updated 6/25/2015 10:17:23 AM ET 2015-06-25T14:17:23

Date: June 24, 2015
Guest: Mary Ellen O`Toole, Debbie Dingell, Ron Kind, Jay Newton-Small,
Jonathan Allen, Heidi Przybyla

STEVE KORNACKI, GUEST HOST: The right-wing backlash over the Confederate

Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Steve Kornacki, in for Chris Matthews.

Two days after South Carolina governor Nikki Haley called for her state to
remove the Confederate flag from the grounds of the statehouse, another
governor today, Robert Bentley of Alabama, ordered Confederate flags be
taken down from his state`s Capitol.

And in Mississippi, the Republican speaker of the house called for the
emblem to be removed from his state`s flag. Today, the state`s two United
States senators, Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker, joined in that call to make
the change.

And in four states -- Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland and Tennessee --
the governors said that they would move to stop issuing license plates with
Confederate flag images. And giant retailers, as well, like Walmart,
Target, Sears, Amazon and eBay, all said that they would remove Confederate
flag merchandise.

But there is still passionate support out there for the Confederate flag.
Jeff O`Cain, former commander of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, spoke to
NBC News yesterday.


memorial to honor 25,000 men! A quarter of the men in South Carolina died
to protect this state!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So many of the people in this state and the country see
slavery, they see racism, they see the Klan in that flag.

O`CAIN: They stole it! They dishonored that flag! That flag never had
anything to do about slavery!


KORNACKI: Jonathan Hill (ph), a South Carolina state representative, also
criticized the effort to remove the flag, telling the Associated Press,
"Dylann Roof wanted a race war, and I think this has a potential to start
one, in the sense that it`s a very divisive issue. I think it could get
very -- it could very well get ugly."

Meanwhile, some conservatives suggested there were ulterior motives at
play. Here`s Rush Limbaugh yesterday.


RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I have a prediction. Just said it`s
not going to stop with the Confederate flag because it`s not about the
Confederate flag. It is about destroying the South as a political force.
It`s about isolating, targeting and identifying the South as Dylann Roof.
Do not doubt me, folks!

And I`ll make another prediction to you. The next flag that will come
under assault, and it will not be long, is the American flag!


KORNACKI: Conservative pundit Ann Coulter took a swing at Governor Nikki


ANN COULTER, AUTHOR, COLUMNIST: Well, I`m a student of American history,
so I`m appalled by -- though I`d really like to like Nikki Haley, since she
is a Republican. On the other hand, she is an immigrant and does not
understand America`s history. The flag we`re talking about...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You think immigrants can`t understand the history?

COULTER: Well, she doesn`t. The Confederate flag we`re talking about
never flew over an official Confederate building. It was a battle flag.
It is to honor Robert E. Lee.


KORNACKI: And "Weekly Standard" editor Bill Kristol, who said he supports
removing the flag, nevertheless, bashed liberals for saying the very same
thing. He tweeted, quote, "The left`s 21st century agenda -- expunging
every trace of respect, recognition or acknowledgement of Americans who
fought for the Confederacy."

And he elaborated on "MORNING JOE" earlier today.


BILL KRISTOL, "WEEKLY STANDARD": I dislike the kind of cheap self-
righteousness of the -- especially the left, although there`s some of it on
the right these days, too -- where they just get into this kind of frenzy
of hatred. And incidentally, it`s not just the flag. Now it`s going to be
we can`t honor particular -- Robert E. Lee. We can`t -- what about the
Confederate monument at Arlington? Is that inappropriate? Southerners are
entitled to be proud of Robert E. Lee. Americans are entitled to respect
Robert E. Lee.


KORNACKI: All right, Jonathan Capehart is an opinion writer for "The
Washington Post," David Corn is Washington bureau chief for "Mother Jones."
Both are MSNBC political analysts.

Jonathan, let me start with you. I`m trying to make sense of how we jumped
from taking down the Confederate flag to this apparent all-out assault on
the American way of life from the left.


KORNACKI: I mean, to listen to some of these people -- I mean, I`m looking
at this. It`s the governor of Alabama, a Republican, taking this down, a
Republican in South Carolina taking this down, Republicans in North
Carolina, in Tennessee.

These are Republicans doing the same thing that Democrats are calling for.
So how is this -- how is this the left being out of control?

Exactly. The poor right wing, the poor put-upon right wing having to have
to confront the racism and hatred that go along with the Confederate flag.

And for Bill Kristol to say that the left is engaged in, what did he call
it, a frenzy of hatred and that we should respect Robert E. Lee -- no, we
don`t have to respect Robert E. Lee. He fought for the Confederacy, which
tore apart the union. The Confederacy was treasonous. The folks who
fought on its behalf were traitors, and the Confederate battle flag is no
better than a swastika.

And that`s why people in South Carolina, as a result of these horrible
murders of those nine souls a week ago -- a week ago tonight -- that`s why
people finally said enough is enough, especially when Dylann -- that
manifesto attributed to Dylann Roof showed picture after picture after
picture of him holding the Confederate flag and 2,500 words of him spewing
racist bile against African-Americans, against Jews, against Hispanics and
people he called "Northeast Asians."

