updated 6/4/2015 10:13:17 AM ET 2015-06-04T14:13:17

Show: HARDBALL
Date: June 3, 2015
Guest: George Pataki, Marc Elias, Sherrilyn Ifill, Jeremy Ben-Ami, April
Ryan, Sean Sullivan, Heidi Przybyla

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Mike Huckabee, president or bouncer?

Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.

And we`ll get to tonight`s topics in just a minute. But first, I am
proud that my wife, Kathleen, has declared her candidacy for the U.S.
Congress today in the 8th district of Maryland. As her husband, I will of
course support her in this campaign, as I do in every aspect of our lives.

In our years together, I have always had the strongest belief in her
judgment and values. I will offer Kathleen whatever help I can, including
giving her any advice that might be useful.

As a journalist, I also know how important it is to respect certain
boundaries on my support for her both in my public role and here on MSNBC.
And while most of you know that our show doesn`t typically cover
congressional races, I will continue to fully disclose my relationship with
her as part of MSNBC`s commitment to being transparent and fair in our
coverage.

I love Kathleen, and I am so proud of her and enthusiastically support
her answering the call to public service.

Now to Mike Huckabee. You`d think a guy running for president would
be out there scrounging for all the votes he could get -- you know, put up
the flag and hope people salute. Not Huckabee. He`s right out front
willing to say who he considers one of us and the "them" he`s quite willing
to dismiss.

Here the former Arkansas governor is joking this year about
transgender people.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE HUCKABEE (R-AR), FMR. GOV., FMR. PRES. CANDIDATE: I wish someone
had told me when I was in high school that I could have felt like a woman
when it came time to take showers in PE. I`m pretty sure I would have
found my feminine side and said, Coach, I think I`d rather shower with the
girls today.

(LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE)

HUCKABEE: You`re laughing because it sounds so ridiculous, doesn`t
it?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: So ridiculous. Anyway, I`m joined right now by global
editorial director for the fast-expanding HuffingtonPost, Howard Fineman,
and former press secretary to President Obama, Robert Gibbs. Both are
MSNBC valued political analysts.

Robert, you`ve been out there hawking for votes, trying to get
somebody to support a guy. Why would a guy dismiss everybody who`s a
transgender person, hundreds of thousands of people perhaps, their
families, their friends? I mean, they`ve already got problems with
Hispanics over immigration. They`ve got problems I think they should have
more of with African-Americans and older people, especially over the voter
ID laws and things like that. I could go on the list.

They keep making lists of people they don`t consider one of us. Why
are they doing that?

ROBERT GIBBS, FMR. WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY, MSNBC POLITICAL
ANALYST: Well, I think for Huckabee, Huckabee is a niche candidate. He`s
going to be a niche candidate, and he`s not going expand his role.

I think if any Republican is going to be successful in 2016 -- and the
RNC themselves identified this right after the 2012 race -- they`ve got to
expand their own electorate. Ninety percent of the votes for president
that Mitt Romney got in 2012 were from white voters.

The problem for the Republican Party is that white voters comprise a
smaller percentage of the electorate than they ever have. It will be a
smaller percentage four years -- or in 2016, and it`ll be smaller than that
in 2020. And the only hope that they have is somebody who can expand the
current electorate of people that`s voting for Republicans.

MATTHEWS: OK, explain how that locker room joke expands any
electorate.

GIBBS: Well, that isn`t. And my guess is that somewhat shortly after
the Iowa caucuses draw to a conclusion, so too will the Mike Huckabee
campaign. Even if he were to repeat a win in Iowa, he`s already showed
that he doesn`t have the capacity to build on that with an electorate, even
in his own party, and put together enough votes to become the nominee.

The only hope that I think Republicans have is in a Marco Rubio or a
Jeb Bush, somebody who they think can, hopefully, speak to a broader
audience of potential voters.

MATTHEWS: Yes. Howard, you and I have grown up in a country that has
evolved, especially on identity issues, orientation issues. We`ve learned
the right words. Orientation is where you tend to have a sexual interest
in another gender, and identity is what you see yourself as. In fact, I`ve
learned that from my wife, in fact. At work, you learn these things.
We`ve all tried to teach ourselves.

You know, this cover of "Vanity Fair" this month -- obviously, Graydon
Carter thinks a lot of people are interested and they`re going to read that
magazine.

HOWARD FINEMAN, HUFFINGTON POST GLOBAL EDITORIAL DIR., MSNBC POLITICAL
ANALYST: Well...

MATTHEWS: But they`re not in there to make fun of the guy.

FINEMAN: Yes. There`s tremendous social change, demographic change,
as Robert was saying, advances in science, all of which the Republicans`
most visible people seem to be rejecting. This is a disaster for the...

MATTHEWS: But these are voters.

FINEMAN: My point -- yes, I know they`re voters. That`s the whole
point!

(LAUGHTER)

FINEMAN: In the effort -- in the effort to get a micro-niche -- it
isn`t even just a niche, it`s a niche of a niche...

MATTHEWS: Yes.

FINEMAN: ... because there are several candidates focusing on the
evangelical vote in Iowa.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

FINEMAN: And actually, Mike Huckabee, having once been the sort of
user-friendly evangelical guy in past electoral runs, or he`s been the sort
of nice guy, non-judgmental evangelical, now he`s running to the right of
Rick Santorum, who was the ultimate judgmental one last time. The problem
for the Republicans is this. Social change, demographic change, and
science...

