updated 7/2/2015 12:24:15 PM ET 2015-07-02T16:24:15

Show: HARDBALL
Date: July 1, 2015
Guest: Susan Page, Gary Hart, Jamelle Bouie, Erin McPike, Michael Schmidt

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: He`s no apprentice. Donald Trump shoots to
number two.

Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.

Welcome to the wacky world of American politics. First they ignore
you, then they laugh at you, then they attack you, then you win. So
where`s Donald Trump in all that?

Well, first the Republicans running for president, led by front-runner
Jeb Bush, tried to pretend the man in the golden tower and with the
beautiful wife wasn`t there. And now they try laughing him off, laughing
at him. When will that no longer be able to work? When will the attacks
come?

If there`s an outside chance -- is there? -- that this guy could --
who talks to the Republican gut on ISIS, on illegal immigrants, on Obama,
and politicians, period -- could he leave the rest of them lying on the
street? Is there a chance this comic book hero could actually take off?

Howard Fineman is the global editorial director with the
HuffingtonPost and Susan Page is Washington bureau chief with "USA Today."

Well, according to the newest polls, Donald Trump is now top tier. A
new CNN poll out today has Trump alone in second place nationally with 12
percent. Jeb Bush is the front-runner in this new poll at 19.

In Iowa, a new poll out today from Quinnipiac has Trump jumping into -
- also into second, into a tie for second place. And a recent Suffolk
University poll has Trump alone in second place in New Hampshire with 11
percent. He trails Jeb by just 3 up there.

Howard, this is for real. The question is, is it for long? And I
mean it, and I wonder whether all the other candidates are tiptoeing around
the issue, and he goes right -- like Archie Bunker, right to the gut. You
don`t like illegal immigrants...

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

MATTHEWS: ... I don`t like illegal immigrants. You don`t like Obama,
I don`t like Obama. You don`t like ISIS and wish we were kicking them in
the butt, I wish we were kicking them in the butt.

He talks like the average guy in a saloon in a way that gets to people
and speaks that kind of American English in a ways these other doormats, in
many ways, don`t know how to talk -- "tawk."

FINEMAN: Well, Chris -- well, Chris, what I saw up here in
Manchester, New Hampshire, when I got here today was the "Union Leader"
newspaper, which is the bible of politics in New Hampshire -- they put
Chris Christie -- they buried him on the inside with a small story about
his announcement.

One of the things that`s happened is Chris Christie flamed out, and he
was the original New York metropolitan tough guy. He left an opening. Ted
Cruz, who speaks to the id of the Republican base the way you`re talking
about with Donald Trump, is probably a little too scary even for a lot of
Republican grass roots people. So Donald Trump -- Donald Trump has an
opening there with the fact that both Cruz and Christie are nowhere.
That`s number one.

Number two, there`s no real front-runner. There`s 14 people running.
Most of them don`t have any name recognition. He`s Donald Trump. He`s got
name recognition like a Clinton or even a Bush.

And also, as you say, he speaks clearly and he speaks to the gut. And
he knows how to get attention. He`s sort of the rich man`s Chris Christie.

MATTHEWS: Yes! I think he`s a comic book hero to a lot of guys. I`d
like to go around with a camera and interview cab drivers, doormen, people
who have just gotten to this country. (INAUDIBLE) say he`s sort of like a
Sinatra kind of guy. He has a lot of money, and he seems to be enjoying
it, and he talks like us.

FINEMAN: Right.

SUSAN PAGE, "USA TODAY": Well, and plus, these attacks that he`s
undergoing, like Macy`s cutting him off and the...

MATTHEWS: Oh, that`ll hurt him.

PAGE: ... well, and NBC...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: ... with regular people?

PAGE: Helps him, makes him look like he`s the victim. He`s standing
up. He`s so tough, no one else can (INAUDIBLE) But let`s remember he`s in
number two place with 10 percent, 11 percent and 12 percent. And this is a
guy with a big...

FINEMAN: Right.

PAGE: ... ceiling on his head because 3 out of 4 Republicans in the
NBC/"Wall Street Journal" poll said they would not consider voting for him.
So he`s got -- he`s a guy who, when the field gets smaller, he`s going to
have trouble.

MATTHEWS: OK. Meanwhile, some of Trump`s opponents are out there
praising his good work. Let`s listen to them.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARLY FIORINA (R-CA), FMR. H-P CEO, PRES. CANDIDATE: I think Donald
Trump, who shouldn`t be underestimated, by the way, but I think he`s
hitting on issues that Americans care about.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When it comes to Donald
Trump, I like Donald Trump. I think he`s terrific. I think he`s brash. I
think he speaks the truth.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Should he apologize for what he said?

CRUZ: I don`t think you should apologize for speaking out against the
problem that is illegal immigration.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are they mostly drug dealers and rapists that are
coming across the border?

CRUZ: Oh, look, they`re not mostly that, but Donald Trump -- he has a
way of speaking that gets attention, and I credit him for focusing on an
issue that needs to be focused on.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Aren`t they fond of him!

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: Anyway, the guy with the most forceful response to Trump
(INAUDIBLE) had to speak in a foreign language, in Spanish, to say so. As
Bloomberg reports, Jeb Bush addressed some reporters out in Vegas, and they
write, quote, "`Trump spends his life fighting with people,` Bush answered
in Spanish, and he doesn`t, Bush said, represent the values of the
Republican Party." And former New York governor George Pataki called
Trump`s attacks on Hispanics disrespectful.

