updated 12/16/2014 11:55:12 AM ET 2014-12-16T16:55:12

Show: HARDBALL
Date: December 15, 2014

Guest: Ron Christie, Zephyr Teachout, Steven Clemons, Amanda Terkel


CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Dick Cheney, I`d do it again.

Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.

Dick Cheney could write the book on torture made morally easy. "I`d do it
again in a minute," he said on Sunday, and that, ladies and gentlemen, is
how long it took him to decide. And as Cheney puts it, the torture
program, as he calls it, was all his. It was all "I was prepared to," and
"we did it," "we got" the authorization from the president and
authorization from the Justice Department to go forward with the program.
It worked.

Oh, but don`t anybody say W. wasn`t aboard with the dirty work, the
waterboarding and the rest of it, from the beginning. That`s a lie, Cheney
said of the torture report. The president was in on it big-time. "This
man knew what we were doing` -- that`s what he said, "this man," on Sunday.

"This man" -- it sounds like Bill Clinton talking about not having sex with
"that woman." No, when you listen to Cheney, he wants full credit for
being the ramrod of torture activities. He just doesn`t want George Bush
getting off easy. He may have been Mr. Peabody but the former president
was sure as hell Sherman, his trusty tag-along.

David Corn is Washington bureau chief for "Mother Jones" and Ron Christie
is former adviser to Dick Cheney.

I want to go to Ron Christie here. How do you explain the pride, the self-
respect with which the former vice president takes personal responsibility
for run the program of waterboarding and all the rest of it?

RON CHRISTIE, FORMER DICK CHENEY ADVISER: Well, good evening, Chris. I
think if you listen to what the vice president said on "MEET THE PRESS,"
actually, he takes credit for working with the president to design a
program that was effective to make sure that we didn`t get hit again.

The notion that this is somehow Dick Cheney`s program or that somehow, he
was running a secret (ph) masterminds (ph) behind the president`s back is
just utter nonsense. Those of us who were there in the White House on
9/11, and I was there working for Dick Cheney on 9/11 -- we did everything
that we could to change from a mode of domestic priorities, Chris, to
domestic consequences. How do we reopen New York City below 14th Street?
How do we get America back on its feet again? And most importantly, how do
we take the steps necessary to make sure that this country is not attacked
again?

So I think what Dick Cheney and thousands of others did, and the Justice
Department and the CIA, was legal. It was harsh, but it kept this country
safe.

MATTHEWS: And as we know -- and I think you`re saying it, as well, in a
different way, that he was the G-2. He was the intelligence officer for
the administration.

Here he was describing -- and I hear the word "I" and "we" a lot here.
There were two different takes this weekend on America`s use of harsh
techniques on detainees that many people call torture. On the one hand,
Dick Cheney says he has no regrets, and in fact, would do it again. Let`s
watch him on that point.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DICK CHENEY, FMR. VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I was prepared and
we did, we got the authorization from the president and authorization from
the Justice Department to go forward with the program. It worked. It
worked now for 13 years, we`ve avoided another mass casualty attack against
the United States. We did capture bin Laden. We did capture an awful lot
of the senior guys of al Qaeda who were responsible for that attack on
9/11. I`d do it again in a minute.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: And that`s why I said he took credit because he said "We got the
authorization from the president," "we did it," "I did." Anyway, but John
McCain, who spent five-and-a-half years as a POW in Vietnam, where he was
tortured, said the use of torture is morally wrong and against the values
America stands for. Let`s watch the man who was tortured.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: There were violations of the Geneva
conventions for the treatment of prisoners. There were violations of the
convention against torture, which Ronald Reagan was the primary signatory
of. And I think, in retrospect, some of these practices fly in the face of
everything that America values and stands for.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: I was struck, David, by the amount to which Cheney basically
said, I did, and we did, and we got it authorized by the president, but I
was running the intelligence program, I was doing this.

DAVID CORN, "MOTHER JONES," MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, also, but it
indicated to me, in what he said throughout the interview, was that he
didn`t really know a lot about it in certain ways. He said a lot of things
that were just wrong. He can get out there and say, It worked, it worked,
it worked. The Senate torture report comes up with numerous instances when
it wasn`t effective and it didn`t work.

And they even have a great case that Chuck Todd asked him about, in which
the CIA, according to its own memos, told Dick Cheney that they used
intelligence from torture to help stop the dirty bomb plot here in D.C.
And their own records show that they didn`t use intelligence for that.

So Dick Cheney himself was lied to. Now, Chuck asked him, Well, you know,
does this mean you were misled? And he said, No, I wasn`t. Well, the
question is, how does he know? Did he go back and look at the intelligence
and evaluate it himself?

I mean, he`s just out there saying things that -- you know, that are
assertions, not facts, not citing any countervailing record or evidence to
what`s in this report. I mean, listen, when it comes to whether it`s moral
or not, that`s a matter of taste and one`s own individual morality. But
this report is 520 pages showing it didn`t do what Dick Cheney said it did!