So I don`t know what Bill Kristol`s talking about. I don`t know what Rush
Limbaugh`s talking about. I don`t know what Ann Coulter`s talking about,
or anyone else who has a problem with Americans standing up for America.

KORNACKI: Well, leave it to Bill Kristol to make the connection between
the Civil War and Iraq. Here`s Kristol making one big leap of logic about


KRISTOL: The left would, of course, have been mostly in the party of peace
in 1863, `64. They would have been saying, Hey, we`ve got to end the
slaughter. We can`t win this war. It`s very complicated. We`re getting
into a quagmire in the South. Sherman`s killing a lot of civilians, which
he certainly was.

The left doesn`t want to fight actual dictators today. They don`t want to
do anything about slavery in Iraq today. But it`s easy to beat up on dead



KORNACKI: I`m really trying to figure this out. Where does this instinct
to feel this -- this aggrieved emotion coming from, when again, Bill
Kristol is there saying in one breath, I want the flag to come down, too.
So the flag`s coming down. And then instead of saying, Good, he`s
bemoaning that the left would have been saying, Don`t fight the Civil War.

minutes just to laugh?


CORN: Because I think that`s the proper response to what Bill Kristol, who
got everything possibly wrong about the Iraq war that you could get wrong -
- and now he`s lecturing the left on the history lesson?

Actually, it was liberals and the left of the day, the abolitionists, who
fought against slavery, and it was the Republican Party`s leader, Abraham
Lincoln, who fought against the South! His flag was the American flag.
The rebel flag was a flag of treason against maybe the great Republican
president, maybe greatest Republican president ever!

And so this gets so convoluted and so contorted. We have what is not a
frenzy of hatred, we have a frenzy of bipartisanship, with Republicans and
conservatives, Roger Wicker, the senator from Mississippi, and liberals and
Democrats and African-American leaders all coming together, saying, After
this tragedy -- we have, it`s not a solution, it`s not gun control, but we
have a communal response. We can work on one part of this together.

So this isn`t a frenzy of hate or anything else. It`s a frenzy of coming
together. Yet Bill Kristol can`t get on that train, Ann Coulter can`t get
on that train because they see it as a win for liberals and for people who
don`t like racism.

KORNACKI: Yes (INAUDIBLE) the piece of it that I struggle with, though, is
he can`t get on board with it, yet he does say he wants it to happen. He
says he wants the flag to come down, but then he still has...


CORN: It`s complicated. It`s complicated, right?

KORNACKI: It is complicated! Well, now, more interesting reactions here,
too. How about this from former Virginia senator Jim Webb. He is one of
the few Democrats not to explicitly call for the flag to come down.

Webb wrote on Facebook, "This is an emotional time, and we all need to
think through these issues with the care that recognizes the need for
change, but also respects the complicated history of the Civil War. The
Confederate battle flag has wrongly been used for racist and other purposes
in recent decades. It should not be used in any way as a political symbol
that divides us. But we should also remember that honorable Americans
fought on both sides in the Civil War." Wow! Listen...



KORNACKI: Jim Webb is apparently running for president. Who would have
thought that of all the presidential candidates out there, the voice who is
most sympathetic right now to the Confederate flag is one of the Democrats

CAPEHART: Yes, and if he thinks he`s going to get the nomination after a
statement like that, given the Obama coalition, such as it is, which needs
to come out and vote for the Democratic nominee if they`re going to beat
the Republican in 2016, good luck.


KORNACKI: Who is he talking to there? Who`s he talking to?

CAPEHART: You know, I`m not sure -- I`m not sure who he`s talking to,
maybe Rush Limbaugh, maybe Ann Coulter, maybe Bill Kristol. But the idea
that, you know -- you know, people fought honorably on both sides of this
issue and that we have to -- we have to respect the folks who fought on the
side of the Confederacy -- no, we do not. I have to repeat myself. We do
not! Treasonous traitors who tore apart the union. Sorry.

CORN: Well, this is -- he said that the flag, the Confederate flag, is not
a divisive symbol. Actually, it was a divisive symbol! It was a flag for
people who wanted to, as Jonathan says, tear this country apart, and who,
you know, were treasonous, who wanted Abraham Lincoln -- you know -- you
know, cheered Abraham Lincoln`s death.

