updated 7/29/2013 11:30:46 AM ET 2013-07-29T15:30:46

HARDBALL
July 26, 2013
Guest: Kelly Goff, Todd Gloria, Kisha Hebbon, Carly Fiorina

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Weiner-weary. And stay classy, San Diego.

Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.

"Let Me Start" tonight with this. "The New Yorker" magazine for next week
has Anthony Weiner mounted up there on the Empire State Building, TV
helicopters swarming around and above as he takes pictures of the tower`s
pinnacle. It wouldn`t be -- well, it would be wildly hilarious if it
weren`t for the fact that it`s dominating democratic politics in this
world.

Weren`t we the country that taught the world that people had the brains and
judgment to pick their own leaders? Didn`t we say -- well, certainly,
Winston Churchill did -- that democracy is the best form of government?
And yet here we are watching this guy at the top of the Empire State
Building contending still he wants to be mayor and leader of the world`s
greatest metropolis, what John Lennon once called the center of the
consciousness of the universe.

Well, there`s no question that the circus has come to town. The question
is, when is it going to leave? Meanwhile, on the ranch -- or rather, out
on the West Coast, a real, live mayor, already elected, is taking two weeks
for therapy after dramatic charges for sexual misbehavior in the workplace,
charges for which he now asks forgiveness.

Finally some good news for Anthony Weiner, a brief eclipse of the sun here
in San Diego in a solar system in which he has been the moon of the hour.

Steve Kornacki is the host of "Up" -- that`s the weekend mornings here on
MSNBC. And Kelly Goff is political correspondent for (INAUDIBLE)

Kelly, I want to start with you. I think you`re on this beat. What do we
make -- let`s take a look at this woman. Her name is Sydney Leathers -- I
guess that`s her real name, you never know in this business -- on "Inside
Edition." Let`s listen to her. Here`s what she had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SYDNEY LEATHERS, ANTHONY WEINER CORRESPONDENT: I felt manipulated.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why?

LEATHERS: Because, obviously, I felt like, you know, he`s saying one thing
to me, saying another thing to his wife, saying another thing on the
campaign trail. I don`t know who the real Anthony Weiner is, I guess.

I really truly believe that he needs some help. And I`m not saying that in
a condescending way. I really think that he has some issues that he needs
to work out. And I don`t think he`s fit to be mayor of New York City.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When did things turn dark and dirty?

LEATHERS: Very quickly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And who prompted that?

LEATHERS: Him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So Anthony Weiner moved your conversation from
professional to dirty.

LEATHERS: Yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, that`s putting it directly. Let me go to Kelly on this.
You know, I guess I don`t like the line of questioning. But I guess it`s
inevitable, what actually happened here. And inevitably, you ask, Is this
guy decent enough to be mayor. And now we find out today he says once
again he`s running for mayor of New York. What he wants is a promotion.

Let`s not forget, he was a U.S. congressman, one of dozens in the New York
area. And now he wants to be the job he always wanted. He wants a
promotion because of all the mess he`s caused here.

I`ll say this for Spitzer, who`s coming on the show on Monday. At least he
understands the need for a demotion from governor to comptroller of the
city of New York. There`s something -- implicit, if not open humility and
even regret. This guy wants to be rewarded, and he says If you don`t
forgive me and reward me and make me mayor, there`s something wrong with
you.

KELLY GOFF, THEROOT: Right.

MATTHEWS: You`re being judgmental and weird. That`s what he says to us.
If you don`t back me, you`ve got a problem.

GOFF: Well, I think that one quote on Twitter sort of said it best, Chris,
which it said, When did New Yorkers` self-esteem become so low that we
decided that Anthony Weiner is the mayor we deserve? And I think that kind
of says it all, that...

MATTHEWS: Well, tell me why 16 percent of the people, after they knew
about this -- which is a big chunk of votes in a city that doesn`t seem to
want to make up its mind, where Christine Quinn, even with this windfall of
good news, I suppose, for her -- she`s only got a quarter of the votes.
He`s still in the running based upon the latest polling. And I mean that.
He`s in the running.

GOFF: No, I think...

MATTHEWS: He could get second or a strong third. He could even still win
this thing.

GOFF: Well...

MATTHEWS: I don`t care what anybody says. There are people that will
stick their necks out and say, You know, I prefer Mr. Weiner in this race.
What are they talking about?

GOFF: Well, when I first got out of college, in my previous life, I was --
I worked as an operative here in New York politics. And I`ll tell you a
little bit of what`s going on, Chris, is there`s a very strong "ABQ"
contingency (sic) here in New York, and that`s Anybody But Quinn. And you
know, we could have a whole separate conversation about why that is.

But what I`ve heard from a lot of people, Chris, is that they`re trying to
hedge their bets on which candidate they think is most likely to take out
Christine Quinn. Now, for some of them, they think that Anthony Weiner was
that guy. They think he may still be that guy, for fund-raising and all
sorts of other reasons.

But that`s why it`s still a bit of split vote here, you didn`t see the sort
of immediate evaporation of his support.

MATTHEWS: What`s the knock on Quinn, quickly?

GOFF: Well, a lot of people feel that she`s responsible for giving Mayor
Bloomberg a third term. I mean, that`s a big part of it.

MATTHEWS: Well, they voted for Mayor Bloomberg for a third term.

GOFF: Barely. Remember, he...

MATTHEWS: The people voted -- let me tell you this. They had an election
in New York and Bloomberg won it.

GOFF: But can I just say that I just got done writing about this again
because of Bill Thompson, who I know you just had on your show. Bill
Thompson was outspent 10 to 1. Barack Obama wouldn`t -- excuse me --
President Obama would not campaign for Bill Thompson, and Bill Thompson
still came within less than 5 percent...

MATTHEWS: I know.

