updated 3/10/2015 2:06:59 PM ET 2015-03-10T18:06:59

Show: HARDBALL
Date: March 9, 2015
Guest: Michael Crowley, Kevin Spacey, Terri Sewell, Ron Fournier, Phil
Mattingly, Jackie Kucinich

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: GOP to mullahs -- screw the deal!

Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in a swiftly deteriorating Washington.

Remember the Republican congressman who yelled out "You lie" during a State
of the Union? How about inviting Bibi Netanyahu into the U.S. Capitol so
that he could undercut the president?

Now for the trifecta -- 47 Republican senators have written the hardliners
in Tehran asking them to scuttle the Iranian nuclear talks, explode them
before a deal can even be reached, telling them whatever deal President
Obama signs will be printed in disappearing ink and can`t be relied upon
once he leaves office.

Is this where we stand in this country, where the opposition Republicans
will try anything to scuttle an American president`s noble effort to avoid
a war?

Michael Crowley is senior foreign correspondent with Politico and Eugene
Robinson is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist from "The Washington Post"
and an MSNBC analyst.

The senators wrote, quote, "President Obama will leave office in January
2017, while most of us will remain in office, well beyond then, perhaps
decades. We will consider any agreement regarding your nuclear weapons
program that is not approved by the Congress as nothing more than an
executive agreement. The next president could revoke -- revoke such an
executive agreement with the stroke of a pen, and future Congresses could
modify the terms of the agreement at any time."

Well, according to "Bloomberg," the letter was organized by Senator Tom
Cotton of Arkansas. He defended the letter today on CNN.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TOM COTTON (R), ARKANSAS: We`re simply saying that Iran cannot have a
nuclear weapon, and Iran`s leaders, whom, according to many Iran experts,
don`t understand America`s constitutional system, need to know that a deal
not approved by Congress won`t be accepted by Congress now or in the
future.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, Democrats obviously said they were outraged by this.
Let`s watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: I can`t tell you how appalled I am at
this letter. I think it`s deeply irresponsible. To have these GOP
senators write to a foreign government in a way that`s at odds with the
president`s policy is beyond disturbing.

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MINORITY LEADER: This letter is a hard slap in the
face of not only the United States but our allies. This is not a time to
undermine our commander-in-chief purely out of spite.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, the president today also responded to the letter.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think it`s somewhat ironic
to see some members of Congress wanting to make common cause with the
hardliners in Iran. It`s an unusual coalition. I think what we`re going
to focus on right now is actually seeing whether we can get a deal or not.
And once we do, then we`ll -- if we do, then we`ll be able to make the case
to the American people, and I`m confident we`ll be able to implement it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, Michael, I have to start with you on this. He makes a
point. I don`t like the word "ironic" because I think most people don`t
get irony. But he`s saying it`s ironic. But why are they -- why does this
group of 47 Republican senators open up a dialogue with -- they must be
talking to the hardliners over there -- who don`t want a deal for their own
reasons? Probably maybe they want a nuclear weapons program.

What a strange alliance to play with those guys. After playing with the
right-wing leader of Israel, they go to the right-wing hard line of Iran
with no other purpose than to scuttle any deal before it happens.

MICHAEL CROWLEY, POLITICO: Right. So I think that is the practical effect
of the letter. If you read the text of the letter, of course, it`s not
addressed to the right wing, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, is the
shorthand for it. It`s addressed to the leadership of Iran saying, You may
not understand how our constitutional democracy works.

But in fact, the Iranian leadership does understand that. The Iranian
foreign minister, Zarif, got a graduate degree in the United States. He is
a fluent English speaker, quite savvy about American politics. He`ll name
drop-people at think tanks who specialize in nuclear issues.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: -- a doctorate--

CROWLEY: I believe it was the University of Colorado or University of
Denver.

MATTHEWS: I think it`s Denver.

CROWLEY: I`m going to get in trouble if I get it wrong. The last thing
very quickly I`ll add is that what the effect of it is, that the hardliners
in Iran will say, Look, you can`t trust the Americans, the Congress is
going to blow up any deal that you strike, and they will use it as a PR
ploy within Iran to try to undermine a deal.

MATTHEWS: I know this isn`t enforced anymore, but there is a Logan Act.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: You`re not supposed to negotiate, except the president of the
United States. But here they are actually telling those people, Don`t
trust our president, we`re going to -- it`s not going to work. But I`m
trying to think through the policy of this. Do they want the Iranian
right-wingers, the hardliners, who do want a nuclear weapon presumably to
get their way? Because that opens us -- I mean, they don`t like hearing
this -- to a war because if those guys win and we don`t have a deal, what`s
to keep us from a war?

EUGENE ROBINSON, "THE WASHINGTON POST," MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well,
apparently, that is what they want. And if--

MATTHEWS: So our hawks are talking to their hawks.

ROBINSON: Exactly. And you don`t have to step back very far to look at
the big picture, right? Our government is now looking like the Iranian
government. We talk about how impenetrable it is because you`ve got your
moderates, you`ve got your hardliners and your fundamentalists and the
ayatollahs. We`ve got the same thing here! We`ve got -- we`ve got --
we`ve got your moderates and your hardliners and the fundamentalists and --
I mean, it`s insane!

MATTHEWS: But they can cut a deal.

ROBINSON: Right.

MATTHEWS: Now our people -- our opposition, our loyal opposition, is
saying our president can`t keep a deal -- can`t make one, can`t keep one.

ROBINSON: Yes, which is -- which is frankly outrageous.

MATTHEWS: So what happens--

ROBINSON: And also not true.