MATTHEWS: OK.

FINEMAN: ... all three of which the Republicans seem to be on the
wrong side of.

MATTHEWS: OK, take a look. This isn`t looking for a fight. This is
a fight. On gay marriage, the 2012 Republican national platform stated,
"We reaffirm our support for a constitutional amendment defining marriage
as the union of one man and one woman. We applaud the citizens of the
majority of states which have enshrined in their constitutions the
traditional concept of marriage, and we support the campaigns under way in
several other states to do so."

So this "one man, one woman" thing follows up -- four years before
that, it was a man and a woman. Maybe this -- I think it was something to
do with the LDS church, something to do with Romney running. Why do they
have to specify they`re for marriage defined as one man and one woman?
Who`s arguing?

GIBBS: Yes. Well, look...

MATTHEWS: I mean, Utah got into the union by agreeing on getting rid
of polygamy a long time ago. Why are they arguing about these weird things
in the Republican platform? My question to you.

GIBBS: Well...

MATTHEWS: And making fun of these people.

GIBBS: I mean, again, a good question. And the Supreme Court may go
a long way towards settling some of what the platform has to reflect in
2016.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

GIBBS: But again, I think the only way -- the only way you can appeal
to a broader set of people and to win that election is to open up the
number of people that you`re actually talking to. I mean, I think, again,
Hispanic voters...

(CROSSTALK)

GIBBS: But I will say this. I think one of the things that hurts
Republicans in this cause are just -- are issues, as well, and beyond what
you`ve talked about. We found in 2012, the most important issue to
Hispanic voters was actually health care. And if Republicans aren`t
speaking on...

MATTHEWS: I`ve heard that.

GIBBS: Yes. If they`re not speaking on health care, they`re missing
the opportunity. Remember, when George Bush ran for president, one of his
first policy speeches in 1999 was on a federal role for education. That
was also a play -- a big, big play to Hispanic voters...

(CROSSTALK)

FINEMAN: It`s also true that immigration was a kind of gateway issue.

GIBBS: Absolutely.

FINEMAN: In other words, yes, health care, but they won`t even listen
to you on health care unless you were right with the Hispanic community on
immigration...

MATTHEWS: Well, that makes sense.

FINEMAN: ... which is another big problem for the Republicans.

MATTHEWS: Yes, I want to get to that right now. I`m joined right now
by former New York governor George Pataki, who has announced he`s running
for president in 2016.

Governor, so much to -- I`ve always liked you, and I hope you come on
the show a lot more than tonight. But it is interesting that you...

GEORGE PATAKI (R), FMR. NEW YORK GOV., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well,
it depends on what happens tonight, Chris. I`d like to.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: Well, we`ll see.

PATAKI: I know I`m surrounded by 3 to 1. That`s about fair odds, I
think.

MATTHEWS: Three to one -- Howard`s is independent.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Robert Gibbs, you may argue with, and maybe with me because
anybody can argue with me.

Let me ask you -- I thought you showed some cojones going after
Huckabee in his old-style sort of old style -- I would call it old fart, I
would call it, attack on people who are transgender the other day in the
locker room. You saw that as something that offended you personally and
politically.

Why didn`t you take a shot at Huckabee for that joke of his?

PATAKI: Well, I just -- he meant it in humor, but I don`t think it
was very good humor. And I think we just have to respect the dignity of
people when they make deeply personal decisions, even if it`s a decision
that I might not agree with.

MATTHEWS: What do you think about the Republican Party? I mean, Rudy
Giuliani, your former colleague, was pretty clear the other day. He says,
I can`t get the nomination, so why bother, because I`m pro-choice, even
though I`m against abortion personally, and morally, I guess. He made it
pretty clear he was for the rights of people to choose an abortion. He
said he`s for same-sex marriage. And he said, This basically knocks me out
of business.

Is that your view of the party?

PATAKI: You know, I don`t think that`s the case. I`ve been out there
now for about eight months in Iowa and New Hampshire, South Carolina,
around the country, and the only people who ask me questions about
something like abortion is the press.

The American people are concerned about security. They`re very
worried about ISIS and the lone wolf attacks and our failure to protect us
from those radical Islamic attacks abroad and here. They`re concerned
about an economy that`s not growing the way it should, the fact people
don`t have jobs that pay enough.

There are a great many issues out there that are of tremendous concern
to the American people that I think right now are in the forefront of what
they`re thinking about.

MATTHEWS: But if you look at the issues that are going to be decided
by the Supreme Court this summer -- "Obama care" certainly, the ACA, you
look at the fact of same-sex marriage -- these are all going to be right on
the front pages.

PATAKI: Sure.

MATTHEWS: You got the question of -- the House will not pass the
Senate-passed bipartisan bill allowing people a path to citizenship. These
aren`t issues that I`m cooking up. And if you went out there saying that
you were pro-choice, saying that you were for same-sex, saying that you`re
for a path to citizenship, you would have a problem in Iowa. You say you
won`t, but I think you would.

PATAKI: Well, Chris, I`m not saying that. First of all, I agree that
-- I hope the Supreme Court does throw out "Obama care." If it doesn`t, it
should be repealed. There are far better ways to provide access to health
care to those who didn`t have health insurance without dictating to every
single American the type and kind and cost of health care policy they have
to have.