GOFF: ... of beating Mayor Bloomberg. So that was not...

(CROSSTALK)

GOFF: ... a landslide.

MATTHEWS: I know. I`ve said it -- I`ve said that before, Kelly. I`ve
said I think he ran a hell of a race. In fact, I urged one of my kids to
vote for him living in New York. I don`t know if he did or not. I think
he ran a heroic campaign against big bucks.

And by the way, it`s a complicated matter when it comes to Bloomberg. He
is very competent. He doesn`t embarrass anybody. He does the job. His
politics have always been somewhat in the middle. I don`t think he`s that
bad a mayor. In fact, I don`t know where I`d vote if he ran against this
time against this field. Looks pretty good, doesn`t he, right now?

GOFF: Well, yes, no. I think that there`s a lot of people who had a real
issue with the third term and the way that he got that, overturning the
charter and the whole thing.

MATTHEWS: I understand. I`m with you.

GOFF: It was a bit of the Giuliani fiefdom sort of sense of a boy king.

MATTHEWS: I agree.

GOFF: And I think that was sort of where some of the resentment for Quinn
comes from.

MATTHEWS: OK. Let me ask this to Steve, who`s been national (ph) beating
(ph) for a long time. Hillary Clinton`s closeness to Weiner`s wife -- can
this candidacy really affect him? I think the question -- well, here`s
what is Jim Manley (ph) said, a very respected guy here in Washington.
He`s a former top aide to Senators Ted Kennedy, then to Harry Reid.

He said, quote, "He could be a ticking time bomb for the Clintons,
threatening the whole Clinton brand. The very fact that he" -- that`s
Weiner -- "continues to run is going to continue to put the Clintons in a
tough position. This guy`s a mini-weapon of mass destruction ready to blow
up any second."

Your thoughts on that, Steve?

STEVE KORNACKI, HOST, MSNBC "UP WITH STEVE KORNACKI": Well, he is ready to
blow up any second, but we might be watching him blow up right now. You`re
talking about the 2016 presidential race. We`re talking about July 2013
right now with a very real...

MATTHEWS: Suppose he wins.

KORNACKI: Well, suppose he wins, I -- OK. Then he`s a ticking time bomb
that could have long-term implications. But I think there`s a much greater
likelihood at this point that Anthony Weiner`s going to fizzle out, going
to lose the preliminary in September, and he`s going to be an afterthought
by 2016.

And if you want Anthony Weiner off the stage, I guess that`s the best thing
you can hope for right now, is that he stays in this race and he doesn`t
just lose in September, he loses badly, he comes in near the back of the
pack...

MATTHEWS: OK, let me...

KORNACKI: ... at the back of the back in a way that gets him off the stage
for good.

MATTHEWS: Steve, you work for MSNBC now, so I guess you`re entitled to an
opinion. I am. Is your opinion that this is guy is really out of it?
He`s not going to be elected mayor of New York? Is that your opinion?

KORNACKI: Yes, I think so. The amazing thing was before this week, I
think there was actually a very real chance Anthony Weiner could have won
this race because we looked at how high his negative numbers were before
this week. He had actually improved significantly in his two months as a
candidate. And his negative numbers were basically actually on par...

MATTHEWS: OK, so you`re saying...

KORNACKI: ... with Christine Quinn`s.

MATTHEWS: ... he`s out.

KORNACKI: But now he`s at a ceiling.

MATTHEWS: You say he`s out.

KORNACKI: There`s been a ceiling imposed on him. He can`t -- no, he will
not win now.

MATTHEWS: Let me say -- Kelly, can you say that, or are you still live
reporting straight here? You can`t say -- you can`t give us the verdict
I`m always looking for on the show, What`s going on? You know what I`m up
to.

GOFF: I think Anthony Weiner at this point is as likely to become mayor as
I am, and I`m not running. So that tells you kind of...

MATTHEWS: Well, you know, I`ve only gotten to know you, but I think you
would be in the running.

GOFF: Oh, thank you!

MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you, Kelly Goff, and thank you, Steve Kornacki, my
colleague.

Anyway, from the East Coast, we turn to a growing scandal -- maybe it`s
pop-topped (ph) already -- out on the West Coast. Remember that anchorman
that said, Stay classy, San Diego? Well, there are some women now on the
record, on tape, five of them that I can count, accusing San Diego mayor
Bob Filner of sexual misconduct in the office.

On Monday, his former communications director filed a lawsuit against him
and spoke to the media about some of Filner`s conduct. Now, listen closely
to this -- these are accusations, of course, but he hasn`t denied them,
which is also interesting. So listen to this graphic information we`re
about to get about how this fellow behaves at work.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

IRENE MCCORMACK JACKSON, FMR. FILNER COMMUNICATIONS DIR.: I was placed in
the Filner headlock and moved around as a rag doll while he whispered
sexual comments in my ear.

Mayor Filner challenged me to give him one example of how his behavior
towards me was improper. I pointed out that he had asked me to work
without my underwear on. He had no comeback.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, the headlock ought to grab your attention. Who is this
guy, Godzilla? Anyway, yesterday, four more women came forward with their
own stories, all of them, as you will see, on the record, on tape, about
the mayor they worked for, or worked with, rather. Here they are.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He came up to me after the event was over. I was
talking with friends. And he came up and gave me a hug, and then he
touched me -- actually groped me on my backside inappropriately.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He`s held me and held me too tight, kiss on the
cheek, which is inappropriate, hand on the knee that lasted too long.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On numerous occasions, he`s put me in what I guess
now is the famous headlock. And he would come in and try and kiss me on
the lips, and I`d have to squirm to get away. And just as recently as a
few months ago, this happened. And I turned and he just slobbered down my
chin, and I was so violated and I was so offended.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As we were leaving the office, all the guys left and
I was the last one in the room. And Bob stepped between me and the
doorway, and he stopped me and he got very close to me. And he ran his
finger up my cheek like this. And he whispered to me, Do you have a man in
your life?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, this afternoon, Filner -- that`s the mayor -- spoke to the
press, apologizing for his conduct and announcing he was entering a
behavioral counseling clinic for a couple of weeks. But he said he`s not
stepping down. Here he is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOB FILNER (D), SAN DIEGO MAYOR: Let me be absolutely clear. The behavior
I have engaged in over many years is wrong. My failure to respect women
and the intimidating contact I engaged at times is inexcusable.