MATTHEWS: Ron and David, both of you, let`s watch the two who really know
something about torture, one from having administered a program, one having
been tortured, McCain and Cheney. They disagreed about whether the tactics
used amounted to torture. Here`s Senator McCain, and he`ll be followed by
the vice president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCCAIN: You can`t claim that tying someone to the floor and have them
freeze to death is not torture. You can`t say 183 times someone is
waterboarded -- and by the way, on waterboarding, it began with the Spanish
Inquisition. It was done during the Philippines war. We`ve tried and hung
Japanese war criminals for waterboarding Americans in World War II.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, according to Cheney, nothing we did to the detainees added
up to torture. Chuck Todd ran through some of the harsher techniques
mentioned in the report. Let`s watch him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHUCK TODD, MODERATOR, "MEET THE PRESS": Over a 20-day period, aggressive
interrogation, spent a total of 266 hours, 11 days, two hours, in a large,
coffin-size confinement box, 29 hours in a small confinement box, width of
21 inches, depth of 2.5 feet, height of 2.5 feet. That`s on page 42. Is
that--

(CROSSTALK)

TODD: -- standard definition of torture?

CHENEY: I think that was, in fact, one of the approved techniques.

TODD: If another country captures a U.S. soldier, the Iranian regime,
waterboards--

(CROSSTALK)

TODD: Is that going to be an accepted--

CHENEY: You`re trying to come up now with hypothetical situations.
Waterboarding, the way we did it, was, in fact, not torture.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: I don`t see how that`s hypothetical. Anyway, Cheney named only
one example of torture, as such, when asked by Chuck. Let`s listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHENEY: Torture to me, Chuck, is an American citizen on a cell phone
making a last call to his four young daughters shortly before he burns to
death in the upper levels of the Trade Center in New York City on 9/11.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Ron, good point. Everybody here thought that was a good point
he made. Explicate how that relates to this question of whether we should
have a program which many people believe is torture.

CHRISTIE: Well, Chris, I don`t have any tears for terrorists. I have
tears for the friends that I lost on 9/11. I have tears for the torture
that many families still have pain going through to this very day.

If you look at what the White House had done, with George W. Bush in the
lead here, he made a legal determination going to the Justice Department,
going to the Office of Legal Counsel, that, in fact, these enhanced
interrogation techniques were legal. They were harsh, but they were legal.

The CIA suspended the program twice. They said, We need to make sure that
we`re doing this in the way that it`s proper and fitting with the way the
United States treats detainees.

Let`s go back to this report, Chris. This report is the most one-sided,
flawed report that could have been either written by Jonathan Gruber and
published in "Rolling Stone" magazine.

MATTHEWS: OK--

CORN: Oh!

CHRISTIE: They interviewed not one single officer. They didn`t interview
Jose Rodriguez, who ran the enhanced interrogation program for the CIA.
They didn`t interview any of the directors. So for this notion, as David
says, oh, it`s in the torture report, what`s tortured is that Dianne
Feinstein has been a mockery to her legacy, in my view, of not getting the
facts out and not being a fact (ph) searcher, take no one`s other opinion
other than--

MATTHEWS: OK, let me ask you--

(CROSSTALK)

CHRISTIE: -- honor who was on the Intelligence Committee, Chris--

MATTHEWS: OK--

CHRISTIE: -- who said this is a partisan report.

MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about one point you made there, just I want to
know if it`s true or not because I don`t think it`s true. Is it true that
the Justice Department approved this program?

CHRISTIE: Yes. The Justice Department--

MATTHEWS: I thought it was the Office of Legal Counsel--

(CROSSTALK)

CHRISTIE: -- the Office of Legal Counsel. If you read (INAUDIBLE) very
interesting report by the last three CIA directors and their deputy
directors that was published in "The Wall Street Journal" last week. They
make the notation that they had gone -- they, the CIA -- had gone to OLC to
ask for a legal opinion. It was a secret opinion, but the CIA was, in
fact, cleared by the Justice Department to use these techniques.

CORN: But you know -- you know, Chris, to begin with, having CIA directors
say that we did nothing wrong isn`t very probative in this debate. Of
course they believe they did nothing wrong. The report, which was -- the
investigation was launched on a 14-to-1 bipartisan vote by the Senate
Intelligence Committee. The report was approved for release on a 9-to-6
bipartisan vote.

The report itself comes up with numerous instances when the CIA
misrepresented to the Office of Legal Counsel what it was doing and the
results it was getting. So it calls into question this whole idea that it
was approved. And to begin with, you know, Jonathan (sic) and the vice
president he worked for, seemed to be hiding behind the fact, it can`t be
torture if it was approved by the Justice Department.

Well, it can be. It doesn`t mean that the Justice Department was right.
If you approve of something that according to the Geneva conventions and
the long history we`ve had over hundreds of years, as torture, just because
the Justice Department says you can do it--

MATTHEWS: But you`re protected from prosecution.

(CROSSTALK)

CORN: You might be protected. That`s a -- that`s another issue. You
might not be. That might not be an excuse.

CHRISTIE: David--

CORN: But you can`t -- you -- let me finish, Jonathan (sic). You had
your--

CHRISTIE: Jonathan?

(CROSSTALK)

CHRISTIE: You know who you`re talking to, I hope.

CORN: I know, Ron. It`s not -- it doesn`t -- it doesn`t get rid of the
fact that by most definitions that have been used by many countries and
international bodies for decades, if not centuries, waterboarding remains
torture. You can`t just say because--

MATTHEWS: Let me ask--

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Let me ask Ron -- do you think the Geneva conventions apply?

CHRISTIE: No. No. These are enemy combatants. They`re not wearing a
uniform of any particular country. So no, the Geneva conventions do not
apply.

But I don`t believe that we`re talking about waterboarding here. And David
keeps going back to the report, the Senate report, the report. Well, the
facts are that, again, David, they didn`t interview a single officer of the
CIA.

CORN: You said that already, Ron.

