $3 billion, so he might be able to gather his friends around to do --

MATTHEWS: Cornell?

BELCHER: You know, there`s a lot of Democratic insiders who have held back the fire and tried to be neutral, but they`re beginning to grumble about the tactics of Sanders. They`re really thinking this begins to --

MATTHEWS: Tell me, your the pollster, how is it hurting? How is it hurting Secretary Clinton?

BELCHER: At this point, she needs to be uniting the party and he needs to work to bring those people who are energized by him to put him to her.

MATTHEWS: Yes, I think there`s going to be a challenge at that convention.

Anyway, Cornell Belcher, thank you. Thank you, Megan Murphy. Thank you, Dana Milbank.

When we return, let me finish with that all American past time of razzle- dazzle. That`s what we`re talking about.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MADDOW: Let me finish tonight with that all American past time of razzle- dazzle.

All the political rallies you`ve ever been to and all the big campaign stops of any politician have included music, a warm up and an exciting walk on of the candidate himself or herself. The whole idea is to create the ballyhoo, the notion of what`s happening is worth your time, more than that, that it`s a place to be, something really important is happening here. So, when Donald Trump and his new convention manager put out the word that this summer is going to be something completely different, what they`re talking about is they`re going to hype this convention not to something different, but to a new level.

Well, since the 19th century campaigning in this country has been Fourth of July speeches and whistle stop train rides and placards and balloons. Why Republicans are better about balloons is something I have never gotten my head around. The fact is that those balloons they`ve got held up in the ceiling of those conventions come down when they`re supposed to, and for whatever reason, the Democrats don`t get the balloon drop. When the signal goes out that it`s time for the drop, Democratic balloons always get caught up in the rigging.

This summer, I place my bet on Mr. Trump for that reason. I predict he will be out there giving P.T. Barnum a run for his money. Cleveland is going to be visited this July by the greatest show on earth.

I don`t know how things will turn out in November, though I still think Hillary Clinton`s the favorite.

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

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.