Beginning on August 5th, I will be entering a behavior counseling clinic to
undergo two weeks of intensive therapy to begin the process of addressing
my behavior. This intensive counseling will just be the first step in what
will be a continuing program that will involve ongoing regular counseling.
I must become a better person.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, joining us right now is the city council president of San
Diego, Todd Gloria. What do you make of all this? You probably have a
pretty clear picture of the way he behaves in the office and how he deals
with men as well as women.

Does this all surprise you? Is this old school behavior? He seems to put
it in the category of old school -- 20 years, 30 years ago behavior. But
the headlock and grabbing the leg and things like that, I don`t think that
was acceptable -- I don`t think going back to the "Madmen" era you could do
that kind of stuff and actually not have people think it was inappropriate.
Your thoughts.

TODD GLORIA, SAN DIEGO CITY COUNCIL: You`re exactly right, Chris. I mean,
this was never acceptable behavior. It`s not acceptable today. And to
what observations I`ve had -- you know, we`ve had a number of run-ins with
our mayor. He actually had one of our deputy city attorneys forcibly
removed from a closed session meeting of the city council after a verbal
altercation.

I mean, the gentleman runs very hot, and so we`re not necessarily surprised
by this inappropriate behavior. But I think what we are surprised by is
the level of harassment, the lack of consent with these women, and the fact
that it has very real, serious implications now to the city in the form of
these lawsuits that are coming forward.

MATTHEWS: Should he be removed?

GLORIA: He absolutely should. Myself and a supermajority of our city
council have said that he must resign. And just last night, the San Diego
County Democratic Party has called on the mayor to resign. Now, this is
significant...

MATTHEWS: What are the procedures for removing him? What are the
procedures?

GLORIA: Well, we only have two available to us. One is for him to resign,
which is what he should do. The other is a recall process, which is
lengthy, expensive and uncertain. That`s why so many of us are calling on
him to resign to end this civic nightmare as quickly as possible and let us
move on.

MATTHEWS: Do you think it`s a matter of controllable behavior, which he
might be able to manage after some -- I don`t think therapy is the right
word. Two weeks of therapy doesn`t seem like enough to fix anybody.

GLORIA: No.

MATTHEWS: Instruction as to what`s in and what`s out -- does this -- do
you think it`s possible he would be correctable?

GLORIA: I don`t. I don`t understand how in 2013, you have to be educated
about what appropriate behavior is with women. And he clearly has a
problem with women. He has more or less admitted it. He even said to a
reporter that he has a monster living within him. This man is running the
eighth largest city...

MATTHEWS: So you believe he`s incorrigible.

GLORIA: ... in the country.

MATTHEWS: You believe he`s incorrigible.

GLORIA: I don`t know it`s fixable. I really don`t. And if it is fixable,
God bless him. Let him do that. But let him do it on someone else`s dime.
He cannot run the city at the same time. We are America`s finest city, the
eighth largest city in this country.

MATTHEWS: OK...

GLORIA: We need a mayor who can actually run the city. This one can`t.

MATTHEWS: OK. Todd Gloria, thanks so much, chairman of the city council.

GLORIA: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: Stay classy, San Diego.

And a programming note. Monday on HARDBALL, we`re joined by former New
York governor Eliot Spitzer. Can`t wait for this. We`ll have a very
interesting discussion. It will be within bounds, but I think there`s some
questions that he`s got to answer about his decision to run for public
office again. And we`ll ask him about that.

Coming up, another civil war in the Republican Party, and this time, it`s
the hawks versus the doves. I love this fight. New Jersey`s Chris
Christie slammed Rand Paul, the party`s frontrunner right now in all the
polls, saying the intellectual debate he`s leading over privacy, when it
comes to fighting terrorists, is downright -- it`s his word, Christie`s --
dangerous. He`s picking a fight in the Republican Party. Is the
Republican Party, however, still the hawk party it was under W? I`m not so
sure.

Plus, what are we to make of the juror in the Zimmerman case who`s out
there saying the defendant got away with murder? She says in her heart,
Zimmerman was guilty. What`s that mean? She voted to acquit. Based on
the evidence and under the law, she said she had to acquit him. But now
she says that she feels that she owes Trayvon Martin`s family an apology.
Why would she apologize if she thought the verdict was correct? This is
complicated, and we`re going to get to it.

And the latest report in our "Unkindest Cut" series, this time how the
across-the-board spending cut known as the sequester is costing America 1.6
million jobs.

And "Let Me Finish" tonight with the Republican civil war over war.

And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Take a look at this. The favorability rating of the United
States Supreme Court is below 50 percent for the first time in nearly three
decades. That`s according to new polling from the Pew Research Center.
Forty-eight percent of those polled say they have a favorable opinion of
the court, while 38 percent have an unfavorable opinion.

Well, here`s the big one. A big, sharp drop among African-Americans, 44
percent of African-Americans now have a favorable opinion of the court,
versus 41 percent who have an unfavorable. Back in March, not so long ago,
6 in 10 African-Americans said they viewed the court favorably before its
recent ruling that struck down a key part of the Voting Rights Act. I can
understand it clearly.

