updated 6/16/2015 9:09:00 AM ET 2015-06-16T13:09:00

Show: HARDBALL
Date: June 15, 2015
Guest: Lissa Muscatine, Jake Sherman, Evan Thomas

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Her weekend without Bernie.

Let`s play HARDBALL.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), FMR. SEC. OF STATE, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:
America can`t succeed unless you succeed.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

CLINTON: That is why I am running for president of the United States!

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.

You want a fight? You got one. Like Stephen Curry answering LeBron
James last night, Hillary Clinton has spent the weekend putting up her
points. Let Bernie Sanders, the self-styled socialist, charge up Wall
Street, she`s working Main Street, promising to create equal opportunity
for the rest of us.

You wondered what the Clinton campaign was missing? Well, now we know
it. It was an opponent, someone to light up her engine. And thank God
this thing isn`t going to be boring after all.

David Axelrod was senior adviser to President Obama. Eugene
Robinson`s a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist with "The Washington Post."
And Lissa Muscatine was Hillary Clinton`s chief speech writer and senior
adviser.

And today at a press conference in New Hampshire, Hillary Clinton
picked up where she left off after the weekend`s big announcement speech.
While Bernie Sanders is out there going after concentrated wealth, Clinton
says that there is nothing wrong with success. Let`s watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: I don`t think Americans are against success. I think
Americans are against people who get on the top of the ladder and start
pulling it up so nobody else has the same chance that they had and then act
as though, you know, they pulled themselves up by the bootstraps and the
log cabin they built themselves.

I mean, at some point, we`re all in this together, and those of us who
do have opportunities ought to be doing more to help other people have the
same.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Pay attention to that. Now, compare it to what we heard
from Bernie Sanders the day he announced for president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This campaign
starting today is going to send a message to the billionaire class, and
that is you can`t have it all! To the billionaire class, I that say your
greed has got to end! You cannot take advantage of all of the benefits of
America if you refuse to accept your responsibilities!

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Gene Robinson, I see a battle here, a battle royale, which
I hope will get hotter and tighter and sharper because I think Hillary
Clinton has today staked out the standard Democratic mainstream position,
which is we`re here for getting the boats to go up, the tide to rise.
We`re not here just to lead charges against Wall Street. Very different, I
thought, than what he was offering.

EUGENE ROBINSON, "WASHINGTON POST," MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Look,
it`s definitely a battle. I don`t know if it`s going to actually grow into
a battle royale...

MATTHEWS: It needs to!

(LAUGHTER)

ROBINSON: No, I mean...

MATTHEWS: What are you going to talk about?

(CROSSTALK)

ROBINSON. Well, that would be great, and we need to talk about it.
In fact, it`s going to be very interesting because, you know, each of --
each of them is trying to talk to the soul of the Democratic Party, and she
is delivering what is essentially the traditional Democratic message.

MATTHEWS: She`s a Democrat, and he`s a socialist. He says he is!
I`m not knocking the guy! He is what he is. He`s finally saying what
socialism means today. It means take from the very rich and use it for
school programs and stuff like that.

Anyway, does the Democratic Party want to grow the pie or redistribute
the pie? This weekend, Hillary Clinton talked about profits for everyone.
Let`s watch her.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: In the coming weeks, I`ll propose specific policies to
reward businesses who invest in long-term value, rather than the quick buck
because that leads to higher growth for the economy, higher wages for
workers, and yes, bigger profits. Everybody will have a better time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, yesterday, Bernie Sanders, the senator from Vermont,
spoke about massive wealth redistribution.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANDERS: There has been a massive redistribution of wealth which has
gone from the middle class and working families to the top one tenth of 1
percent. We`re going to take some of that money back for the middle class.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, David, there`s the fight. I think Hillary says we
can all do well if the rich start to pay their share and everybody else
gets some opportunity. Bernie`s much more -- well, more socialist about
it. He`s basically saying, OK, let`s go get the money they got and give it
to the people that need it. Different point of view, I think.

DAVID AXELROD, FMR. OBAMA SR. ADVISER, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well,
look, we`ve got a situation where people now are -- the median income in
this country is about what it was in 1989, and there is a great deal of
anxiety about that and there is a great deal of anger about what is seen as
the rigging of the system. That is real.

But I think Hillary`s fundamental approach reflects the mainstream of
the Democratic Party. And I don`t really believe -- I think she`s going to
be the nominee of the party. I think people will have a fling with Bernie.
Bernie`s like a great fun date because you know he`s not going to be around
too long.

(LAUGHTER)

AXELROD: And I Think you`re going to see people -- you`re going to
see people flirt with that. But at the end of the day, I think she`s going
to be the nominee and she`s going to incorporate elements of a more
populist agenda but it`s going to be in a growth frame.

MATTHEWS: Well, that`s interesting. Lissa, what do you think? Do
you think...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: I love the metaphor, not the one-night stand, that`s too
gross, but the idea that, you know, he`s the wild kid in this case. He`s
the fun one to date for a while, but you know, when it comes time to marry
somebody, it ain`t going to be Bernie Sanders -- politically.

LISSA MUSCATINE, FMR. HILLARY CLINTON SPEECH WRITER: No, that`s -- I
mean, obviously, I agree with that, and I think -- and I think David is
right. Look, they both agree about one fundamental problem, and that is
that...

MATTHEWS: I`m not interested in what they agree about.

MUSCATINE: No, but...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: I`m you right now. You`re on the wrong show!