MATTHEWS: Suppose this thing goes down in the next couple weeks, and we
don`t make the deadline by the end of this month, which is coming at us,
the end of March. If they can`t reach a deal, who gets blamed?

CROWLEY: Well--

MATTHEWS: Perhaps this is part of it--

CROWLEY: Well--

MATTHEWS: -- in a weird way. I don`t care who gets blamed, but it will be
a blame game.

CROWLEY: Sure. And there`s a blame game within the United States and then
there`s a blame game on the international stage. And the thing that really
concerns the Obama administration is that if this thing falls apart, you
don`t want to be seen as the party that caused it to fall apart because
you`re going to get into this realm of world opinion and can we muster
support to keep the sanctions on Iran or perhaps muster military action on
Iran? And if it looks like we were the reason the deal fell apart, there`s
going to be sympathy toward Tehran, and there`s going to be a sense that
the Iranians wanted to make a deal, but the Americans were--

MATTHEWS: Oh, in Europe.

CROWLEY: -- too reactionary to do it--

(CROSSTALK)

CROWLEY: -- in Europe, in the United Nations, Russia, China. And that`s
very important. And there`ll be a debate within the United States if it
leads us down the path to military action. And the White House is quite
willingly starting to use the war card. Who is leading us to war? Whose
fault is that?

ROBINSON: No, I think that`s absolutely right. I think -- you`ll never
get China and Russia, right, to happily go along with tougher sanctions and
reimpose the sanctions regime if the talks fail. I don`t think -- I think
that`s going to be a heavy lift to begin with.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

ROBINSON: I think you lose the others. I think you lose Germany, Britain
and maybe also France if you go down this road and make it so that,
essentially, the U.S. Congress has torpedoed this deal.

MATTHEWS: Yes. Torpedo is a good word.

ROBINSON: And -- and -- and--

MATTHEWS: And my question--

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Everybody accuses people like me and the president, actually --
I shouldn`t put myself in the same company, but I agree with him on this --
that if this goes down, if there`s no deal to stop them or delay their
program, they race -- they just start racing.

And what happens the day after March -- end of March this year, April 1st,
and they start building a nuclear weapons program because there`s nothing
to stop them?

CROWLEY: Right.

MATTHEWS: And then the call will come from the neocons and the people on
the right in America, who will just say, yes, we got to go bomb them now.
What else can they say?

CROWLEY: Well, and you can see the Obama administration setting up the
debate this way. And so what they--

MATTHEWS: Well, isn`t that the logical alternative?

CROWLEY: Well, probably, because you aren`t going to be able to sustain
the sanctions. If Iran is smart, what they will do is they will creep
their way up to bomb capability without ever crossing the line. So they
will say to the world, We`re just expanding our nuclear program. We just -
- we have every right to do this, and why would you bomb us just because
we`re--

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: They would do that for what reason? They would not go ahead
with weaponizing for what reason?

CROWLEY: Because weaponizing is the red line that almost -- you know, that
the world community would certainly take action. The United States--

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Do we know for a fact if Israel can do it without our help? Do
we have to give them overflight help over Saudi Arabia? Do we have to give
them bigger bunker-busting bombs? Do we have to help them, or could they
do it on their own?

ROBINSON: I -- I--

MATTHEWS: They`ve done it before.

ROBINSON: I think we have some stuff that they don`t have. I think Israel
could do a number on the Iranian nuclear program without U.S. help.
However, that number would delay the program by at most a few years and --
you know, two to five, whatever.

MATTHEWS: What could we do?

ROBINSON: Well--

MATTHEWS: What`s our firepower?

ROBINSON: But remember, Iran is a great, big country. And if you listen
to what everybody`s been saying the last few days, we are not sure that we
know about all of the Iranian nuclear facilities.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

ROBINSON: There`s a big question as to whether they`re undeclared and
uninspected and--

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: You`re making the case that the only way we deal with them is
try to get a delay in force and hope for time to change conditions.

ROBINSON: Well, if you put -- the Obama administration argument is that if
you can put them in a straitjacket for a decade and keep them, at the end
of 10 years, further away from making a nuclear bomb than they are now,
then that`s a good deal.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

ROBINSON: That`s a good deal. Then you try to make another deal. But
that`s a good deal. And it`s a better deal than war.

CROWLEY: I will say that, you know, the line -- you notice that Bibi
Netanyahu backed away from that line of zero enrichment--

ROBINSON: Exactly.

CROWLEY: -- that they have to completely dismantle their program.
Everyone agrees that`s unrealistic. I do think--

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: -- could live with it. He still wants to get rid of the whole
thing.

ROBINSON: He still wants to, but he knows--

(CROSSTALK)

ROBINSON: -- point that merits a little more debate is oil prices have
crashed. That`s just happened since late last year. It`s really hitting
the Iranians hard. And I do think it`s worth considering if we were to try
to draw this out for a little bit longer, you know, would they feel more
pain? But what the response from the administration is, you can`t keep the
coalition together anymore.

ROBINSON: No, you can`t.

CROWLEY: There are P5-plus-1 negotiating partners and countries like India
and Korea. They just don`t have the--

MATTHEWS: Anyway--

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: I think the word "torpedo" is my word for the night. I thought
it was well chosen because that is what the 47 Republicans want to do.
They don`t want to have this debate. They want to have this thing croaked.

Anyway, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said this weekend that the
president was trying to prevent the Congress from playing a role in foreign
policy. Here he is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: The fact that the president
doesn`t seem to want Congress to participate in this underscores what a bad
deal it is because I think he`s afraid that we might not approve it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: What do you make of that?