And we`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Well, hawkish foreign policy has been
an ideological hallmark of the Republican Party for years now. Think about
it, from the Reagan days of military involvement in Lebanon and Grenada to
Bush, senior`s, first Gulf war to W`s Bush doctrine, war on terror, and of
course, the invasion of Iraq, the party`s core identity all these years.
The calling card has been internationalism and interventionism.

But a new libertarian wing of the Republican Party, we`ve noticed, has
exploded onto the scene in recent years, led by Tea Party firebrands like
Rand Paul. They`ve risen to power by preaching that our national interest
does not lie in those wars of choice.

They filibuster against the use of drones. They fight the NSA. They want
no part of the war in Syria or revolution in Egypt. Their weaponry lies
with a strict reading of the Constitution, not a loose international notion
or interpretation of national security.

That split in the party, the Republican Party, isn`t sitting well with New
Jersey governor Chris Christie, the Republican rising star from New Jersey.
He took aim at Rand Paul in speaking at the Republican governors forum just
yesterday.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: This strain of libertarianism that`s
going through both parties right now and making big headlines I think is a
very dangerous thought.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator Rand Paul, for example?

CHRISTIE: Well, listen, you can name any number of people who`ve engaged
in it, and he`s one of them. I mean, these esoteric intellectual debates -
- I want them to come to New Jersey and sit across from the widows and the
orphans and have that conversation. And they won`t because that`s a much
tougher conversation to have.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, Paul -- that`s the senator from Kentucky -- fought back
today, saying on Twitter that, quote, "Christie worries about the dangers
of freedom. I worry about the danger of losing that freedom. Spying
without warrants is unconstitutional."

Well, is the hawkish wing of the Republican Party starting to fade? Will
Democrats be able to capitalize on this new division in the GOP? I`m
fascinated by it myself.

David Axelrod`s an MSNBC political analyst and a former senior adviser to
President Obama, and Carly Fiorina is a former Senate Republican candidate
out in California. Thanks for joining us. I have no idea what you`re both
going to say, but let me start with this.

We have run through the history of the Republican Party, David, and,
clearly, they have been -- if you have to argue back and forth, they`re the
more hawkish party. The Democrats are the more dovish, with a lot of
exceptions. But, clearly, the issue of the war in Iraq, a war of choice,
as it`s been called, was a key issue, I believe -- and I believe you know
was a key factor in the strong political run by President Obama back in
`08, actually starting in 2004.

Do you think the Republican Party is having guilt about the war in Iraq
that they now feel is unpopular that they`re beginning to think that this
instinctive call to arms, this instinctive involvement, engagement in
countries like Syria and Lebanon and all is not going to pay off at the
ballot box?

DAVID AXELROD, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, first of all, I would just
quibble with one point, which is that there has been over time -- Taft and
others in the past -- there`s been a strain of isolationism in the
Republican Party.

It`s resurgent now. It`s represented by this Tea Party faction. And, of
course, the reality is that we have to find the right place between these
two points of view. There are times when we have to act in order to
preserve the safety of the American people, but we can`t reflexively
intervene everywhere.

It seems like Paul and Christie are -- may be moving to stake out, you
know, the polls of this debate. And the sweet spot is the middle. That`s
where most Americans are.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

Well, let me go to Carly.

Thanks for joining us, Carly. But it seems like one of the hot -- let`s
take a look at something that happened in the election back in 2008. Not
100 years ago. This is when -- during the debate when Ron Paul, the
father, who has the same policy as his son, when he came out in 2007 and
basically took on the issue of why we`re getting so hawkish.

And Rudy, who didn`t end up winning because he was pro-choice, jumped on
him like a hawk. And it was quite a scene. I wonder if this could be
repeated today the same way. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RON PAUL (R), FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN: We need to look at what we do from
the perspective of what would happen if somebody else did it to us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you suggesting we invited the 9/11 attacks, sir?

PAUL: I`m suggesting that we listen to the people who attacked us and the
reason they did it.

RUDOLPH GIULIANI (R), FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK: May I make a comment on
that?

That`s really an extraordinary statement. That`s an extraordinary
statement, as someone who lived through the attack of September 11, that we
invited the attack because we were attacking Iraq. I don`t think I have
ever heard that before. And I have heard some pretty absurd explanations
for September 11.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Carly, your view on this, on the -- hawk or dove, which way is
the party heading? Because the Democratic Party has been pretty happy,
with some exceptions, with its general position as opposing the war in Iraq
while being very tough on al Qaeda.

So there`s been a bit of a division and an emphasis there, different I
think than President W. Bush.

CARLY FIORINA, FORMER HEWLETT-PACKARD CEO: Well, I think we`re conjoining
a couple things here.

The data point that I would offer up is that the majority of Americans
today think that Edward Snowden is a whistle-blower, not a traitor. And I
this I what that data point tells you is that people actually are quite
troubled. On the one hand, people want to be safe and they understand that
be government is engaged in activities to keep us safe that they didn`t
used to be.

On the other hand, they worry about a government that has vast power that
we don`t know about and government agencies that we cannot effectively hold
accountable. That`s a different issue than whether or not you believe we
should have been in Iraq or not, and there the splits have always existed
in the Republican Party, as well as the Democratic Party.

MATTHEWS: Well, where are you on those issues? Because Boehner, the
speaker of the House, came out just the other day in a vote and led the
Republican Party in fighting not to restrict the NSA.

So, he`s very comfortable with this security point -- approach, this more
hawkish approach. Where are you on surveillance and where are you on wars
like Iraq?

FIORINA: I believe the...

MATTHEWS: You`re a big Republican.

FIORINA: ... I believe that we have to ask now fundamental questions.

And I actually would hope that, as David Axelrod suggested, there is some
middle ground here and actually some ground for bipartisan agreement.