But Trump still holds sway over the party. In 2012, just four years
ago, or five -- three years ago, as you recall, Mitt Romney traveled to Las
Vegas to pose with the Donald and get his endorsement.

Howard, this isn`t a dance learned for the occasion. They have been
trooping up to Donald Trump for a long time, kissing his butt, saluting him
as a grand figure in the country. And I go back to this. Yes, he`s well
known, so why do people want him to be president? That`s my question. Why
do they want this guy to be president now?

FINEMAN: Well, I don`t think they do want him to be president. I
agree with Susan...

MATTHEWS: Why are they saying...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Well, why are they saying, Yes, Trump?

FINEMAN: Well...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: He`s beating Scott Walker 2 to 1. He`s beating all these
governors 2 or 3 to 1.

FINEMAN: Well, I think part of it is also that people, especially
Republican likely primary voters, are disgusted with the political system.
They`re disgusted and cynical about traditional politicians. They hate
Congress. They hate the Republican Party.

Donald Trump is like a big Macy`s day (sic) parade balloon, who seems
to hover above all of traditional politics. His support is a comment on
the cynicism and disaffection of the Republican grass roots and the
conservative grass roots with the whole structure of politics.

And because he`s outside of it, and because to some extent, he`s a
comic figure almost, he gets to comment on it and trash it in a way that`s
pleasing to some Republican people who answer polls right now.

MATTHEWS: Yes, and I think -- you know, I do think sometimes I`m
running along by the (INAUDIBLE) the guys holding the ropes on those big
balloons as they go up in the air, these big figures, and every once in a
while, you get taken up by the wind and you rise above the streets.

(LAUGHTER)

FINEMAN: That`s Donald Trump. That`s Donald Trump.

MATTHEWS: (INAUDIBLE) sometimes. Anyway, Trump`s selling an
unapologetic attack -- this is the bad part -- on immigrants from the
southern border. Let`s watch the bad stuff.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When Mexico sends its
people, they`re not sending their best. They`re bringing drugs. They`re
bringing crime. They`re rapists.

BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS: Would you take any of that back or rephrase
any of it, if you could?

TRUMP: No because it`s totally accurate. HuffingtonPost and Fusion -
- 80 percent of Central American women and girls are raped coming into the
United States, crossing the borders. They`re taking our jobs. They`re
taking our manufacturing. And they`re taking our money.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: OK, today Macy`s announced it will no longer sell Trump`s
menswear collection in its stores because of remarks like those. Trump
responded by stating, "For all those who want to make America great again,
boycott Macy`s. They are weak on border security" -- I didn`t know Macy`s
had a border security issue -- "and on stopping illegal immigration."

Susan, did you know that Macy`s had a policy on border patrolling?

PAGE: Yes, they do.

(LAUGHTER)

PAGE: They`re building a big wall. But you know, it`s comic, and yet
think about when Republicans want to turn around and start to appeal to
Hispanic voters in a general election...

MATTHEWS: Yes.

PAGE: How do you think it`s going to be when the nominee has to live
with the legacy of language like that?

MATTHEWS: Well, why aren`t they thinking like you are right now?
You`re a journalist. Why aren`t they thinking just like that? Why aren`t
they lining up -- in English, Jeb Bush! -- speaking in English against this
guy?

PAGE: Yes. Because...

MATTHEWS: Why does he have to go to Spanish?

PAGE: Because, of course, he does appeal to part of the Republican
Party, and you`re at the point where that`s who you`re trying to appeal to.
But there are -- I don`t think...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Well, the English-speaking portion of the Republican Party
is probably 90 percent.

PAGE: Well, maybe 99 percent.

FINEMAN: Can I get in?

MATTHEWS: Sure. You`re in.

FINEMAN: Can I say, Chris, Donald Trump is now so much of a force, at
least for now, that one of the other Republican candidates could get some
attention and maybe some polling points by taking him on. You know, Donald
Trump is a fighter. He knows how to pick a fight. He knows how to set his
coat on fire and everybody else`s coat on fire.

MATTHEWS: Would you go in the ring with him...

FINEMAN: Somebody should step...

MATTHEWS: ... if you were Republican? Would you go in the ring and
say, OK, buddy, let`s go at it?

FINEMAN: Yes.

MATTHEWS: Would you, politically?

FINEMAN: Well, let me say, you got to be prepared. You got to try to
skewer him. It`s hard to do. But if you can succeed at it, you win big
points.

And I think it`s -- I got to say, I think it`s shameful that he says
this stuff and that these other candidates who claim to be serious people,
who want to lead the country, don`t take him on. They don`t have the guts
to say a single word critical of the guy.

And Jeb Bush doing it in Spanish is kind of sad, actually. Come on!
You know that the Bush family doesn`t want to have anything to do with
Donald Trump. You know, it`s beneath them. Come on!

MATTHEWS: Well, I look at the facts that the Republican Party in the
House of Representatives refuses to pass a middle-of-the-road immigration
bill, a pretty good immigration bill with some teeth in it in terms of
illegal hiring. And it tells me that maybe Trump knows his mark.

And anyway, here`s how Trump is selling the brand through personal
nastiness and anything standing in his way. Here he goes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: You know, when I watch a George Will or a Charles Krauthammer
-- you know, I watched them for years. They`re losers. They`re just
losers.

I`ll be suing Univision. Maybe I`ll be suing NBC, too. We`ll have to
see. I have to see.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "The Daily News" today put this picture, "Clown
runs for president."

TRUMP: "The Daily News" is going to be out of business very soon.

How can Bush be in first place? This guy can`t negotiate his way out
of a paper bag!

