Show: HARDBALL Date: June 22, 2016 Guest: James Clyburn; Jim Himes, Donna Edwards, Xavier Becerra, Anne Gearan, Patrick Murphy, Alex Conant, Jeanne Zaino, Azi Paybarah, Luciana Lopez
STEVE KORNACKI, GUEST HOST: Democrats demand action on guns.
Let`s play HARDBALL.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN LEWIS (D), GEORGIA: We were elected to lead, Mr. Speaker. We must be headlights and not taillights! We cannot continue to stick our heads in the sand and ignore the reality of mass gun violence in our nation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Good evening. I`m Steve Kornacki, in for Chris Matthews.
What you just heard was the start of a remarkable scene that continues to unfold at this hour. Shortly after making those statements earlier today, Georgia congressman John Lewis, a veteran of the Civil Rights movement, led his fellow Democrats in a sit-in on the House floor, a sit-in that is still going on as we speak. Now, the goal, they say, is to force a vote on gun legislation.
But just as Democrats sat down, the cameras that feed C-SPAN, which provides gavel-to-gavel coverage, were shut off. They don`t televise proceedings when the House is not in session, Ashley Strong (ph), Paul Ryan`s press secretary, defending that move, tweeting, quote, "The House cannot operate without members following the rules of the institution, so the House has recessed to the call of the chair."
Without live footage Members began to tweet and livestream the unprecedented scene. For a brief time, the House was gaveled back into session, but that was broken up by chants of "No bill, no break." Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOUSE MEMBERS: No bill, no break! No bill, no break! No bill, no break! No bill, no break!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Under clause 2 of rule 1, the chair is charged with preserving order and decorum in the proceedings of the House.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: House Republicans are currently meeting to try to figure out how to respond to the sit-in. Here`s what House Speaker Paul Ryan said within the last hour.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: First, I would tell you this is nothing more than a publicity stunt. That`s point number one. Point number two is this bill was already defeated in the United States Senate. Number three, we`re not going to take away a citizen`s due process rights. We`re not going to take away a citizen`s constitutional rights without due process. That was already defeated in the Senate, this is not a way to try and bring up legislation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: For more on this historical day, fresh off the House floor, I`m joined by Congressman Jim Clyburn of South Carolina. He was there for that sit-in.
Congressman, thanks for taking a few minutes. Well, let`s start with what the House speaker just said. You heard him there. This is in the last hour. He said this is nothing more than a publicity stunt. What do you say?
REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D), SOUTH CAROLINA: I`ll say two things to that. First of all, thank you so much for having me.
I believe that the speaker is a bit mistaken. My legislation to close the Charleston loophole is still stuck in committee in the House. That was not voted on by the Senate. Now, we are pursuing "No fly, no buy." That`s certainly something we are interested in in the House, and that was defeated in the Senate. We`re interested in expanding these background checks. That was defeated in the Senate.
But my bill is to close the Charleston loophole. Those nine souls that lost their lives at Emanuel AME church were all murdered by someone who was not qualified to have a gun. But he bought that gun because of a loophole that says if the background check is not completed in three days, the sale can be consummated.
We`re saying that the sale should not be consummated until the background check is completed. So I would say to the speaker, Please bring my legislation to the floor because no matter wide you may expand the background checks, if you`ve still got a three-day rule that will not allow a sale to -- to not go forward until such time as the three days expire, then we don`t have my legislation being dealt with.
KORNACKI: Is that -- let me -- let me just be clear on this. Is that your demand, specifically Congressman Jim Clyburn`s demand, or is that -- what you just articulated -- is that the demand correctively that the Democrats who are sitting in right now are making, specifically to vote on the bill you just outlined and (ph) this sit-in ends, or is it any other legislation?
Because there`s a lot of gun control proposals that are floating around right now. I talked to one of your colleagues, Steve Israel, earlier today. He said his demand was this "No fly, no buy" provision. That`s different than what you`re talking about. So I want to be clear here. What is the specific demand of the Democrats staging this sit-in?
CLYBURN: There are four different bills. "No fly, no buy" is one of them. I`m one of the co-sponsors of that bill. That is a bipartisan bill. The Republican congressman from New York, Mr. King, is on that bill with the Democrat Mr. Thompson. I`m on that bill. That`s one of the bills we want to vote on.
We also want to vote on expanded background checks because we believe that if we had expanded background checks, the murderer in Orlando would have shown up on the list and may not have been able to purchase his gun. So that`s on the list.
But also, my bill to close that Charleston loophole. I`ve been talking about that since the week after those poor souls lost their lives. And so yes, I`m concerned about that because no matter how wide you may expand the background check, if you still allow a sale to go forward before the background check is completed, you have not had an effective background check.
And so that`s what we`re talking about. So it`s not just one, two or three bills, it`s all three of them collectively.