ROBINSON: Well, that`s true. They might not approve it. They seem
determined not to approve it. But this is the president`s job. This is
the kind of agreement that is the president`s job.

MATTHEWS: OK. He`s not just asking for that. What he apparently wants --
Mitch -- they want to have some sort of legislation that`s passed that
says, OK, in a couple weeks, we`re going to rule on this thing--

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: -- just vote it down out of principle.

ROBINSON: Well, exactly.

MATTHEWS: Without any evidence it was working or not.

CROWLEY: Right, but if they vote no -- they can`t kill the deal by voting
no. It`s not a treaty. The president doesn`t need congressional approval.

MATTHEWS: They could -- they could -- yes, he needs--

(CROSSTALK)

CROWLEY: No, it`s essentially them expressing their opinion. And the
president has a lot of power to suspend sanctions on Iran.

ROBINSON: But not totally revoke them.

CROWLEY: But not permanently revoke them, repeal them. But he can suspend
them for a couple of years. And what you hear from the administration is,
once that happens and a deal gets under way, it will be like "Obama care."
This is an argument I heard today from a former administration official.
It will take on a life of its own, and undoing it after a couple years will
be too hard (INAUDIBLE)

MATTHEWS: There`s no principle involved with the opposition position on
this thing. This 47 senators today -- you know, I don`t know whether it
was sedition under the law, whatever it was, but it was an attempt to bring
down this president on foreign policy.

Thank you, Gene Robinson. Thank you, Michael Crowley.

CROWLEY: Thanks, Chris.

MATTHEWS: Coming up: Kevin Spacey plays HARDBALL right here. The Academy
Award-winning actor stars in Netflix`s "House of Cards" as the diabolical
and ruthless politician Frank Underwood. He`ll be here to talk to me about
the show`s new season and he defends it, of course.

Plus, President Obama delivers what some are calling a masterpiece of a
speech in Selma this weekend to mark the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday
when over 600 nonviolent protesters were attacked by state troops. Voting
rights was the issue then. Still is, of course.

And then the Clintons unleash the attack dogs. James Carville says "The
New York Times" isn`t reporting the news, it`s working off right-wing
talking points. He said that about five times today. Will blaming a vast
right conspiracy -- right-wing conspiracy, the early Monica maneuver, as we
remember it -- will it work this time?

And the other front page news today is that ISIS appears to be fraying from
within. it comes at a time when the majority of Americans are calling for
a U.S. ground war against ISIS. So what gives here? We going in or not?

And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: President Obama told CBS this weekend that the only way the two
sides will reach a deal is if the Iranians are willing to provide
sufficient verification to the world that they won`t produce a bomb.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`ve said that if there`s no deal, you`re willing to
walk away. That`s it.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Absolutely. If there`s no
deal, then we walk away. If we cannot verify that they are not going to
obtain a nuclear weapon, that there`s a breakout period so that even if
they cheated, we would be able to have enough time to take action -- if we
don`t have that kind of a deal, then we`re not going to take it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: And we`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. The third season of the Emmy-winning
show "House of Cards" debuted on Netflix just 10 days ago, but many are
already drawing comparisons to our real-life political process here in
Washington, D.C. Well, throughout the series, we`ve come to know Frank
Underwood for his ruthless efficiency in the pursuit of power. This
season, we find him at his pinnacle in the White House as president, and
he`s fighting to stay there.

Here`s a clip.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Practically speaking, a thousand special interests,
organized labor, opposition in both parties -- now, we can do a version of
what you`re proposing--

KEVIN SPACEY, ACTOR: I don`t want a version. I want a vision.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As head of this team -- and I think I speak for
everyone -- we have done--

SPACEY: Speaking as the president who chose this team and for whom it
works, I want $500 billion to put 10 million people to work. I don`t care
how much it hurts! I don`t care how controversial it is! Your job is to
find a way!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: I`m joined right now by the star of "House of Cards," Kevin
Spacey, himself.

Kevin, through your knowledge of American politics, is that the guy -- I`m
asking an open question here -- that the American people would like to
believe is going on in the back room of the West Wing right now, a guy who
says, Get the damn thing done, stop giving me bureaucratic crap? Is that
who we want?

SPACEY: Well, you know, I think if we go back and look through American
political history, we certainly can reexamine, perhaps, some politicians
who at the time might have been called ruthless and very, very difficult to
negotiate with, who knew what they wanted and went for it. Lyndon Johnson
comes to mind.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

SPACEY: And certainly, he had that reputation in Congress. But I think
that once he became president, one of the things that was impressive about
his presidency, despite all of the, I think, proper criticism he took over
the Vietnam War, was that he saw the presidency as a place where you could
actually get something done, where it was the time to step forward, even if
you were doing something that was against maybe a stance you had had for
many, many years as a congressman.

And that certainly was true in the case of civil rights, that he decided
that passing those three civil rights bills was more important than almost
anything else he did in his presidency. And I would say that that was a
pretty effective thing to do, and I think probably the way he went about
doing it was twisting some arms.

MATTHEWS: Yes. That sounds like Lincoln in the Spielberg movie, you know,
getting the 13th Amendment to outlaw slavery.

Anyway, here`s what your show`s creator, Beau Willimon, had to say recently
about the new season. Quote, "A lot of people love the show for all those
chess moves, and they like seeing Frank and Claire be invincible. They
like seeing Stamper" -- his assistant -- "being invincible. If it was easy
for Frank, if he didn`t stumble, if he didn`t fail, then the show would
become a parody of itself. And I`m not interested in that."