(LAUGHTER)

TRUMP: I think Bush is an unhappy person.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What about Marco Rubio?

TRUMP: I think he`s highly overrated.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: OK, back to you, Susan and Howard, both in order now.
Let`s look about this guy. We got an Iowa -- we got a debate coming up
next month. I think he`s going to be in the center ring, making most of
the noise, and the only guy going at him will probably be Christie. And
they`ll both be punching each other, and everybody else is going to look
pretty boring. That`s my thought.

PAGE: And that`s not good for the other candidates or for the
Republican Party. You know, and the trick in a debate like that, 10
candidates on a stage at the first debate, is to get the attention, to have
the sound bite...

MATTHEWS: It`s a Fox audience, too.

PAGE: ... and -- and you can...

MATTHEWS: Fox audience.

PAGE: ... figure that Trump is -- this is catnip for him.

MATTHEWS: Howard, again, I`m not a media critic, but I think it`s
important that he goes before a Fox audience...

FINEMAN: Right.

MATTHEWS: ... which conservative to right-wing, too right-wing.

FINEMAN: Right.

MATTHEWS: And there`s a big chunk out there, Pat Buchanan type
Republicans on the hard right, who are going to eat this guy up completely
that night.

FINEMAN: No, I think on the serious side of this, Chris, you remember
Pat Buchanan`s appeal. You remember the fact that the Tea Party, to a big
extent, is based on fear of immigration and concern about immigration.

MATTHEWS: Yes, I agree with you.

FINEMAN: And you remember that Donald Trump is the birther guy. He`s
the guy who`s raising the fears about the other, about the outsider, the
idea that Barack Obama is not really from here, he`s not really an
American.

This is consistent, and this is the dark side of Donald Trump. We
dismiss him as a clownish figure. I think that`s probably a dangerous
thing to do because while he`s smiling and while he`s laughing and while
he`s getting off those one-liners, he`s speaking to the darker id of
American political life, which is fear of the other and fear of the
outsider.

And he will stoke it. He knows what sells. And we`re in a time of
cynicism and fear at the Republican grass roots. Not with the Democrats.
They love Barack Obama right now. They`re cheering Barack Obama`s greatest
week. But at the grass roots of the Republican Party, there`s fear and
anger and cynicism. And despite his smile and his funny hair, he knows how
to appeal to that sentiment.

MATTHEWS: He also believes -- you can say rightly or wrongly, I think
rightly -- that the political establishment has not dealt effectively with
the issue of illegal immigration, so he`ll do it his way.

FINEMAN: Right. I think that`s true.

MATTHEWS: Anyway, Trump`s "bash brother"...

FINEMAN: I think that`s true.

MATTHEWS: ... Chris Christie, was on the trail today in Maine, where
he received the first big public endorsement of his candidacy from Maine
governor Paul Lepage. Anyway, Politico has called Lepage America`s
craziest governor. Roll the tape.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. PAUL LEPAGE (R), MAINE: Many of you know that I say it the way I
see it. Sometimes I`m overly blunt.

You`re going to be seeing a lot of me on the front page, saying,
Governor Lepage tells Obama to go to hell.

I`m about ready to punch A.J. Higgins.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don`t punch him.

LEPAGE: Oh, come on!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What`s your response to some saying that it`s
more than just one incident, but rather a pattern?

LEPAGE: Tell them to kiss my butt.

Frankly, I think the speaker of House should go back home where he was
born and I think that Mr. (INAUDIBLE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Oh, my Good. So we`re going to have that first debate.
Last call for both of you, Susan, who writes for the cover of the "U.S.
News," and I -- "USA Today" -- how`d I make that mistake? This battle
coming up a month from now is going to be something to watch. I`m not sure
it`s about picking a president, but it is about picking a fight.

PAGE: Yes. That`s a great way to put it. And that`s what we`re
going to -- that`s what we`re going to see. And someone like a Jeb Bush...

MATTHEWS: It`s good for Democrats.

PAGE: ... and a Marco Rubio kind of step up to try to make their
points, to try to get into that fight.

MATTHEWS: I would think that -- we have a couple Cuban-Americans,
Howard, who are running for president who will be in the ring with this
guy, perhaps, as he bashes Latinos. We have one guy with a Mexican wife.
It just -- it gets very tribal when you`re talking to Donald Trump.

And I`ve always said that some of these guys would have no problem
with illegal immigration if those immigrants from the south were Heidi
Klums, I mean, they were from northern Europe. I mean, it`s the bottom
line here. This is an ethnic war we`re watching here. It`s for real.
Your thoughts?

FINEMAN: Well, Chris, both in terms of tone and the tenor, and
indeed, the substance about that fear on immigration I was talking about,
we now are in a situation where Donald Trump is setting the tone and the
tenor for at least the next month of the campaign heading into that debate
in August. Nobody could have predicted that a couple weeks ago, but I
think it`s true.

MATTHEWS: Yes. I think he`s out there, and we`re looking at the
numbers, and numbers matter in our business. Anyway, thank you, Howard
Fineman...

FINEMAN: Right.

MATTHEWS: ... and thank you, Susan Page.

Coming up -- another historic day for the president. He announced
today that the United States and Cuba are restoring full diplomatic
relations, opening embassies in both Washington and Havana for the first
time in more than 50 years, another (ph) big news. Obama`s got the hot
hand, and he`s taking the shots -- 3-pointers, actually.

Plus, as more and more businesses cut ties with Donald Trump, the one
organization that`s clearly stuck with the Donald, at least for now, is the
Republican Party led by Reince Priebus.

