updated 7/9/2015 9:32:21 AM ET 2015-07-09T13:32:21

Date: July 8, 2015
Guest: Sen. Ted Cruz, April Ryan, Kristen Soltis Anderson


Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.

For the moment, perhaps maybe the week, maybe the month, maybe the
election year, Donald Trump is making the noise. The master of Monopoly,
the man in the gold tower has got Gotham and the rest of the country

Tonight, we`ve got a lot of Trump, but also all of the men who may
replace him as the Republican Party`s number one challenger to the
political establishment. Texas senator Ted Cruz -- he`s author of a new
book, "A time for Truth: Reigniting the Promise of America." There he is,
and we have him with us tonight.

Thank you so much. You know, you have a fascinating background.
You`re the son of immigrants. You`ve gone from a guy who came here with
nothing, right?


MATTHEWS: Your dad, who you obviously love, without a buck in his
pocket. You`re born. You went to Princeton. That`s a good school, right?

CRUZ: So I`m told.

MATTHEWS: OK, it`s a good school. You became a great debater. You
went to Harvard law, you did all that stuff, United States senator in one
big stump.

Let me ask you about this thing about Trump. Now, Trump is out there
still playing the birther card. And I just want to get your reaction to
some news today in an interview he did. Let`s watch him again today
expressing skepticism about whether the president of the United States is
actually a natural-born citizen of this country.

Let`s watch him here.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A few years ago, you led the birther movement.
You sent investigators out to Hawaii to find out whether or not Obama was,
you said, was not born here.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It turned out not to be true...


TRUMP: Well, I don`t know. According to you, it`s not true. I don`t
know. You know...

MATTHEWS: He released his birth certificate.


MATTHEWS: Well, he`s sticking to his guns on that. On the day you
announced your candidacy, Senator, Trump also said your birthplace -- well,
you were born in Calgary, I guess your father was working up there, father
and mother at the time up in Canada -- could be a hurdle for your campaign.
Let`s watch him here.


TRUMP: He was born in Canada. If you know -- and when we all studied
our history lessons, you`re supposed to be born in this country, so I just
don`t know how the courts would rule on it. But it`s an additional hurdle
that he has that nobody else seems to have.


MATTHEWS: Well, actually, "natural-born" means that you were born to
American parents. You don`t have to be naturalized. I think you`re
completely in the clear here, as I believed from the beginning the
president is, because Trump, he has never said that the mother of Barack
Obama is not the mother of Barack Obama.

But what do you think of the fact he still says it`s a hurdle for you?
And by the way, you`re quite open about how you grew up and where you were

CRUZ: Well, sure. Sure. Now, look, I like Donald Trump. You know,
there are a lot of folks in Washington right now that seem to be crawling
all over themselves to smack Donald Trump. I`m not one of them. I think
he`s bold, I think he`s brash, and I think he`s got backbone. I think

MATTHEWS: Well, why does he say stuff about you?

CRUZ: You know, look...

MATTHEWS: Why does he say it`s a hurdle for you, when no one else is
causing you trouble? And by the way, George -- who is it -- Romney, George
Romney, was born in Mexico to American parents. John McCain was born in
the Canal Zone. Barry Goldwater was born in Arizona, a territory at the

CRUZ: Right. Right.

MATTHEWS: Nobody made a beef about that.

CRUZ: Yes, look, the legal question is quite straightforward, that
the child of a U.S. citizen born abroad is a natural-born citizen. As you
noted, my mom was Irish and Italian, born in Wilmington, Delaware. And
when I was born in Calgary, I was a citizen by birth. I`ve never breathed
a breath of air on earth...

MATTHEWS: Yes. So you are black Irish. This is great! Anyway, a
lot of your book has to do with a very powerful theme, which is about --
and I agree with you on this completely -- the betrayal of the Cuban

When I was a kid and Castro came to New York after knocking because
off Batista, coming in, he was in pajamas. He had his interview with
Edward R. Murrow and everything. We rooted like hell for him. He was a
democratic successor to a horrible dictatorship. And he betrayed all of

Has that got a lot to do with your politics?

CRUZ: Well, it certainly has a lot to do with my passion. You know,
I mean, what I describe in the book, "A Time for Truth," is -- I begin with
my family`s story and my dad, my great-grandparents coming to Cuba, my
grandfather growing up on a sugar plantation and my dad as a teenager
joining with Castro and the revolution.