MATTHEWS: OK.

FIORINA: The big fundamental question is, how do we hold these
bureaucracies accountable? How do we know that they are not abusing their
power?

MATTHEWS: OK.

FIORINA: How do we know that they are competent and ethical?

These are huge questions. And when the government now has such incredible
power, power that we didn`t even understand they had six months ago, we
ought to be asking those fundamental questions.

MATTHEWS: Well, let me get back to you -- let me get back -- I will be
back to you in a minute, Carly, but here`s my general question.

Should the United States be primarily concerned with its own defense? Do
we have to be careful that we don`t get invaded and then two days later
have somebody say, if we`d only done one thing, but we didn`t do it because
we were concerned about civil liberties? Who is going to win that fight?

FIORINA: Are you asking me?

MATTHEWS: I`m asking David that.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: If you come out with what looks to be an esoteric argument and
you didn`t use that power, you`re dead politically in this country if we
get attacked.

AXELROD: Chris, I worked 20 feet from the Oval Office for two years, and I
saw the president, the national security team grapple with a very real
threat of attack.

And the tools that are there that the NSA provided were important in
thwarting some of those attacks. If we hadn`t done it, then we would
indeed have had more catastrophic kinds of attacks. And I think people
would have been outraged about it.

But Carly is right. We have to be careful how we do that, and what the
president suggested is that`s why we have to have the involvement of all
three branches of government, Congress, the courts, and the executive
branch. The answer is not to scrap the intelligence gathering that has
demonstrably helped keep the American people safer.

MATTHEWS: I`m with you. I don`t like this -- I`m not comfortable with you
two agreeing so much.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: I`m going to put a question to both of you.

I think I know the answer with David, who I know much better. And that is
this. Do you think it was a good thing for America to invade, attack and
over -- to overrun and occupy Iraq in 2003?

AXELROD: Well...

MATTHEWS: Was that a smart move or a mistake?

(CROSSTALK)

AXELROD: I think it was a grave mistake when we were attacked not to go
after the people who attacked us, but to divert our attention to Iraq, at
great cost of lives and resources, while bin Laden and the -- and the
people who attacked us went free for years.

And, no -- so, yes, I think it was a big mistake. And that`s what I`m
saying. I don`t think that sort of reflexive interventionism, reflexive
attack is the answer to every threat in the world. On the other hand,
there are real threats that we have to respond to.

MATTHEWS: I`m with you.

Carly Fiorina, same question. Was it right to go Iraq? Was it right to
invade Iraq, yes or no? We now know a lot.

(CROSSTALK)

FIORINA: Given -- given what we thought we knew at the time, yes. I
supported that decision then. I support it now. However..

MATTHEWS: It was a smart decision to go to Iraq?

(CROSSTALK)

FIORINA: Yes, given what we thought we knew.

Now, it turns out the information was wrong. There were no weapons of mass
destruction...

MATTHEWS: OK. Well...

FIORINA: ... although virtually every intelligence agency around the world
stood together and say, yes, he had them.

(CROSSTALK)

FIORINA: However -- big important however, we mismanaged that war
tremendously. We had unrealistic expectations.

MATTHEWS: OK.

FIORINA: We didn`t resource it appropriately. So there were many, many
mistakes made.

MATTHEWS: OK.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: In my opinion, it had -- WMD, the claim of it, had nothing to do
with that war. The people that wanted that war, from Dick Cheney to the
neocons, the whole batch of them, including W., decided on that war because
they wanted to go to war with Saddam Hussein.

Number two...

FIORINA: Well, then -- then you`re casting...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Afterwards, they -- no. Afterwards, they said, even though
there was no WMD there, they said they were still right to invade.

So, how do you square that with your concern about the accuracy of the
intel, when in the fact the people who perpetrated that war, prosecuted it,
didn`t die there, just led us into there, said it didn`t matter that there
was no WMD? Explain that.

FIORINA: Well, I think it`s, first of all, a very good question.

MATTHEWS: It sure is.

FIORINA: But let me just say I think you`re casting aspersions upon the
CIA and British intelligence.

MATTHEWS: No. I`m casting aspersions on your party.

(CROSSTALK)

FIORINA: Excuse me, Chris. I let you finish.

MATTHEWS: On your party.

FIORINA: I let you finish. I let you finish.

I know the directors of both the CIA and British intelligence. I knew them
at the time. They were both absolutely convinced, based on the information
they had, that WMD existed, and they would say so to this day.

Having said all of that, it turned out to be wrong. And, yes, I absolutely
support that we need more effective intelligence-gathering tools and
techniques. But we have to understand how to hold government agencies
accountable with this kind of power. We have not had a national dialogue
on that. That is why most people think Edward Snowden is a whistle-blower,
not a traitor.

MATTHEWS: OK.

FIORINA: This is a big issue.

MATTHEWS: You know what? I think -- I will repeat myself. We need
somebody with intelligence sitting in the White House, intelligence, basic
human intelligence.

We didn`t have one. That war had nothing to do with the quality of our
intelligence. I would never blame the CIA or the British intelligence.

FIORINA: Well...

MATTHEWS: By the way, those 16 words were an embarrassment because Cheney
wanted them in there.

Anyway, thank you, Carly. We just disagree. I respect you.

FIORINA: We do.

MATTHEWS: We disagree. You are a hawk, and I`m a dove. And that`s how it
works.

Thank you very much, David Axelrod.

AXELROD: Good to be with you.

MATTHEWS: I`m glad you two finally disagreed. I`m glad I disagreed.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: Up next, Jane Fonda -- actually, I like Jane Fonda -- and Nancy
Reagan -- and I like her even more -- a lot of Republicans are up in arms
that the famously liberal actress is playing the former first lady. But
what does Nancy think? Now, that`s a query.