And I think on issues like security, that is in the forefront of the
American people`s minds today. We just had the battle over the Patriot
Act. And I think we made a tremendous mistake in not reauthorizing NSA`s
ability to monitor phone calls of those who they have a court order because
they suspect of terrorism and who they`re in touch with.

So yes, the Supreme Court will be deciding issues. I think marriage
has always been a state issue, should continue to be a state issue. But
when the Supreme Court makes a decision, that`s the Constitution, that`s
the law. We have to abide by it.

MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about the Republican Party. When you and I
grew up, the Republican Party was robust in the Northeast. Almost every
Northeast state north of West Virginia had a Republican senator or two.
Now, of the top -- we went over it today. Of the top 13 states, every
state east of Ohio, north of North Carolina, there`s three Republican
senators in those 13 states.

What happened to your party in the Northeast?

PATAKI: You know, I think, actually, earlier, when you were talking
with the others, they talked about how the Republicans have not reached
beyond their base vote. And I think that is true. I think we have to be
more aggressive in reaching out to minorities and reaching out to young
people and reaching out to moderates and conservative Democrats.

I did that in New York state. In fact, I got a plurality of the
Latino vote when I was running for reelection as governor.

MATTHEWS: OK...

PATAKI: I didn`t have to change my philosophy. I didn`t have to
change my policy. But the Republicans have to show that we are a broad
party and our policies work not just for our traditional voters, but are
most important for those who need a job, who are concerned about security,
who want access to health care that isn`t provided by government mandate.
And I think we can do that.

I think we can win not just in traditional Republican states, but in
the Northeast, as well.

MATTHEWS: Well, good luck, Governor, and thank you. And thank you.
I hope you come back on again. And you decided that this interview was up
to your standards.

(LAUGHTER)

PATAKI: Thank you, Chris. And good luck to your wife. You know, I
admire anyone who gets into this game.

MATTHEWS: So do I.

Thank you so much, Howard. And thank you so much, Robert Gibbs, for
joining us.

Coming up -- Hillary Clinton is fighting back against Republicans who
are making it harder for people to vote. She`s going after voter
exclusion, repression, the whole thing. Her campaign`s launching a cross-
country legal battle to roll back those new voter ID laws and the rest of
it in key battleground states like Wisconsin, Ohio and Virginia. It could
make the difference between her winning the White House and not.

Plus, President Obama`s been trashed by his right-wing critics for
being anti-Israeli. So what do we make of his comment that he`s the,
quote, "closest thing to a Jew" that`s ever sat in the Oval Office? Is he
the first Jewish president, like Clinton was the first black president?
We`ll see. Interesting topic. Interesting topic.

And frightening new details from Boston, where authorities say two men
were plotting to behead -- behead police officers. This is scary stuff.

Finally, the hardball tactics, the muscle that big labor is using
right now against fellow Democrats. This fight over trade is getting
bloody.

And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Add another Democrat to the 2016 presidential field.
Former Rhode Island senator and governor Lincoln Chafee declared his
candidacy today in what can only be considered an extreme long-shot bid.

Chafee was a Republican when he served in the U.S. Senate, and he was
elected governor of Rhode Island as an independent before becoming a
Democrat two years ago. He was the only Republican to vote against
authorizing the war in Iraq, and he`s making that vote and Hillary
Clinton`s support for the war as the centerpiece of his campaign.

And we`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), FMR. SEC. OF STATE, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:
Legislators in North Carolina have pushed through a bill that reads like
the greatest hits of voter suppression -- restricted early voting, no more
same-day registration or extending voting hours to accommodate long lines,
stricter photo ID requirements that disqualify those issued by colleges.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. That is former secretary of
state Hillary Clinton, of course, talking about the battle to get to the
ballot box. Elections are now being decided by the most narrow of margins,
of course, and there`s an active effort out there to try and tip the scales
by restricting just who gets to vote. It`s a multi-pronged effort by some
governors and legislatures pushing for stricter ID requirements and shorter
voting hours.

Here`s Dallas resident De`andre Carter, who says he did everything
right but still couldn`t get his vote to count back in 2014.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DE`ANDRE CARTER, VOTER IN TEXAS: I came up to the Lexington library
right across the street from my house, did the provisional ballot,
completed out everything correctly, turned it in to the proper person. And
then, a couple of weeks -- like, maybe a week later, after the election was
over, I did not -- it told me that I was not able to vote and my vote
didn`t count.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, that`s a profound story.

Joining right now is Marc Elias. He`s a voting rights attorney and
counsel to the Hillary Clinton campaign. Marc, thanks for joining us.
Educate us. Anyway, talk about this.

You`ve filed a suit, along with other voting rights groups, to try and
stop the effort to restrict voter access. In your complaint against the
state of Wisconsin, you provide this specific example.

"Anita Johnson is a 70-year-old African-American resident of
Milwaukee. She has taken individuals from church to weekend early voting,
but she no longer can do so because of the elimination of weekend early
voting." Well, that sounds like to me "souls to the polls," it`s called.
It`s a tradition in the black church, and a happy one. People have always
enjoyed getting dressed up for church, then going and registering. It is a
tribute and I think a celebration of democracy. Some people don`t like it.

Explain what is going on.

MARC ELIAS, HILLARY FOR AMERICA CAMPAIGN ATTORNEY: Well, and I think,
Chris, you`ve have put your finger on exactly what the problem is, which
is, you know, whatever Republican legislators are trying to do with regard
to election administration, they shouldn`t be making it harder for people
to vote.