KORNACKI: OK, I got you. So it`s a package. You`re looking for a package of...
KORNACKI: Question then. Has there been any communication either between yourself and Paul Ryan, House Republican leadership, or Democratic leadership and Paul Ryan? Are you aware of any direction communication there?
CLYBURN: Well, you may -- may have forgotten, a week ago Mr. Ryan shouted me down on the floor when I was trying to seek recognition to a parliamentary inquiry to find out when he will allow my bill to come to the floor. I was shouted down. That was pretty direct to me. And of course...
KORNACKI: But nothing specifically tonight. Since this sit-in began, nothing you`re aware of in terms of direct communication between Democratic leaders and Paul Ryan.
CLYBURN: Well, if so, I have not been a part of it. Now, I`m always aware of the fact that there may be meetings taking place that I`m not informed of. No, I have not been in direct communications, but I have been on the floor off and on all day, and I am prepared -- just as I was with John Lewis back in 1960, I am prepared to stay on this floor all night and tomorrow, if necessary. I did it for three days one time before. I believe my body can take two days.
KORNACKI: All right. Congressman Jim Clyburn from South Carolina, thanks for the time.
CLYBURN: Thank you so much for having me.
KORNACKI: OK. And we`re joined now by Congressman Jim Himes from Connecticut. Congressman, let me just take that up. And again, just so we`re clear here, you`re on the same page, are you, as Congressman Clyburn? You are specifically here demanding with this sit-in votes on three pieces of legislation on background checks, on this so-called "No fly, no buy" provision and on what Congressman Clyburn calls the Charleston loophole? Is that where you are, as well? You want three votes?
REP. JIM HIMES (D), CONNECTICUT: That`s where all of us are, Steve. And you know, what those three things share in common is dramatic public support, in excess of 80 percent. So what you`re seeing happening here, led by John Lewis, icon of the Civil Rights movement, beaten almost to death on the Edmond Pettis Bridge, which -- you know, is being called a publicity stunt by the speaker, what you`re seeing now is us standing up and saying the House of Representatives constitutionally exists for one purpose, and that is to work the will of the people.
And here you have a package of things that is supported by a majority of Republicans, a majority of Democrats and a majority of gun owners. So what we`re saying to the speaker, who has called this a publicity stunt, is, Let the House do what it was designed by Mr. Madison and Mr. Jefferson and Mr. Adams to do, which is to reflect the will of the American people. But he says no.
KORNACKI: Is this the way -- he also -- he mentioned this -- we played Paul Ryan`s reaction there. He was basically saying this is no way to bring legislation up, to basically occupy the House floor and to say the House can`t do any other business. We won`t move unless you do X. You`re essentially trying to hold up the speaker here.
HIMES: Well, you know, in the ordinary course of business, I would agree with the speaker. Obviously, this is not a business model that works every single day.
But there`s some unique characteristics about what it is that we`re fighting for here. Number one is the dramatic public support that these measures that we`re asking for enjoy. At bottom, it`s 80 percent of the American public. That`s point one. This is not a 50/50. This is not an Affordable Care Act fight, where people don`t get it. This is the very clearly the will of the American people. That`s point one.
Point two, of course, is that this is not something that is really, you know, an abstraction -- 50 dead people in Orlando, several more shootings, including in my constituency in Stanford, Connecticut, several more shootings since Orlando. Americans are being cut down and are bleeding in the street for every minute of inaction that the House of Representatives refuses to do something that the people want it to do!
So by and large, I would say, you know, obviously, we couldn`t operate if every time we wanted to move something that we wanted to move, we staged a sit-in. But people are dying, and these are measures that are supported by the majority of the American people.
KORNACKI: I just -- I want to just press you on that, though, this idea -- you`re citing polls saying this is the will of the people. Now, look, you can get into the details here. The Republicans in the Senate say they don`t want terrorists buying guns, either. They have a different way, they say, of bringing that about, doing legislation there.
But look, if you`re talking about the will of the people, the people are the ones who elected this House that the Republican Party leads right now, republicans who say they don`t want this legislation. And if the people didn`t want Republicans blocking this, why did they put them in charge of the House?
HIMES: Well, you know, elections happen every two years. And we don`t have the opportunity to speak about these issues, to examine arguments like the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun, an absurdity. There was a good guy with a gun in Orlando.
And so we think it`s important that we have these conversations, that we air this for precisely the reason that you`re talking about here. You know, constituents of all 435 of us deserve to know when we`re acting in their interest and when we refuse to. And this is an example where any congressional district you look at, these measures will enjoy majority support. And it`s important that people know that the House majority has decided that even though that support is widespread, this conversation will not happen.
KORNACKI: All right. Congressman Jim Himes from Connecticut, part of that sit-in today...
HIMES: Thank you, Steve.
KORNACKI: ... thanks for joining us.