(CROSSTALK)

MUSCATINE: You`re not going to goad me into changing. No, I mean,
they agree that income inequality is the biggest problem facing the
country, and the different prescriptions are what...

MATTHEWS: Can you explain the difference?

MUSCATINE: Well, no, I mean, he`s -- as you said, he`s more about
redistribution of wealth. She`s more about growth for everyone and having
everybody have a bigger share of the pie. Her problem is the pie is this
big, and the very small, small, small fraction of people are getting the
bulk of it. And so she`s about having everybody get more of it, and she`s
been pretty clear about that. And he`s about, I think, more punitive ways
of going about it.

MATTHEWS: Is she smarter not to be so punitive? Is she smart to be
more like, Hey, we`re all in this together, rather than, We got to go to
war against the rich? Is that a smart move in the mood today of the party?

MUSCATINE: Well, I don`t know about...

(CROSSTALK)

MUSCATINE: ... but I think it`s who she is.

MATTHEWS: David, when you register (ph) the party right now, would
you say the party -- I think it`s more to the left, clearly, and clearly,
Hillary has notched herself a bit to the left of herself before, and her
husband, certainly, and she says so.

But is it more angry, and you have to get angry and actually snarl a
bit, really show you`re out to get the rich? Do you have to do that?

AXELROD: Well, I don`t know about out to get the rich, but I do think
that people think that there -- there`s -- there are inequities there. And
the biggest thing is if you`re for a growth Democrat, then you need to get
the money somewhere to invest in education, to invest in research and
development, to invest in infrastructure and invest in the pillars of
growth, and it has to come from the people who have gotten the benefit of
the economy over the last so many years at -- at -- at -- in exponential...

MATTHEWS: How do you do it?

AXELROD: ... rates.

MATTHEWS: How do you do it with a Republican Congress?

AXELROD: Well, that`s the issue that has -- I mean, that is a big
issue because Hillary said she`s going to be a better negotiator with
Congress, and I think people see her as someone who can navigate Washington
perhaps even better than President Obama.

But it`s going to be hard because anything that is labeled spending is
dead on arrival in this Congress, and that`s going to be a problem for any
Democratic president.

MATTHEWS: OK, let me -- Gene, you next. When it comes to Wall
Street, Hillary Clinton has scolded the financial community. Here she is
at this Saturday`s big announcement. Here she is here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: The financial industry and many multi-national corporations
have created huge wealth for a few by focusing too much on short-term
profit and too little on long-term value.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, she`s for long-term investments. Here`s Sanders,
Senator Sanders, on the other (ph), and he sounds like he wants to destroy
Wall Street. Much different tone here.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANDERS: Wall Street cannot continue to be an island unto itself,
gambling trillions in risky financial instruments while expecting the
public to bail it out. If a bank is too big to fail, that bank is too big
to exist!

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: That`s strong talk there, very strong.

ROBINSON: Yes. Well, I think the sweet spot is right in between
those two statements, and it`s where Elizabeth Warren has been on this
issue and where some of Hillary`s rhetoric has also gone in that direction,
and that is the system is rigged. The system is rigged against middle
class people...

MATTHEWS: She`s not talking like that now!

ROBINSON: Well, but she has been talking like that.

MATTHEWS: Has been. I think there`s...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Lissa, you`ve written for her, and I tell you, I get the
feeling this speech was very worked on, a lot of -- I think she had a lot
to do with writing. It wasn`t as good a speech, I think, as Jeb`s was
today. Jeb had a professional speech. He may not have written a word of
it, but it sang. Hers was much more her, you know, the kind of speech that
a regular person would write, didn`t you think?

MUSCATINE: Well...

MATTHEWS: It wasn`t a speech writer`s dream.

MUSCATINE: It was a political -- you know, it was a political speech.
I...

MATTHEWS: But it was her.

MUSCATINE: Yes, no, I mean...

MATTHEWS: "My mom."

MUSCATINE: Her mother, she`s laying out her life story and how that -
- how the values that she believes have connected the values of the country
that connect to where she wants to take the country. And I think that`s
what you want out of a speech like that.

And you know, the press constantly beats up on her about not having
enough detail, so she threw in probably way more policy detail than is
usually done in these kinds of launch speeches. But I think that was, you
know, probably a little bit preemptive...

MATTHEWS: Yes.

MUSCATINE: ... because she knew she was going to get creamed if she
didn`t do that.

But it was also good. I mean, I saw a reporter a couple days ago who
said, I loved all that. It really told me, you know, what she`s going to
do about, you know, early childhood education and so on and so forth.

MATTHEWS: She`s always been there. I agree with you.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: You`re laughing over there in the bleachers. What do you
think was funny in what you just heard there because, listen...

AXELROD: Well, I thought -- I thought...

MATTHEWS: You`re chuckling at her.

AXELROD: I thought it showed supreme confidence. She`s so confident
that she`s going to get elected president that she actually gave a State of
the Union speech early, which I think is...

MATTHEWS: I complete agree with you!

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Did you see her today? I thought it was so presidential,
and I`m not her biggest fan normally, although I`m becoming more -- I have
to say that I like the fact that she has this guy, Nick Merrill (ph), the
young press guy that works for her now -- he was down calling on press
people in order, just like they do in press conferences.

Wasn`t that a big development, David, that she can now say who gets to
ask -- poor Andrea Mitchell, the best in the business, didn`t get to, like,
eighth today because they`re deciding who gets to ask the questions, I
noticed.