In Wisconsin, as you mentioned, they cut back on the number of early
days to vote, the time of day one can provide early vote, and they banned
early vote on the weekends.

Now, why would you do that? What reason would the state of Wisconsin
have to say that people can`t vote after work or people can`t vote on a
weekend, other than to simply make it harder for someone to vote and
therefore less likely to do so?

Why would Wisconsin say that high schools can no longer be a place
that young people who are registering for the first time can turn in their
voter registration forms, so that they get registered to vote?

What possible reason is there to do that other than to make it harder
for young people to vote? And that`s really the problem that we have,
Chris.

MATTHEWS: It`s like narrowing the strike zone to help the batter.

ELIAS: Yes.

MATTHEWS: I mean, I know what you`re doing. I know exactly what is
going on.

Anyway, there are three critical states, all purple states, that could
go either way, where voter restrictions could make a difference in 2016.
The GOP legislature in the state of -- the Commonwealth of Virginia wants
more restrictive voter I.D. requirements for absentee voters.

Up in Wisconsin, Governor Scott walker, a very likely GOP presidential
candidate, is reducing the window for early voting and wants tougher I.D.
requirements as well. In North Carolina, which went for Obama the first
time, the GOP wants more I.D. restrictions and to eliminate the ability to
register and vote on the same day.

So, that pattern, it is coordinated, Marc? Are these -- is this under
the RNC, the Republican National Committee, because it always seems to be
Republicans doing it?

ELIAS: Yes, so I don`t know whether it`s coordinated -- who it`s
coordinated by.

But clearly there is a playbook that we are seeing play out in state
after state after state. You left off your list Ohio, which, despite the
fact that we had in 2004 and 2008 and 2012 an epidemic of long lines -- you
remember those images?

MATTHEWS: Sure.

ELIAS: I was the general counsel to the Kerry campaign in 2004. You
remember those students waiting in line for hours and hours, and then you
saw that in 2008 and 2012?

Well, what did Ohio do? Again, they said that during early vote
period, there can only be one location in a county, notwithstanding Noble
County has 8,000 citizens -- or voters, and Franklin County has 800,000.

MATTHEWS: OK.

ELIAS: There is only going to be one place in the county. Why would
you do that, other than to make it harder to vote?

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Marc Elias, I have got a tough question for you. Was there
-- was that vote count in Ohio in 2004 an honest call? Was that an honest
count?

ELIAS: Look, I think that -- that...

(LAUGHTER)

ELIAS: ... at the end of the day, the gap between President Bush and
John Kerry was wider than the ballots that were left to be uncounted.

And Ohio has a history of a large volume of provisional ballots that
don`t get counted. And that gap was too large.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

ELIAS: But I want to say this. It`s not just the ballots that don`t
get counted. It`s the person who waits online for eight hours who leaves.

It`s the person who can`t get a day off from work and never shows up.
And so when you take the collective changes that we see the Republicans
making that make it harder to register, harder to vote, and harder to get
the vote counted -- remember, provisional balloting, part of the problem is
the voters voted, but their vote doesn`t count. When you take all of those
three together, we have a real problem.

MATTHEWS: OK. Last question. What do you think Hillary -- what do
you know Hillary will say tomorrow down in Houston on these points?

ELIAS: You know, I don`t know exactly what the secretary is going to
say. You mentioned I`m the general counsel of her campaign. I also
represent a number of national Democratic organizations and lots of other
Democrats.

I didn`t bring these lawsuits on behalf of her campaign.

MATTHEWS: Right.

ELIAS: I brought them on behalf of the groups that brought -- that
were interested in these cases.

MATTHEWS: OK.

ELIAS: And we`re going to keep plowing forward.

MATTHEWS: Well, good luck with your cause. I love your cause. I
think it`s really important to this country in a nonpartisan way. I don`t
think anybody should have a hard time voting. Voting should be a delight.
It should be something you`re proud of and it`s not impossible to do.

Anyway, thank you, Marc Elias, for the cause you`re in.

(CROSSTALK)

ELIAS: Thank you.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Joining me right now is Sherrilyn Ifill. She`s president
of the NAACP LEGAL DEFENSE FUND.

Sherrilyn, thank you again for joining us.

What do you make of this? Because I look at states like Pennsylvania,
where the Republican leaders openly brag about how they play this game, how
they make it harder to people to vote. And then I see the court is
generally against this kind of hanky-panky or shenanigans, and still it`s
an uphill battle to keep fighting against this effort to restrict the vote.

SHERRILYN IFILL, PRESIDENT, NAACP LEGAL DEFENSE AND EDUCATIONAL FUND:
It absolutely is.

And, Chris, you were talking with Marc Elias about these purple states
that we all focus on when we talk about national elections. Well, I`m a
civil rights lawyer. I`m not a lawyer for the Democratic Party. And so
the places where we have brought cases challenging, for example, voter
I.D., are, you know, cases -- states that are not the purple states.

It`s in Texas, where we litigated and won our voter I.D. case last
year. It`s now in the court of appeals. South Carolina in 2012. Alabama,
the place of Shelby County, we litigated the Shelby County case. We
believe that this is an issue about citizenship and about democratic
participation, not necessarily about the outcome of a presidential
election.

And what we sometimes forget, Chris, but I know that you know really
well, local politics is critically important, especially in the South.
It`s the county commission races. It`s the water district. It`s the
constable races. It`s the justice of the peace. It`s the local elected
judges.