Minutes ago, Hillary Clinton tweeting in solidarity with the members, the Democratic members participating in this sit-in. She wrote, "House Republicans may have cut the cameras, but they can`t cut off our voices. We have to act on gun violence," signed by Clinton with her initial H. That means she personally wrote the tweet. That`s what that signified.
Let`s bring in Congresswoman Donna Edwards from Maryland, another Democrat, also part of this today. Congresswomen, let`s -- again, trying to go through what Paul Ryan said, there his objections of this. Let`s take another thing that Paul Ryan said in that clipped we played at the top of the show. He talked specifically about this "No fly, no buy" provision. That`s one of the things you guys are demanding a vote on here.
He says, "denies due process," the Democratic proposal on that denies due process. And what he`s basically saying there is, Hey, if the proposal is to take all the people who are on this "no fly" list right now, they ended up on that list without due process, a lot of them, American citizens who are being told under this proposal, You can`t buy a guy. You can`t exercise your 2nd Amendment rights. And they don`t have -- that does not have to be proven in a court of law. Doesn`t he have a point there?
REP. DONNA EDWARDS (D), MARYLAND: Well, with all due respect to my friend and the speaker, that`s hogwash. The fact is, if this were just about due process, we could sit down and negotiate that and get a bill to the floor.
But the speaker knows that he has refused in regular order, as he likes to point to, to bring a bill to the floor that the overwhelming majority of American people, Republican, Democrats, independents support.
And by not doing that, he has forced us to take action on behalf of the American people, to say, Yes, we will hold up the business of the House until the speaker does the will of the people.
KORNACKI: There`s two bills -- there were two bills this week on this subject of "No fly, no buy"in the Senate. I mean, what polls well is this idea of should terrorists, should those on the terror -- the terror watch list (INAUDIBLE) terror watch list, be able the buy guns, and people generally say no to that.
But there were two ways of going about that. There was a Democratic bill, a Republican bill. The Republican bill from John Cornyn says nobody on that list can buy a gun if -- if -- the government can prove in a court of law that they belong on that list.
Would you be OK with that being voted on in the House?
EDWARDS: Look, we`re not even discussing that. And so what I want to be very clear about is that if this were a point of negotiation, we could sit down, leadership to leadership, and negotiate.
But the fact is that this is not about due process. This is about the process of National Rifle Association and the refusal of House Democrats, and Senate Republicans and House Republicans, their willingness to do the low-hanging fruit that the American people are calling for.
And so let`s not get distracted by the idea of due process. I`m a civil libertarian. I believe in due process. We can figure that out.
But surely, terrorists who are on the watch list should not be able to go in and buy a gun. Domestic abusers should not be able to evade the background check by going to a gun show, to buy a gun at a gun show that they couldn`t buy in Walmart.
This is absurd. It`s low-hanging fruit, and it`s time for Republicans to get to the business before we continue to lose American lives, 89 of them every single day.
KORNACKI: Let me just ask you about the precedent of this, again, Paul Ryan saying this is no way to force -- to stage a sit-in to stall the House is no way to force your agenda. Let`s say Democrats ran the House. Let`s say it`s a year from now and Democrats run the House, and Republicans sit in on the House floor and say, We`re not going to let anything else happen in here until and unless "Obama care" is repealed. Would that be OK?
EDWARDS: You know what? Here`s the truth. We`re in a different place, where the American people are concerned about gun violence and about guns getting into the hands of terrorists and into hands of felons and domestic abusers. That`s what we`re talking about here today. And we have tried over and over again, through committee, through regular order, on the floor to have the speaker and Democrats and Republicans handle this, and they have not.
And so now we are going to handle it by occupying the floor until we can get a guarantee from Speaker Ryan that we can put these bills on the floor and vote for them. And you know what? Let them cast the vote against what the American people want so that they can be accountable to their constituents in their congressional districts.
And I`m telling you, across this country, people are telling us, Don`t give up this fight on behalf of the American people.
KORNACKI: All right. Donna Edwards, congresswoman from Maryland, thanks for the time. Appreciate it.
EDWARDS: Thank you.
KORNACKI: All right. And coming up, Donald Trump throws the kitchen sink at Hillary Clinton. He calls her "corrupt" and a "word class liar" -- his words there. Trump`s attacks, Clinton`s response. That`s coming up.
Plus, as Hillary Clinton rallies Democrats on Capitol Hill, a short list seems to be emerging of her possible vice presidential picks. Which veep pick could help Clinton over the top in her race for the White House?
And Marco Rubio going back on his decision not to run for reelection to the Senate. Rubio jumps into a reelection campaign with a lead in the polls. Tonight, we`re going to talk to one of his potential Democratic opponents, Congressman Patrick Murphy.
And finally, the HARDBALL roundtable is coming here to talk Trump, Clinton, and best of all, to tell me something about this campaign that I don`t know. That`s a very easy assignment.