So it was -- it came about through division. It`s not a sign of unity.
And for him not to recognize that -- I know he`s from the South. He`s
written about this over and over again. He`s a military historian who
likes to talk about, you know, the great military strategists who worked
for the Confederate army and he respects Robert E. Lee. He`s still wrong.
And you know -- and today (INAUDIBLE) on the Democratic side is calling


KORNACKI: I tell you, though, you know what it reminds me of? I don`t
know if you guys remember this. Ten, twelve years ago, when Howard Dean
was running for president, Howard Dean had a comment at one point in that
campaign where he said, I want to be the candidate of guys with Confederate

And what he was talking about was this old idea the Democratic Party used
to have the South, and for so long, the Democratic Party struggled with
this idea of how can we win back white Southerners, the ones who were there
for us, you know, for generations? And Howard Dean was speaking to that

And maybe that`s what`s inspiring Jim Webb. You know, Jim Webb`s
constituency, at least, has always traditionally been more kind of rural
whites from the rural part of Virginia. Maybe that`s who he has in mind

CAPEHART: I don`t know, Steve. But you know, Gene Robinson, our colleague
Gene Robinson, said -- made a very good point on "MEET THE PRESS" on
Sunday. And he said, you know, Remember, the Confederate battle flag
didn`t go up over the state Capitol in South Carolina not in 1865 or 1866,
but in the 1960s, as what Gene said was, quote, "a big middle finger from
South Carolina to the federal government," which was making it -- trying to
make it desegregate and be more equal.

So if that`s the kind of -- if that`s what Jim Webb is trying to defend,
well, more power to him getting the Democratic nomination for president.
And if he does somehow get it, good luck becoming president of the United

KORNACKI: So where is this -- David Corn, where is this going from here?
I mean, we -- on the one hand, we do have quite a few Republican leaders,
governors, major Republican figures -- I saw the son of Strom Thurmond, of
all people, coming out and saying he wants the -- he wants the flag down,
calling it a symbol of racism and bigotry.

So on the one hand, there`s movement here on the right side of the
political spectrum that has not been there for decades, for generations on
this issue. On the other side, there`s the Bill Kristol, the Limbaughs,
the Coulters of the world. Where is this all going to shake out?

CORN: They`ve lost. It`s like gay marriage. The issue has passed them
by. The Confederate flag was burned this week, not in a violent way, but
in a rational, reasonable way. In terms of its use in any public setting,
I think that won`t be happening. Where it has been used, it`s going to be

Now, there are Confederate, you know, monuments out there and statues, and
one of -- you know, there`s a great little vandalism movement going on now,
where people are writing "Black lives matter" on Confederate statues in --
you know, in graveyards and other places, but -- and public parks.

But I think, you know, as a public figure, so to speak, the Confederate
flag is dead. You know, you can`t ban it. People will still buy it.
It`ll still be on, you know, beer cup -- you know, beer -- beer can holders
and things like that. It`ll be waved at NASCAR races and other places.
You can`t stop that. But I think it will not have any public validation
any longer.

KORNACKI: Yes. And that distinction between putting it on public
property, state property, official statement by the state versus what
people do in their private lives.

Anyway, thank you, Jonathan Capehart, David Corn. Appreciate the time.

CAPEHART: Thank you.

CORN: Thanks.

KORNACKI: And coming up -- a huge win for President Obama as the Senate
gives him a big victory on his trade agenda that looked all but dead just
two weeks ago. And it paves the way for what may be the biggest bipartisan
achievement of the Obama presidency.

Plus, it is now day 19 of the manhunt for those two convicted killers who
broke out of a New York prison. Police have narrowed down the search area,
but are they any closer to finding the escapees?

And 2016 politics, too -- Chris Christie`s poll numbers are plummeting, but
he`s still getting ready to jump in the presidential race as early as next
week. With all his troubles back home, why does Christie think 2016 could
still be his year?

Finally, also, a dramatic statement from the president and a big change
that will make it easier for the families of Americans held hostage by
terrorists to pay ransom to bring their loved ones home.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


KORNACKI: In an emotional ceremony, the body of one of last week`s
shooting victims, Reverend Clementa Pinckney, a state senator, was brought
to the South Carolina statehouse today, where it will lie in honor. His
casket was carried into the state rotunda by the South Carolina Highway
Patrol honor guard. Thousands of mourners came to pay their respects.

Also today, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution commemorating the nine
victims. It was introduced by South Carolina Senators Tim Scott spoke and
Lindsey Graham. Senator Scott spoke about the victims this afternoon.


SEN. TIM SCOTT (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I had the opportunity to talk to one
of the victims` son, Daniel Simmons, Jr. He said with great enthusiasm and
energy, a sense of excitement, that this evil attack would lead to
reconciliation, restoration and unity in our nation. Those were powerful


KORNACKI: And tonight, bible study will resume at Mother Emanuel AME
church, just one week after the deadly shootings there.

HARDBALL returns after this.



REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I think the relationship
between the president, myself and Senator McConnell has been very good,
been a lot of coordination to get this across the finish line, and I`m
proud of the work that we`ve done.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: This is a very important day
for our country. We`ve demonstrated we can work together on a bipartisan
basis to achieve something that is extremely important for America.


KORNACKI: Welcome back to HARDBALL. That was House Speaker John Boehner
and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell cheering their work with the
White House and with President Obama and declaring victory in the intense
congressional fight over trade.

Just a few hours ago, the U.S. Senate officially brought the president`s
trade package back from the dead by passing a measure granting him Trade
Promotion Authority, otherwise known as fast track.