So it`s tougher -- the way you`re portraying in this new series is being
president creates a lot more challenges than getting there, even for the
Machiavellian way he got there. What`s that -- does that tell you about
what we`re watching in Washington now, how difficult it is for Obama to get
things he wants?

SPACEY: Well, I think it`s interesting, you know, in the case of looking
at Frank Underwood and Claire Underwood that we now in this third season
have a chance to examine two characters who primarily in the previous two
seasons had been very successful in working in the shadows, in the dark
alleys, and now suddenly find themselves in the hottest, whitest spotlight
you can imagine.

And both -- what the heart of this season is about is how does that change
them, how does that change what they want to accomplish, and how does that
affect their relationship and their marriage? And I think all of those
areas are what we`ve tried to explore in this third season.

MATTHEWS: And she wants something, too.

SPACEY: Yes. Yes. And frankly, she deserves it. She`s an awesome
character.

MATTHEWS: Yes. I know. I don`t mean in terms of time on stage, but I
mean the U.N. job, I mean, in the script, that she obviously wants a piece
of the action.

SPACEY: Well, you can go back to, you know, Roosevelt and -- and say that,
you know, she was an ambassador to the United Nations, although I don`t
think it was at the time that he was in office. And it was an appointment.

But we have had women who`ve taken on remarkably important roles in
politics. And I think we will probably continue to see that in the future.

MATTHEWS: Let`s talk about macho and your fight with Petrov, the guy who`s
very much like Vladimir Putin.

These episodes show him to be quite the match for Frank Underwood, I mean
frighteningly so. If you think Vladimir Putin is tough, this guy
apparently is as brilliantly Machiavellian as Underwood at his best.

SPACEY: Yes, it`s a little hard to talk for me about specifics of plot,
because, you know, while you may have watched it and some of your viewers
have, there are millions of people who haven`t caught up with season three.

But I will say that there are certain aspects to the confrontation that
Frank has with the Russian president that people might recognize.

MATTHEWS: Spoiler alert: He`s bad.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: Anyway, here`s another scene from the season three, the current
season of "House of Cards." This is a White House Cabinet meeting with
Claire Underwood, played by Robin Wright. There they are coming together
here.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "HOUSE OF CARDS")

ROBIN WRIGHT, ACTRESS: The secretary and I recommend increasing our relief
funds to Zimbabwe, outspend the Israelis.

SPACEY: Well, President Chimbetu will just pocket the money.

WRIGHT: Well, we always anticipate a certain level of--

(CROSSTALK)

SPACEY: A certain level? He`s egregious. The man`s a monster.

WRIGHT: Who happens to run the African bloc.

SPACEY: Who happens to kill his own people when he`s not stealing from
them, which is why I reduced aid to Zimbabwe.

WRIGHT: If we want him to remove the amendment, we have to be persuasive.

SPACEY: We are scraping together every penny we can to save AmWorks. The
last thing I want is to be slammed for giving additional money to a brutal
dictator from USAID just to persuade him. This is ill-conceived. You
should think before you bring a proposal such as this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: It isn`t like "The Godfather," and never speak against the
family in public.

(LAUGHTER)

SPACEY: Yes.

MATTHEWS: There, you have a marital spat the Cabinet table.

(CROSSTALK)

SPACEY: He doesn`t have such a pleasant night at home later on in the
executive bedroom, I guess.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: What do you think about Underwood as a guy you have gotten to
know, and maybe not love? But he would do well, it seems to me, in a
really, a really frightening dictatorship where you work your way up
through people, killing people, stabbing them in the back, leaving them in
their cars with the exhaust on, that sort of thing.

He doesn`t need the people`s judgment much, this guy.

SPACEY: Well, he certainly seems that -- you know, the whole series has
been such an interesting examination about power, how people get power, how
they try to retain power.

And he has certainly gone about it in his particular Machiavellian ways.
But the thing for me that`s been so exciting about coming to work every day
is that I don`t show up every day thinking that I know everything about
this man. The writers, our writing team, Beau Willimon, who you indicated
earlier, is our show runner, they continue to peel back the onion.

I continue to be surprised when I discover something in a script that I
didn`t know was going to be revealed or where we decide to put an even
thicker layer of onion on top of his character. So, it`s actually very
exciting to come to work because it`s brand-new for me each day.

MATTHEWS: You know, I learn a lot. I have been here 40 year and I keep
learning things that are very much close to your script. One of them is
this -- not as evil as Frank Underwood, but as Machiavellian.

Members of Congress who get elected in their late 20s and early 30s spend
30 years plotting which of the other guys will be moving on, which of the
other guys will be defeated, which will move on to be chairmen of different
committees and who they will have to contend with in 30 years. They do sit
home and do that at night, like Frank did, Frank does.

SPACEY: Although there are some congressmen, like Kevin McCarthy, who
manage it do it in four years.

(LAUGHTER)

SPACEY: So, it didn`t take him 30 years to become whip.

MATTHEWS: Well, he`s moved fast. Well, he got some help from Eric Cantor.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: I mean, it`s one thing when they drop like flies before you.

By the way, Barack Obama ran for the Senate. Both his opponents got in
marital problems right in the middle of the campaign and were blown away.
He ended up having an easy race for the United States Senate. So, it does
happen, good luck, you know?

Hey, Kevin, my friend, congratulations. You have done it again. Who would
have believed? You created a whole new platform that everybody is going to
say, I could have done that. Why didn`t I do that? How come he`s the
superstar?

And you are. And thank you for coming on HARDBALL tonight.

SPACEY: Thanks. Good to see you, Chris.