CHRISTIE: They did not interview--

MATTHEWS: I thought -- didn`t--

CHRISTIE: -- the person who ran the program.

MATTHEWS: Not to argue -- look, I`m not an expert on Cheney -- I am an
expert on Cheney, how I don`t like many of the things he does, but let`s go
to the point of what McCain said. I believe that people who have been in
service and have fought in combat -- their argument is that the Geneva
conventions are not for any other fighting force, they`re for our fighting
force, that we want the standard accepted in combat, between combatting
sides, whether they be state or non-state. Isn`t that their argument for
the Geneva conventions, self-interest? I thought that was, Ron.

CHRISTIE: I agree with--

MATTHEWS: To protect our own guys.

CHRISTIE: -- you on this point -- I agree with you on this point, Chris.
But what we`re not -- what we`re not dealing with is the fact that these
enemy combatants are not part of a country. They didn`t sign up to the
Geneva convention. Therefore--

CORN: But we did!

CHRISTIE: -- they`re not bound and obligated to follow it.

MATTHEWS: OK, let`s -- let`s--

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: We`re getting argumentative. Let`s go here with "MEET THE
PRESS." Here`s Dick Cheney saying he had absolutely no regrets about Iraq.
It was like deja vu all over again, people say. Cheney was back to his
Sunday show stomping grounds, where back in 2002 and 2003, he put out a
series of, actually, things that turned out to be falsehoods that helped
gin up the war.

Let`s watch the appearance of Dick Cheney on this particular program, "MEET
THE PRESS," over the years. I think it`s illustrative of his -- well,
truth.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHENEY: He has, indeed stepped, up his capacity to produce and deliver
biological weapons, that he has reconstituted his nuclear program to
develop a nuclear weapon, that there are efforts under way inside Iraq to
significantly expand his capability. There`s a story in "The New York
Times" this morning -- this is -- and I want to attribute to "The Times,"
in fact, he has been seeking to acquire and we have been able to intercept
and prevent him from acquiring through this particular channel the kind of
tubes that are necessary to build a centrifuge.

We know he`s been absolutely devoted to trying to acquire nuclear weapons,
and we believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons. Now, we
spent time looking at that relationship between Iraq, on the one hand, and
the al Qaeda organization on the other, and there has been reporting that
suggests that there have been a number of contacts over the years.

We learned more and more that there was a relationship between Iraq and al
Qaeda that stretched back through most of the decade of the `90s, the
Iraqis providing bomb-making expertise and advice to the al Qaeda
organization.

TIM RUSSERT, MODERATOR: You think the American people are prepared for a
long, costly and bloody battle with significant American casualties?

CHENEY: Well, I don`t think it`s likely to unfold that way, Tim, because I
really do believe we will be greeted as liberators.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: David first, then Ron.

CORN: You know, everything he said was wrong. And much of what he said
there was already proven wrong or in question within the intelligence
community. Dick Cheney in some ways has set a world record for big lies on
"MEET THE PRESS," certainly about the subject of the Iraq war. In saying
that al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein had a relationship -- the 9/11 commission
came out -- no operational relationship. The Institute for Defense
Analyses, which is a think tank of the Pentagon, looked at millions -- or I
think maybe half a million documents, of captured Iraqi documents, nothing,
no connection whatsoever.

He said things again and again, even things that he was warned by
intelligence experts within his own administration not to say, that there
was no real validity to these -- to this reporting -- yet he said it again
and again, just as he said it again this Sunday, there was a connection
between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, just as he said torture works--

(CROSSTALK)

CORN: But wait -- but the bottom line is, at what point do we look at Dick
Cheney and say he is not to be taken seriously?

MATTHEWS: Respond to that, Ron.

CHRISTIE: And my response to that is he was the greatest vice president in
the history of the United States. I was there on September 11, David. I
was there in the hours and the weeks and the months afterwards. And Dick
Cheney, along with thousands of other people led by George W. Bush, did
everything in their power to keep this country safe and make sure we didn`t
get attacked again. And we didn`t.

And God bless the people who are willing to put their lives on the line and
make sure that`s the case. Were there mistakes made? Absolutely, there
were. Were there things with the moral preening (ph) of looking in the
rearview mirror some 11, 12 years later that maybe we shouldn`t have done?
Absolutely. But to somehow equate Dick Cheney and lying and doing
everything that he could to protect this country, I think that`s an insult
and I think it`s a disservice for those who serve this country.

CORN: Do you--

MATTHEWS: Thank you. Let me ask you a question, Ron Christie, as an
American, an American citizen and viewer of public affairs. Do you think
we were right to go to the Iraq war, wage war on that country?

CHRISTIE: Do I think at the time, the actual intelligence--

MATTHEWS: Were we right--

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: -- given the actual evidence we had? Actual evidence, not
arguments, but evidence.

(CROSSTALK)

CHRISTIE: I think of (ph) looking at what George W. Bush looked at from
the intelligence, he felt that he had the necessary information to go to
war with Iraq. And he did not at the time take the country to war based on
faulty intelligence at that time.


CORN: You know--

MATTHEWS: Did you believe he was right?

CHRISTIE: Did I believe he was right at the time? I did. Sure.

MATTHEWS: Do you believe he was right?

CHRISTIE: At the time, I did. Sure.

MATTHEWS: Was that--

(CROSSTALK)

CHRISTIE: -- George W. Bush will admit -- If you ask him, he`ll say to
(sic) himself the mistakes were made and maybe we shouldn`t have gone to
war.