It`s those leaders that have real control over the lives African-
Americans in small towns and communities throughout the South. And we
shouldn`t forget, when we just look at the presidential elections and the
swing states, that just as much damage can be done by voter suppression at
the local level in states that are really not in play in terms of the
presidential election.

MATTHEWS: I`m getting a word that Secretary Clinton tomorrow is going
the call for a national standard of 20 days of early voting across the
country. Now, each state, of course, sets its own rules, but -- election
rules. Do you think that`s going to help, a standard?

IFILL: Well, I think it`s going help to have her -- I think it`s
going help to have her saying it.

It certainly would help to have it happen, but it`s going to help to
have her saying it. I think Americans instinctively feel, as you said,
that voting should be easier, that it should it be a joy, a delight, I
think you called it.

MATTHEWS: Yes. I love voting.

IFILL: And all of these efforts to try and keep people from voting,
it`s anti -- it`s anti-democratic.

And if you even take the race lens off it, it is -- it goes to the
fundamental essence of citizenship in this country. That`s how we express
who we are as citizens in the most powerful way, is by voting. So these
efforts are so cynical. They`re so anti-democratic. And when you layer
the racial piece on it, they`re so pernicious.

This is an issue -- and that`s why Secretary Clinton is speaking about
it. I think she recognizes that there are two issues that African-American
voters are going to be focused on this year, 2015 and 2016. And if you`re
not talking about these two issues, you`re not talking to African-American
voters.

MATTHEWS: I think...

(CROSSTALK)

IFILL: One is the issue of policing reform.

MATTHEWS: Right.

IFILL: One is policing reform that she talked about a couple of weeks
ago. And the other is voting.

MATTHEWS: Sure.

And I think one of the powerful groups in this country are African-
American Republicans. It`s not a large group, but if they were to blow the
whistle and say, we`re not staying in this party as long as you stop our
people from voting, that would make noise. And they would probably stop
doing it under that kind of pressure.

Anyway, thank you so much, Sherrilyn Ifill. Thanks for joining us.

IFILL: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: Up next: President Obama says he is the closest thing to a
Jew than anyone who has ever been president. Well, we`re going to go
through that one in a few minutes, and we`re going to get to the bottom of
that, if you can.

And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

Well, President Obama gave an interview to Israeli TV this week in an
effort to sell a nuclear deal with Iran. It was a little counterlobbying,
if you will, to Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu`s huge push here in
the States to oppose the deal.

Well, in the interview, the president voiced his skepticism about
Netanyahu`s commitment to a two-state solution. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think that when he
spoke right before the election, he was fairly unequivocal in saying that
it wouldn`t happen during his prime ministership.

I think, subsequently, his statements have suggested that there is the
possibility of a Palestinian state. But it has so many caveats, so many
conditions, that it is not realistic to think that those conditions would
be met any time in the near future.

QUESTION: Right.

OBAMA: And so the danger here is that Israel, as a whole, loses
credibility.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, it`s comments from a former senior adviser to
President Obama that are getting a lot of attention right now, today, in
fact.

In a separate interview with Israeli TV, David Axelrod paraphrased
what he recalled the president himself once telling him -- quote -- "You
know, I think I am the closest thing to a Jew that has ever sat in this
office. For people to say that I am anti-Israeli or, even worse, anti-
Semitic, it hurts."

That`s the president as paraphrased by David Axelrod. Anyway, critics
have questioned that the president, President Obama, could think he is the
closest thing to a Jew to ever hold the office. But does he have a point
right there?

Well, Jeremy Ben-Ami is the president of J Street, an advocacy group
that calls itself pro-Israel and pro-peace, which I believe it is.

Let me ask you about that. I know it`s very tricky about anybody
outside a group to talk about being inside a group. Toni Morrison famously
once said that Bill Clinton was the first black president, before we had a
real first black president.

What do you make of that comment? What do you think he means?

(CROSSTALK)

JEREMY BEN-AMI, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, J STREET: I think he means he has
grown up, educationally and then also in work, around a group of very
intellectual Jewish liberals who shared his commitment to civil rights and
equal rights and working for those who have less and need more.

And that`s what he viewed to be the Jewish ethic.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

BEN-AMI: And he saw it in school, and he saw it in his law firm, he
saw it in everything that he did. And so I think he considers himself in a
sense to be an honorary member of the tribe, in that sense.

MATTHEWS: I know exactly what he means.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: I think he means in terms of sort of literary tastes,
political tastes, lifestyle decisions, values, what you hold. He says, you
know, I keep noticing that I pretty much agree with these folks I have been
hanging around with on almost that stuff, in fact, all of it, except I
didn`t come from where they came from.

Anyway, the idea -- this is where this gets hot -- the idea of a two-
state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been bipartisan
foreign policy, we all know, for decades. That could change in 2016. A
number of Republican candidates have stated they are opposed. Even Jeb
Bush, who says he supports it as a concept, has expressed doubt it`s
possible.

His spokesman said -- quote -- "Both sides must be represented by
leaders who have the ability to uphold the promise made at the negotiating
table, something the Palestinian people do not have right now. Israel is
right to be skeptical of the Palestinian leadership`s ability to deliver."

His fellow Republicans go much further. Here they are.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUESTION: Do you continue to support a two-state solution?

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don`t think the
conditions exist for that today. I mean, that`s the ideal outcome. But
the conditions for a two-state solution at this moment do not exist.

QUESTION: do you think that Israel should dismantle the settlements?

RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No. The bottom line is
that is legitimately Israeli country. And they have a right to do within
their country, just like we have a right to do within our country.

MIKE HUCKABEE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There is no real
legitimate two-state solution to be had. It`s a wonderful political
concept, but having two different governments, one of whom doesn`t really
even acknowledge the existence of the other one, trying to govern the same
piece of real estate is utterly unrealistic.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Israel is a sovereign
nation. And I trust the leaders of Israel to decide whether -- whether
they want to adopt a one-state solution or a two-state solution. So, what
I`m saying is, we should trust Israel to make that determination.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Meanwhile, Ben Carson, Dr. Ben Carson, said: "I don`t have
any problem with the Palestinians having a state, but does it need to be
within the confines of Israeli territory? Is that necessary, or can you
sort of slip that area down into Egypt?"

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: I don`t know what to say about Dr. Carson. He is a smart
man, but he is talking about creating a Palestinian state in some other
place, in Egypt.

These people, it`s either high pander or it`s high ignorance. What do
they mean? You`re the expert. What are they going to do with all the Arab
people that live in the territories? What are they going to do with them?

BEN-AMI: Well, there`s 12 million people between the Jordan River and
the Mediterranean Sea. Half of them are Jewish and half of them aren`t.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

BEN-AMI: And what are you going to do with the other half?

MATTHEWS: You annex, you annex, even do it formally, legally, do
whatever you want, all the pencil work you want, and they`re still with
you.

BEN-AMI: And the question is, can Israel survive as a democracy and
be the national homeland of the Jewish people if you don`t have two states?
The pro-Israel position is to be for two states.

To question two states, you lose either Israel`s democracy or you lose
it as a national...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: That`s an old debate. And I know that conflict since I was
over there in -- when I got out of the Peace Corps in `71. It`s a
conundrum.

And these people that make these blithe statements, I think they`re
pandering to millions of evangelical voters and a couple of very pro-
Israeli right-wing guys with some money. And everybody knows what is going
on here.

BEN-AMI: Right. And they`re not pandering to the Jewish voter...

MATTHEWS: No.

BEN-AMI: ... because 80 percent of the Jewish voters support a two-
state solution.

MATTHEWS: I know.

And, you know, when you get to Israel, you`re going to have a great
argument over there. Only in the Republican Party is the argument over
with.

BEN-AMI: Right.

MATTHEWS: It`s a ridiculous bunch of people, pander bears, pander
bears.

Anyway, thank you, Jeremy Ben-Ami.

BEN-AMI: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: And good luck with your organization.

BEN-AMI: Appreciate it.

MATTHEWS: I think you`re trying hard for peace.

Up next: a grim reminder of the dangers facing this country.
Authorities in Boston say a suspect up there wanted to behead police
officers.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

The Pentagon now says live anthrax was mistakenly sent to 51 labs in
17 states, more than twice as many as first reported. Three foreign
countries also received samples.

In South Korea, hundreds of schools are set to close due to an
outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome. More than 1,000 people are
being quarantined; 29 have been infected.

And, in China, rescuers are cutting into the hull of a sunken cruise
ship, hoping to find survivors there; 26 people are confirmed dead, and
more than 400 are missing after the ship sank Monday in bad weather -- back
to HARDBALL.

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

We`re learning more now about that bloody confrontation up in Boston
where, yesterday, 26-year-old Usaama Rahim was shot and killed by police.
According to government authorities, Rahim was planning a terrorist attack
that would specifically target men in uniform, policemen. The plot
included beheading them, beheading policemen.

One of Rahim`s associates, David Wright, was arrested and charged in
federal court today with conspiracy. Rahim was being monitored using
police -- actually phone surveillance, a key element, which is relevant,
obviously, given the ongoing debate these days about government
surveillance in the NSA.

Anyway, over the weekend, Rand Paul led an effort in the Senate to
temporarily halt the government`s ability to collect new phone records
under the Patriot Act. Yesterday, the Senate approved legislation to
restart the operations in a deal that keeps phone records in the hands of
phone companies, at least until they`re usable.

Anyway, the roundtable tonight, April Ryan is White House
correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks, Sean Sullivan is reporter
with "The Washington Post", and Heidi Przybyla is a political reporter with
Bloomberg.

This is a story only in the last hour before the program got wind of.
It`s a combination of everything. These are African American guys, but the
overlay or rather the base story here is about ethnicity. It`s about
conversion to Islam and radicalization coming on its heels. And then this
focus of going after police officers, April.

APRIL RYAN, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORKS: Well, you know --

MATTHEWS: I mean, targeting them for beheading.

RYAN: Right, this is what we`re hearing now.

But before then, people were wondering if this was Baltimore. That`s
not there at all. The Baltimore piece is gone. But what this does, when
we talk about this surveillance, the national security piece, it kind of
puts a spotlight on what the president was saying, this is needed. And,
you know, we worry about civil liberties and things of that nature. But
what would have happened if we did not have this?

And it also shines a light on the fact that we are getting this right.
We got it right in this instance with this young man who was talking --
well, he and another person who could have been lone wolfs in the name of
ISIS.

MATTHEWS: Yes, I know. Shawn, this is unbelievable. Because these
lone wolfs are people that are self-starters. They`re like entrepreneurs
of hell. They decide I`m going to go kill some people. I can convert
myself. I can convert over the Internet. I can go home at night and watch
some stuff and -- well, this is what I want to do. It`s also people that
aren`t too happy with their lives probably.