Now, this is a picture snapped by White House photographer, by Pete Souza,
capturing President Obama embracing Vice President Joe Biden after the
crucial 60th vote was reached, breaking a filibuster during a procedural
vote yesterday in the Senate.

This was a big victory for President Obama. It clears the way for what
could be the biggest bipartisan achievement of his entire presidency. He
can now finish negotiating a massive 12-nation trade deal, the Trans
Pacific Partnership, TPP, which, if completed, would become a cornerstone
of Obama`s domestic and global legacy.

I`m joined now by two House Democrats on very different sides of this

Wisconsin Democrat Ron Kind is the chairman of the New Democrat Coalition.
He led President Obama`s fight in the House to push fast track through.
And Debbie Dingell is a Democrat from Michigan who opposed TPA.

Congressman Kind, let me start with you.

This is a story I don`t know if we have ever seen in the entire Obama era,
the bulk of the Republican Party lined up with the president, the bulk of
the Democratic Party against him. Why is he right? Why are all those
Republicans right and why are so many Democrats wrong on this?

REP. RON KIND (D), WISCONSIN: Well, first of all, Steve, sometimes, the
political stars do align out here and we find some common ground.

And, listen, we live in a country with divided government. If we`re going
to do anything, it`s going to have to be done in a bipartisan fashion. And
trade is one of those issues that I believe strongly in. I know President
Obama does, many of our colleagues across the aisle. We need to be
negotiating the rules of trade as we move forward, to elevate standards up
to where we are, to level the playing field for our workers, our farmers,
our business, so they can successfully compete in the 21st century global

And this is another opportunity, especially in the fastest growing region
of the global economy right now, the Pacific Rim area, where we need to be
doing business, we need to be selling more of our products, our goods, our
creations here in the United States, and with it, the good-paying jobs that
come from all that.

KORNACKI: Congresswoman Dingell, a week or two ago, the story when it came
to this issue seemed to be that you, that others in the House who were
opposed to this had scored a huge victory, a victory, a huge blow against
President Obama on this issue. You seem to have derailed it in the House.

Now here we are, just a week or two later, and he`s gotten, it appears,
everything he wanted. What happened?

REP. DEBBIE DINGELL (D), MICHIGAN: Well, first of all, I want to say that
I have a great deal of respect for my colleague Ron Kind, and I do believe
in working across the aisle on a bipartisan issue.

This for me as an issue is about the working men and women of this country.
And it`s still close. And the fact of the matter is, is that many people
were told that were voting for TPA that they still had a vote on TPP. And
that`s where this fight is now going to turn to, so that we make sure that
any trade agreement that we are going to pass in this country is going to
protect the American worker.

I`m supported -- I`m in this very unusual situation. I supported NAFTA. I
supported the Korea Free Trade Agreement. But I can`t do it anymore. I
have seen a million jobs lost with NAFTA. I have seen a ton of jobs lost
with the Korea Free Trade Agreement.

I was sent here to protect the working men and women in the Midwest, and
manufacturing is being hurt by these trade agreements that don`t do
something about currency manipulation.

KORNACKI: Last month, President Obama said some of his friends are wrong
and are -- quote -- "making stuff up" about this trade deal.


rationale for doing what I do than that I think it`s the best thing for the
American people. And on this issue, on trade, I actually think some of my
dearest friends are wrong. They`re just wrong.

Critics warn that parts of this deal would undermine American regulation,
food safety, worker safety, even financial regulation. This is -- they`re
making this stuff up. This is just not true.



KORNACKI: Congresswoman, what did you think of that, when he said that?
He said opponents, his friends in the Democratic Party maybe, are making
stuff up when it comes to this.

DINGELL: Well, first of all, I don`t think they`re making stuff up.

But I`ll tell you, my -- I`m very clear. I have the facts. The reality is
that there`s an $8,000 cost differential between a vehicle that is being
sold in Detroit between the Japanese because of currency manipulation at
about 120 to a dollar. And they`re using that to undercut the cost of
products in this country. That`s a fact.

It`s a fact that Toyota made more money last year in their U.S. operations
than Ford did in their worldwide operations. It`s a fact that since NAFTA,
we went from a $3 billion trade surplus to a $100 million trade deficit. I
have got facts. I can keep quoting them to you all night.

KORNACKI: Well, and, Congressman Kind, let me bring you into this, because
now this is still part of a long process in terms of just -- there`s the
fast track authority. The president can have that. That can extend
potentially to the next president. This is something that could take a
long time to negotiate, which raises the question of, if the next president
is from your party, if the next president is Hillary Clinton, there are now
calls on Hillary Clinton from some of her opponents for the Democratic
nomination to say what she -- to take a position on this.

She`s not taken a position yet. Do you want to see her step forward and
say where she stands on this?

KIND: Well, first of all, let me just say, I have great respect and
admiration for someone like Debbie Dingell, with her hard work, her
passion, her knowledge about this. And it`s good that there are people
pushing this administration to do better, to get the best agreement we can.