MATTHEWS: I don`t think he`s taken back the war yet. And by the way, all
the casualties. I think it was -- let me just make one point. Greeted as
liberators, fine -- I mean, that was a neocon dream and it may have
happened. Who knows. It didn`t happen, though. It didn`t happen.

And secondly, that there wouldn`t be any casualties -- I think that was
malarkey from day one. That was going to be a war and people were going to
get killed. If not in the initial incidents, they were going to get killed
as we held that country against its Sunni minority. They weren`t going to
take it. They were going to fight us. There was going to be an
insurgency. Anybody would have known that. And that`s irresponsible of
Cheney.

Facts, particular little things -- how about having a nuclear program? He
should have known they had a nuclear program before he said they did, and
we got a tape there saying he -- he said he knew. And he didn`t know. He
did not know they had a nuclear program, and he said he did.

I think we`ve got to be careful in believing this man. Anyway, thank you,
David Corn. Ron Christie, thank you for your strong defense of the former
vice president.

CHRISTIE: Always a pleasure.

MATTHEWS: Coming up: Elizabeth Warren is at war with Wall Street, as we
all know, and the White House. She led the fight against that big spending
bill and accused CitiGroup of holding the federal government hostage. What
a brilliant political exercise that was. Her stock is on the rise. She
may well be the hero of the progressive left of the Democratic Party and a
lot of other people.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Well, as we watch the emergence of Senator Elizabeth Warren as a
possible 2016 candidate, former Florida governor Jeb Bush looks like he`s
in for sure. Today, he spoke at a commencement ceremony at the University
of South Carolina, coincidentally, the third state, after Iowa and New
Hampshire, on the presidential primary calendar, which is (ph) also
releasing 250,000 e-mails from his days as governor and an e-book. And
both moves are a signal to Republican donors he`s ready to run.

And we`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

Last week, Massachusetts senator and progressive icon Elizabeth Warren
rallied Democrats in Congress to oppose a big spending deal to keep the
government open because it contained a provision that the senator says
weakens Wall Street reform.

On Friday night, at a key moment of exposure in negotiations to keep the
government running, Warren gave an impassioned and I thought brilliant
prime-time speech on the Senate floor. And the bank-busting name of
Elizabeth Warren took direct aim at her enemy, another brand name, the big
Wall Street bank Citigroup.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: You know, there`s a lot of talk
lately about how Dodd-Frank isn`t perfect. There`s a lot of talk coming
from Citigroup about how Dodd-Frank isn`t perfect. So let me say this to
anyone who is listening at Citi. I agree with you. Dodd-Frank isn`t
perfect. It should have broken you into pieces.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Wow. You don`t hear people talk like that.

And the effort to defeat the spending package failed ultimately, but her to
stock among liberals, progressives is certainly on the rise. In fact, it`s
skyrocketing right now.

The idea of Warren running for president is catching fire, of course. It`s
being pushed by many activists on the left of the Democratic Party, which
is often called the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party, certainly
because of her crusade against Wall Street.

Ben Winkler -- or Wikler, rather, of MoveOn.org told MSNBC`s Steve Kornacki
over the weekend that 2016 is Warren`s time. Here he is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BEN WIKLER, MOVEON.ORG: So much of politics is about a person meeting a
moment. And this is Elizabeth Warren`s moment. The defining fight in
American politics right now is about soaring inequality in a system where
Wall Street and special interests can write the rules to benefit
themselves.

And that`s the defining fight of Elizabeth Warren`s life. She was made for
this moment in American history. And that`s why wherever she goes in the
country, she brings giant crowds to their feet. We need her in this
presidential race. We think it will make whoever the nominee is stronger,
and we think she`d be an amazing president.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, I think his motives are a little different than make the
candidates stronger, maybe more left-leaning.

Anyway, Howard Fineman is editorial director of The Huffington Post. And
Zephyr Teachout is a Warren supporter who ran against Andrew Cuomo did very
well in the fight for the Democratic nomination last time.

Thank you very much, Zephyr, for joining us.

I want you to start because you`re a reigning, active politician.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: Tell me how this works out.

First of all, I think you could be a really great senator for life and do
great things, like Phil Hart did years ago, with the great work he did on
consumer -- consumer everything. You don`t have to be president to get
great things done.

But explain to me what looks to me your root. What does she do if she
doesn`t stay in the Senate? What`s your theory or argument?

ZEPHYR TEACHOUT, FORDHAM UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW: Well, I actually just
want to go back to that Phil Hart thing and to what you were saying about
this speech.

This was a brilliant speech. And Hart, as you may know, was a trustbuster.
And here we have Elizabeth Warren reviving trustbusting, naming names,
naming Citigroup, talking about the individuals within Citigroup who have
too much political power, and that just struck an incredible nerve.

You have seen Twitter on fire. People are -- they`re waiting for people to
tell this kind of truth. And--

MATTHEWS: Tell me why it`s -- tell me why it`s not conspiratorial-sounding
to say that Jack Lew, who is clean as a whistle, the cleanest guy I have
ever met in politics, and not that I have to defend him, and these other
people who worked in the past for Citigroup, the fact that they were able
to get jobs in financial areas like the Treasury Department is a bad thing.
Just -- just -- it sounded like a moral argument she was making.

Is it a moral argument they shouldn`t be there?