And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL, and now to the "Sideshow."

Sexting and politics don`t mix, obviously. Anthony Weiner has definitely
proven that this week. But what if there was a service that helped
politicians indulge their digital perversions, if you will, without the
risk?

Take a look at this parody commercial from "Conan" last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "CONAN")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Oh, no, there`s a picture of my penis on TMZ again.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: That`s the fourth time this week.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Oh, well, guess there`s nothing I can do about it.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Wait. I can help.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Who are you?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: I`m with the Junk Squad. We teach congressmen who
weren`t born in the digital age how to send pictures of their penis safely
and discreetly.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Wow.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: If you`re old enough to find computers perplexing, one
of our junk squad technicians will personally visit your home, office or
governor`s mansion and safely guide you through the process from start to
finish.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Sounds great.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: First of all, as a high-ranking public figure, are you
sure you want to send someone you barely know a picture of your penis?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Absolutely. It has to be done.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: OK. Then let`s do it right.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: We provide expertise in every area of secure penis
photograph transmission.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: I want to put this into this.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Uh.

So, if you need to run for public office and send out blurry photos of your
disembodied penis, call the Junk Squad.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: I don`t think how that got through.

Anyway, next: Jane Fonda is playing former first lady Nancy Reagan in an
upcoming movie "The Butler." And while the casting choice drew sharp
criticism from detractors on the right -- remember Hanoi Jane -- she may
have the approval of at least one influential Republican. Here she was
discussing the role yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JANE FONDA, ACTRESS: I thought it would be fun to play her. I know people
say, oh, my gosh, Jane Fonda is playing Nancy Reagan. But I don`t think
that whatever differences there might be in our politics really -- really
matters. As an actor, I approach her as a human being, and I happen to
know that she`s not unhappy that I`m playing her.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: I hope she plays her well. She said she heard it from a friend
that Nancy was OK with it, but -- well, you can`t beat a coveted
endorsement like that, even it`s a little ephemeral.

Up next: A juror from the Jim -- George Zimmerman trial now says -- quote
-- "He got away with murder." But the law and the evidence, she says,
prevented her voting for conviction. Well, that`s ahead. And this is
going to be complicated. But we`re going to follow the feelings and the
attitudes and the thinking that went into that juror`s decision.

We`re coming up with the place for politics again.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERTHA COOMBS, CNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Bertha Coombs with your CNBC
"Market Wrap."

The Dow gained three points, coming back from a 150-point deficit. The S&P
500 added one, and the Nasdaq was up seven. A sign that Americans are more
confident about the economy, the consumer sentiment index hit a six-year
high in July. Samsung has replaced Apple as the world`s most profitable
mobile phone vendor. Samsung`s handset profits hit $5.2 billion in the
second quarter, compared to Apple`s $4.6 billion. And Starbucks shares are
up 7 percent after beating earnings expectations.

That`s it from CNBC. We`re first in business worldwide -- now back to
HARDBALL.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MADDY, ZIMMERMAN TRIAL JUROR: George Zimmerman got away with murder, but
you can`t get away from God. And at the end of the day, he`s going to have
a lot of questions and answers he has to deal with.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. That wasn`t a pundit or an activist
you just saw there. That was an actual Zimmerman juror, the last person
you would expect to say that Zimmerman -- quote -- "got away with murder."

We`re going to try to figure out what that meant. Maddy is her first name.
She won`t disclose her last, for obvious reasons, also known as Juror B-29.
She made that stunning admission on ABC News earlier this week.

In an interview with "Good Morning America"`s Robin Roberts, Maddy --
that`s her name -- explained a bit more about those comments.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "GOOD MORNING AMERICA")

MADDY, ZIMMERMAN TRIAL JUROR: My first vote was second-degree murder.

ROBIN ROBERTS, ABC NEWS: And many people are wanting to know, how did you
come from -- in nine hours from feeling he was guilty of second-degree
murder to not guilty?

MADDY: It was hard. A lot of us had wanted to find something bad,
something that we could connect to the law, because all six of us -- well,
let`s not speak for all six of us -- but, for myself, he`s guilty, because
the evidence shows he`s guilty.

ROBERTS: He`s guilty of?

MADDY: Killing Trayvon Martin. But we couldn`t prove that, intentionally,
he killed him. And that`s the way that the law was read to me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Trayvon Martin`s mother put out a statement after hearing
that, reacting to Maddy`s remarks, quote, saying, "It`s devastating for my
family to hear the comments from Juror B-29, comments which we already knew
in our hearts to be true that George Zimmerman literally got away with
murder."

Well, but how can these two things be true at the same time? And how can a
juror reach the unanimous verdict of not guilty and Zimmerman be guilty of
murder at the same time?

To help us with some of this, what really we`re joined by Kisha Hebbon, a
former prosecutor.

Kisha, I am trying to put this juror`s comments together. And I`m not
going hardball with her. She`s a civilian. She`s a regular person.

KISHA HEBBON, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Right.

MATTHEWS: But if I were tougher, I would say wait a minute. What was
lacking here? You said the evidence was there he`s guilty of second degree
murder. Then, you say that the law and evidence didn`t support it.
Therefore, I had to go for acquittal. I don`t get from her a clarity as to
what she thought happened. If you knew what happened or thought you knew
what happened, you would make a judgment whether there was evidence to
support what you thought happened.

HEBBON: Right.

MATTHEWS: Then, you`d offer a verdict. It would come first from what you
thought happened, what you could support from the evidence happened. And
then would go a verdict.

With her it`s a feeling. A feeling that she`s had, and obviously has been
bothering her to the point where she has to come out publicly with this.
But it seems to me, you got a question with this juror. The question is,
how is he getting away with murder if he wasn`t guilty of murder?