AXELROD: Yes. We`ll see how long that lasts.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: What do you think? Do you think that`s going to be a
problem?

AXELROD: I`ll tell you...

MATTHEWS: Anyway, I think she was great, top of her game today
because I think she was defining herself, and as every politician going
back to Murray Chotiner in the Nixon days, and Al Gore, if you don`t define
yourself very carefully where she wants to be somewhere left of center but
not too far left, somebody else will.

Anyway, Hillary Clinton is taking a cautious approach, clearly, on the
hot button issue of trade, being very careful. Here`s what she said
yesterday about the president`s big TPP trade deal, very careful.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: There are the voices -- you`ve heard them -- that are for
the deal no matter what`s in it, and there are the voices that are against
the deal, no matter what`s in it. Well, I kind of fall in the group that
says, Let`s find out what`s in it and let`s make it as good as it can be
and then let`s make a decision.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Very interesting. Now, watch how much that sounds a lot
like her husband did back in 1992 in the race when he was talking about
NAFTA. Here`s Bill Clinton in the 1992 debates.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. BILL CLINTON (D-AR), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I am the one who`s in
the middle on this. Mr. Perot says it`s a bad deal. Mr. Bush says it`s a
hunky-dory deal. I say on balance, it does more good than harm, if -- if -
- we can get some protection for the environment so that the Mexicans have
to follow their own environmental standards, their own labor law standards,
and if we have a genuine commitment to reeducate and retrain the American
workers who lose their jobs and reinvest in this economy.

I have a realistic approach to trade. I want more trade. And I know
there`s some good things in that agreement, but it can sure be made better.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: That is masterful, David Axelrod, a masterful way of
finessing the issue, to put it nicely, so that he could support it after he
became president without offending the unions on the way to becoming
president. Brilliant piece of work there, I thought. Your thoughts.

AXELROD: Yes, you know...

MATTHEWS: And Hillary`s trying to do the same.

AXELROD: Yes. It was a little bit easier for President Clinton
because he wasn`t the secretary of state in charge when these negotiations
began. And when she left in December of 2012, she was in Australia, she
called the TPP -- she said it was going to be the gold standard for...

MATTHEWS: Yes, I know.

AXELROD: ... trade agreements. So this is very, very freighted for
her. This is difficult terrain to navigate because she owned this to some
degree, and now she has to try and navigate through it. So it`s going to
be challenging for her.

MATTHEWS: I was trying to be nice to her, and you`re dragging me back
in. Anyway...

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: I just want to say, by the way, one other fraught aspect --
her husband is clearly for this. If somebody can find him, he will say so.
Bill Clinton, I heard him in Tokyo, 100 percent said this was a magnificent
bill. Anyway, now he won`t be heard from for a while now.

Anyway, thank you, David Axelrod...

AXELROD: Thank you. Good to be with you.

MATTHEWS: ... for being a little tougher on Hillary than I was.
Eugene Robinson, thank you, sir. And Lissa, we`ll have you back, Lissa
Muscatine, who wrote some of these great words over the years.

Coming up -- President Obama badly wants the historic trade deal with
Asia. It would be his major achievement if he can still win it. He
believes it`s essential, by the way, as an American achievement. But after
Democrats handed him a whupping this Friday, what can he do now to save the
effort? Big question still alive.

Plus, Jeb Bush offers a bright, shining preview for 2016. Here he is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEB BUSH (R-FL), FMR. GOVERNOR, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`ve decided
I`m a candidate for president of the United States of America!

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: So Jeb`s been through the threshold. The question is, is
his party ready to lay out the red carpet? Apparently not.

And Hillary Clinton and the pull of history. Unlike 2008, she`s
embracing the possibility she would be the first woman president, and
actually the youngest woman president in history. It`s a magnet to
millions of Americans, and Republicans simply don`t have an answer to her.

Finally, "Let Me Finish" with the battle for the 2016 Democratic
presidential nomination, and we got one.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Well, what a story. The manhunt for those two escaped
killers from a maximum security prison up in New York state are now into
their 10th day of escape, with no sign of the pair anywhere.

Meanwhile, the prison worker who`s charged with helping the two
convicts get away was back in court today. And we got the latest now from
MSNBC`s Adam Reiss, who`s in Morrisonville, New York.

Adam, what is this little story now, this little leg to the story that
somehow, there may have been a plot to have the person who helped get these
guys out, that woman, to get the husband killed?

ADAM REISS, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, we don`t know much about that
because the district attorney isn`t saying much. But we do know she had a
very unusual relationship with these two guys. There was an alleged sexual
incident with David Sweat, and she had some kind of a romantic relationship
with Richard Matt, so much so that not only was she going to be the getaway
driver, but she was going to run off with them long-term -- Chris.

MATTHEWS: Wow. What about -- do we know anything about her plans
with (INAUDIBLE) I go back to the question about the husband. Nothing
there yet?

REISS: Nothing there yet. But I can tell you that there are a
thousands tips coming in, 800 searchers, but not one sighting of these two
convicted killers. Governor Cuomo said today that they could be anywhere.
Maybe they`re even in Mexico. But the searchers here on the ground say
they`re still here. There`s no reason to believe they went anymore else.
They believe they`re on foot, that they`re together somewhere in the dense
forest behind me. They say they will get them, it`s just a matter of time.

But you talk to residents here, and they say if they haven`t caught
them yet, they`re probably long gone -- Chris.