MATTHEWS: Up next: President Obama marks the 50th anniversary of Bloody
Sunday with an emotional appeal for civil rights and voting rights.

And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Selma shows us that
America`s not the project of any one person, because the single most
powerful word in our democracy is the word we, we the people. We shall
overcome. Yes, we can. That word is owned by no one. It belongs to
everyone.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Wow.

Welcome back to HARDBALL.

That was, of course, President Obama speaking in Selma this weekend,
actually on Saturday. The president and his family, along with former
President George W. Bush and nearly 100 members of Congress marched on the
same street, the same bridge where civil rights demonstrators were beaten
bloodily by police 50 years ago in what became known as Bloody Sunday.

Civil rights icon and Georgia Congressman John Lewis was in Selma 50 years
ago, and he spoke about that day.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN LEWIS (D), GEORGIA: We were beaten, tear-gassed. Some of us was
left bloody right here on this bridge; 17 of us were hospitalized that day.

But we never became bitter or hostile. We kept believing that the truth we
stood for would have the final say.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: What a soulful man he is.

Anyway, Selma, Alabama`s, current member of Congress, Representative Terri
Sewell, is a Democrat from Alabama. She joins us now.

Thank you, Congresswoman, for joining us.

And, well, where are we now? You know, it`s 50 years ago. That march had
a lot to do with getting the Voting Rights Act of `65, so that, on the
books, not just in the amendments to the Constitution after the Civil War,
but in the books, you have the right to vote.

Back then, 2 percent of your -- of that county, Dallas County, was
registered to vote, the black people, just 2 percent. How is it going
today in terms of registration and voting?

REP. TERRI SEWELL (D), ALABAMA: Well, Chris, thank you so much for having
me on.

This past weekend was an amazing testimony to the strength of the American
fiber, because I think that even in a place like Selma, where we`re now
predominantly African-American, we`re working on our second African-
American mayor, I get to represent Selma and the civil rights district in
Congress today, that the real struggle for us right now is an economic
struggle.

But I have to tell you that I thought that the president`s speech was
really amazing. And I thought that his focus on making sure every American
knew what took place on that bridge and how uniquely American that
experience was--

MATTHEWS: What`s it like to serve in Congress with Republicans who don`t
agree with you? And I know they agree in principle everybody has the right
to vote. And yet, in 36 states, they`re out there trying to make it very
difficult to vote, to the point where they don`t -- they succeed when they
pass laws that say -- to make it tougher to vote, just to vote.

SEWELL: Yes.

Well, listen, I think that, for me, being -- Selma being my hometown, it
was awesome to be able to welcome a bipartisan delegation of members of
Congress.

It`s very tough, Chris. I won`t lie, because, you know, I think that the
partisan politics and the nature of it right now is so stifling to get any
legislation done, but having an opportunity to come to Selma, to walk in
the footsteps of John Lewis with John Lewis is truly transformational.

And my hope is that all Americans will take serious the right to vote, and
that we in Congress will go back, renewed by our -- by witnessing living
history, that we will actually go back and restore the voting rights
amendment.

MATTHEWS: What do you make of what happened in Oklahoma at that frat
house, where I thought David Boren, the former governor, former U.S.
senator from that state, now the president of the University of Oklahoma,
basically cracked a whip? This guy threw the fraternity off campus, said,
as long as he`s the president of that university, will never get back their
fraternity house again.

He condemned even casual conversations in which bad words are used, racist
words. Here`s a video of that fraternity and what the members were doing
at the University of Oklahoma, chanting racial slurs, including the N-word.
The video was posted on YouTube on Sunday. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALES: There will never be a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) SAE. There
will never be a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) SAE. You can hang them from a tree,
but they will never sign with me. There will never be a (EXPLETIVE
DELETED).

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: You wonder -- you have to wonder what planet or century those
young people thought they were on. But they`re paying the price.

What did you think of Boren? No B.S. here. He just went and cracked the
whip and said, you`re off campus, you`re gone as a fraternity.

SEWELL: I think that -- what the incident that happened at the University
of Oklahoma just shows us what the president was saying.

There`s a lot of unfinished business in America with respect to civil
rights and voting rights. And I think that the president of the University
of Oklahoma was right to crack the whip. I think that, you know, Selma is
now. The lessons that we learned in Selma 50 years ago are as relevant
today as they were 50 years ago.

We understand that we must be ever vigilant in the fight for civil rights
and voting rights. Progress is elusive. All old battles become new again
in a heartbeat.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

SEWELL: So, we must be ever vigilant in our struggle to make sure that we
all live up to the ideals of the Constitution that all men are created
equal.

MATTHEWS: Well, I hope you come back on the show a lot. Thanks for coming
on, first time I met you. You`re great.

Thank you, Congresswoman Terri Sewell. Thanks for joining us. You
represent Selma, Alabama.

Up next: James Carville says that journalists are being fed the story on
Hillary Clinton by the right wing. In other words, "The New York Times" is
working off the right-wing talking points. Will blaming the right-wing
conspiracy work this time? Didn`t work last time.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PAGE HOPKINS, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Page Hopkins. And here`s what`s
happening.

Forty people were injured when an Amtrak train collided with a truck in
North Carolina; 213 passengers were aboard the train at the time.

A Missouri appeals court judge is taking over Ferguson`s municipal court
following a Justice Department report that found a pattern of racial bias
in the police department. The city`s court system has also been under
scrutiny.

And protests are continuing in Madison, Wisconsin, following the police
shooting of an unarmed teen on Friday night. An investigation into that
incident is under way -- and now we`re going to take you back to HARDBALL.