TEACHOUT: It`s a moral argument about Citigroup having too much power. So
it`s not any one individual. It`s an overall new machine. It`s a kind of
new machine politics, except the machine politics is coming from Wall
Street.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

TEACHOUT: And we saw in that bill 70 of the words that Citigroup wanted in
there were in that -- or 70 lines.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: That`s the better -- I`m with you 100 percent on that. When it
comes to writing bills, it`s a -- Howard, you know all -- I want Howard to
get in here.

This idea that people don`t realize that lobbyists working for
corporations, big brand names, sit with members of committees, like the
Banking Committee and actually write the fricking bill, they write it.

HOWARD FINEMAN, NBC CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And, of course,
in the old days--

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: And then the senators sign it.

FINEMAN: In the old days, this used to happen all the time very openly.

But we like to think that, in recent decades, we have become, as they say,
more transparent and cleaner.

MATTHEWS: Yes. Yes.

FINEMAN: Well, whatever thoughts we may have had about that are completely
undercut by the way this happens.

So there`s the big substantive argument that Zephyr is talking about, but
there`s also the way it happened, the unseemliness of it happening at the
very last minute, with the Citigroup guys actually writing the bill and
turning it over to the members and saying, here, stick this in there.

MATTHEWS: Or the government shouldn`t move.

FINEMAN: Yes.

(CROSSTALK)

FINEMAN: Yes, or we`re going to shut down the whole government.

(CROSSTALK)

FINEMAN: Yes.

MATTHEWS: Anyway, I think that was -- I want to get back you, Zephyr, on
the point of timing. Here`s Senator Warren going after the Obama
administration for tapping Wall Street bankers to work in the government.
Here she is laying out the list of evil here, as I heard it. It sounded
pretty -- pretty scary. Here she is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WARREN: Enough is enough. Enough is enough with Wall Street insiders
getting key position after key position, and the kind of cronyism that we
have seen in the executive branch.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Let`s talk timing here, Zephyr.

TEACHOUT: Yes.

MATTHEWS: You`re thinking about politics. My friend Ed Markey who -- also
from Massachusetts, the senator, once said, there`s a galloping horse of
history that rides by some time in your life, if you`re a politician.

TEACHOUT: Yes.

MATTHEWS: You either get on that horse or you don`t.

TEACHOUT: And this is an absolute flash moment.

You have populism. You have this sort of sleeping giant of populism. I
would even connect it to what`s happening in the streets of New York and
around the country, where you have people who are connecting with what`s
happened with Eric Garner and Ferguson to Wall Street.

MATTHEWS: What`s the connection?

TEACHOUT: The most popular tweet was about how if you sell loose
cigarettes, you get killed, but if you sell fraudulent mortgages, you end
up with a bonus. And that`s not just a left-wing issue.

MATTHEWS: Well, two wrongs don`t make a right. First of all, I see
absolutely no connection between selling loosies on the street corner.
You`re a powerful mind to put those two together. Do it again. What`s the
connection? Are they both evil and one is not evil or what? What is it?

TEACHOUT: Well, what you see -- and I actually think it`s a really
interesting and powerful analysis on the streets now in response to Garner
-- is people talking about the ways in which the big banks robbed wealth.
They robbed wealth of all of America.


(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Well, that`s bad.

TEACHOUT: Right.

MATTHEWS: Why do you have to compare it to loosies?

TEACHOUT: Well, I think what we have is, we have Elizabeth Warren, who is
standing up for the little guy and this huge class divide. And the banks
are the leaders in this class divide.

In 2008, they wrecked the -- they wrecked the economy and now actually
they`re more concentrated than ever. This is not a left-right issue. This
is actually a deeply American populist and, again, I would say antitrust
issue. I love it that she brought up Teddy Roosevelt. We have a Teddy
Roosevelt moment again.

MATTHEWS: Howard?

FINEMAN: Well, I think that the streets are important, but I think that
this is also a middle-class issue, not that those two are mutually
exclusive.

But, basically, for the last 30 years, middle-class families have seen a
complete stagnation of their progress in terms of wages and real income.
And if somebody like Elizabeth Warren can tie that phenomenon and the super
wealthy, growth of the super wealthy, to the notion that there`s too much
control by money, not just Wall Street, but big money in the whole
political system, that`s very powerful.

In certain respects, I think this is -- this issue is the Iraq, and within
the Democratic Party -- we were talking about the Iraq war earlier. And
it`s funny. Even though -- Zephyr talked about the 80 evil words that they
inserted into the bill.

It reminds me of the original authorization for use of military force and
the sort of original sin that led to the Iraq war. Barack Obama got inside
position on Hillary Clinton in 2007 -- in 2002 originally and then 2007 --
by being opposed to the Iraq war.

Elizabeth Warren, or anybody else who follows her along this path, will be
trying to get inside position against Hillary Clinton again, this time not
on the Iraq war, but this time on the issue of the influence of money in
politics resulting in an unfair society.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

FINEMAN: If you just talk about -- if you just talk about the unfair
political system, you get lost in the weeds.

MATTHEWS: Here`s a name for our pain.

FINEMAN: If you talk about the streets, frankly, you`re going to get lost
in the weeds.

But if you tie the control of money and power to the failure of the middle
class to advance, that is a very, very powerful argument.

MATTHEWS: And that`s what the Democrats did not have in 2014, a reason to
be.

FINEMAN: Right. Right.

MATTHEWS: And I think you`re great. I think you were great.

Zephyr, it`s great to have you on the program. Thank you so much. And I
think the use of brand names is so American. Don`t speak in terms of
generics. Say Citigroup.