MATTHEWS: Yes, I think still think they could have hitchhiked out in
the middle of the night. Anyway, thank you, MSNBC`s Adam Reiss. What a
story.

We`ll be back after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), WISCONSIN: The Democrats abandoned their
president, the leader of their party in droves on a bill and a program that
they demanded as part of this that they had previously voted for
unanimously, that they asked as a part of this process. So to me, it was
stunning that they would do this to the leader of their party...

(CROSSTALK)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, that`s sticking it in.

Welcome back to HARDBALL. That was, of course, House Ways and Means
chair Paul Ryan talking about the trade vote that failed Friday. Ryan
worked with President Obama on passing the sweeping bill, crucial to the
president`s economic legacy, but it`s now on political life support.

Last week, the president and Republicans corralled enough votes to
pass trade promotion authority, otherwise known as fast track, but
Democrats tanked the trade package by voting down a workers` assistance
program they historically been supportive of.

Nancy Pelosi joined her caucus to block President Obama`s initiative.
Here she was.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: I will be voting
today to slow down the fast track to get a better deal for the American
people, bigger check, bigger paychecks, better infrastructure, help the
American people fulfill the American dream.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Boy, she looked tortured there.

Hillary Clinton, by the way, backed Pelosi yesterday in a swing
through Iowa. Here she is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The president
should listen to and work with his allies in Congress, starting with Nancy
Pelosi, who have expressed their concerns about the impact that a weak
agreement would have on our workers to make sure we get the best, strongest
deal possible, and, if we don`t get it, there should be no deal.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, that was carefully said by someone very much
finessing this issue.

"The Washington Post" writes today: "No one is declaring the trade
agenda dead, but as long as Clinton and Pelosi decline to lend a hand, its
prospects appear murkier than ever."

Anyway, President Obama`s former Chief of Staff Bill Daley said
Democrats are wrong to undercut the president here. Here he was yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAM DALEY, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: I feel strongly
that both from a policy sense and a political sense, it is very wrong for
the Democrats to undercut the president at this stage. This deal, though,
can still get done in the next couple of days.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, the House is expected to vote again sometime this
week.

For more on the president and his last-ditch effort to save this trade
agenda, I`m joined right now by David Corn, who is Washington bureau chief
for "Mother Jones," and Jake Sherman, who is congressional reporter for
Politico.

Jake, thanks for joining us. You`re the expert on this.

What`s the chances now? First of all, I thought Pelosi was pulled by
Rosa DeLauro and others on the progressive side of the Democratic Party who
just got to her with an argument, this is where the caucus is, you better
be with us. I think she didn`t want to be there, but she was there in the
end.

I think Bill Clinton is for this thing. I think Hillary Clinton
probably leaning towards being for the trade bill, but nobody wants to mess
with strong labor. Labor has never looked stronger. It`s almost like a
wounded animal is the most dangerous animal. And labor has been wounded by
losses on card check and fighting in Wisconsin. But they are very angry.
Don`t mess with them.

Let me ask, is there hope for either the Republicans or the Democrats
to save this bill?

JAKE SHERMAN, POLITICO: If there is hope, the path is certainly not
clear yet.

And here is the problem. If you listen to what Pelosi says and what
other Democratic dissenters say, they are voting against TAA to tank the
deal. So, as long as there is a deal on the table, nothing is going to
pass. I mean, Republicans are mulling of a couple options at this point.
They`re thinking about passing TPA, the fast track authority you spoke
about, without TAA.

They don`t they will be able to do that. But there is really no clear
sense about how this will get through. There is talk about jamming it in
another must-pass bill or another part of the trade agenda. But there`s
really no sense that the votes are there. And you`re right. Pelosi is in
a really tough spot. Her caucus is overwhelmingly against this trade deal
and there is really no unwinding from where we sit. Their position is kind
of firm at this point.

MATTHEWS: I want to get to the politics of this.

I know you don`t like the thing, and I know a lot of people that don`t
and I`m mixed on this. But let me tell you, I think the guy from New York
-- was it Greg Meeks? One of the guys said this weekend in the paper that
if this was just a simple bill they had to vote on the issues, it probably
would have gotten through without a lot of controversy. But nobody wants
to mess with labor right now. Labor is really hot on this thing.

DAVID CORN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think that`s true. I
think labor is hot on it for policy reasons.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Wait a minute, and solidarity reasons, too.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Give me the cases...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: ... workers and the teachers...

(CROSSTALK)

CORN: I think there are both.

MATTHEWS: About trade.

CORN: Well, they care about losing jobs and maybe union jobs, because
that weakens the union movement overall.

MATTHEWS: OK.

CORN: So, solidarity is actually something that is very important.

MATTHEWS: Do you think that`s the case? Do you think somebody who
works for the state or local government is worried that somebody working in
manufacturing will lose a job that will make them weaker as...

(CROSSTALK)

CORN: I think union leaders worry about that, yes. You don`t want on
only service sector to be unionized.

MATTHEWS: Or public sector.

CORN: So, I think that`s driving part of it from the union side.

And I think from the Democratic side, there are -- you talk to
Democratic members who are against this, and they are like 20,000 different
reasons, whether it`s...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Oh, it`s an easy vote. It ain`t complicated.

(CROSSTALK)

CORN: Just on policy.

MATTHEWS: I agree.

CORN: And the president, you know, did not do his job of...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Let me ask you this, Jake. You have been covering it.