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

Well, the hard focus on Hillary Clinton continues on the front page, and
has been front-page news today again in the wake of last week`s big private
e-mail story.

Well, today, Clinton lieutenant James Carville tried putting the fire out
in an interview with Andrea Mitchell here on this network. He says "The
New York Times" got the story from Clinton`s enemies on the hard right,
specifically from right-wing talking points.

Here`s James.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAMES CARVILLE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: "The Times" gets something from some
right-wing talking points. You know, "The Times" took right-wing talking
points. The press, you know, which took right-wing talking points. The
right-wing talking points.

Where do you think the e-mail story came from?

ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC CHIEF FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Let me--

CARVILLE: It came from Republican staffers. That`s where it came from.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, last week, I asked Michael Schmidt, the reporter at "The
New York Times" who broke the story if he got his scoop from Republican
oppo. Here he is, Michael Schmidt.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL SCHMIDT, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": What doesn`t make sense is that
they have known about this for many, many months.

MATTHEWS: Did they drop it? Let me just try a couple theories. Did you
get this from oppo from the Republicans?

SCHMIDT: No.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Did you get it from the Clinton people trying to put it out
ahead of time?

SCHMIDT: This was much harder.

MATTHEWS: Just enterprise on your part?

SCHMIDT: Yes.

MATTHEWS: Just enterprise, sheer enterprise?

SCHMIDT: Shoe-leather.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: In that same interview, Anne Gearan, a reporter covering this
story for The Washington Post, also denied being tipped off by the hard
right. Here she is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANNE GEARAN, "THE WASHINGTON POST": That was a clean break. The
Republicans had nothing to do with it and that`s become a narrative now on
the Democratic side is that this is a manufactured story that the
Republicans are pushing and that the media is biting on. And that`s just
not the way it happened.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, what James Carville and other Clinton allies are doing
here is familiar terrain, of course.

Back in 1998, Clinton`s camp blamed the Monica Lewinsky coverage on what
they called a vast right-wing conspiracy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, FIRST LADY: The great story here for anybody
willing to find it and write about it and explain it is this vast right-
wing conspiracy that`s been conspiring against my husband since the day he
announced for president.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, will it work here?

Our roundtable tonight is going to take a look at that, "National Journal"
editorial director Ron Fournier, Bloomberg`s national correspondent, Phil
Mattingly, and senior politics editor of The Daily Beast Jackie Kucinich.

Jackie, you first.

Is it -- let me just ask you this. I didn`t hear any evidence from
Carville that this was put -- was handed over to "The Post" or "The Times."
It wasn`t given to them. It wasn`t oppo work. It was enterprise
reporting. Does it matter that he keeps saying this so many times? Will
people believe it? Will anybody believe it?

JACKIE KUCINICH, THE DAILY BEAST: I mean, "New York Times," that bastion
of right-wing talking points. It doesn`t make any sense. And it feels
very retro.

And I think everything they say doesn`t matter, because she`s going to
respond to this. Hillary Clinton is going to respond to this. And the
Clintons don`t usually respond to things personally when something is
patently false and it`s just, you know, the right wing agitating.

MATTHEWS: So, let me go back to Phil.

You mean, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will go out there and
give the straight skinny on this, not this very I think ineffective PR
that`s been coming out, like we gave you 50,000 pages. OK, well, there`s
another 90,000? We don`t know.

Or that we want the State Department to release the e-mails when she had
them in her possession? This dumb talk they`ve been using, hoping people
who are following it and loyal to the Clintons don`t understand the story.

Do you think she`s going to give us the straight skinny on this press
conference?

PHIL MATTINGLY, BLOOMBERG NATL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Democrats who are
not former, current or soon to be Clinton hands have their ways -- yes, she
will do that. Jackie and I were talking about this before, I will be
stunned to see full-blown press conference where reporters get free rein to
talk to the former secretary of state --

MATTHEWS: What do you expect?

MATTINGLY: -- and ask her a ton of questions. That`s the great question.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: What do you expect? How do you control it? How would she have
a press conference where she keeps changing the subject? What will be the
technique to avoid answering the questions directly?

MATTINGLY: It`s not possible for that to actually occur. But the idea
that the Clintons would put her in a scenario where everything is not
controlled, it just -- it wouldn`t align with everything they`ve done.

(CROSSTALK)

RON FOURNIER, NATIONAL JOURNAL SR. POLITICAL COLUMNIST: I think she can
end this in about five minutes. No. Two minutes, end the entire
controversy.

There`s only two questions, and only two answers. Here`s the servers,
here`s your e-mails back. These are the people`s e-mails. And here`s
receipts to show I`ve given my foreign donations.

These are her controversy. These are her mistakes. She can either fix
them or drag this out.

And, James Carville, I`m sorry, but the `90s are calling. They want their
PR tactics back. They don`t work nowadays.

And, look, they`re the king of oppo research themselves. James Carville,
you tell me he hasn`t given "The New York Times" stuff on Republicans?

I don`t care if the devil, himself, gave "The New York Times" this
information. It doesn`t matter where it came from. It`s the truth, that
she violated regulations, that she assaulted transparency, that they`ve
been deceiving and lying about it ever since, her henchmen out here.

They`ve got to come clean. Turn over the servers. Hand back the foreign
donations. The controversy is over.

MATTHEWS: You know, what I`ve been frustrated by the elegance with which
we spoke about the ideal press conference, and then you watch them, whether
it`s a convention -- the worst of the congressional hearings. They don`t
follow a logical transition from question to follow-up to better follow-up,
to isolate the person holding the press conference, Phil. It never seems
to work that way. People ask one ding bat question after another and they
ignore it because they`re competing with each other. They don`t want to
help somebody get a better answer.