MATTHEWS: He believed in it, in the beginning.

CRUZ: He did. Now, none of the kids knew that Castro was a
communist. They knew that Batista was corrupt, he was a dictator, he was
in bed with the mob. As you know, as my dad describes it today, the
revolutionaries were a bunch of 14-year-old boys that didn`t know any


CRUZ: And so my father ended up -- he was thrown in prison when he
was 17 and he was tortured in Cuba. You know, one of the things I have in
the book is his mug shot with his nose broken...

MATTHEWS: Yes, I know.

CRUZ: ... where, you know, Cuban soldiers -- they`d come in every few
hours and beat him with billy clubs and shattered his teeth, broke his
nose. And then when he fled Cuba, it was `57 and he was just 18. He
couldn`t speak English.

MATTHEWS: You also talk about how your aunt was sexually attacked.
You were very careful about it, and respectful, but that`s another problem
with Castro.

CRUZ: Oh, it was...

MATTHEWS: A serious problem.

CRUZ: And our family`s story reflects that of a lot of people in
Latin America. When my dad fought with Castro, `59, the revolution
succeeds, Castro declares as a communist, begins executing people, seizing
their lands.

And my aunt, my fiasolina (ph), who I call my fialoca (ph) -- she was
still there, and she fought in the counterrevolution against Castro. She
would with her friends burn down sugar cane fields. And she ended up being
thrown in prison and tortured by Castro`s goons.

MATTHEWS: How do you feel now, or how do you believe, think now about
it? We`re opening up diplomatic relations. We`re going to have an
ambassador there. You`re going to vote against the ambassador, though.

CRUZ: I most certainly will.

MATTHEWS: I knew that -- I figured that was coming. Will you ever go
to Cuba as long as Fidel and Raul are running the place?

CRUZ: You know, I don`t know. I`ve never been. I certainly look
forward to going...

MATTHEWS: Would you go back, as a principle, while they`re still

CRUZ: You know, I disagree with the Obama administration`s approach
to opening up Cuba. I think it`s the same type of approach that this
administration has had to Russia...


CRUZ: ... and to Iran, that it`s dealing with our enemies with
weakness. And I think the consequence of...

MATTHEWS: Well, a lot of people are -- not everybody -- I agree
there`s some people on the left who may take that point of view. And I
don`t think Obama -- I don`t know what he believes, but I think -- a lot of
people believe opening up to Cuba to freedom and to commerce and free
enterprise is going to bring down the communist government. You don`t
think that.

CRUZ: You know, I don`t, particularly because the way the rules are
set, all the money goes into the government. So billions of dollars are
going to flow into the Castros` bank books.

You know, each chapter of the book, "A Time for Truth," features a
truth teller.


CRUZ: And the very first truth teller that I feature is a gentleman
named Guellermo Farinas (ph), who is a Cuban dissident. He used to be a
communist soldier for Castro. His nickname was El Coco, still is.


CRUZ: And he`s been on hunger strikes, he`s been in prison, he`s been
tortured. About a year ago, he came to the States. I interviewed him...


CRUZ: ... and another dissident in Spanish for about a half hour, and
he shared his story. He predicted what Obama would do. And he said, Don`t
do it, it will strengthen the Castros, and they will only be...

MATTHEWS: So you don`t think the influence of, say, modern cars
coming into the country, not just `57 Chevys -- those are great cars, but
that`s all they have their now -- the influence of people coming in with
new technology, new phone systems. They`re going to come in with money.

The Cuban people (INAUDIBLE) what the hell have we been missing here?
Because that`s what really turned the East Germans into being wanting to be
part of the West. They saw how the West Germans were living on TV.

CRUZ: Well...

MATTHEWS: You`re saying that won`t work.

CRUZ: We can always hope and pray. But it seems to me that the Obama
administration should have used some leverage. So for example, the
opposition, the dissidents, are still being picked up.


CRUZ: They`re still being tortured and they`re still being...

MATTHEWS: It`s a communist country.

CRUZ: ... imprisoned. And we`ve gotten effectively nothing in
exchange for billions of dollars. It`s much the same as what we`re doing
with Iran, sending billions of dollars to that nation again in a way that`s
undermining our national security.

MATTHEWS: Let`s -- we don`t have a whole lot of time. I want to talk
about the book. You said some stuff in the book that I completely agree
with from a different -- from a more liberal position.