The president starts on this show. We go out to Gerry Connolly out in
Virginia. We do one show on this. And I think that was an attempt to try
to build support. He never got past the 25, 26 Democrats. He got the more
-- the people from better-off places like Virginia that are zooming
economically with high-tech.

But you get back to the Rust Belt, where the Democratic Party is still
going to build its future across the Great Lakes areas, you know,
Pennsylvania all the way to Wisconsin, Iowa, all those states. Nobody up
there is for this. It`s still a geographic problem for the Democrats.
They want to build their future between the Northeast and Midwest. They
have lost the South and the Rockies. They only have the left coast, if you
will, and that parts of the country where it`s Rust Belt.

How do they build a case for trade in that part of the country?

SHERMAN: I don`t think they really care about building a case for
trade on a broad-based scale.

Obama wanted to pass this bill. He wanted to do it with the coalition
that he could cobble together to pass this bill. You saw 27, or 28, 29
Democrats who were for this bill. If it passed, he would have been
completely fine with that. He was looking at the end result.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

CORN: He came here to Capitol Hill and told people to play it
straight.

He didn`t get into a policy argument. He didn`t take any questions or
field any comments in a closed meeting of House Democrats. He`s looking at
this from a pragmatic point of view and wants to get it across the finish
line.

MATTHEWS: OK.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Does this hurt him with Iran? I`m worried about the big
stuff, ballistic missiles, the fact that we may have to have a fight where
we may have to go into Iran and start a war there. Is this going to make
him look weak? He can`t deliver to the ayatollahs? Do things like bounce
like that?

CORN: I think the Iranians will accept a deal, will cut a deal if
it`s basically in their interest. And...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: How about if he can`t deliver?

CORN: Well, he doesn`t -- if he signs the deal, the deal is a deal.
He doesn`t -- you don`t have to pass that deal. They can try to approve it
or disapprove it or take a backdoor way to undercut it. It`s not like this
trade accord. It doesn`t come through this type of deal.

So, it probably doesn`t help in giving him strength in negotiations.
But at the end of the day, the Iranians will accept that deal if they think
there is something in it for them, and we think there is something in it
for us.

MATTHEWS: Yes, they can be a rich country again. That`s a lot.

CORN: Well, they certainly could be.

MATTHEWS: Thank you, Jake Sherman. It`s great to have your reporting
here, and, David, as always, your counsel.

Up next, how did it all go wrong for Richard Nixon? Fascinating
segment coming up. I read the whole book. It`s really an amazing book.
Historian Evan Thomas out with a major new biography on Richard Nixon that
you will not believe. He joins us next.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

Since becoming the first president to resign from office, Richard
Nixon`s legacy has been obscured by the shadow of Watergate, of course.
However great his flaws, which ultimately cost him the presidency, Nixon
was a remarkable politician who overcame the odds through determination and
perseverance.

From 1952, for example, through 1972, 20 years later, a full
generation in U.S. history, Richard Nixon was every national ticket but one
over that whole spread of time. His ability to connect with average
Americans time and time again was eerily successful and underestimated by
historians.

A new book out, however, that is coming out tomorrow, "Being Nixon" by
Evan Thomas, sheds new light on the personal and political life of Richard
Nixon, examining the formative events that came to shape him. It`s a
compelling portrait of a politician who, as President Bill Clinton said at
his funeral of Nixon in 1994, deserved to be judged in the whole.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 1994)

BILL CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today is a day for his
family, his friends and his nation to remember President Nixon`s life in
totality. To them, let us say, may the day of judging President Nixon on
anything less than his entire life and career come to a close.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: I`m joined right now by author and historian Evan Thomas.

Evan, I think that`s exactly what you did in this book, looked at him
in its totality, obviously warts and all, lots of warts, but the whole
picture. In going through this exploration as a historian, what did you
find that grabbed you?

EVAN THOMAS, AUTHOR, "BEING NIXON": I was surprised -- you know, we
have this view of Nixon as being a dark and somber and even mean figure.

I was surprised that he tried -- he didn`t always succeed -- but he
tried to be a confident and happy person. Late at night, he would write
notes to himself about the need to be serene and joyful. He used the word
joy. He wanted to be that person.

Now, he didn`t always succeed at it. His haunting fears did get to
him. But he wanted to be that person. He was good at bucking up his own
aides. He was good with his family. He was a loving father. He was a
surprisingly good husband. He was a much more complex, tragic figure than
the common cartoon allows.

He was a -- just a fascinating -- I would argue the most fascinating
political figure of the 20th century.

MATTHEWS: I`m with you on that.

Let me ask you about the movies. I`m a movie nut, as you know. And
the fact he saw 500 movies either at Camp David or at the White House movie
theater...

THOMAS: Yes.

MATTHEWS: ... and that he would always say, even during a turkey of a
movie, or lemon, as you put it, he would say, stick with it, it`s going to
get better.

(LAUGHTER)

THOMAS: Yes.

MATTHEWS: And that was exactly the opposite of Jack Kennedy, who
would see a movie for five, 10 minutes, and say, let`s haul ourselves out
of here, this is no good, and make everybody leave with him.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: Nixon would be the last guy in the room. What is that,
just hope springs eternal, at least in the movie theater?

THOMAS: Yes.

I mean, I think Bill Safire said that Nixon approached Watergate the
way he approached the movies. He just kept hoping it was going to get
better, there was going to be a happy ending. Well, of course, there
wasn`t. But Nixon partly, because he could see the dark side, wanted to
believe that things would work out in the end.