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
KORNACKI: President Obama will finish out his second term in office a little less than seven months from now. With retirement on his mind, Obama sat down for a one-on-one interview at the White House with Yankees legend Derek Jeter, who himself recently hung up his cleats.
Let`s take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEREK JETER, FORMER YANKEE: Me retiring and you retiring are two completely different things.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Yes, but Derek -- Derek, you are somebody who now has some experience in hanging up the cleats here. And I`m about to retire. I`m not quite as young as you, but still relatively young.
JETER: Thank you. Can you repeat that? Because, you know, when you`re in sports, they say you`re old at 30. So thank you. I appreciate that.
OBAMA: (INAUDIBLE) for a baseball player, you were old.
OBAMA: Let`s face it. I mean, come on, man. (INAUDIBLE) cleats (INAUDIBLE) those bases.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: The president and Derek Jeter.
We`ll be right back.
KORNACKI: Welcome back.
A day after Hillary Clinton unloaded on Donald Trump, calling him unfit to handle the economy, Trump returned the favor. In a speech delivered with the help of a teleprompter at the Trump Soho Hotel in Manhattan, the presumptive Republican nominee called out Clinton on her time at the State Department, her policy positions and her temperament.
Trump`s dominant theme? Hillary Clinton is corrupt.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: She`s a world-class liar.
Just look at her pathetic e-mail server statements. Hillary Clinton has perfected the politics of personal profit and even theft. She ran the State Department like her own personal hedge fund. Hillary Clinton gave China millions of jobs, our best jobs and effectively let China completely rebuild itself. In return, Hillary Clinton got rich.
She gets rich making you poor. Hillary Clinton`s tryout for the presidency has produced one deadly foreign policy disaster after another.
She`s virtually done nothing right. She`s virtually done nothing good.
Hillary Clinton may be the most corrupt person ever to seek the presidency of the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: And this afternoon, Clinton responded.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He`s going after me personally because he has no answers on the substance.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
CLINTON: That`s even why he`s attacking my faith. Sigh.
CLINTON: And, of course, attacking a philanthropic foundation that saves and improves lives around the world. It`s no surprise he doesn`t understand these things.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
CLINTON: The Clinton Foundation helps poor people around the world get access to lifesaving AIDS medicine.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
CLINTON: Donald Trump uses poor people around the world to produce his line of suits and ties.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: NBC`s Hallie Jackson covered Trump`s speech. Jeremy Peters is a politics reporter with "The New York Times" and an MSNBC contributor. They both join me now.
Well, Hallie, you were in the room. Let`s start with you.
The idea that this is a new Donald Trump, a little bit more scripted, a little bit more packaged, the teleprompter, a more formal speech today, obviously some -- very intentional there. Did he effectively present himself as a new Trump today?
HALLIE JACKSON, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Just Trump 2.0, Steve.
I think, when you talk to Republican operatives and people in the field, they are looking at this kind of warily, acknowledging that he was able to come out and stay on script and stay on message.
But, listen, I hear you say things like, hey, the new Trump, the scripted Trump. This is deja vu. We have been here before. And yet again and again, Trump has then said something that`s gotten him into hot water with fellow members of his own party.
The question now, given that he has sort of a new campaign infrastructure in place, will he be able to sustain this through unscripted rallies. That is going to be the key. When he gets away from the prompter, when he gets away from the prepared remarks, that`s the big question mark as to whether this Trump 2.0 will stick.
There does seem to be an acknowledgement, though, given the events of this week, the firing of his campaign manager, the news of dismal fund-raising numbers, that Trump does understand it`s time to do some things different in his campaign, as he himself public acknowledges.
KORNACKI: Right. It`s Trump 2.0-6.0 at this point.
We have been down this road a few times.
JACKSON: Nine, 9.10, yes, yes.
Critics also pointing to a number of factual issues with Trump`s speech today. For example, here is Trump contrasting his views on Iraq with Clinton`s.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: It all started with her bad judgment in supporting the war in Iraq in the first place.
Though I was not in government service, I was among the earliest to criticize the rush to war, and, yes, even before the war ever started.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: The problem with that is that there is no evidence Trump criticized the rush to war before the invasion.
According to PolitiFact -- quote -- "We didn`t find any examples of Trump unequivocally denouncing the war until a year after the war began."
Trump also alleged that Clinton would let in refugees without any screening.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Under her plan, we would admit hundreds of thousands of refugees from the most dangerous countries on Earth, with no way to screen who they are, what they are, what they believe, where they come from.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: According to PolitiFact, that`s not true. There`s a screening process in place.
"It involves multiple federal intelligence and security agencies, as well as the United Nations, typically takes one to two years and includes numerous rounds of security checks."
So, Jeremy, look, there`s that critique of the speech, the factual stuff.