But how does the government find out who those people are? Who fits?

SEAN SULLIVAN, THE WASHINGTON POST POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes, I think a
case like, this coming at a time when the surveillance debate is under the
national spotlight, it turns something that is a hypothetical into a
tangible.

MATTHEWS: Remember, Rand Paul said this weekend some of my critics
are hoping there will be something going wrong and then I`ll be -- I`m
sorry, I`ll blame them --

APRIL: Then, they`ll blame me.

MATTHEWS: They`ll blame me.

SULLIVAN: I mean, we`re already seeing some congressional Republicans
kind of come out and spotlight this case as to say, look, this is an
instance that shows why we need these authorities. It will be interesting
in the coming days to see how many more people do this, and also who pushes
back and says, look, it`s not the fact that we need these authorities that
is going to help us stop prosecuting these cases.

MATTHEWS: Well, all politics is local, and that begins with yourself.
And just like -- most people look out for themselves, 61 percent of the
American people, six out of ten, Heidi, would like to see surveillance. I
don`t think they know about the nuance whether the phone company keeps the
records or the NSA. But they want people under surveillance.

HEIDI PRZYBYLA, BLOOMBERG NEWS POLITICAL REPORTER: And this is a case
where the nuance is very important, Chris, because even though this is a
fresh story, we`re already finding out that the type of surveillance that
was being conducted to intercept this guy in Boston was not the bulk data
program that was just expired by Congress. It was a more specific targeted
surveillance program which is still in effect and was never under the
threat of being rolled back by Congress.

That said, it`s certainly going to play into this broader narrative at
a time when you the whole country very worried about the threat of
terrorist attacks on our soil.

MATTHEWS: Yes, as I mentioned on Sunday, Senator Rand Paul accused
his critics of wanting there to be an attack so they could rub it in his
face. Here is Paul saying that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: The people who argue that the world
will end and we will be overrun by jihadists tonight are trying to use
fear. They want to take just a little bit of your liberty, but they get it
by making you afraid. They want you to fear and give up your liberty.

People here in town think I`m making a huge mistake. Some of them I
think secretly want there to be an attack on the United States so they can
blame it on me. They`ll be the first to point fingers and say, oh, yes,
it`s all your fault. We never should have given up on this great program.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, Senator Paul later walked back his comments about his
critics hoping for an attack in the U.S., saying the heat of the battle got
the better of him.

You know, here is a great question. What are we more afraid of?
Always afraid of something, checking under your bed, locking the doors at
night. Are we more afraid of ISIS penetrating into the country and getting
a lot of recruits so it`s a fairly normal occurrence that somebody attacks
you or the government coming after you?

Personally -- well, I`m going ask you all. I will poll this focus
group now. Are you more worried about the big government or big bad ISIS
coming?

RYAN: I`m worried about being protected.

MATTHEWS: ISIS?

RYAN: Yes. And I`m thinking back to 2001, 3,000 people were killed.

MATTHEWS: I know.

SULLIVAN: I think a majority of the American people are more scared
about the terrorist threat. We`ve seen that in polls.

PRZYBYLA: Absolutely terrorists.

MATTHEWS: So, here`s the question that gets back to us. When we --
when we found out who committed the crime of 9/11, you mentioned, and we
saw stuff, we saw Mohamed Atta, the leader, we saw him getting his money at
the ATM. We saw him going into some local store to buy some stuff, my God,
they had, it was like -- I don`t know what they had, everything on the guy,
all day, all on tape. We realized that we are being watched.

And when we had the Boston bombing, we realized the surveillance
cameras were all over the place. So, technologically, we have a lot of
capability to watch people. Do we want to be watched? Heidi?

PRZYBYLA: We`re seeing at the same time we have a lot of these
terrorist attacks on our own soil being plotted that were also getting a
lot more information about the extent of that surveillance that is going
on. So, I think as with everything, it`s a question of balance and getting
the information out to the public. For example, letting the public know
that there was two independent commissions that found that we have never
intercepted a terrorist whose proven to be a terrorist with the bulk data
collection.

MATTHEWS: With the metadata, with just who called who.

Anyway, by the way, watching "Good Wife", it seems like Kalinda, the
investigator on the show always comes up with some sort of surveillance
tape that cracks the case.

Anyway, the roundtable is staying with us.

Up next, big labor is playing it rough. They`re using muscle, I think
they will admit to scare Democrats vetoing for the free trade deal,
especially TPA.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: House Republicans have a new strategy in their never-ending
investigation into Benghazi. According to "Politico", they`re threatening
to withhold funding from the State Department until officials speed up
their responses to document requests. The House Appropriations Committee
has proposed 2016`s spending bill withhold 15 percent of the department`s
budget, quote, "until requirements related to proper management of Freedom
of Information Act and electronic communications are met."

Anyway, a State Department spokesman says cutting funding would be
counterproductive and would only slow down the ability to meet those
document requests.

We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: We are back.

Anyway, the fight over trade has moved from the Senate to the House,
of course, where a vote to grant President Obama trade promotional
authority is going down to the wire. The president and his Republican
allies on this issue need 217 votes in the House, despite the Republican
majority, the measure is going to need a significant number of Democratic
votes over there.

The debate is getting nasty. Organized labor has vowed to pressure
votes against the president. And some of the unions are flexing their
muscle now to strong-arm House Democrats into voting no.