But for me as we move forward, we`re already trading with these other
nations. So it`s what the rules of trade are going to look like, which is
what this is about. And they could be our rules, no rules, or possibly
China`s rules at some point. And if it`s no rules or China`s rules, that`s
a race to the bottom. And we`re not going to be very good at competing in
that environment.

KORNACKI: And, quickly, Congressman, do you want a position from Hillary
Clinton? She`s the front-runner for your party`s nomination. She could be
the next president. She could have to deal with this. Do you want her to
take a position on this?

KIND: Well, listen, she`s got her own campaign to run.

I`m sure there will be opportunity for her to weigh in. The Trans-Pacific
Partnership negotiation will be moving forward right now. It`s an
opportunity to learn more of what that agreement means for our workers, our
businesses right here at home. And, as secretary of state, I think she was
very clear where she was before. But I`m not going to be her official
campaign spokesperson right now.

KORNACKI: Congressman Ron Kind from Wisconsin, Congresswoman Debbie
Dingell from Michigan, appreciate the time. Thank you.

DINGELL: Thank you.

KIND: Thank you.

KORNACKI: And up next, day 19 now in the manhunt for those escaped
convicts in New York. As the narrow -- as the search zone narrows down, we
are going to have a frightening look at one of those killers.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.



MAJ. CHARLES GUESS, NEW YORK STATE POLICE: What you`re seeing here is the
face of relentless pursuit. And we`re going to be relentless until we
capture these people. We don`t want them to have a restful, peaceful
night, putting their head on any pillow. We will resolve this case and
capture these individuals and return them to corrections.


KORNACKI: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

That was New York State Police Major Charles Guess, as authorities are
ratcheting up the pressure to find those two escaped murderers in Upstate
New York. It is day 19 of the search now, and the only solid lead as to
the whereabouts of Richard Matt and David Sweat comes from DNA on Saturday
at a remote hunting cabin near the tiny village of Owls Head. Police are
worried that these two dangerous men got more than water and peanut butter
at that cabin.


GUESS: Just about every cabin or outbuilding in the north country has one
or more shotguns or weapons, and we have since day one operated under the
belief that these men are armed.


KORNACKI: All right, joining me now with the latest on the search is
MSNBC`s Adam Reiss.

So, Adam, it sounds like they`re in those woods. They could be very armed.
They could be very dangerous. What are we finding out?

ADAM REISS, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Lots of leads, lots of dead ends, Steve,
very frustrating for law enforcement here.

We were in Mountain View, a town about two miles from here, yesterday.
They swarmed the area. They thought they had their men. They turned up
empty. We went over to Titus Mountain yesterday as well, similar
situation, also turned up empty.

Today, they were in Malone, a town about 10 miles from here. They got a
tip that they were in the house, two men in a house. They surrounded the
house, found two men. Of course, they weren`t the escapees. Their last
known location was that cabin on Saturday where they found the DNA, some
clothing, maybe some food as well.

Today, they tell us that there may be a bloody sock related to the escapees
and, more importantly, a shotgun. They could be out there armed and
dangerous with a shotgun. So that`s something they`re looking at, with
three weeks in, still no confirmed sightings -- Steve.

KORNACKI: Already, MSNBC`s Adam Reiss, thank you for that.

Let`s bring in former FBI profiler and MSNBC contributor Clint Van Zandt
and retired FBI agent and criminal profiler Mary Ellen O`Toole.

Now, video has emerged showing escapee Richard Matt, reportedly this video
from 1997, just seven months before Matt tortured, killed, and dismembered
his boss, the crime that put him in prison. In the video, which aired on
ABC, he`s called Ricky, and it shows him posing with a blow dart gun.
Here`s some of that video.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is my friend Ricky Matt here. He`s a freaking
crazy lunatic maniac.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is this the face of a maniac?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: South American blowgun.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the South American blowgun.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And we`re going to demonstrate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re going to demonstrate how powerful this gun is

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re going to dip these in AIDS blood, and we will put
a patent on them and we will sell them as deadly weapons.


KORNACKI: So, Clint, when you see that video, this is one of those guys
who is on the loose right now, probably in those woods -- when you see that
video, what are you looking at there?

CLINT VAN ZANDT, MSNBC ANALYST: Well, this is part of his persona, I
think, number one.

I think this guy is a functional sociopath, psychopath, antisocial
personality. But, again, he`s a very cunning individual, and he likes to
present himself in a way. This is manly. The rest of the video shows this
other individual shooting the blow dart and it goes right through his arm
and Matt barely flinches.

Well, that`s how he wants to portray himself, and he`s done it for so long,
it`s like a caricature that now he has to live out, even when he`s on the

KORNACKI: And, Mary Ellen, this is a guy who he killed -- he didn`t just
kill somebody. He dismembered somebody. Often, with these horrible
crimes, we say, boy, there were no warning signs, we couldn`t see it
coming. I mean, you go back and look at that video, the warnings signs
looked to me like they were there.

they`re there.