The other thing that I noticed him doing here, we played a clip of it. And I noticed this a few times during the speech. It felt like he was very intentionally taking criticisms that have been leveled at him and basically just, when he says, she gets rich making you poor, that`s what she said about him yesterday.
JEREMY PETERS, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Yes. That`s exactly right.
There was a lot of projection going on here. I do think, though, that you can`t minimize those types of attacks, when Trumps makes them on Hillary Clinton, because what the Democrats fear most is Donald Trump`s ability to stand next to her on stage and say, this is how politics has always been done. This is business as usual. If you`re happy, if you`re satisfied with the direction of the country, vote for her. I will change things. I will shake things up.
And that was, I think, the core message of this speech. Now, getting to all the factual inaccuracies and misstatements, of course, that`s a whole other issue. And the Clinton campaign, along with the numerous, numerous news organizations that were fact-checking this in real time, I think that shows you what kind of problem Donald Trump is going to be facing in the coming months, the way that his statements are more and more being put under a microscope of scrutiny.
KORNACKI: The question, though, too, we`re sort of getting a preview here in a way of what a debate would look like this fall.
KORNACKI: You saw Hillary Clinton go yesterday. You saw Trump go today.
What we haven`t seen, won`t see until the fall, presumably, is the two of them on stage and how she reacts when he says the sorts of things that he says today, what her reaction is in that setting. I don`t think she or really any politician has really been in that situation before, a one-on- one debate with a candidate who does the things Donald Trump does.
PETERS: Yes, that`s exactly right.
And the split-screen comparison, I think, for her, if she is -- if he stays on the prompter, if he stays on message, I think it`s going to be a lot harder for her to make the kinds of arguments that she`s been making about him being reckless and erratic and temperamentally ill-suited.
That was another one that he used against -- he tried to turn around against her, saying that she`s temperamentally unsuited to be the president. But his problem -- and this is more than just a problem of perception -- his nomination is at stake, Steve.
There are Republican delegates, there are senior members of the RNC who are ready to throw him under the bus at the convention if he does not clean up his act. He knows that. You can see it in his -- in the way that he delivered the speech today, his sticking to script. You can just tell by his demeanor he knows that if he doesn`t shape up, this all could come crashing down.
It does look -- and I know the standard we`re measuring up against here in terms of being a conventional candidate. It isn`t much at this point, but it does seem he does have a message he`s received and is trying to modulate a bit. We will see if that sticks, if that lasts.
Hallie Jackson, Jeremy Peters, thanks for the time.
And coming up, as Hillary Clinton does battle with Donald Trump, a short list emerges, Clinton`s potential running mates. Who is on it? That`s next.
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
KORNACKI: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Hillary Clinton was on Capitol Hill today, trying to rally members of the House Democratic Caucus. This was her first visit there since becoming the presumptive Democratic nominee. It comes as Clinton begins her search for a vice presidential running mate.
"The Washington Post" today reports that the Clinton campaign is currently vetting at least three potential candidates, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, Senator Tim Kaine, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.
Warren, by the way, will be campaigning with Clinton on Monday. A Bloomberg poll last week found Warren to be the overwhelming favorite among Clinton supporters for the number two spot. "The New York Times" today highlighted the reasons why she is an unlikely choice, citing their personal chemistry and the fact that Clinton needs to appeal to working- class white voters.
Clinton is also narrowing a larger list of a dozen other prospective candidates. Among the names being floated there, Senators Sherrod Brown and Cory Booker and Congressman Xavier Becerra of California. He actually chaired that meeting that Clinton held with House Democrats today.
And I`m joined now by Congressman Xavier Becerra, also Anne Gearan of "The Washington Post."
Well, Congressman, let me start with you. Hillary Clinton made it to Capitol Hill today, met with Democrats. What was her message to House Democrats? What was their message to her?
REP. XAVIER BECERRA (D), CALIFORNIA: Steve, thanks for having me.
And I would say that -- well, I`m not sure if she energized us or we energized her. But all I know, it was a spirited conversation. We walked out of there feeling really good about the work that she is going to do, that we`re all going to do to make sure that, come November, we not only elect her president, but also have a Congress that will work with her and actually try to get things done.
And so it was a good meeting. She talked about her agenda. She talked about how she was heading to North Carolina to talk to folks there. It`s a clear contrast between she and Donald Trump. And we`re looking forward to that.
KORNACKI: And, Anne Gearan, we talk about this, the issue of the veepstakes starting to come up. This is going to be a big story over the next few months.
You see those names we put out there. What`s your sense of what Hillary Clinton is looking for right here in this pick?
ANNE GEARAN, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Well, I think she`s got several things that I think are her main priority.