When you first got into the Senate leadership lunches, and you
realized it was all a game, that basically, the job was to protect the
party, protect the leadership. And so you discovered it wasn`t about
stopping debt ceiling from rising, it was about avoiding responsibility for
doing it.

CRUZ: Yes. Yes.

MATTHEWS: So all they want to do is lower the threshold to 51 votes
so it wouldn`t be 60, and then they could all vote against it and let the
Democrats pass it.

CRUZ: Yes.

MATTHEWS: By the way, when I first came to work on the Hill with the
Senate, the Democratic leadership then would pass these spending limits,
iron-clad spending limit of $285 billion, and then they`d pass two
amendments exempting entitlements and then exempting any kind of
appropriation that went higher.


MATTHEWS: So the games are being played. But what about campaign
financing? I mean, you`ve got a big PAC out there, like everybody else,
with all this money coming in, $37 million. And the American people are
supposed to believe that the guy who`s running, who`s benefiting from the
PAC money, doesn`t know anything about how it`s being raised, doesn`t even
know the guy running it.

But you know the guy. His name is Dathan Bolter (ph). How do you
avoid ever meeting him, winking at him, talking to him to keep non-

CRUZ: Well, let me take...

MATTHEWS: Because that`s what people wonder about. They think it`s a
joke. Is it a joke?

CRUZ: Let me take those two one at the same time. I want to start...

MATTHEWS: Start with the Senate leadership, if you want.

CRUZ: Well, yes. You mentioned what happened with the debt ceiling,
and the opening chapter of the book describes what happens behind closed
doors in the Republican lunch.

MATTHEWS: I thought it was a good chapter.

CRUZ: And it`s entitled "Mendacity." It really highlights what I try
to do. Look, I recognize not a lot of your viewers are likely to be Ted
Cruz fans. But if your viewers are wondering, All right, why is this guy
fighting for what he`s fighting for, if your viewers are wondering what
happens, what happens behind closed doors in the Senate, what this book
tries to do is really shine a light on the corruption, on the role of
money, and it takes on both parties.

MATTHEWS: So you`re saying this is a good book to buy.

CRUZ: Well, I`m certainly encouraging folks to buy --


MATTHEWS: By the way, that part of the book I completely agree with.
But campaign financing to me...

CRUZ: Yes. Yes.

MATTHEWS: ... has gotten to be this sort of double game. Well, I
only take so much from my campaign, $2,700 a head. But all this guy money
comes in. It`s not marked. Nobody knows who it is. Isn`t that part of
the corruption?

CRUZ: Look...

MATTHEWS: Is that part of the corruption?

CRUZ: Absolutely. And the current system makes no sense. Right now,
most of the candidates in this race, the bulk of their money is in super-
PACs where it`s illegal to coordinate. Who in their right mind -- I mean,
as the result of this race, I`m not allowed to talk to folks who are going
to be spending more money communicating my message than I am. That`s

MATTHEWS: Well, it`s a joke, though, because you write a speech, you
give a speech, and they know what your message is and they put it on
television. This idea of secrecy or non-collaboration`s a joke!

CRUZ: Well, and that`s why I introduced legislation that was called
the Super-PAC Elimination Act of 2014. And what it does is real simple.
It would allow unlimited contributions from individuals...


CRUZ: ... directly to campaigns and require immediate disclosure
within 24 hours.


CRUZ: Now, that actually -- you`d have sunshine, you`d have sunlight,
and the difference would be super-PACs effectively would go away because
people would give to campaigns, and that way, Hillary could communicate her
message from her supporters, and we could all talk about -- if someone
gives a gazillion dollars to a candidate, we could talk about, OK, are they
on the take?

But I believe in more speech and more sunlight is the best thing for

MATTHEWS: OK, you went after Chuck Hagel when he went up for the
nomination on the issue of disclosure. And you said you wanted to know
where his money came from. And then in the book here -- another reason to
read the book -- you said it was a mistake to say he may have gotten the
money from North Korea.

CRUZ: So I...

MATTHEWS: I mean, that`s a communist government, and he did fight the
communist in Vietnam. He had two Purple Hearts for fighting the
communists, and you`re saying he took money from the communists, which was
a pretty strong charge. You`ve said it was a mistake.

CRUZ: Well...


CRUZ: ... say that, but I do talk about a number of things...


CRUZ: I did say that I thought it was a mistake to mention North
Korea, but...