TEACHOUT: Exactly.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: And say Elizabeth Warren. These are brands now. And one`s
going up and one`s having a hard week.

Still ahead, the fear of lone wolf attacks reality in Australia. Three
people are dead right now after an Iranian refugee holds hostages in a
Sydney cafe.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: The Senate report shows that the CIA paid two
psychologists $80 million to design the torture program.

Eighty million dollars? Were they water-boarding with Pellegrino?

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Also, you don`t have to use torture to get people to
admit stuff. Just get them really drunk and log them into Facebook.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: It worked on my ex. That`s how I found out my son`s
real father is a Denver Nugget.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Time now for the "Sideshow." That was "SNL"`s "Weekend Update"
on the role that two psychologists played in designing the enhanced
interrogation techniques that are under scrutiny following the Senate`s
torture report of last week.

Here`s how "Saturday Night Live" portrayed their reaction to the recent
attention.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Now, you two were the architects for this entire CIA
program.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Correct. We were hired as consultants and helped
create it.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: All the torture techniques we have been reading about,
that was you guys?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Well, it was a team effort, obviously. There`s no I
in torture. So--

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: There are eyes sometimes.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: When people say torture, they think of some guy
chained to a wall naked in a cold, dark room.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Some, and medieval torturer with a black hood on.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: And don`t get me wrong, we use hoods.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: You got to use it, though. You got to.

But that`s not our main thing. After all, there`s more than one way to
skin a cat.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: In fact, we know the exact number.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: It`s 19.

Also--

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Still ahead, Republicans have had it with Ted Cruz. That`s
coming up with the roundtable later.

And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics, where you will hear the
debate.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

RICHARD LUI, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Hi. I`m Richard Lui with your top
stories this hour.

Police in Pennsylvania are on the hunt for a man wanted in the shooting
deaths of six people. The suspect is considered armed and dangerous.

Bill Cosby`s wife, Camille, defending her husband amid more than 20
allegations of sexual assault. In her first statement on the matter, she
calls him kind, generous, funny, and a wonderful husband. Cosby`s attorney
has denied the accusations.

And the Senate has confirmed Dr. Vivek Murthy to be the next surgeon
general. His nomination has been waiting approval for more than one yea --
now back to HARDBALL.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(GUNFIRE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

A dramatic and terrifying 16-hour hostage standoff at a cafe in Sydney,
Australia, ended today in a hail of gunfire and explosions, as you see.
Moments before that police siege, we saw several hostages fleeing the
scene, running for their lives. It all unfolded on live television. When
the gunfire stopped, the scene changed from terror to triage. Two of the
17 hostages have died. Four are injured. An officer was wounded.

Police identified the gunman, who was killed in the siege, as 50-year-old
Man Haron Monis, an Iranian-born radical Muslim who called himself a sheik
during the standoff. He had several hostages display a black flag bearing
the Islamic creed. It`s a popular symbol in the religion and is used by
some extremist groups like al-Nusra.

Military officials tell NBC News that there`s no evidence that Monis had
any connection to the terror group ISIS. Monis was well known to local
authorities. He was convicted of sending hate mail to the families of dead
Australian soldiers. He was out on bail after being charged as an
accessory to his ex-wife`s murder. He was also facing charges involving
sex crimes.

What I want to know tonight, what does this do to the American political
arena? And do people want tough guy talk from our leaders or not?

The roundtable tonight, "Washington Post" columnist Jonathan Capehart,
Huffington Post senior political writer Amanda Terkel, and Washington
editor at large for "The Atlantic" Steve Clemons.

Steve, this -- I always wonder how we react to something as -- even
something far off, another English-speaking country, of course. And we do
have a fondness for Australia, most of us. But what do we make of this?
What do we do to change? Does this help the right or the left in this
country?

STEVEN CLEMONS, EDITOR AT LARGE, "THE ATLANTIC": Well, I think it helps
the right, because it makes everyone concerned about what might happen on
their street corner in their local mall. This is the kind of act that al
Qaeda wouldn`t do. Al Qaeda bombed planes and took on trophy targets.
They didn`t go after small targets like this.

And when ISIS sent out signals all around the world, saying, people, pick
up a knife and go kill someone. And you see someone who may be mentally
unhinged do that, that sends the kind of fear everywhere that metastasizes
in every corner in every Western democracy that`s been part of what`s been
going --

MATTHEWS: But anyone with --you don`t need ISIS and the territory they`ve
grabbed, Iraq, Syrian territory. All you need is somebody with a Web site
to issue these semi-fatwas. Remember, they`re secular fatwas. What do you
make of it?

AMANDA TERKEL, THE HUFFINGTON POST: I mean, it creates a sense of anxiety
around the world, which like Steve was saying tends to -- often tends to
reward hawkish responses. We saw this in the 2014 elections with Ebola.
You had people rush in saying, we need to have a travel ban. We need to
have all that. The public was really concerned as well. And then, once
the elections were over, concern about Ebola disappeared.

MATTHEWS: What do think (INAUDIBLE) mad at, Jonathan? I mean, it`s not
like you have -- remember how W. built-up Saddam Hussein, his father did,
as the evil man, the new Hitler. You know, who is it now, Baghdadi over
there?

JONATHAN CAPEHART, THE WASHINGTON POST: I think what`s different between
what`s happening in Australia and what we`re talking about now is that what
happened in Australia has not happened here yet. I also think --

MATTHEWS: Well, Ft. Hood.