And I would definitely agree with Clint that this is someone who is
psychopathic. And you can see in the beginning he`s charming, he`s
handsome. It`s a long time ago, but he really presents well. He`s
comfortable with what he`s doing.

But, at the same time, he`s using violence as a form of entertainment, and,
for him, violence is fun. It`s entertaining. It`s something that`s very
pleasurable. Then he goes on to engage in this very horrific homicide.

And then I think one of the most interesting things for me was the point
where he`s pulling the dart up close to his face, and you see those eyes
shift from shiny, sparkly eyes to what we call dead eyes, and that`s when
you see the threat come out. That`s when you see the psychopathy come out,
because dead eyes are consistent with psychopathy. And that`s where you
see the very maniacal Richard Matt.

KORNACKI: Well, one of the escapees could be injured. Here`s New York
State Police Major Charles Guess with details about that.


GUESS: Let`s face it. A bloody sock, that means somebody had a blister,
or it could mean a lot worse. I`m hoping for the best. Anything that
would impede their progress in the search area and aid these searchers
would be a good thing for us.


KORNACKI: All right, so, Clint, it looks like they`re in these woods, It
looks like they have established somewhat of a perimeter here. But these
are very thick woods. These are very dense woods. Maybe they`re hiding out
in different people`s cabins.

When you look at this, are you confident it`s just a matter of time before
they find them?

VAN ZANDT: Well, I think so.

Again, now, realize we don`t know how much blood was in the sock. We know
one, if not both individuals have been identified by DNA. You know what?
It`s interesting now. We used to say DNA could take days, it could take
over a week. They now have the ability, if you have something to compare
it with, to make that match within 90 minutes.

So, law enforcement was hot on the heels of these guys, but the question
is, how quickly were they able to put an outer perimeter around this whole
area? Just like that circle you`re showing, Steve, how quickly were they
able to throw 500, 1,000 police officers and put that iron ring around

And then what you want to do, you want to have law enforcement officers
from the cabin moving out, and from that outer ring moving in. You want to
catch these guys in between. But, again, if it`s like that state police
major says, they likely have their hands on a shotgun. They may have
already written the final chapter. They have just not lived it out yet.

KORNACKI: Thank you to Clint Van Zandt and Mary Ellen O`Toole. Appreciate
the time tonight.

Coming up: Chris Christie is sinking in the polls, his top aides are under
indictment in Bridgegate, and yet Christie is getting ready to announce his
presidential campaign as early as next week.

That`s next with the roundtable. You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for


what`s happening.

Convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was formally sentenced
to death earlier. He apologized for the 20313 -- the 2013, rather, attack,
saying, "I`m sorry for the lives that I have taken."

The White House is applauding efforts by members of the House and Senate to
restore the promise of the Voting Rights Act, saying Congress should give
it the consideration it deserves. The Supreme Court struck down key
provisions of the act two years ago.

A thousand people have been evacuated from homes near a massive wildfire
outside of L.A. The blaze broke out this afternoon.

And Bobbi Kristina Brown, the daughter of Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown,
has been moved to hospice care. She was found face down in a bathtub in
January -- back to HARDBALL.

KORNACKI: We are back.

Politico reports today that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will
formally announce his candidacy for president as soon as next week. Aides
to the governor saying there`s room in the Republican field for -- quote --
"an establishment candidate" and that his campaign will focus on winning
the key primary state of New Hampshire.

But the news comes as Governor Christie continues to struggle in his home
state of New Jersey. An April poll found that 65 percent of his own
constituents, two-thirds of them, do not think that he would make a good
president, just 29 percent saying that he would.

At the time, Christie insisted that Jersey voters merely wanted him to
continue serving as governor. Here`s how he spun those numbers on FOX News
last month.


MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS: The New Jersey voters say you would not make a good
president. Now, they know you the best. Why shouldn`t we trust them?

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: They want me to say. A lot of those
people in the 65 percent want me to stay. I`ve heard that from lots of
people at town hall meetings: don`t leave to run for president because we
want you to stay.

KELLY: But they say you would not make a good president.

CHRISTIE: No, I think people hear the question they want to hear.


KORNACKI: Now, a new poll from Fairleigh Dickinson University puts Chris
Christie job approval at 30 percent. That is the lowest it`s ever been.
And when New Jersey voters were asked whether they disliked the governor
personally or they dislike his policies or they just dislike everything
about him, the plurality of the poll said they disliked everything about

What`s worse is that Republican primarily voters across the country appear
to feel the same way about Christie, according to the new NBC News/"Wall
Street Journal" poll, 55 percent say they could not see themselves
supporting him.

I`m joined now by the roundtable: Jay Newton Small of "Time Magazine",
Jonathan Allen of Vox, and Heidi Przybyla of "Bloomberg News".

Well, Jay, let me start with you. So, he`s way down in his home state.
He`s falling far behind in the Republican race. He`s been eclipsed by, I
don`t know, eight, ten other candidates. He`s got them right where he
wants them, right?

JAY NEWTON-SMALL, TIME MAGAZINE: Yes, it sounds look a real shoo-in for
president. He enters the race as a frontrunner.