HEBBON: Right. Just listening to this juror`s comments leads me to
believe there was some confusion. And I also think that with a lot of
criminal trials, the jurors fill a certain emotional way about what the
verdict should be, but because of the standards, the prosecutor has to
prove beyond a reasonable doubt that I an crime was committed, and also,
the jurors are given jury instructions, which force them to stay within the
confines of what the law is.

So, I think with her when she stated, you know, I think he`s guilty of
killing Trayvon but there was no proof that he intentionally did it --
intent doesn`t --

MATTHEWS: No, she said he`s guilt of murder, not killing him. He`s guilty
of murder. That means intentional.

HEBBON: Clearly, she`s confused but I think what she`s conveying is what a
lot of people across our country feels. There`s not enough proof -- which
I blame the prosecutor for.

MATTHEWS: Fair enough.

HEBBON: But I also think that the emotional part of he did something wrong
is what`s going through her head. But it shows there`s confusion on her
part.

MATTHEWS: Well, what do you think? I want you to do interpreting here.
Do you think she means that she doesn`t believe George Zimmerman`s account
that he was on the bottom, he was in fear of his life or grievous bodily
injury? She didn`t believe that? And if she did believe that, did she
think he was guilty of murder two?

It seems like she couldn`t believe both.

HEBBON: Right. I don`t --

MATTHEWS: If she believed his account, then she wouldn`t be even murder
two.

HEBBON: Right.

MATTHEWS: Now, if she did believe his account, where does that take her?
And if she didn`t him, why didn`t she just say that in her interview with
Robin Roberts -- I didn`t believe a word he said or I didn`t believe his
account. I mean, it isn`t about feeling. It`s about belief. It`s what
you`re asked to do in a jury box.

HEBBON: Right. And that`s where we get this verdict from. And I think
she`s misinterpreting -- well, she`s stating more feeling than what was
proven in that courtroom. And I also think -- which I see in a lot of my
cases, oftentimes the jurors, there may be one juror who are feels a
particular way but after discussing it with the jury during deliberations,
this juror may come back and say, you know what, you`re right. There`s not
enough proof, and she may have felt wrong to be the one person to say, you
know what, I don`t feel it.

But I think if she did not believe what, you know, she eventually did with
acquitting him, she should have spoke up. We would have had a hung
verdict.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

What do you recommend jurors do? It seems to me -- I`ve heard from one of
our experts on the last couple of weeks on this trial, that what they tell
jurors to do, especially if they`re defense attorneys, they want an
acquittal or, worse, a hung jury, they say to them, maybe they`re minority,
maybe the only white person in the jury, whatever, if they feel overwhelmed
or they`re simply a minority of opinion, which is very common, I`m sure.

HEBBON: Right.

MATTHEWS: They should hold to that opinion and they should hold to it, in
what may have happened here is she was asked to explain why she thought the
guy was guilty of purposeful deliberate murder in this case or rather when
he had a situation where he could have chosen not to kill the guy. He
wasn`t -- thought of his life. And she couldn`t do it or couldn`t explain
it well enough or she gave up trying to explain it.

What do you think happened? Because she`s obviously now feeling guilty
about what she did to the point where she`s telling everybody about it.

HEBBON: Right. I think the fact she`s feeling guilty to this extent that
she`s expressed on national television shows that she made a decision that
she didn`t feel comfortable with, which in a court of law there`s no room
for that. I believe the judges make that clear to jurors, that you have to
feel comfortable and you have to convict based or acquit based on the law.

And I`m not sure if she`s confusing emotion with the facts and what the law
says -- but I think the fact that she believes that he was guilty, she
should have stuck with that and that would have changed the verdict in this
case, where it would have been a hung jury.

MATTHEWS: Yes, I`m not sure. I can`t tell.

Anyway, thank you for coming on. Kisha, you know this more than I do.

HEBBON: Thank you, Chris.

MATTHEWS: Thank you, Kisha. Even I -- I wasn`t on the jury either.

Up next, the latest on your ongoing series which we`ve brought to you, "The
Unkindest Cut." This time how Congress across-the-board spending cuts are
costing the country jobs, 1.6 million, because of the sequester. Do you
believe it? It`s not just words. It`s jobs.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Where are the jobs for the unemployed? Blame the sequester.

HARDBALL, back after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We shouldn`t be making a
series of dumb, arbitrary cuts to things that businesses depend on. And
workers depend on like education and research and infrastructure and
defense. It`s unnecessary and at a time when too many Americans are still
looking for work, it`s inexcusable.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, there it is, this July, and it is still July. The autumn
offensive has begun. That was President Obama calling the budget cuts
known as sequestration "dumb, arbitrary and inexcusable."

And you know what? He is right. And, by the way, there is more coming.
It looks like the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office agrees with the
president. Yesterday, the CBO released a study that says ending those
automatic spending cuts could significantly boost the economy and create up
to as many as 1.6 million jobs over the next year.

Joining me for the latest installment in our ongoing series, "The Unkindest
Cut" are: "Huffington Post" political reporter and MSNBC contributor Sam
Stein, and also, MSNBC political analyst and "Mother Jones" Washington
bureau chief, David Corn -- said with great majesty and importance.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: Let me ask you this, because I think when people always like to
say on the conservative side, oh, government can`t create jobs. And I kept
saying, well, World War II developed jobs, and all the time -- every time a
base closes somewhere, they say the jobs are going to be lost. So, there
is -- government jobs are jobs. They pay well. They`ll able to
(INAUDIBLE) afterwards. Their families go to school, they go to the
movies, they live and eat -- all that creates employment for other people.

But every time we get to an issue o government spending, the Republicans
say that`s waste.