And he tried to keep up the hope. You have that scene of him saying
goodbye on the helicopter.

MATTHEWS: Yes, we`re looking at it, yes.

THOMAS: Even on the helicopter, Eddie Cox said, "You will be back."
And Nixon just nodded his head, "Yes, I will be back."

He just -- he never lost faith.

MATTHEWS: Well, I want people to read the book, because there is so
much intrigue in this book. I don`t want to try to give it away because I
can`t. There is so much to it.

But one thing I worked when I worked on that book around these edges,
which was -- Eddie Cox once told me off -- it was the record, but it`s a
long time -- he basically said how great Pat Nixon was. We thought she was
plastic Pat. And he said, no, she looked out for me. She was a really
good person.

That`s something that is in your book as well. Pat Nixon was real --
well, there is a handsome picture of the couple there.

THOMAS: Yes. Look at how beautiful she is. Pat Nixon...

MATTHEWS: What do you make of that story, that she put up through
thick and thin, all the hell she put up with and never left him?

THOMAS: Nixon was like one of those guys in high school who couldn`t
believe his good luck marrying the most beautiful girl. Look at that early
picture. She was a knockout. She was gorgeous.

He was devoted to her. She helped him a lot of times when he felt
like quitting. She was the one who said, you can`t, you can`t do it, you
can`t do it to me and you can`t do it to your children. She hung in there
with him.

Now, ultimately, she did get worn out. By the end of Watergate, you
can tell from the photos she`s exhausted.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

THOMAS: She and the president really weren`t talking that much at the
end. Nixon told Rose Mary Woods, his secretary, that he was resigning. He
didn`t tell his own wife.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

THOMAS: They would leave little notes for each other on their pillows
at night and kind of like -- as one of his aides said, it`s like out of a
Tolstoy novel.

But there was a sadness at the end. It showed. But, you know, after
he left the White House, the marriage resumed. And the photograph of Nixon
at her funeral, when she died, Nixon, the most uptight guy there ever was,
is bawling. He`s just -- tears are pouring from him. Billy Graham is
trying to console him. He missed her. He loved his wife and he missed
her.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

I think this is one of your great works, Evan, buddy. I think it`s
one of the great works you have done. I mean, you`ve done a lot of great
books. This is it.

THOMAS: Thank you, Chris.

MATTHEWS: If anybody loves politics in this country and agrees with
Evan and me that there`s only been two or three really fascinating people
in American politics over the last 100 years, I think LBJ, Jack Kennedy and
Nixon are the top three.

THOMAS: Yes. Yes.

MATTHEWS: I think we will all agree about that, because we will never
get to the bottom of these guys, never.

THOMAS: Yes. Well, I tried.

MATTHEWS: But you got it. You went a long way down to the bottom
floor.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you, Evan.

THOMAS: Thanks, Chris.

MATTHEWS: By the way, good luck with the book.

THOMAS: Thank you, Chris.

MATTHEWS: The book is called "Being Nixon" for the inside, just like
being Malkovich.

Anyway, up next: Jeb Bush declares his candidacy for president. Big
surprise there.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

RICHARD LUI, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Hi. I`m Richard Lui in the MSNBC
newsroom.

A low-pressure system turning in the Gulf could become a tropical
storm over the next few days. Residents in Texas and Louisiana are being
urged to prepare for potentially life-threatening floods.

Doctors say the 16-year-old who lost an arm in a shark attack this
weekend is in good condition. There were two attacks Sunday on Oak Island
in North Carolina.

And Rachel Dolezal, the head of the NAACP`s Spokane chapter, resigned
earlier. She`s accused of pretending to be black. Dolezal will be a guest
on MSNBC tomorrow morning in an exclusive interview with our Melissa
Harris-Perry -- now back to HARDBALL.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have decided I`m a candidate
for the president of the United States of America.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL.

After six months touring the countries as a presumed 2016 presidential
candidate, Jeb Bush formally announced his entry into the crowded field of
candidates for the Republican nomination. At the top of his speech, he
called for an end to Democratic leadership in the White House, slamming
Hillary Clinton`s candidacy as a third Obama term.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: Already, the choice has taken shape. The party now in the
White House is planning a no suspense primary for a no-change election, to
hold on to power, to slog on with the same agenda under another name.
That`s our opponent`s call to action this time around. That`s all they`ve
got left.

I, for one, am not eager to see what another four years would look
like under that kind of leadership.

CROWD: No!

(BOOS)

BUSH: The presidency should not be passed on from one liberal to the
next.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Wow. Bush also vowed to stick to his principles, promising
to run an optimistic and inclusive campaign.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: My message will be optimistic because I am certain that we can
make the decades just ahead the greatest time to be alive in this world.

I will campaign as I would serve, going everywhere, speaking to
everyone, keeping my word, facing the issues without flinching and staying
true to what I believe. I will take nothing and no one for granted. I
will run with heart and I will run to win.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Pretty fine speech.

After weeks of missteps, staff shakeups and his shifting positions in
2003 invasion of Iraq, of course, will Bush`s message get the campaign on
track?

According to a national poll of self-described Republicans, Bush has
slipped into third place, Ben Carson, Dr. Ben Carson leads the field at 11,
followed by Scott Walker at 10, Bush is tied with Rubio at 9 percent.
followed by Mike Huckabee at 8 percent.

I`m joined right now by the roundtable. MSNBC political analyst
Howard Fineman of "The Huffington Post", political journalist Erin McPike,
and NBC News senior reporter Perry Bacon.