And the release of those e-mails from Hillary Clinton when she was
secretary of state don`t contain that smoking gun Republicans have been
endlessly looking for. But they do show how desperate Reince Priebus is to
bring her down. He keeps talking about this stuff.

Finally, "Let Me Finish" with why we have Ted Kennedy and others, like
Birch Bayh and Patsy Mink, to thank for the fact we can watch U.S. women`s
soccer team out there, that great team out there, go for the cup.

And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Hillary Clinton`s rolling up the score against the
Republicans in the latest polling. Let`s check the HARDBALL "Scoreboard."

According to a new CNN/ Opinion Research poll, Clinton looks dominant.
She leads Jeb Bush, the Republican who comes closest, by 13 points. It`s
Clinton 54, Bush 41.

Against Marco Rubio, Clinton`s lead is 16 points -- look at this, 56
to 40 against Rubio. She leads Chris Christie by that same 16-point
margin, 55 to 39. Against Scott Walker, Clinton`s lead grows to 17, 57 to
40. And against the Donald, Donald Trump, it`s no contest. Hillary`s up
24 points, 59 to 35. These margins are abnormally large, and this poll
looks like an outlier.

Anyway, we`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So in many ways, last
week was simply a culmination of a lot of work that we`ve been doing since
I came into office. How am I going to spend whatever political capital
that I`ve built up? You know, the list is long, and my instructions to my
team and my instructions to myself have always been that we are going to
squeeze every last ounce of progress that we can make when I have the
privilege -- as long as I have the privilege of holding this office.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, there`s one cool president. President Obama says
he`s not finished yet. And after a string of historic victories last week,
his winning streak continues. Today, the president made clear that he
plans to spend his political capital, and he played his hot hand again
today with a historic announcement, this time on foreign policy.

President Obama announced today that the United States and Cuba will
formally reestablish diplomatic relations for the first time since the
Eisenhower era was ending in `61 and will open embassies in each other`s
capitals.

Let`s watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today, I can announce
that the United States has agreed to formally reestablish diplomatic
relations with the Republic of Cuba, and reopen embassies in our respective
countries.

This is a historic step forward in our efforts to normalize relations
with the Cuban government and people. The progress that we mark today is
yet another demonstration that we don`t have to be imprisoned by the past.
When something isn`t working, we can and will change.

And later this summer, Secretary Kerry will travel to Havana formally
to proudly raise the American flag over our embassy once more. That`s what
this is about, a choice between the future and the past. This is what
change looks like.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: This is what change looks like. Well said.

Fifty-nine percent of Americans approve of the decision to normalize
relations with Cuba, according to the first ever MSNBC/Telemundo/Marist
poll released in April.

David Axelrod was a senior adviser to President Obama, and David Corn
is Washington bureau chief for "Mother Jones" magazine. Both are MSNBC
political analysts.

David, this is a legacy issue and I think -- well, you`re the expert
on the legacy question, but in terms of the environment, which is a big
issue with the president, clearly marriage equality, clearly health care
issues, all kinds of issues, climate change, he`s concerned about trade --
this is a big one in terms of reaching out and trying to bring the world
closer together ideologically, I guess.

How do you see it?

DAVID AXELROD, FORMER SENIOR WHITE HOUSE ADVISER: Well, I see it as
the president moving America into the 21st century.

You know, he was born the year that we broke off diplomatic relations
with Cuba. That was 53 years ago. The idea was to isolate Cuba and change
its policies that way. It also was a time when Cuba was a client state of
the Soviet Union, an outpost 90 miles from America`s shore, so there was
some justification for the policies we had.

But we have tried for 53 years to change their policies by shunning
them. And now he`s chosen engagement. And, as you pointed out, most
Americans agree that that`s the way to go.

MATTHEWS: David, it`s a couple ways to look at this, from the left,
where you generally come from, the progressive side of things.

It seems to me that this would be seen as sort of rapprochement with a
communist government. Or how do you see it? Do you see it as a way to
bring them down? Because some of the writers say -- and we will get to it
-- say -- those on the right say, oh, this is encouraging, this is
embracing Castro.

DAVID CORN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: The one thing that`s undeniable
is that half-a-century of this policy has not worked.

Now, Cuba, I have written about this. I think it`s an incredibly
oppressive regime. I have friends down there who are journalists and
authors down who can`t do what they want to do. They don`t have access to
the Internet. And so they haven`t been moving in the right direction in a
lot of these ways, the government.

But isolating them and preventing U.S. citizens, which might even be
against the Constitution, from traveling to Cuba hasn`t worked. And so I`m
all for trying something else, as are a lot of younger Cuban Americans and
most Americans.

It can`t be any worse. It can`t have less results than what we have
done for the last five decades. So, I have been down there a couple of
times. It`s a wonderful place. They tend -- Cubans tend to like
Americans.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Did you go down there? What kind of deal did you have to
strike to get through that government, though?

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Did you have to answer a questionnaire?

CORN: No, no. I went down in 1994, when the Baltimore Orioles were
playing the Cuban national team to cover it as a journalist, yes.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: As a sports reporter?

CORN: Exactly.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: I`m not going to play any games with them about filling
out, do you like the Castro government?

CORN: No, you don`t have to do that. You don`t have to do that.

People go down there all the time now on cultural trips. Journalists
can go. Educational groups can go. And now more Americans will be able to
go and hopefully everyone if they want to. I think at that point in time,
it`s going to be very hard for the government to keep these walls up.