MATTHEWS: Of course! Have you apologized to him for that? Have you
ever said, Chuck, I`m sorry for calling you on the take with the

CRUZ: Well, but I didn`t. And one of the things I walk through in
the book...

MATTHEWS: I read the -- I`ve got it underlined!

CRUZ: ... is this...

MATTHEWS: You said -- look, by the way, under libel laws -- and
you`re the lawyer -- you can`t just say, Did you take the money from the
communists? You can`t do that.

CRUZ: You know, John Adams famously said facts are stubborn things.


CRUZ: What this book does is describe the facts.


CRUZ: The background with Hagel -- and I don`t know -- I didn`t know
Hagel. Most of my colleagues...

MATTHEWS: Well, let`s take a look at what you said at his
confirmation hearing -- here it is -- when he`s up for secretary of


CRUZ: I will point out that right now, this committee knows
absolutely nothing about the personal compensation Chuck Hagel received in
2008, in 2009 or 2010.

It is at a minimum relevant to know if that $200,000 that he deposited
in his bank account came directly from Saudi Arabia, came directly from
North Korea.


MATTHEWS: From North Korea. And here`s what you wrote in your book.
"In hindsight, I made a mistake when I uttered the words North Korea.
There was no credible reason anyone would believe that Hagel had received
funds from North Korea."

CRUZ: But there was credible reason to believe he may have received
funds from a foreign government.


CRUZ: And the reason is, I along with 25 other senators, sent him a
letter asking him to disclose his income. Now, I`ll point out that`s the
same question that was asked of Hillary Clinton, and she willingly gave
over seven years. It`s the same question Harry Reid asked Henry Kissinger,

MATTHEWS: Yes. But they didn`t accuse someone of taking money from a
communist government.

CRUZ: But the difference...

MATTHEWS: That`s different!

CRUZ: But Chris, what you never mentioned on your TV shows when you
were blasting me for that...


CRUZ: ... is that Hagel responded in writing there were seven funds,
seven checks he`d received.


CRUZ: Six of them, he said, I can represent they didn`t come from a
foreign government. The seventh, for $200,000, he said, I cannot tell you
if they came...

MATTHEWS: That`s in the book too.

CRUZ: ... from a foreign government. So he said in writing...

MATTHEWS: Look, we agree. You shouldn`t have said North Korea.
Let`s move on. Do you agree?

CRUZ: But -- it was a tactical mistake because it enabled Democrats
to change the subject. Look, I still think it`s ridiculous that senators
and the media did not care that a nominee for secretary of defense said in
writing he may have received money...

MATTHEWS: Yes, but...

CRUZ: ... from a foreign government, and nobody cared to at least
ask, Did you, in fact, receive...

MATTHEWS: But your reputation preceded you there because everyone
knows you`re a very, very zealous anti-communist, which is good. And when
you mentioned North Korea, people said sounds like he`s accusing him of
being on the take from the communists. This is serious business, putting
that together. Don`t you agree?

CRUZ: But I`ll read you the excerpt that you showed. What I said in
full is, I said, listen, in writing, he has raised the inference that he
may have received money from a foreign country. And I said, Look, there
are contexts in which no one would care. If he received money from Canada
for a lumber dispute, nobody would care.


CRUZ: That would not be an issue, and...

MATTHEWS: I know, but you suggested...

CRUZ: And then I said, On the other hand...


MATTHEWS: ... enemy.

CRUZ: If he received money from some other countries, and I mentioned
Saudi Arabia...


CRUZ: ... and foolishly -- the reason I mentioned North Korea...

MATTHEWS: I know. It`s in the book.

CRUZ: ... it was news then.

MATTHEWS: That`s right. Let me ask you about...

CRUZ: But that was a mistake because it let Democrats change the
subject, and so I admit that was a mistake.

MATTHEWS: Well, I don`t think you changed the subject. I think it is
the subject. Anyway, let`s talk about the election. In the 2000 election,
you had a bill role in the recount. We covered it here. It was the best
thing I ever covered. I never liked covering anything like the recount.

But you bring the Supreme Court into it, which you were happy as a
lover of the Supreme Court then. You brought them in. They basically said
the state lost its rights to recount (INAUDIBLE) because of equal

Now -- now, on the issue of marriage equality, you say no equal
protection, leave the states alone. So how do you be consistent there?
Are you consistent or inconsistent on equal protection?