But I mean, look, Chris Christie is an amazing political -- you know, I
don`t want to say beast, but he`s amazing politician who is incredible
charismatic, and that`s what he`s betting on. He`s betting on his charisma
to win over voters in New Hampshire. And betting everything on New
Hampshire is tough for him because New Hampshire looks for fiscal
conservatives and Chris Christie was sort of the opposite of fiscal
conservative, as a governor of New Jersey.

Remember, him during hurricane Sandy, he was like, show me the money, much
to the sort of appall of all fiscal conservatives, including Mitt Romney at
the time when he was running for president. And he also, you know, cut tax
credits when he was governor of New Jersey and brought in more revenues,
which sort of goes in the face of the Grover Norquist pledge.

So, trying to convince people in New Hampshirites, it`s going to be,
really, like a one-on-one every single time. Like here`s why -- I`m going
to make a great president. I`m really charm, I`m really great, and really
have to not sort of yell at anybody for the entire duration of his
campaign, and we`ll see if that`s possible.

KORNACKI: I think you hit on something.

And, Jonathan, let`s pick up on this point, the idea of -- Chris Christie
does not lack for confidence in himself. He does not lack for -- and if
you go at least up until bridgegate, what that translated into, was a
pretty meteoric rise in American politics. So, what they`re looking at,
what Christie`s looking at when everybody says he has no chance, he`s
looking at what happens in those debates. If you get on the debate stage,
2012, Newt Gingrich is running way back, he gets the question about -- you
know, his ex-wife, what she said about him, he turns it into a attack on
the media, he jumps 30 points, wins South Carolina.

Chris Christie is looking at, get me on that debate stage and I`m going to
have one of those moments, I`m going to have a moment where I just -- that
personality comes through, I hit it out of the park and everything changes
for me. Any chance that could work?

JONATHAN ALLEN, VOX: No reason not to try it, Steve. You`ve been elected
governor twice of New Jersey, nowhere else to go politically.

Look, if you were at 30 percent nationally as a Republican candidate for
president right now, you`d be popping champagne bottles -- so champagne
corks anyway. Right now, with 14 candidates, if you include Chris
Christie, you really don`t have to get that big of a percentage to
distinguish yourself and to have an opportunity. So I think he`s going to
make the run.

KORNACKI: Yes, and, Heidi, I mean, I can`t -- and people in New Jersey, I
talk to the first thing you ever hear when you talk about Chris Christie`s
prospects in 2016, it`s -- imagine if there hadn`t been bridgegate, imagine
if it hadn`t been for the bridge, I mean, this guy would be coming into
this race, winning a blue state with more than 60 percent of the vote,
presenting himself to the Republican Party that`s had trouble in national -
- this is the guy who could flip states, maybe there`s not even a Jeb Bush
out there, there isn`t an opening for a Jeb Bush if the pre-bridgegate
Chris Christie was running for president right now.

HEIDI PRYZBYLA, BLOOMBERG NEWS: That is certainly true. I mean, there`s
been an independent investigations which he will refer everyone to, that
show that he didn`t do anything about it. But that`s not a good thing
either, right? I mean, he`s certainly been tarnished if that`s true,
tarnished by all of this, because at a minimum, the most charitable thing
you can say is that he hired people who were either, you know, incompetent
or corrupt or both, and that he didn`t know about it. And so, this will
continue to be an issue that will plague him.

But he will also have to go out and try and sell his record in New Jersey,
which quite frankly is becoming a problem. Bridgegate is part of it, but
it`s also the bond ratings in the state, it`s the budget. And as Jay
referred to, the revenue shortages and just the broader sense that New
Jersey itself isn`t exactly a thriving example of what you want to be
running on.

KORNACKI: All right. Let`s take a look at Christie on the stump in New
Jersey, from a town hall event last week.


CHRISTIE: I think sometimes when I read about myself, that I`m like the
most psycho analyzed guy on the national political scene going, right?
They`re all like, why did he say that, why did he do this? Why is he so
angry? Why is he so direct? Why is he so blunt?

I mean, you read it all the time. They all got different theories about
it, right? They all have different theories. But you`re here today, so
you don`t have to wonder anymore why, OK?



KORNACKI: I got to tell you, Jay, I mean, I covered him when he was the
U.S. attorney and I would see him speak at small college events around New
Jersey 10 years ago, and it always struck me, I have not seen many
politicians who in that setting, we`re just looking at right there, holding
court, he`s got the microphone, sort of Oprah style, he`s got 30-40 people
around him. He is really good in those settings.

NEWTON-SMALL: Yes. And look, he`s playing sort of John McCain 2000,
straight talk express, which really won over New Hampshire. He`s great at
those. I mean, he`s great at House parties. He`s great at talking to

But he`s not the only one in the field playing the straight talk express.
And you`ve got John Kasich playing truth to the Republican Party. You`ve
got -- I mean, really half the people have playing this. Everybody`s the
maverick these days, and there`s already anybody who wants to be the

And I know that Chris Christie said originally that he was the
establishment, but he`s not actually. I mean, he really is the sort of
straight-talk, I`m going to tell it to you in plain truth. That`s going to
be hard to distinguish himself in the field where you`ve got a lot of
candidates being the ones to say, I`m giving you the tough truth.