Her main priority is somebody who be president in a heartbeat. She`s got several other things that are very top of mind, second only to that. One is personal chemistry and comfort with the person. Another is a proven ability to rally Democrats, work across the aisle, work with Congress, have some demonstrated legislative ability, and also to rally the base, raise money, do a lot of the kind of party building and energizing work that she wants a vice president to do in her stead.
KORNACKI: Your name, it comes up frequently when we have these conversations about veepstakes as a potential running mate for Hillary Clinton.
Anne just said the top criteria, not surprisingly, for Hillary Clinton somebody who could be president in a heartbeat. I saw last week Elizabeth Warren was asked this question. She said, yes, I could.
What about you? Could you be president in a heartbeat?
BECERRA: I would be honored to continue to serve my country in whatever way possible.
And I believe that someone like me, the son of immigrants, who is the first to get a college education, for me, it`s the sky`s the limit. And the glass is half-full. And we will see where things go. But I feel really good about what we`re doing here in Congress. And, as I said, I`m going to do as much as I can for my country, because my country has done so much for me.
KORNACKI: When you look at the map, when you look at the matchup, Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump, the sorts of voters he`s tapped into, the type of message he`s going to run on, what you heard him say today, politically speaking, what does Hillary Clinton need to be looking for in a running mate?
BECERRA: The great thing about Hillary Clinton is, she`s so accomplished. She has -- she`s probably the best tested candidate I have seen in my lifetime running for president.
She`s been in the hot spots throughout the world. She`s taken on the toughest tests here in Congress. And so she`s as accomplished as you would need. So, it`s going to be easy to find someone who can complement someone who is so prepared like Hillary Clinton.
That means that we are going to have some great choices. And you named several. I think that, on the Democratic side, we feel really good about the team that we`re going to move forward with come November. And that`s why we have such optimism that, come November, it`s not just the White House that we`re going to put Hillary in, but we`re going to put a lot of people who want to get things done in Congress, in the Senate and in the House.
KORNACKI: All right. I think that`s what they call a diplomatic answer.
Congressman Xavier Becerra, Anne Gearan, thanks for the time. Appreciate that.
And up next: He`s back. After vowing not to run for his Senate seat again, Marco Rubio changes course. He`s getting in the race after all. We are going to hear what one of his potential Democratic opponents has to say about that after the break.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
KORNACKI: Hey. Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Florida Senator Marco Rubio said repeatedly that win or lose in his race for president in 2016, one thing he was sure of is he would not run for re- election to the U.S. Senate. Rubio tweeted just a few weeks ago, he said I`ve only said like 10,000 times I will be a private citizen in January.
But, today, Rubio changed his mind. He said in statement that quote, "In politics, admitting you`ve changed your mind is not something most people like to do." He said that, quote, "control of the Senate may very welcome down to the race in Florida. With that, Marco Rubio went back on his promise not to run for re-election and said he is in the race for Senate from Florida in 2016 running for a second term."
Let`s take you through numbers what Rubio is up against here. So, there`s a good news/bad situation for Marco Rubio as he tries to win another term in Florida.
First, here`s the good news. There are two Democrats who are duking it out for their party`s nomination for the chance to run against Rubio.
This is brand new poll out of Florida. Rubio is up eight points over Alan Grayson. He`s one of the Democrats running. Solid lead for Rubio there and seven points against Patrick Murphy. That`s the other Democrat running in that primary. So, against either of his likely Democrat opponents, Rubio starts out ahead.
Now, what is the bad news? It`s this. This is the race that`s going to be at the top of the ticket in Florida, obviously every other state in the country, the presidential race. Hillary Clinton in Florida, brand new poll up eight points in Florida over Donald Trump.
Now, remember, Barack Obama did win Florida in 2012 but it was razor thin. You`re talking less than one point. Hillary Clinton right now, a solid eight-point lead over Donald Trump. That raises the question, if Hillary Clinton wins Florida and wins it big, how realistic is it that those same voters voting for the Democrat for president will turn around in the Senate race and vote for the Republican, will vote for Rubio.
And here is what Rubio is up against. This is what`s happening. It`s the trend of what they call split ticket voting. That`s what Rubio will be relying on. People voting for one party for president, the other party`s candidate for U.S. Senate. That used to be common.
In 1988, a generation ago, more than half the states that had presidential and Senate elections that year different party won each of them. Split ticket voting.
Go to the year 2000, the number was down to 30 percent. Fast forward to the last presidential election. In 2012, split ticket results where one party won the Senate race in the state. The other party won the presidential race, just 18 percent in 2012.
This is one of trends in American politics. People are showing up and voting Democrat straight down the line or they`re voting Republican straight down the line. They are not splitting their tickets the way they used to.
That could be a problem for Marco Rubio if Donald Trump, the Republican candidate, is running far behind Hillary Clinton in Florida.
With that in mind, we`re joined now by one of Rubio`s potential Democratic opponents, Congressman Patrick Murphy from Florida.