MATTHEWS: OK.

David, Peggy Noonan wrote a great column a couple months ago saying
that basically she sort of likes this approach from a conservative point of
view, because her notion, her dream is Castro in his last moments of life,
looking out his bedroom window and seeing some kid with an iPhone, that the
future has arrived and it`s about freedom of communication and a new kind
of life that they don`t have down there.

Is that your sense, that he`s going to get shocked by opening the door
to us?

AXELROD: Absolutely.

I think that not only have -- we may have tried to isolate Cuba, but
the Castros have tried to keep the world out in many ways. And now those
barriers are going to be broken down. And it`s going to be very hard to
maintain the kind of repressive regime they have had there for the last 50
years.

I think, Chris, one of the interesting developments here -- Peggy is
an enlightened conservative. Many of these Republicans candidates for
president took the other road on this and strongly opposed this action
today.

MATTHEWS: Yes, I know.

AXELROD: The Congress is now -- the Republican Congress is talking
about not funding our embassy there.

So, in all these instances that you mentioned over the last week, all
this progress, you see the president pushing America forward and the
Republican Party trying to draw American -- America back. And elections
are always about the future. Americans look to the future.

I think that`s a losing strategy for the Republican Party. It may be
a winning strategy in Republican primaries. It`s a losing strategy in a
general election.

MATTHEWS: Unless Castro or Raul Castro does something outrageous in
the next several months, I think you`re right.

Anyway, Republicans, as you said, David, wasted no time voicing
opposition to President Obama`s historic announcement.

Here they go. GOP presidential candidate Marco Rubio, who is Cuban
American, said: "Throughout this entire negotiation, as the Castro regime
has stepped up its repression of the Cuban people, the Obama administration
has continued to look the other way and offer concession after concession.
The administration`s reported plan to restore diplomatic relations is one
such prized concession to the Cuban regime."

Texas Senator Ted Cruz, also of Cuban descent, said: "President Obama
announced today he is continuing his policy of unconditional surrender to
Fidel and Raul Castro by rewarding one of the most violently anti-American
regimes on the planet with an embassy and an official representative of our
government."

Jeb Bush said: "I oppose the decision to further embrace the Castro
regime by opening an embassy in Havana."

And Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker said: "President Obama`s decision
to establish full diplomatic relations with Cuba and open an embassy there
is yet another example of his appeasement of dictators."

I`m beginning to think I`m losing faith in Mr. Scott Walker as a
reasonable person, because he seems to be aping the right wing, when he
isn`t one. But he certainly likes to ape one.

CORN: Well, I think he...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: He`s an actual governor in the real world.

CORN: Yes, he`s there with the Koch brothers and a lot of things.
He`s taken a very absolutist stand on abortion.

He is pretty conservative, but he comes across as a little bit more
practical because he`s had to govern. But he went hard against the unions.
But it seems to me that the Tea Party base of the Republican part is still
ascendant.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Well, why do they care about Castro?

CORN: I think because there are some older white Republican voters...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Well, me too. I don`t think...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: ... either, but I will live with this thing. This seems
like a reasonable thing to do.

CORN: But it`s also another way of bashing Obama.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

CORN: It`s just this reflexive approach that whatever he does -- are
the Castros brothers worse than the Chinese? I mean, come on.

MATTHEWS: I know there`s a lot worse governments.

Let`s take a look at this. I got to get to Axelrod on this one.
Republicans are sounding an alarm led by the great man himself, Ryan
Priebus` operation at the RNC, over a 2009 e-mail exchange that was
released yesterday between Secretary Hillary Clinton and David Axelrod, who
wrote to her personal e-mail address about an injury she suffered. Fair
enough.

Reince Priebus`s operation at the RNC today issued this press release,
saying that Axelrod is busted, because he said in June that he didn`t know
about Clinton`s private server. And here`s the RNC points to as its
smoking gun.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUESTION: What do you think about Bill Daly not knowing about the
server? Is that unusual? Is that an issue?

AXELROD: Well, I think it is unusual. He was the chief of staff.

I confess I didn`t -- I was there. I was a senior adviser. I didn`t
know that as well.

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: So, if you did find out when you were there, if you did
find out when you were there, would you say, hey, whoa, wait a minute,
guys, should we all talk about this? Would you flag it?

AXELROD: I might have asked -- I might have asked a few questions
about that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: In a tweet today, Axelrod responded to the charges that he
knew more than he led on: "As I said before, I knew HRC had private e-mail.
I did not know she used it exclusively or had her own server."

It seems to me that the Republicans, as they have been in the game of,
since they started the Iraq War, of conflating. Here they conflate the
fact that there`s an e-mail message back and forth from you to her on a
private e-mail, whatever you call it, a private e-mail and that you knew
about the server. Your response? It seems to me you`re already clear on
this, but go ahead.

(LAUGHTER)

AXELROD: Yes.

Well, yes, I knew she had an e-mail. I never denied that I knew she
had private e-mail. I didn`t know she didn`t have a State Department
address or a server. And I suspect, even as bright a guy as Reince
Priebus...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Oh, you`re being sarcastic.

AXELROD: No, actually, I think he`s bright in certain ways, but...

CORN: In certain ways.

(LAUGHTER)

AXELROD: Maybe he can determine from an -- maybe he can determine
from an e-mail whether someone has a private server or not. I`m not that
smart.

I didn`t detect that. So, I think it`s a much -- as you say, much ado
about nothing, but it`s reflective of what we`re going to see for the next
many months, which is everything involving Hillary is going to be inflated
beyond its importance.