CLEMONS: It has happened.

CAPEHART: Well, yes. Well --

CLEMONS: It happened in Ottawa, Canada, which isn`t here, but it`s close
enough.

MATTHEWS: Ft. Hood.

CAPEHART: No, no, no. But what I mean is, if something like this happens
at Ft. Hood, a military installation, a government building, people can
kind of rationalize and think, that is a terror target. We know the
terrorists would probably go there.

But what happened in Australia, happened in a candy shop, an ordinary place
where regular people, ordinary people gather. And for something like that
to happen, the hostages who were killed, the ones who were able to escape,
they were terrorized. But that entire nation was terrorized. And if
something like that were to happen in the United States, we`d all be
terrorized.

MATTHEWS: But essentially, how different is when some other guy goes nuts
and starts shooting everybody, whether it`s a kid in school or somebody
upset with his job and comes back in, like we did up here, the navy yard,
the marine barracks? I mean, every time -- this is a difficult time to
live. There`s a lot of stress in our society.

Marriages go bad. Jobs go bad. People`s lives turn upside down and for
the worse. They get a gun and they start doing stuff. How is this
connected really with the Islamist problem we`re facing in the world?

CLEMONS: We had six people killed today in Pennsylvania in another tragic
horrific act. If that person seems to be on the loose had waved an Islamic
flag, a Shahada flag, as had happened there, that too would have achieved
the attention of the world. But sort of things that are not connected to
this, I think what people feel is, something bad is going on abroad. We
see people being beheaded. That is animated fear here --

MATTHEWS: Personal fear?

CLEMONS: In a way, because when you look at -- I pay a lot of attention to
poll numbers. When the president was about to go in and attack Syria over
its chemical weapons programs over that Labor Day weekend, no support in
this country to do that. Now when you look at the support after the
beheading of a couple of journalists and others by ISIS, you have enormous
support to go in and do something. There`s fear about that kind of brutal
brutality and horror that they`re seeing on TV and over their Twitter
accounts coming in.

MATTHEWS: Yes. I just wonder, there`s a lot of violence in this country,
the streets, and I just wonder why this would -- this isolated thing would
seem a threat to us over here.

Anyway, some hawks jumped on the Sydney hostage crisis, including
Republican Congressman Peter King of New York. Here`s King earlier today
on FOX.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: What we saw today is the changing face of
terrorism and the new threat from terrorism. It`s a real challenge to
police and law enforcement because there has to be intense scrutiny,
intense surveillance and looking for any possible indicators of someone who
could act like this. We have to be very careful. When you have groups
like the Civil Liberties Union and "The New York Times" attacking the
police, who they feel is too much activity, the fact is, the threat is
real.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Is that hyping it?

CAPEHART: OK, I am loathe to agree with Congressman King on anything. But
I will agree with him on half of what he said. We would make a mistake if
we did not -- if we did not fear a lone wolf. I mean, that`s what the
Australian authorities were saying about this guy in Australia, that he was
a lone wolf. And we`ve known since 2009 when the report came out from the
Department of Homeland Security, that that was the number one concern of
Homeland Security, and everyone else in the Bush administration --

MATTHEWS: Self-generated terrorism?

CAPEHART: Right. Home-grown terrorism, not organized by anyone.

MATTHEWS: And not sleeper cells?

CAPEHART: Not sleeper cells --

MATTHEWS: Can I be the voice of reserve and play Cronkite here for a
second? Which is one person acting alone, a lone wolf, is only capable of
doing so much. I mean, they can maybe do a dirty bomb. They can`t create
a nuclear bomb. They can`t explode things big. Isn`t hat true? Isn`t
there a sort of a limit on their ability?

TERKEL: In response of what Pete King would like in response to this is
completely out of proportion. He is supported profiling of Muslim
organizations, immediately came out and distance themselves from this and
many Australians said, we don`t blame the Muslim community.

So, I think he`s using this to raise awareness to his issues, but it`s
completely out --

(CROSSTALK)

CLEMONS: My friend and former colleague Peter Bergen would say al Qaeda is
not going to bomb the Pentagon City Mall. It`s not big enough for them.
It`s not a trophy. It`s not what they do.

MATTHEWS: I`m with you.

CLEMONS: Now we`re in a time where terrorists where they will go, where
terrorists will try and animate that lone wolf and trigger that lone wolf
to bomb the local mall or the local coffee shop.

MATTHEWS: I think this guy has a lot more motive than religion driving him
and he found a way, anyway, to express himself in his end as he died.

Anyway, the roundtable is staying with us.

And up next, something obviously more happy. Politics in this country,
Republicans are growing increasingly tired of Ted Cruz. Let`s talk about
Ted Cruz and his worst weekend ever.

This is the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Take a look at this. That`s the Jersey Governor Chris Christie
greeting President Obama this afternoon after the president landed at
McGuire Air Force Base to mark the end of combat operations in Afghanistan
and thanked the troops there for their service to our country.

The governor and the president famously bonded, of course, after Hurricane
Sandy just days before the 2012 election. Back then, Christie praised
Obama and was criticized by some Republicans for doing just that so close
to the election.

And we`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: We are back.

Well, Ted Cruz`s failed legislative stunt over the weekend left his
Republican Senate colleagues disparaging him on the record by name. And,
for attributions, something that members of the clubby upper chamber
generally avoid.

But Cruz has pushed his fellow Republicans to the limit. Republican
Senator Bob Corker put out a statement calling Cruz`s actions
irresponsible.