Perry, I just want to ask you about this. First of all, that list
that poll is a joke. That Dr. Carson at the top is a joke. It`s not going
to be that way. It doesn`t mean anything except whimsy on the part of
people trying to cause trouble with pollsters.

But Bush is running to me for the nomination of a political party that
no longer exists. He has a Mexican wife. He is the brother of a president
who let us in a ground war in Iraq his party is totally against. Get down
the list. He`s for Common Core.

Everything he`s for, the majority of the party detests, including his
name. How can he possibly win, even with the debonair approach like he
gave us today?

PERRY BACON, NBC NEWS SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: I think it`s less
about him right now and more about can he disqualify Scott Walker and can
he disqualify Marco Rubio. He`s got a hell a lot of money, you know, $100
million.

MATTHEWS: With the positive, upbeat campaign, you say it`s to destroy
his opponents.

BACON: I suspect he`s going to be positive on himself and I expect
Scott Walker is going to do well in debate. Rubio is a first term senator,
for Republicans almost for a while now, first term senators are bad. So
you got to think about that.

So, I think Jeb can win if he disqualifies opponents the way Mitt
Romney won last time. But winning this way is going to be hard.

MATTHEWS: Howard, I thought it was interesting how times have
changed. There he is the most establishment name in America, Bush.

HOWARD FINEMAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: The most establishment --

MATTHEWS: Grandson or whatever of Prescott Bush in Connecticut. He
shows up in a shirt. The only thing about him was preppy was the button
down, OK? He did button down, not sure. No tie, no jacket, no suit. I
don`t know what kind of shoes he was wearing, but he might as well be
wearing khakis, he probably was, and the guy, why is that so important? Is
he really credible as a candidate against the establishment like he was
showing himself to be today?

FINEMAN: Well, I would say --

MATTHEWS: Against the elite?

FINEMAN: Chris, I would say it`s audacious strategy he`s pursuing.

(LAUGHTER)

FINEMAN: I think it`s --

MATTHEWS: Talk about it.

FINEMAN: It`s improbable. First, of all, the reason that`s --

MATTHEWS: That`s a quick change.

FINEMAN: The reason Scott Walker and Marco Rubio are where they are
in part is because they are younger and they`re self-made individuals who
tell a different story.

MATTHEWS: Right.

FINEMAN: It`s difficult for the Bushes. I mean --

MATTHEWS: Those Cuban Americans.

FINEMAN: Yes. Now, what he`s got to rely on the story of his wife
and audacity and guts he showed marrying her, falling in love and marrying
her --

MATTHEWS: Wow, never heard that before. That`s gutsy.

FINEMAN: It was gutsy, to bring Columba back into the Bush family.

MATTHEWS: Well, how can you be anti immigrant except for her, except
for the first lady?

FINEMAN: Yes, to me, that`s the -- just as Hillary Clinton --

MATTHEWS: I love the way you said that.

FINEMAN: The way Hillary Clinton dug back into his history, he`s
digging into his family history for those things that attach him to new
traditions and new waves and new trends.

But you`re right about the party. The party has moved way to the
right of where the Bush family as an institution has been known to be.

MATTHEWS: Erin McPike?

ERIN MCPIKE, POLITICAL JOURNALIST: The reality is that the last time
a Republican won a presidential election was George W. Bush in 2004, and he
did it by winning 40 percent of the Latino vote and John McCain got 31
percent, Mitt Romney 27 percent.

And so, what Jeb Bush was doing was politely saying is, we don`t have
a prayer.

MATTHEWS: I thought 60 percent of the Supreme Court.

(LAUGHTER)

BACON: But I think Erin has got the right point.

FINEMAN: Yes.

MCPIKE: Yes. And Scott Walker and Marco Rubio specifically, I talked
to a Scott Walker strategist today who said that he thought that Jeb Bush`s
speech was bizarre. It seemed like he was trying to alienate --

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: What are you talking about?

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Anyway, Bush who hails from one of the most prominent
families in America, political families, portrayed himself as an anti-
elitist outsider ready to clean up Washington.

Here he is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: We don`t need another president that holds the top spot among
the pampered elites of Washington. We need a president willing to
challenge and disrupt the culture in our nation`s capital, and I will be
that president.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: The pampered elite. He`s a Bush.

Excuse me, they were born on third base and thought they had a triple
or double, whatever they thought they had.

FINEMAN: I think that George W. went after that as governor by trying
to be a regular governor and learning how to use a chainsaw.

(LAUGHTER)

FINEMAN: I don`t know what Jeb is doing in that regard.

I mean, he`s a smart guy, he studies the issues. He`s tough. He`s
nasty as a politician.

MATTHEWS: Who, Jeb is?

FINEMAN: Jeb. But to say he`s going to run against the pampered
elite is interest.

MATTHEWS: Is he going to scrub up Washington the way he scrubbed
those election rules in Texas before his brother ran, scrubbing those rules
--

FINEMAN: Put it this way, if a Bush can run as a change agent, that`s
quite interesting.

MATTHEWS: OK. We`ll be right back. The roundtable is staying with
us.

And up next, Hillary Clinton and the poll of history, a big thing for
a lot of voters her being the first woman -- in fact, the youngest woman
ever elected president. What a great line that was. Republican haves no
answer to that. No answer. It`s great in politics when the other side
can`t come back.