MATTHEWS: Yes, I know, or conflated.

By the way, I feel like saying, is that all you got?

Anyway, thank you, David Axelrod. I thought you made it clear before
today on MSNBC, but thanks for coming on again.

David Corn, thank you, gentlemen.

CORN: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: Up next, we`re talking politics with former U.S. Senator
and presidential candidate Gary Hart.

And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

Well, former U.S. Senator Gary Hart represented Colorado from 1975 to
1987. He ran for president, of course, twice, winning the New Hampshire
Democratic primary in 1984.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was understandably happy when he met with
reporters to talk about the future of the campaign.

GARY HART, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I look forward to a vigorous
debate about this party`s future.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Wow.

Gary Hart is still concerned about his party`s future, the future of
American politics, especially with the twin phalanxes of politicians up on
Capitol Hill right now voting strictly along party lines in a constant
quest, many believe, for reelection.

In "The Republic of Conscience," his book, Hart cites "New York Times"
columnist Tom Friedman`s portrayal of Washington`s revolving door of
legislators-turned-lobbyists as the most troubling aspect of politics right
now.

Joining me right now is former Senator and the current U.S. peace
envoy to Northern Ireland Gary Hart.

Senator Hart, thank you for joining us.

HART: My pleasure.

MATTHEWS: You know, I thought you got screwed politically in 1984,
when you had won all those primaries on Super Tuesday, and the only one you
lost was Georgia, as I believe, and out come the media and said that
Mondale won those primaries that day, the next day.

Bryant Gumbel has Bob Beckel on, congratulating Beckel, saying, good
night. And you won all of them. You won seven of nine, I think it was.
Why was the media not on your side back in `84, when you could have been a
real contender against Reagan? You could have beaten him, maybe. Who
knows.

HART: Well, I don`t -- the media will have to account for itself. I
can`t do that.

But the headline in "The Washington Post" that next morning was
"Hart/Mondale Split." Well, the split was seven to you, as you indicated.

(LAUGHTER)

HART: And I went on to divide the country with Fritz. I think we
each won 25 states. And the difference at that convention were the super
delegates, all of whom supported Vice President Mondale.

MATTHEWS: Why do you think you didn`t make it, when you really looked
like you had the hot hand? You had Caddell working for you, which is
interesting.

You had a really hot campaign. And you were kind of the alternative
to Reagan, the old man. You were the new outdoor candidate. I always look
at candidates as who is the outdoor, who is the indoor? The outdoor guy
almost always wins. Mondale was clearly an indoor-type person. You were
an outdoor kind of guy. You were the Western guy, the young guy that could
have taken on Reagan.

What went wrong, when you look back? You must have looked back over
it. Why didn`t it work the first time?

(LAUGHTER)

HART: Well, Chris, if you start at 1 percent or 2 percent and you win
25 states and have over 1,200 delegates, you don`t think about what went
wrong.

The press was shocked. Insiders were shocked at the -- not only the
victory in New Hampshire, but the margin thereafter and Super Tuesday. And
then, as you well know, we went into the industrial states, where the party
establishment prevailed.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

HART: And, in those states, they clearly had a lot for Vice President
Mondale.

And even though the polls at the convention in San Francisco showed
that I had a much better chance at defeating the president, they nominated
the man they knew the best.

MATTHEWS: OK. Let`s talk about today and the party. And we can talk
about politics. You can talk about the criticisms in your book. It`s rich
with criticism.

And we know a lot of these things, the role of money, the role of
party regularity, discipline. People are not thinking for themselves. Let
me ask you about the ideological direction of the party right now. Bernie
Sanders is making a lot of noise. He reminds me -- and maybe you as well -
- of the `60s. He`s got a `60s message, anti-war, questioning the power
elites in this country, very much a `60s message.

Hillary Clinton, more of a conservative in the sense of more of a
traditional politician from the center-center. How do you think it is
going to go? And where would you want it to go in terms of just that
battle, those two profiles?

HART: Well, first of all, let me correct the impression.

I was not a `60s person. I experienced the `60s, as many others of my
generation did, but I was a 21st century person. I was advocating
embracing globalization, the information revolution, and new technologies
and a wide variety of things of that sort. So what I was trying to do was
look over the horizon.

Today, I think Senator Sanders is rallying a base, a part of the
Democratic base that has not been appealed to because of the so-called
centrism that`s been going on and off in the Democratic Party. I have
never quite understood what that was, but avoidance, I think, of
controversial positions.

I think there is a chance for a generational change here. I think an
awful lot of Democrats and Americans want new leadership. And part of what
I comment on in the book is that the lobbying industry, the catastrophic
increase in campaign financing and the insider network, the coalescence of
an insider network in Washington is making it that much more difficult.

MATTHEWS: Let me ask you, who would you vote for if you had to, if
the caucuses in Colorado were coming up right now, instead of March 1 next
year, between Sanders and Clinton? Who would you go for?

HART: Well, those are -- that`s not the only choice.

I have known Governor O`Malley for 20 or 25 years, more, actually.
And I have said I would support him, out of loyalty, if nothing else. But
I also think he does represent that new generation. Whether he will be
able to catch fire, we don`t know yet.

But let me comment on the polls, because I have been through this.

MATTHEWS: Sure.

HART: They are largely name recognition.

The fact that Mr. Trump has gotten so much media coverage -- I`m in
New York right now. That`s all you hear about, is the media covering
Trump. Well, the polls, as you well know, often reflect name recognition.
You stop somebody on the street. You give them 10 or 15 names, half of
those people will pick a name they have heard of. And who have they heard
of recently, but Donald Trump?