Republican Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah told reporters, "You should have an
end goal in sight if you`re going to do these types of things and I don`t
see an end goal other than irritating a lot of people", close quote.

And conservative Jennifer Rubin who writes "The Washington Post`s" "Right
Turn" column was unsparing, writing, quote, "Cruz can annoy and grandstand,
but he no longer will affect outcomes of legislative rights -- fights and
his reputation of a show boating dilettante is cemented."

And just to infuriate his fellow Republicans even the more, Cruz`s bungled
maneuver gave outgoing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid a window to tee up
24 of President Obama`s nominees for confirmation.

I`m back now with the round table, Jonathan, Amanda and Steve.

Amanda, the beauty of this guy screwing up this weekend by calling for some
attempt to shut down the government or whatever he`s up to, over this big
bill, this big spending bill, he delayed adjournment for the weekend so the
Democrats could spend the whole weekend, and, again, today, getting through
nominations, the one thing that they were going to try to halt. He`s worse
than useless. He`s a problem.

TERKEL: It`s like he`s a secret Democrat or something. This was a huge
Christmas gift to President Obama. Harry Reid thought he could get maybe
12 nominees through. Now, because of Ted Cruz, he`s going to get double
that.

MATTHEWS: What a balloon head.

TERKEL: And Mitch McConnell I think recognizes why he`s so happy he had
this deal to adjourn for the weekend. Members could go home and then they
would come back Monday and pass the spending bill. After he left, Ted Cruz
blew all of that up.

MATTHEWS: Steve, you`re a pretty moderate guy politically. I don`t even
know your politics.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: I want to ask you, I know this guy. I want to know this.

CLEMONS: Yes.

MATTHEWS: How come Elizabeth Warren, in failing to topple this big bill,
comes out as a shooting star, at least right now, a comet on the political
galaxy? This other guy looks like a big zero.

CLEMONS: Well, because Elizabeth Warren is still out there doing deals,
basically, is amicable and even among her rivals, is respected in life.
They -- she treats them with respect. Ted Cruz goes around denigrating
everybody. This is one of these odd moments where I can`t believe I`m on
the same page as Jennifer Rubin.

But, look, we may be trying to nail the coffin in Ted Cruz`s political
future, but he is saying that may at the end of the day say, he is the
purist, he is the ideological crusader --

MATTHEWS: For president?

CLEMONS: -- who never compromise.

Look, Ron Paul did a lot better in getting 25 percent at one point, and
people didn`t think that was possible. I don`t think he can win. That`s
my view. But the point is, he`s not playing to the audience that wants to
see cooperation.

MATTHEWS: Is this going the presidency or is it something -- all right,
loaded term, demagoguery, because McCarthy, Joe McCarthy never ran for
president. He was probably more infamous, more powerful in our thinking in
this country for four years than anybody around. He had a lot of power.

CAPEHART: Well, look, as long as people talk about Ted Cruz as someone who
might -- could run for president, might run for president, that`s good for
him and good for his brand. And I agree with Steve -- Ted Cruz is not
playing to the 99 other people in that upper chamber. He couldn`t care
less about them, which is why we saw what we saw this past weekend, which
is why we saw what happened with immigration.

MATTHEWS: But where do you end up if you`re the bad guy in the Senate?
He`s Van Ackerman advising consent. He ends up being the guy if not
censured, absolutely shunned.

CLEMONS: He`s playing long ball, though. He doesn`t care about
legislative outcomes now. He cares about the end of the day that he stands
more pure, more strong, more tall, fighting the corruption of Washington
than any other single legislator in this town.

TERKEL: And that`s the difference with Elizabeth Warren, I think, is that
she was not willing to shut down the government. She raised attention to
this Wall Street deal that people didn`t know about. But at the end of the
day, she was willing to step back and let it go forward.

MATTHEWS: Did she step back?

TERKEL: She did not pull the procedural movement. She voted against it.
But she did not want to shut the government down.

MATTHEWS: Wow. Well, that`s a good bete noire, a good doppelganger for
her to have --

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you.

I dubbed you, sir, doppelganger.

Anyway, Jonathan Capehart, thank you, my friend. Amanda Terkel, welcome to
the show. And, Steve Clemons, who`s on every time I turn on the TV you`re
on.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: When we return, let me finish with this wide open debate about
torture.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this wide open debate about torture.

Not wishing to be too grand on such a lowly subject, we as a country ought
to be glad we`re debating this thing, as I said, right out in the open.

The good thing about this back-and-forth between Senator John McCain and
former Vice President Dick Cheney is that both men know firsthand what
they`re talking about. McCain was tortured, Cheney ordered men tortured.

So, let`s compare those experiences. One man was tortured as an American
prisoner of war in North Vietnam. He had a little choice on the matter.
He was shut down over Hanoi, thrown into a prison and treated to the limits
of his captors` brutality.

Dick Cheney, on the other side of the torture experience, offers himself an
equally, if not greater degree, of self approval. I`d do it again in a
minute, he says, of his decision to inflict pain and fear and the rest of
it on suspected terrorists. If he made a few mistakes, he said, went a
little too far, all of that was covered by the need for the program itself.
"Says who?" Dick Cheney dares to ask, says me.

I don`t think this duel with John McCain will serve the former V.P, well.
Long have we honored the soldier, including the men who suffered captivity.
But, please, tell me, when in history has the public sought credit for,
even when he quibbles over the language, being a torturer.

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

"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

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