KORNACKI: And there`s that cloud. I mean, we talk about it -- bridgegate,
by the way, the trials -- the bridgegate trials for the indictments that
have been announced so far, right now, it looks like they`ll start in
November, just as things are heating up out there in Iowa, New Hampshire,
all those early states.

Anyway, the round table staying with us. Up next, big changes coming for
families of Americans held hostage by terrorists. The president paving the
way for them to be able to pay ransom to bring their loved ones home.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


KORNACKI: Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has entered the presidential
race. The two-term Republican made the announcement late today and he took
a shot at Jeb Bush.


is that we need to hide our conservative ideals. But the truth is, if we
go down that road again, we will lose again. Let`s do something new.
Let`s endorse our own principles for a change, let`s boldly speak the truth
without fear.



KORNACKI: Jindal was once a rising star in his party, but lately, he
hasn`t exactly caught fire among Republican voters. He doesn`t even
register in our latest NBC News/"Wall Street Journal" poll.

We`ll be back right after this.


KORNACKI: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

Today, President Obama unveiled a set of rule and guidelines revamping U.S.
hostage policy. But for the president, this was more than just a change in
policy. It was also an apology.

In the last year, we`ve seen ISIS behead American hostages, including
journalist James Foley and Steven Sotloff, and aide worker Peter Kassig.
In additional, aide worker Kayla Mueller died in captivity. American aide
worker Warren Weinstein was accidentally killed in an American drone
strike, American journalist Luke Somers died during in a failed rescue

And in his address today, the president told those families that their
government had let them down.


have told us, and they`ve told me directly, about their frequent
frustrations in dealing with their own government. How they`ve often felt
lost in the bureaucracy and how in some cases, families feel they`ve been
threatened for exploring certain options to bring their loved ones home.

That`s totally unacceptable. It is true that there have been times where
our government, regardless of good intentions, has let them down. I
promised them that we can do better.

I want to point out that no family of an American hostage has ever been
prosecuted for paying a ransom for the return of their loved ones. And the
last thing we should ever do is to add to a family`s pain with threats like


KORNACKI: Now, in revamping U.S. hostage policy, the White House announced
that it will now permit family to pay ransoms without fear of government
prosecution. It will also openly communicate with captors.

The roundtable is still with us, Jay Newton-Small, Jonathan Allen, Heidi

So, Heidi, you`ve been covering this. It is a classic wrenching dilemma
here when you talk about this, do you pay the ransoms like other countries
do and get them out? Does that just encourage more hostages to be taken?

From the standpoint of the families who have just been through hell and a
lot of them saying they were feeling heat from their government, not to
cooperate, not to pay the ransoms. You know, maybe they think it saves the
next family but there`s not much solace for these victims today.

PRZYBYLA: Right. They had to do this because of the high profile nature,
in particular, starting with Mark Foley`s family. I think the entire
country was horrified and outraged to hear that the family had received,
you know, threats from NSC officials, folks in the NSC, to be prosecuted if
they tried to pursue any kind of ransom arrangement.

But this is not a huge change in policy really. I know that the president
was clear that they are just clarifying on the second half of the policy
that it has never been against U.S. law to actually communicate with
hostages -- with hostage takers. The important thing is that the
government, the U.S. government will not be going anywhere near paying
ransom because yes, that would be kicking a hornet`s nest.

But this was primarily just about showing sympathy.

KORNACKI: Yes. And, Jonathan, I mean, that does set up a weird situation,
maybe an uncomfortable situation where some families, if you got the money,
your loved one is taken hostage, maybe you can pay the ransom. If you
don`t, your government is not going to be chipping in.

ALLEN: Right, there is no good answer here, Steve. I mean, obviously, as
Heidi was pointing out, you put yourself in a situation where you`re either
paying captors and encouraging that behavior or not. To have this
bifurcated system, though, it feels like bad policy. Either the U.S.
government should be in the practice of communicating with and negotiating
with hostage takers, potentially even paying ransoms or not.

But when you`ve got this sort of side issue where families can do it, what
you`re saying is those who can afford to do it can do it, and those who
can`t should just say goodbye to their loved ones. And, again, I don`t
think there`s an easy answer here, but it seems like an odd decision

KORNACKI: Yes, no, it is. I mean, it`s one of those, I say, a wrenching
dilemma. I`ve thought about this and I can only imagine if it was my loved
one, the length I`d be willing to do to try to get them out. And at the
same time, when you take a step back and you say, when you start paying
ransoms, maybe there will be a lot more people`s loved ones being taken
captive. It`s a horrible situation obviously.

Thank you to Jay Newton-Small, Jonathan Allen, Heidi Przybyla. Appreciate
you taking the time tonight.

And we will be back right after this.


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

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.



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