MATTHEWS: Gary Hart, "The Republic of Conscience."

Good luck with the book, Senator.

HART: Thanks.

MATTHEWS: And thank you for coming on HARDBALL tonight. Thank you,
Gary Hart.

HART: Thank you very much. It`s a pleasure.

MATTHEWS: Up next: Everyone`s firing Donald Trump out there, except
the Republican primary voters. And that`s ahead with the roundtable.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWSBREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD Trump (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When Mexico sends its
people, they`re not sending their best. They`re sending people that have
lots of problems. And they`re bringing those problems with us. They`re
bringing drugs, they`re bringing crime, they`re rapists, and some, I
assume, are good people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: I like that assume part. That was Donald
Trump making his now controversial remarks about Mexicans and Mexican
immigrants in his June 17th presidential announcement.

Anyway, since then Spanish language network Univision announced that
it would cut all business ties with Mr. Trump and it would drop its
broadcasts of the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants, which are partly
owned by Trump. NBC also announced that it was severing its ties with
Trumps because of the derogatory comments he made. The network said it
will no longer air the pageants as well.

Trump will no longer be participating in "The Celebrity Apprentice"
program, which also airs on NBC. NBC is, of course, the parent company us
at MSNBC.

And today, Macy`s department store that it, too, was ending ties with
Trump, and pulling their Donald Trump brand merchandise from its stores.

Joining me at the roundtable tonight, Michael Schmidt, reporter with
"The New York Times", Erin McPike is political journalist, and Jamelle
Bouie is a writer with "Slate".

To the point of view, Jamelle, what`s your point of view on this?
Because I`m openly skeptical of any of this hurting Trump at the polls with
Republicans?

JAMELLE BOUIE, SLATE WRITER: I don`t think it does. I think the
interesting thing about Donald Trump is he seems to be the living avatar of
a good chunk of the Republican base that is xenophobic, that is bigoted,
that wants to see someone say those things out there and not even apologize
for it. And I think as long as he keeps talking like this, he`ll be fine.
He`s not going to win obviously, but --

MATTHEWS: To our older audiences, including me, what`s an avatar?

BOUIE: An embodiment -- he`s an embodiment.

MATTHEWS: Does he represent the future of the Republican Party?

BOUIE: I don`t think so. There are angry and ugly forces in the far
right of American politics, and they exist in the Republican, they`re not
influential, but they can be influential, if someone can harness them. And
I think Trump -- and this is not a good thing. I think Trump`s popularity
is indicative of the extent to which those people have influence in the
Republican Party and --

MATTHEWS: What percentage would you say of the Republican primary and
caucus-going electorate is of that attitude?

BOUIE: He`s polling, I think 12 percent. I think --

MATTHEWS: No, when they get there what`s it, a third, hard right?

BOUIE: I think it`s 15, 20 percent.

MATTHEWS: Really?

BOUIE: But that`s a 15 and 20 percent that a smarter, savvier
politician can appeal to and peel away and make part of his coalition.

MATTHEWS: I think, Erin, he`s like Pat Buchanan was one generation
ago, but with kind of that New York appeal. The New York City,
Manhattan/Gotham appeal that anybody in New York, who`s a media figure like
he is, comes with, which is a hell of a lot of wind at your back.

ERIN MCPIKE, POLITICAL JOURNALIST: Well, that and these people see
that he has convictions. I mean, he`s going to stick to them and he`s not
going to waver from them. I would also point out that if you look at the
population --

MATTHEWS: How would you define his convictions? What is it about
illegal immigration?

MCPIKE: Well, he keeps saying, I`m going to do something, I`m going to
build a wall.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

MCPIKE: I`m going to stop everybody from coming in.

MATTHEWS: Is he going to stop illegal hiring?

MCPIKE: There are --

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Is he going to stop illegal hiring on golf courses around
the United States? Are they going to stop hiring illegal immigrants to cut
the lawn? Are they going to stop them from making the beds?

MCPIKE: He said he`s going to try.

MATTHEWS: When it comes to money, they never stop it.

MCPIKE: Listen, if you look at the populations of Iowa and New
Hampshire, you see Latino populations, 6 percent and 3 percent. Those are
kind of homogenous states. If you go into those states, you will hear
Republican voters who are really angry about illegal immigration and they
like what he`s saying. They think he`s going to do something for them.

MATTHEWS: That`s interesting.

Let me ask the same question: is this guy a factor?

MICHAEL SCHMIDT, THE NEW YORK TIMES REPORTER: Well, if he`s just kind
of occupying the part of the Republican Party that kind of gets passed
around and candidate to candidate. When Herman Cain was in the lead and
whatever, just taking the portion of the party that is interested in these
kind of, as you described them, xenophobic --

MATTHEWS: I`ll tell you one big difference, $8 billion, the
difference between him and Herman Cain.

SCHMIDT: That`s how much he`s worth. That`s how much he says he`s
worth.

MATTHEWS: Well, if it`s close. I`m not quibbling $8 billion, OK? A
billion is a lot. It`s a thousand million. That`s a lot of money, OK?
That`s 8,000 millions, OK? That`s a lot of money.

You can quibble about the margin of error all you want.

SCHMIDT: Well, he sued --

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: If he wants to win the election, if he wants to win this
election, he is willing to spend, say, a couple of hundred thousand, which
would be nothing for him, a couple of hundred of million be nothing to him,
he could stay in this thing in the way Herman Cain 999 could not stay in
this race.