CRUZ: Listen, I believe I`m very consistent. And one of the things I
describe in the book is how I`ve spent my entire adult life fighting to
defend the Constitution. It`s been a passion...

MATTHEWS: And the court.

CRUZ: ... literally since...

MATTHEWS: And the Supreme Court.

CRUZ: ... I was a teenager...

MATTHEWS: You`ve always been pro-Supreme Court.

CRUZ: Well...

MATTHEWS: Until now.

CRUZ: I revere the court. As you know...


CRUZ: ... I was a law clerk to Chief Justice Rehnquist.

MATTHEWS: (INAUDIBLE) in the book. As you would say, it`s in the
book. And this is even the book, by the way, it`s "A Time for Truth."

I really think it`s important to read it. Now you`re for retention
elections. You`ve had to raise a ton of money to run for president, and
you`re definitely in the running. You`ll be in the debates and everything.
Should judges have to go out and raise $37 billion to run for reelection?
How can you put judges out there and make them politicians?

CRUZ: Listen...

MATTHEWS: They won`t be an independent judiciary.

CRUZ: I am reluctant to call for retention elections. It makes me

MATTHEWS: But you`ve done it!

CRUZ: But I have done it because I believe that a majority of the
justices are not honoring their judicial oaths. And...

MATTHEWS: Is that the solution, elections?

CRUZ: Look, if unelected judges are going to seize every major policy
issue of this country -- you know, there was a time...

CRUZ: They seized the presidency in 2000 and you did not complain!
The Supreme Court said no to the state of Florida. You can`t recount!
Even though it`s a close election, you are not allowed to recount. We`re
giving this to our guy, 5 to 4 Republican vote in the Supreme Court. If
there was ever a case of partisanship or ideology getting out of hand, it
was 2000, and you loved it!

CRUZ: Chris...

MATTHEWS: You loved it! You were cheering, you said in the book!

CRUZ: Chris, those are great talking points.

MATTHEWS: But they`re true.

CRUZ: How many times did they count the ballots in Florida?


CRUZ: Four times. How many times did Bush win?

MATTHEWS: Four times.

CRUZ: Four times.

MATTHEWS: They wanted to try it one more time.

CRUZ: Yes, the...

MATTHEWS: Aren`t states allowed to do that?

CRUZ: The Democrats` strategy was, We`re going to keep counting and
counting and counting and counting, and eventually, maybe enough people
will cheat and somehow our guy will win. After four times...

MATTHEWS: How do you know they`re going to cheat?

CRUZ: After four times...

MATTHEWS: OK. OK. I just think it`s a case of states` rights, which
you usually champion, and equal protection, which is the first time in the
history Republicans championed equal protection, and then they`ve lost
interest in it now...


MATTHEWS: ... marriage equality.

CRUZ: I describe how the first time the Supreme Court unanimously
vacated what the Florida supreme court...


CRUZ: ... did when it came down -- you know what the Florida Supreme
Court did?


CRUZ: It told the U.S. Supreme Court go jump in a lake, didn`t even
cite its opinion!

MATTHEWS: I know, but they...


MATTHEWS: They wanted to continue with the recount under the decision
of the legislature.

CRUZ: It was partisan defiance of the court. And frankly, what the
Florida supreme court did in the Bush versus Gore recount is the same thing
the U.S. Supreme Court did with "Obama care."

MATTHEWS: You have a very, very good-looking family here, by the way,
I just say.


MATTHEWS: This is -- the back of the book here is better than the
front, actually.


CRUZ: You`re very kind, and I`ve said many times thank God my girls
look like their mother.

MATTHEWS: OK. Please come back. We`ll continue with this...

CRUZ: Thank you, Chris.

MATTHEWS: ... champion debater. The book is called "A Time for
Truth." Thank you, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, who`s going to be in the

Coming up, reaction to what we just heard from Ted Cruz and the
incredible -- I mean, incredible -- interview today between NBC`s Katy Tur
and Donald Trump. Trump`s looking to connect with millions of Americans,
tens of millions, who don`t trust politicians. So far, I think it`s

Plus, Donald Trump said America`s on its way to becoming Greece,
Greece on steroids, he said. CNBC`s Jim Cramer tells us why Trump, thank
God, isn`t right yet.

And could Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders go rogue and run for
president as an independent third party? That idea`s rattling nerves on
both the right and the left.