This AFL-CIO is running this ad against California Democrat Ami Bera
who is supporting fast track.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, POLITICAL AD)

NARRATOR: Congressman Ami Bera will do anything to keep his job,
including shipping your job overseas.

He`s supporting so-called fast track trade authority, same kind of
trade deal that`s already meant millions of loss jobs. We need your
congressman to fight for your job not his job.

Call Congressman Ami Bera and tell him to vote no on fast track.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: And "Politico" reported last week, the AFL-CIO was blunt in
a call that went out to Representative Scott Peters, a Democrat who
represents San Diego. Quote, "Vote yes on fast track authority and the
transpacific partnership, and then spend a million dollars to knock them
out in next year`s primary. If he managed to win that primary, drop
another million against him in the general election."

One Democrat on the fence, Louisiana Democrat Cedric Richmond of New
Orleans says he`s turned off by labor`s tactics and said of AFL-CIO`s
Richard -- the president, Richard Trumka, "I was leaning no, but the more
Trumka and others start to talk, the more I lean the other way."

Back with our panel, April, Sean and Heidi.

Heidi, you`re following this close. This is coming down to a couple
votes it seems next week.

PRZYBYLA: I mean, this is a very small handful of Democrats we`re
talking about, and the AFL-CIO is absolutely going nuts on them. They are
running ads. They have pulled all their money from everything else and put
it toward beating up on these Democrats, which is really irritating, that`s
the word the third ranking Democrat Representative James Clyburn uses,
really irritating Democrats, because one, it`s taking money from
specifically a lot of the congressional backed caucus members who need it,
and it`s also compromising potentially these seats in helping the
Republicans.

MATTHEWS: Are they doing this tough guy act? And I see why they`re
doing it, to save jobs. But are they going to lose this fight or they want
revenge for losing it? Are they going to pass it, or are they still want
to scare people?

RYAN: All of the above. They want to show that they have the power,
they want to use their muscle literally. Labor is showing they want to use
their muscle. They`ve done the same thing -- they did the same thing with
NAFTA with Bill Clinton. They were calling many congressional leaders to
include members of the Congressional Black Caucus saying, if you vote for
NAFTA, you will not --

MATTHEWS: Guess who`s for this TPA? Bill Clinton.

RYAN: Right. But listen to this, Bill Clinton when he was with
NAFTA, he made it a point to pick up the phone and personally invite
congressional leaders over, so that they wouldn`t, made the case.

MATTHEWS: Is Obama doing that?

RYAN: No, he isn`t. Maybe Obama needs to do --

MATTHEWS: He isn`t?

RYAN: No, he is not bringing people over, or bringing the members
over to the White House.

MATTHEWS: Well, is he making calls? What`s he doing, Obama?

RYAN: He`s making calls but not bringing --

PRZYBYLA: He`s making calls. This is a big priority for him. But
you are right, I talked to members who are there for NAFTA, Clinton had a
full on war room targeting these members. And there was a pay to play
atmosphere going on around it as well.

RYAN: Air Force One --

PRZYBYLA: At the same time, I`ll make a point about the AFL and that
is that part of this is also, they are running scared that their bluff will
be called and that the election will come around, what are they going to
do? Are they really going to campaign against these vulnerable Democrats
to help elect Republicans who are then going to vote to bust unions and
vote for right to work laws?

So, that`s why these Democrats are a little bit I think not
necessarily taking back --

RYAN: I think Obama may need to take a page out of the Clinton book.
If he`s so close, the way he wants it, he may need to bring them over and
talk to them. The personal touch always reaches --

MATTHEWS: This hits a familiar cord with the president. He`s not
warm and fuzzy enough with the members. He doesn`t bring them into his
heart and soul.

SULLIVAN: Yes, this is a criticism we`ve heard over and over again
about this president, that he doesn`t engage with members of Congress the
way that he should or the way that maybe he could. But, you know, when you
look at this issue, you see how sensitive this is in the Democratic Party.
Look at Hillary Clinton, the way she`s navigated this, she`s kind of
playing the fence. She`s not backing Obama on this.

MATTHEWS: One said to somebody, I don`t need you when I`m right.

Anyway, thank you, April Ryan. Thank you, Sean Sullivan. They love
my sense of humor. And, Heidi Przybyla, thank you.

When we return, let me finish with the latest shenanigans by the
Republican Party as they try to keep Democratic voters from the polls.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this:

We learn tonight that the Republican Party is out to win the 2016 by a
strategy of winning the most votes of those who, they, the Republicans,
permit to vote. Well, this is interesting stuff, isn`t it?

Instead of letting the people decide who to vote for, the politicians
here decide who they led to vote in the first place. They select the
voters instead of the other way around.

Well, the sheer brazenness of this move is one thing we can all agree
on -- seeing the demographic changes on the way, the rise of the minorities
in the American population, the rising number of single people, and the
changing attitudes of younger people on matters such as same sex marriage,
the big thinkers in the Republican Party decide their best bet is to make
it simply harder for certain groups to vote.

Let`s look at who the GOP brain trusts like to see on election day:
older people who live in big cities, especially minorities. People who
don`t have driver`s licenses. Young people away from home and college.
People who tend to vote for Democratic candidates.

Making it harder for these people to vote is daylight robbery for the
people in state capitols, relentless in finding ways to better their
chances in the next election.

What`s staggering here is the failure by Democrats and others not to
blow the whistle on these shenanigans, which is exactly what they are.

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

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.


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