SCHMIDT: Well, Newt stayed in of a long time.

MATTHEWS: But he ran out of money.

SCHMIDT: Yes, but he has someone helping him --

MATTHEWS: Here`s my theory, I want to cuter than you because I don`t
want to be nicer to him. But I think there`s a lot of Americans who watch
television and they like a person who has the cojones to break with
political correctitude. I don`t even like the term political correctitude.
But they know what you`re supposed to say on television, they know you`re
supposed to apologize for. And if a guy comes long and says, I`m not going
to apologize for it, I`m going to say it, because I know a lot of you guys
out there in your gut got that attitude, I think that`s an appeal.

MCPIKE: He has taken on Macy`s. In the last hour, he said they`re
racial profiling. He is going after everybody.

MATTHEWS: He said they have a border policy. I didn`t know --

MCPIKE: He said that too.

MATTHEWS: Anyway, the roundtable is staying with us. Up next, no
smoking gun in the new batch of Hillary Clinton e-mails, but that`s not
stopping Republicans. This is all they got, is e-mail, and here we are,
the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Well, the Republican presidential candidates are coming to
HARDBALL.

Next week, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum is going to be
here on Monday. He won the Iowa caucuses remember last time around.

Then, on Wednesday, Senator Ted Cruz joins us here.

It`s going to be a great week on HARDBALL.

We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: We`re back with the roundtable for a few minutes now,
Michael, Erin, and Jamelle.

The State Department released 3,000 of Hillary Clinton`s e-mails from
2009. It`s the first batch to be made public after a federal judge ordered
them to be released on a monthly basis.

While they don`t provide much fodder for Clinton`s opponents, they do
show that Mrs. Clinton wanted to spend more time with President Obama. One
reads, quote, "I see the president at least once a week while Kissinger saw
Nixon every day."

And another e-mail shows confusion over a cabinet meeting that she
heard about over the radio, quote, "I heard in the radio that there`s a
cabinet meeting this morning. Is there? Can I go? If not, who are we
sending?"

But the radio got it wrong and mistakenly referred to a meeting of
lower level officials. This is kind of funny.

What comes across, Erin, is Hillary Rodham Clinton, with her all
credentials and history and self, she`s a regular person. She`s worried
about who missed the party, I didn`t get invited, what`s going on here, I
wish I had more time with the man, with the president. It seems pretty
human to me.

I`m not knocking about this. This is no expose.

MCPIKE: No, there`s nothing nefarious so far in the emails we`ve
seen, and she just looks a little insecure. She cares a lot about the
media coverage of her. Now, what it told me is that any of us who believed
back in 2009, 2010 that she wasn`t going to run for president again, we
were naive because she`s been looking at this the whole time.

MATTHEWS: Jamelle?

BOUIE: I mean, it`s interesting that you bring up her concern with
media coverage. It`s not surprising, right? She went through the 1990s
with this intense scrutiny on her. I think it`s just part of her political
DNA now that she`s obsessed with how the media views her.

MATTHEWS: Is she more secretive than most pols?

BOUIE: I don`t know. My hunch is she is probably a little more
secretive because of that past history, but I generally think that most
politicians are secretive. Not even trying to hide anything. They just
don`t want to tell people things.

MATTHEWS: That`s my experience. Having worked on the inside, they
don`t want you on the inside, journalists.

Your thoughts, Michael?

SCHMIDT: Well, did it take a mistake of e-mails to learn more about
her and to have an insight into who she is? Because if you read them, I
find her fairly compelling. Who is not worried about their access to their
boss? Most people are.

BOUIE: Who knows how to use a fax machine? I don`t.

MATTHEWS: Well, the unintended consequences, maybe the e-mails will
end up helping her but I can`t believe anybody will vote against her
because of the e-mail issues. There are larger issues in the world.

BOUIE: I can`t imagine someone walking into a voting booth and saying
I agree with Hillary Clinton on education but those e-mails.

MATTHEWS: Exactly, that was my conundrum. Anyway, thank you, Michael
Schmidt. Thank you, Erin McPike. And thank you, Jamelle Bouie.

When we return, let me finish with why we have Ted Kennedy to thank as
we watched the U.S. women`s soccer team go for the cup, the World Cup.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Let me finish with a message to women -- young women,
girls, fathers and mothers of girls, OK, to everybody.

Isn`t it great to see pictures of those bright young American women
out there going for the World Cup? Is there another world but sheer
delight in seeing their love of sport, love of the physical joy up there in
Montreal? Beating the Germans? That excellent team exempt when they came
up against the U.S. women.

If you think this doesn`t matter in this country to what we think
about ourselves, well, I don`t know what to say to you. But if you do get
a kick out of this sensational run this U.S. women`s soccer team is making
for the cup, let`s not forget why we`re in this thing and at the very
highest levels.

Back in 1972, the United States Senate led by Ted Kennedy and
Indiana`s Birch Bayh, and Hawaii`s Patsy Mink got something called Title
IX.

And here`s what it said in the law, "No person in the United States
shall on the basis of sex be excluded from participation in, be deny the
benefits of, or be subjected to the discrimination under any education
program or activity receiving federal financial assistance." That`s Title
IX. And it has made all the difference.

If you`re in a family of women athletes like ours, you know the joy
that girls get from soccer. Our Caroline is a midfield stalwart. Kathleen
played tennis for Stanford and while they were national champs, the women
on the team still had to pay for their transportation to road games.

So, times have changed. Our women are world contenders because we
gave them an equal chance here at home.

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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