I always think, if you just listen to the last answer, you can follow up on
that, rather than thinking of a new question.

MATTINGLY: If you talk to the politicians, I think they rely on that.

MATTHEWS: Chaos.

MATTINGLY: They hope that that`s going to come and they plan for that.
And I think there`s one benefit Hillary Clinton would have if she holds a
press conference is that nobody has gotten a free shot at her with an
actual question for a long period of time. So, a number has built up.

But to Ron`s point, there are only a few that need to be asked and need to
be answered.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

MATTINGLY: I think you need to try to figure out --

MATTHEWS: First question goes to Sid Blumenthal. Second question to David
Brock.

FOURNIER: I think we make a --

MATTHEWS: I`m just teasing.

FOURNIER: I think we make a mistake in the media if we think this is about
how well she performs and frankly her team is making a mistake if they
think --

MATTHEWS: I think you`re right. It`s the objective fact.

FOURNIER: Right. There`s really only one thing to do here and that is to
come clean with the --

MATTHEWS: You think Bill Clinton the other day --

FOURNIER: You can`t talk your way out of things.

MATTHEWS: He said transparency was good enough. If they take some money
from some bad guy in Algeria, and they give it to taking care of, you know,
flood relief down in Haiti or somewhere, and we tell you we`re doing it, no
harm done -- will that work? You say it won`t work.

FOURNIER: Not when there`s been --

MATTHEWS: Dirty money --

FOURNIER: Very credible allegations. First, they`re taking money from
banks that are under investigation. There`s been credible allegations of
pay-to-play. She -- the champion of women`s rights, this is the
aspirational reason why we should vote for her is taking money from
countries that suppress the rights of women. I don`t see how --

MATTHEWS: To turn the pillow over to the cold side right now, Jeb Bush,
and I mean the cold side. This guy, they`re not ready for him out there.

According to a new NBC/"Wall Street Journal" out tonight, Scott Walker
leads the field out there, 53 percent of Republicans say they can see
themselves voting for Walker versus only 17 percent who say they can`t.
That`s a 36 point positive spread.

Marco Rubio, another one, second in the poll. Jeb Bush is seventh out
there, 47 percent of Republicans say they can see themselves voting for
Jeb; 42 percent, as many say they can`t.

This sounds like overdone Bush.

KUCINICH: Yes. I think that`s his biggest problem.

MATTHEWS: Whereas Hillary is flying high right now.

KUCINICH: You hear him say, I`m not my father, I`m not -- you know, I`m
not my brother. It`s not -- it`s not working. And the thing that Scott
Walker has going for --

MATTHEWS: Jeb flew into office on the Republican side. So, maybe the
second one gets home free. The third doesn`t.

KUCINICH: No, but I think Walker has something else going for him, he`s a
sitting governor and he`s doing things the right likes right now. He
signed the right-to-work legislation. He`s showing himself to be this
conservative fighter that he`s really presented. He does have the benefit
of being a sitting governor, being able to do these things -- where Jeb
Bush hasn`t done that.

MATTHEWS: Do you listen to how he sees it? I think there`s two things
that drive the Tea Party on the conservative right, which are very
legitimate. One is make some sense of the border. Every other country in
the world does. We have a liberal immigration policy. We should have one.
But it should be enforced. It should be real.

Democrats are kind of loosey-goosey about the whole proposition to make
anything real. But spending money, wasting money, he doesn`t say it like I
beat the unions. What he says is I protected the taxpayer against the
teachers union. It`s all about protecting spending.

That`s what people on the right all agree on. All Republicans agree on
this. It`s a unifying issue. Stop wasting our taxpayer dollars.

MATTINGLY: He has a record that continuously wins and he has a message
that wins. How do you fight against right to work or freedom to work?
He`s figured out a way not to make this a purely union-bashing measure,
although that will work in certain parts --

MATTHEWS: He says I protect the taxpayers.

MATTINGLY: It`s a message --

MATTHEWS: These are public employee unions. They`re not just unions.

MATTINGLY: But it`s a message that works and it`s one that Jeb Bush will
have to overcome, no question about it.

FOURNIER: Flip side of the pillow for both, I know we`re really hammering
Hillary Clinton.

MATTHEWS: No, no, you were --

FOURNIER: OK. Let me say --

MATTHEWS: -- very tough. I was observing.

FOURNIER: I don`t take anything back.

But it`s still early in the process. If she`s transparent and accountable,
she can overcome this. Jeb Bush, I would love to see how he is on the
number two. How many people are picking him as a number two choice?
That`s a key thing with him.

MATTHEWS: They might not get that far, though.

FOURNIER: It might not.

MATTHEWS: I`ve got two words for you -- Ed Muskie, a guy that couldn`t
lose.

Anyway, the roundtable is sticking with us.

And up next, "The Washington Post" is reporting that ISIS is fraying from
within. Front page today. What does it mean for the president`s strategy
and an American public ready to send in the troops?

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERICAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Same-sex marriage has a record number of supporters, according
to the new NBC/"Wall Street Journal" poll. Catch this -- 59 percent, three
out of five of us polled say they`re in favor of same-sex marriage. That
was the highest percentage in the history of the poll. That number is up
six points from just 2013 when 53 percent of those polled were in favor.

And we`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: We`re back with the roundtable, Ron, Phil and Jackie.