This is HARDBALL, a place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Well, tomorrow, the House committee investigating Benghazi
will interview Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal. The House Select
Committee on Benghazi lead by Trey Gowdy of South Carolina will depose
Blumenthal behind closed doors. "Politico" reports the Republicans want to
know why he e-mailed Hillary Clinton unsubstantiated intelligence about
Libya and whether he was paid for it and whether he used his Clinton
connections to help his business partners.

I got a few questions for the Republicans on that panel. Who cares?
And what`s this got to do with Benghazi?

We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: We are back with the roundtable and the biggest story of
the night, Howard, Erin, and Perry.

Hillary Rodham Clinton gave her first full press conference today,
first of the 2016 campaign. And she defined her economic message and her
race for the White House. Here she goes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don`t think Americans
are against success. I think Americans are against people who get on the
top of the ladder and start pulling it up so nobody else has the same
chance they had and then act as though they pulled themselves up by their
boot straps and a log cabin they built themselves.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: And the author of "Living History", she is a campaigner --
appeared in this campaign as willing to embrace the title of first woman
president in history. Here she is with a great line.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: While I may not be the youngest candidate in this race, but
I will be the youngest woman president in the history of the United States.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: That`s a great line.

And today`s "Washington Post" reporter Chris Cillizza says the Clinton
campaign has figured out how to showcase Clinton`s potential as the first
female president. Cillizza wrote, quote, "Electing her would be the
biggest change the presidency has ever seen, after 43 men in the job, she
would be the first woman."

Well, Cillizza is certainly the beating the drum for history here.

Your thoughts, Howard? I thought that was a great line, I will be the
youngest woman because I`ll be the only woman.

FINEMAN: Well, she is running as a woman and she`s running as her
mother`s daughter. So, she`s stressing the feminine side and struggles of
her own mother when she was a young girl. And I think leaders like Angela
Merkel in Germany who basically is the leader of Europe --

MATTHEWS: Oh, she is a role model.

FINEMAN: Off there on the side, sort of influencing the idea that
it`s time for a woman. I think it`s the best thing Hillary has got and she
played it beautifully.

MATTHEWS: I think Angela Merkel -- I`m thinking all the time, there
have been other great woman leaders, Indira Gandhi of India, Golda Meir
during the Six-Day War, but Angela Merkel is not a warrior. She`s just a
damn success. She just wins at everything.

FINEMAN: Tenacious.

MCPIKE: Look, part of it is out of necessity for Hillary Clinton,
because there are some Democrats who are concerned there is not a lot of
enthusiasm for her. And they really need to galvanize women voters and
this is the way they can do that. Now, the other point that I would make -
-

MATTHEWS: What is the largest group in the Democratic Party?

MCPIKE: Well, it`s women, of course.

MATTHEWS: Right.

MCPIKE: But one of the things people forget is when President Obama
was running as a senator in 2007-2008, he had less experience at the time.
But there was some concern in the electorate that Hillary Clinton wasn`t
all that qualified either. Fast forward, you know, eight years, she has
had four years as secretary of state which is the single most qualifying
credential --

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Why doesn`t she talk about it at all? Why didn`t she talk
about the things that four years --

MCPIKE: She didn`t learn the lesson in total.

MATTHEWS: How come she never mentioned it?

BACON: In last campaign.

MATTHEWS: This campaign, she never mentioned secretary of state over
the weekend.

BACON: Oh, oh. Well; two reasons, first of all, Democrats tend to
care about the economy, Social Security and things like that more. Second
of all, let`s be blunt, the Obama-Clinton foreign policy is not something
to brag about, I would argue. The ISIS -- the growth of ISIS, the failures
in Iraq.

I don`t think they have a great -- I think in terms of Hillary Clinton
running for president, talking about income inequality issues where you`re
winning on. Notice how much Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz talk about foreign
policy, there`s a weakness --

FINEMAN: Not only that. She wants to run as an outsider, she doesn`t
want to talk about secretary of state or the White House or the Senate.
She wants to talk about her mom and how she grew up.

MATTHEWS: And I`m a woman and you`re not.

Anyway, Howard Fineman, thank you, Erin McPike, and Perry Bacon.

When we come back faced with a battle for 2016 -- there is one now,
the 2016 presidential nomination of the Democratic Party.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for it, and for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with a battle for the 2016 Democratic
presidential nomination.

The good news is, there is a battle. The definition of the battle was
offered by the frontrunner Hillary Clinton. Unlike Bernie Sanders who
calls herself a socialist, she refused to allow the Democratic Party, which
she now personifies, to be confused with the British Labour Party. She
refused to let it be said by the party`s enemies or even by some of its
friends that its primary goal is an assault on those who made it in this
country.

Listen to her words. What Hillary Clinton is offering isn`t moral
outrage of the rich but the case for opportunity and fairness toward those
who are not. She wants those who call themselves every day, she calls
everyday Americans, to have a clear opportunity to improve their lives, to
get significantly higher incomes, relief from the burden of student loans,
real stuff, in other words, not battle cries against those who`ve already
got it.

It`s an interesting, intriguing and powerful dichotomy we are seeing
in this intramural battle left of center. Hillary offering herself as a
classic liberal, Bernie is the modern day socialist. It`s a debate, a
contest, the battle that can only bring truth to those who of us who think
this is precisely where the battle lines should be drawn. While those on
the right argue whether to invest in a credible candidate for president,
say Bush, Walker or Kasich, or put their sucker money on one of the
contestants stuffed in the clown car.

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

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.

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

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