Congressman, thanks for taking a few minutes.
REP. PATRICK MURPHY (D), FLORIDA: Thank you.
KORNACKI: Let me get your reaction, Marco Rubio said for months, he wasn`t running. Today, he said I`ve changed my mind. I`m in. What`s your reaction?
MURPHY: Well, this is exactly what voters hate about Washington, D.C. and politicians like Marco Rubio. I mean, this is a guy that`s clearly putting his own ambitions and his selfishness in front of serving the people of Florida. This is somebody that time after time after time said, they don`t like the job. They hate it and they`re not going to run -- he`s not going to run again.
So, why in the world would Floridians want him again? He`s flip-flopped on key issues like immigration reform. He has missed a historic amount of votes. This is a guy that`s missed more votes than any senator in Florida in nearly 50 years.
And if that`s not bad enough, he uses this tragedy in Orlando to decide that he wants to be a senator again.
He should be more focused with trying to take care of the LGBT community and trying to close that terrorist gun loophole, you know, instead he`s putting his own career forward. He`s already got one foot out of the door. I mean, just yesterday and today, he was asked, Senator, are you going to commit to serving a six-year term if reelected? And he wouldn`t even answer that question. He`s already planning this 2020 presidential bid.
KORNACKI: So, what does that say to you, though, when -- it`s been known that Marco Rubio has missed fair number of Senate votes. He missed them while he was out there running for president. Obviously well-known that he`s been saying he wasn`t going to run for re-election.
What does that say to you when they asked the question, hey, if he is running, more voters in Florida say they would vote for him than you -- what does that say?
MURPHY: Well, look, there are two polls just in the last two weeks that actually showed us beating Marco Rubio. So, Florida, we already had a poll and it`s called an election. Marco Rubio lost by 20 points to Donald Trump. His own party rejected him much less the independents and the Democrats that are not going to support him.
So, you know, it`s pretty clear there`s a sharp contrast. I have to introduce myself to the state. I look forward to introducing myself making sure everyone knows, hey, I`m a small business guy. I`m a CPA. I want to solve problems. I care about getting things done.
I actually like showing up to work, showing up to committee, compared to Marco Rubio who hates the job and using this as a platform to run for a higher office. Floridians don`t want that, no American wants that. I mean, I look at it from a business standpoint. If some, you know, employee told me for a year and a half they hated their job, they didn`t like it, they wouldn`t get anything done, that they were going to look for a new job -- they don`t get the new job and come back to me and say, hey, Patrick, I didn`t get that job. Can I really have it back?
Of course not. No one is going to give them that job back. Floridians are going to see right through the selfish move he`s making.
KORNACKI: All right. Patrick Murphy, congressman, candidate for the Senate -- thanks for the time.
MURPHY: Thank you.
KORNACKI: Marco Rubio also said in statement today that, quote, "No matter who is elected president, there is reason for worry. Even the prospect of a Trump presidency is worrisome" to him, "to me," Rubio is saying there.
So, how does he plan to run for re-election in a swing state where he has such little faith in his own party standard there?
Alex Conant is a former communications director for Marco Rubio`s presidential campaign.
Alex, thanks for taking the time.
Well, let me just ask you, bottom line, if the polls were seeing now are a precursor to November, if Hillary Clinton wins solidly, six, eight point, something like that, could Marco Rubio still win the Senate election?
ALEX CONANT, FORMER RUBIO COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Of course, he can. I mean, it`s Florida. It`s a competitive state. It`s always been a competitive state. This fall`s election will be a competitive race.
But as the interview we just saw, as every viewer just saw, Congressman Murphy is very afraid of Senator Rubio. Senator Rubio enters this race with a big advantage, as the polls show this morning. Floridians know him. They know he`s done great job fight for the issues they care about, the V.A. reform, fighting -- funding Zika, fighting for human rights around the world.
Marco has led on these issues. He`s delivered for Florida. He enters the race in a strong very position. That`s why Congressman Murphy just went on that rant that we all had to listen to where he exaggerates his own record and ignores the fact he missed his own committee hearings, missed his own votes and spends his time attacking Marco because he can`t run on his on ineffective record as a congressman.
KORNACKI: What about, though? I mean, this is going to be the message and you heard a little bit of it there -- the idea that, hey, he didn`t really want the job anymore. He was missing votes. He was missing more votes than some of the other senators running for president and talking about the job like it was not a place where you went to get things done. He said that about the Senate at one point.
What about that perception that`s going to be out there?
CONANT: Well, a couple of things. He missed votes because he was running for president. I mean, I don`t think Bernie Sanders has cast a vote in months in the Senate because he`s been running for president. Voters understand that when you run for president, you`re going to miss some votes.