And there was a surprising front page story in "The Washington Post" about
the vulnerability of ISIS. According to "The Post", quote, "The Islamic
State appears to be starting to fray from within. Reports of rising
tensions between foreign and local fighters, aggressive and increasingly
unsuccessful attempts to recruit local citizens for the front lines and a
growing incidence of guerrilla attacks against Islamic State targets
suggest the militants are struggling to sustain their carefully cultivated
image as a fearsome fighting force, drawing Muslims together under the
umbrella of a utopian Islamic State."

Other news this news weekend seemed to undermine that premise. The
Nigerian terror group Boko Haram pledged allegiance to the Islamic State,
suggesting it was still seen as the premiere jihadist group in the world.

Let me go back to Jackie on this.

You know, apparently what`s going on inside is this cauldron where they
want people to get out into the outpost and take the airplane hits from us,
the bombing raids, but all the people want to live in the cities where
they`re protected from bombing because Americans don`t want to blow
hospitals and schools. So, they`re trying to get the people but the
Europeans and the Americans who come from around the world and the North
Africans, they all want to live in the cities. So, the locals are getting
forced out to the front like Stalin finding Hitler here.

It is a terrible situation where you`re just getting chewed where the
bombing is going on. I could see that caused a stir.

KUCINICH: Right, and that`s the thing, is they have to govern if they`re
going to create this state and we`re talking about services, we`re talking
about basic things and if they can`t do that, then they`re going to have
these problems. And in terms of U.S. strategy, seems like everything is
very in flux right now. It seems like it`s too soon --

MATTHEWS: Well, does that mean that the policy of containment will kill
them?

FOURNIER: It`s hard to tell. You have to take it with a grain of salt,
because we`ve been the last 14 years, we`ve learned, what we hear from
intelligence, what we see in the front of the newspapers doesn`t always
turn out. If this happens to be true, it would really verify what the
president has been doing and suggest that we don`t have to go further, that
we just keep our foot on their neck, where we can roll them up. I`m kind
of dubious.

MATTHEWS: Then the Iranian militias went -- the Iranian Quds force wins
and also the Shia-led militias from Iraq win.

MATTINGLY: Their influence is certainly growing. This underscores the
need for pressure on the Islamic State. Whatever the strategy is and
nobody thinks the strategy is going to involve U.S. ground troops anytime
soon, but the ability to have a coherent offensive strategy when it comes
to the Iraq forces with the Sunni tribes, with the Shia-backed, Iranian-
backed forces that can actually put pressure, rifts are exposed like this
when that`s pressure put on them what you`re starting to see right now and
I think that`s why this needs --

MATTHEWS: Well, speaking of pressure, a recent Quinnipiac poll found that
by 2-1, a big majority, Americans backed sending troops. Here`s my
quandary. I always try to figure out public opinion, like all of us. The
American people almost 2-1 want us to go in, with troops like big
regiments, go there and beat them, take them apart.

At the same time, most Republicans you hear think Iraq was a disaster.

KUCINICH: Right.

MATTHEWS: So, most recent experience with war was a bipartisan disaster.
So, how do -- are we already back to ready to fight again? Has that memory
faded?

KUCINICH: I don`t think so. When you talk to lawmakers, they`re not ready
to send troops in again.

MATTHEWS: The American people, why do they say they are?

KUCINICH: Look at what`s happening -- I mean, people forget so soon. Look
what`s happening --

MATTHEWS: Why are they saying yes?

KUCINICH: You can`t even take care of the people coming back --

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: No, I`m talking public opinion. Why is public opinion say let`s
go in?

FOURNIER: It`s a relatively new blip, it`s because the summer, they saw --

MATTHEWS: Beheadings.

FOURNIER: Those beheadings. So, this has been, I think over the course of
time, we`re going to see more people not wanting it. We`re just in kind of
a blip up because what we saw recently.

MATTINGLY: This is reactionary. It`s got to be. When you see it on the
front page every single day, this is how you react.

MATTHEWS: It`s James Foley. Everybody saw the face of that guy --

FOURNIER: It would not sustain if we put a bunch more troops and those
numbers would right down. That`s the point.

MATTHEWS: Yes, I think we still benefit -- I was just reading about
Lusitania, taking us into World War I. You screw with us and we are ready
to fight for a country that says it doesn`t like war.

Let`s remember the Alamo, remember Lusitania, remember Pearl Harbor,
remember James Foley. I mean, I think there`s a lot of that. I`m part of
that myself.

Anyway, thank you, Ron.

FOURNIER: It was a much easier war to fight.

MATTHEWS: And Phil Mattingly from "Bloomberg", and Jackie Kucinich.

FOURNIER: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: The best of the Kuciniches.

When we return, let me finish with the language of the Logan Act which
Congress passed and the president signed in the early days of our republic.
It`s quite relevant to what those 47 Republicans did the other day in the
Senate.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with the language of the Logan Act which
Congress passed and the president signed in the earliest days of our
republic.

And each citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who without
authority of the United States directly or indirectly commences or carries
on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any
officer or agent thereof with intent to influence the measures or conduct
of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof in relation to
any disputes or controversies with the United States or to defeat the
measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or
imprisoned not more than three years or both.

I wonder if the senators who rushed to sign that letter to the Iranian
leaders had read this document which is known as the Logan Act. It
basically says that only the government of the United States is allowed
under the law to negotiate with foreign governments.

Again, I wonder if these 47 senators gave thought to what they were doing
here. Then again as I said in the beginning of this show, they did know
exactly what they were doing. They were trying to undermine the work of an
American president by first of all disrespecting him even if they don`t get
charged and imprison for it. What they`ve done here is craven.

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

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.


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