DAVID CORN, MOTHER JONES: The Republicans basically have been riding for
the past two years a fundamental fallacy, which is when the economy goes
south, and there is contraction, that is government too has to, you know,
tighten the belt is the false cliche they use all the time.

Actually, the government is there to be a counterbalance to what`s
happening. So you got to keep demand up to keep people employed, to keep
jobs going so you don`t fall behind economically, domestically or
internationally which is just as important.

MATTHEWS: OK. Liberal economists and progressive economists believe every
time the government spends money, it creates jobs.

CORN: It`s not even progressive. That`s mainstream.

MATTHEWS: it creates jobs. I mean, Nixon once said -- I`m a Keynesian,
too. They create jobs.

If they go through sequester and continue ad infinitum, and we go with more
cuts this fall, apparently the right are asking for, what`s it going to do
with the economy? They will achieve what they want? A slowdown in the
recovery, maybe the end to the recovery and then they can run against it.

SAM STEIN, HUFFINGTON POST: It certainly will hit a slowdown in the
recovery. The CBO estimates 300,000 at the very low end, to 1.6 million at
the high end in terms of jobs lost.

And to your point, we have done a bunch of reporting on this. We did a job
with civilian employees at the Pentagon who are furloughed because of the
sequester. I talked to one of them. She said she hasn`t gone out to a
restaurant meal in six months. I talked to another guy who was cutting
down on his cable bill basically.

And all this stuff has a ripple effect. The restaurateur won`t get a
customer. Comcast is going to lose business across the board.

We`re talking about 600,000 Pentagon civilian employees who are suffering
11 furlough days. Think about the ripple effect.

MATTHEWS: You work for Comcast now, right?

STEIN: I guess, yes. Fair enough.

MATTHEWS: Go ahead.

(CROSSTALK)

CORN: Time Warner cable.

MATTHEWS: OK, go ahead, go ahead.

STEIN: But the point is still valid, which is that if you start taking
away little things here and there, and then, yes, and maybe simply it
doesn`t seem like that`s big a deal. But it`s going to be aggregated.
It`s going to over time.

One other point I want to make --

MATTHEWS: So, what happens to this fight? You`re good at this, Sam, very
good at this. If we have a battle royal between now and Christmas, between
the holidays and now, and there is a big fight over government shutdowns,
potentially not paying the national debt off and having, what you call it,
a default, the whole worst horror story -- not only does that cause a lot
of the headlines and a lot of noise, but it has a particular effect on the
economy. A, in actual fact, it cuts spending. And B, it kills confidence
that we`re going anywhere.

STEIN: Well, certainly, if we hit a deadline, it`s going to have a massive
ripple effect in terms of confidence of our economic standing.

MATTHEWS: Who wins?

STEIN: T here are no winners. The economy losses -

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: You don`t think Rand Paul wins? You don`t think Ted Cruz wins?

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Why are they doing it then if they don`t think they win?

CORN: No, no --

STEIN: They can extract more promises from the president.

CORN: We went through this in 2011. And if you look at the poll results
afterwards, the Republicans took a bigger hit than the president. Remember
--

MATTHEWS: So, they`re stupid? So they`re stupid?

CORN: Well, I`m not say -- they have a theology. They are theological.
So they really do believe, you know, these documents they put out yesterday
from this group Groundswell. Again and again they say that the right
Republicans have to be more conservative and even push back even more on
spending than John Boehner is willing to do.

So they are theological to this point. And that`s when you get into
trouble because if they`re theological, they`re not prone to compromise.

MATTHEWS: What partisan I think you`re partisans here. What unemployment
rate can President Obama leave the presidency in in 2016, and claim to be a
success on the economy? What does it have to be? It`s 7.6 now.

How long does it have to go for him to say I`m a success?

STEIN: There is no way to know that. But I want to bring you back to
sequestration.

CORN: Under 7 is good, but it`s going to be hard with the sequestrastion.

STEIN: Because sequestration is a compounding effect. It will build over
time.

MATTHEWS: Thanks, Sam Stein. Thank you, David Corn. Happy weekend for
all of you. All three of you. All two of you.

When we return, let me finish with the Republicans` civil war over war.
Boy, it`s about time this baby came.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this.

There is a bar restaurant on Capitol Hill called the Hawk and Dove. It`s a
statement of the chief division of politics in this city going back to the
1960s. Are you for the war or against it?

In the 1960s, the war was Vietnam. Hawks like Robert McNamara defended the
war until they couldn`t anymore. Lyndon Johnson was planning to run for
reelection in 1968 until he couldn`t. First, Gene McCarthy and then Robert
Kennedy campaigned against the war until Bobby was killed and Gene just
didn`t have the fight in him anymore.

In this century, the war was Iraq. The hawks, W., Cheney, and that`s how
do you pronounce it, just ask him, and self-styled neocons and other
conservative Republicans backed it to the hilt. Then, slowly, the true
conservatives like William F. Buckley realized it was not a conflict they
could support with full heart. There are others like Rich Lowry who also
changed their minds.

And then a lot of the hawks on the Republican Party simply began to melt
away, stopped running their op-ed pieces, drifted off into wherever people
go when anything they say will be used against them.

Now, there is a war in the Republican Party between the hawks and the
doves. The doves are folks like Rand Paul who think getting engaged in the
Middle East wars, any of them, is not in our national interest. Not a bad
thought there.

And those who are steady at the rampart, even today like Chris Christie of
New Jersey. I`m not sure what wars either of these gentlemen are used to
in their own lives, They`ve got one now, between each other. Let`s sit
back and enjoy the show.

As long as the R`s -- that`s the Republicans -- are stage a war over
whether to fight, we have a decent chance of averting another real one.

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

"POLITICS NATION" with Al Sharpton starts right now.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
BE UPDATED.
END

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