Second of all, Marco said he was going to leave the Senate. He was going to pursue private sector options. He`s going to spend more time with his family, frankly make a lot more money. He`s foregoing all that because there`s so much at stake in this election. Either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump is going to be the next president of the United States, but if Hillary Clinton -- I don`t think anybody wants to give her a blank slate, let her do whatever she wants by having the Senate as well.
And he will stand up to Hillary Clinton and he will stand up to Donald Trump when he disagrees with Donald Trump. Those disagreements are very well known, more so by Florida voters than anybody else. When he disagrees with Trump, he will stand up to him. He`s proven that time and time again.
KORNACKI: All right. Alex Conant, former communications director for the Rubio presidential campaign -- thanks for the time.
CONANT: Thanks, Steve.
KORNACKI: All right. HARDBALL is back after this.
KORNACKI: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
The Democrat sit-in still under way on this hour at Capitol Hill. Let`s return live to NBC`s Luke Russert. He`s just off the House floor.
Luke, how long is this going to go on for?
LUKE RUSSERT, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, I spoke to a high ranking Democratic official that said they plan to stay here all night. But what`s going to be interesting, Steve, is within the next few hours, the Republican leadership intends to move forward on the House floor. That means the lights are going to go up and the cameras go on and the Democrats insist they will continue to protest in the well of the House chamber.
So, in theory, we could see Republicans stepping over Democrats to cast their votes and expect a pretty chaotic situation, something we`ve never really seen here.
Republicans feel they that they believe the House should be going forward with the business of the people. They don`t want it to be delayed any longer. They`re going to try to enforce the Democrats` hands. The Democrats say we are not moving until we get our gun votes. The Republicans say if you want your gun votes you have go through the regular rules of the House.
So, expect the standoff to come to a head in the next few hours here, Steve.
KORNACKI: Wow, what a scene shaping up there on Capitol Hill.
NBC`s Luke Russert, covering it all. I`m sure we`ll be seeing a lot from you tonight and as long as this lasts.
And HARDBALL returns after this.
KORNACKI: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Joining me for tonight`s roundtable, Jeanne Zaino, political campaign management professor for NYU, Azi Paybarah, senior political reporter for "Politico" New York, and Luciana Lopez, a correspondent for "Reuters".
Let`s talk about the Trump speech today, fallout from the shake up this week. The Trump position, Jeanne, as a candidate looking ahead to the general election -- is he in stronger position now than he was at the start of the week or does all this stuff just not really matter?
JEANNE ZAINO, NYU PROFESSOR: Well, he`s stronger but he was so far down that`s not saying much. He did need to make this speech. He needed to make it six weeks ago, he made it today. He managed to stay on script. He managed to use the teleprompter.
He got in lots of attacks on Hillary Clinton, and you know what? That`s what this campaign is about on both sides. Defining the other person. He let this be too much about him, he`s got to define her negatively. That`s what brings Republicans together and he did that today.
KORNACKI: What do you make of that? I mean, is this a natural fit, Trump from the teleprompter, the prepared speech? It fell awkward, huh?
AZI PAYBARAH, POLITICO: No, this is not how he became a reality TV star, but he did lay out arguments that you`re going to hear later on about immigration, about the trade agreements, Hillary Clinton benefitting herself and his phrase on "I`m with you compared to I`m with her" which is a strong contrast.
KORNACKI: You got to give him credit. Politically, that was a pretty savvy.
PAYBARAH: That was effective but the substance of the speech was very classic Trump. The way he delivered it was not and the question is going to, can he be that focused going forward?
KORNACKI: I say that was savvy because I have not seen that many moves from the campaign that are more conventionally crafty like that. But do you make of it?
LUCIANA LOPEZ, REUTERS: This was a way for him to say, hey, look, I can be presidential. I`m not going to just be that guy out there having people chant and beat up protesters so this was a chance for him to prove that, but I think the question is can he stick with it? Because he`s the kind of guy who when you goad him a little, he respond.
And as we saw with Hillary Clinton today she`s willing to goad him. Her line about Chapter 11, I mean, she said Chapter 11 today and yesterday. She has her hooks on that and she`s going to keep going for it.
KORNACKI: Right. One of the reasons he`s been on message so infrequently, it`s easy to get him off message. So, we`ll see as he`s baited.
That concludes the lightning round. I`m sorry. I wish we had more time because a big night here, a lot of news breaking from Capitol Hill.
Jeanne Zaino, Azi Paybarah, Luciana Lopez, thanks for joining us. Please come back.
And we`ll be back right after this.
KORNACKI: And you are looking at live video there on the left. This is from Periscope. That`s one of those online live streaming apps. Live video footage there from the House floor. That is where Democrats are continuing their sit-in, demanding action on gun control. They`re pushing House leadership to hold a series of votes on stricter gun control measures. House Speaker Paul Ryan calling it a publicity stunt.
We`re going to cover that sit-in throughout the night here on MSNBC. Thanks for being with us this hour.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END