Finally, "Let Me Finish" with the performance we saw today from the
ringmaster of the right, Donald Trump.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: Coming up, Donald Trump is swinging for the fences. Our
NBC News interview today shows he`s trying to connect with tens of millions
of Americans who don`t trust the political establishment to stop illegal
immigration. We`re going to get to Katy Tur`s interview with Trump when we
come back.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

For reaction to my interview with Senator Cruz, as well as a brand-new
interview with Donald Trump, I`m joined by former chairman of the
Republican National Committee Michael Steele, former Governor of Vermont
Howard Dean, and global editorial director for The Huffington Post Howard
Fineman. They`re all MSNBC political analysts. And glad to have them.

Howard, what did you make of that interview with Cruz?

something here in the atmosphere in the studio, because that was the Ted
Cruz that seemed more like a Supreme Court clerk than Donald Trump.

MATTHEWS: Is that good?

FINEMAN: Well, yes, I think it`s good.

I think, in a way, Donald Trump is so Technicolor over the top, that
Ted Cruz, who we`re used to seeing fulminate on the floor of the Senate,
antagonistic to all institutions, came off as a guy with an interesting
personal family story who has some explaining to do about things like the
Hagel takedown on North Korea.

MATTHEWS: No, he took it.


FINEMAN: He took it. He disagreed. He took his medicine on that.

And he was ready to engage in -- you in a big conversation about the
Supreme Court. That`s the Ted Cruz who`s intellectually impressive, I
think, and a better guy with Donald Trump in the race.

MATTHEWS: OK. Let`s go to Trump.

The other guy in the race tapping into the anger on the right is
Donald Trump. In an interview today with NBC`s Katy Tur, Trump continued
to hammer away at Mexico, accusing the government there of dumping people
here they don`t want in their country into our country. Let`s watch.


that there`s no crime, that it`s wonderful. The people that are being
forced in -- and these aren`t just Mexican people -- the people that are
being forced, Mexico doesn`t want people.

They`re forcing them into our country, and we`re taking them and we`re
putting them in our jails and our hospitals, and we`re paying them money
through different sources.

It`s a disgrace. Don`t tell me about safety. Are you trying to
justify safety on the border? I don`t think so.


MATTHEWS: Governor, he was derogatory towards this interviewer. He
had that sneer on his face, like, you`re stupid. He was like using her as
like a tackling dummy for who he didn`t like.

HOWARD DEAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: This is a train wreck, and
Donald Trump is the engineer, putting the thing up to 150 miles an hour
around an 80-mile-an-hour track.

I mean, as long as he`s in the race, nobody else is going to get a
word in edgewise. How could you not cover a guy like this?


DEAN: But the bad thing is, this is the image of the Republican
Party. It may be totally unfair, but as long as this guy is in the race...


MATTHEWS: Oh, I`m not sure it is. I think every Republican elected
official should know there`s an angry part of the Republican Party that
knows nobody is taking seriously the flow of illegal immigrants. They are
not against Mexicans, per se. I hope not. But they don`t like the fact
that it`s totally unregulated.

DEAN: But my argument is, this guy is completely unreasonable and
over the edge. You`re right. He`s going to get some votes, but he`s going
to drown out the legitimate debate on the Republican side.


its extreme logical point, or some would say illogical point, but what it
does is, it forces everyone else to have the normal conversation.

So, you now have to come to the table with some credible analysis or
plan or some conversation.


DEAN: That`s true, Michael, but the problem is, everybody is going to
ignore the so-called normal conversation. Nobody is going to pay any
attention to it.


FINEMAN: I don`t know that that`s -- I don`t know that that`s going
to be the effect. I think Donald Trump, like bad money driving out good,
Donald Trump can lower the level of the conversation.

Ted Cruz, who was, as I say, almost studious in his discussion with
you, might decide, you know, I have got...


MATTHEWS: Well, anyway, Trump also took a swing at his fellow
contenders. He was asked why he wasn`t on the campaign trail like the
other candidates. Let`s watch.


TRUMP: I watched them up there walking the streets, and it didn`t
mean anything. And I was actually getting more news coverage than anybody
else by far, because I`m the one that brought up the whole situation and
the whole mess with immigration and what the Mexican government is doing to


MATTHEWS: Well, Trump singled out Jeb Bush, the front-runner, saying
he would be a very poor president. And he had this to say about Hillary


TRUMP: Hillary Clinton was the worst secretary of state in the
history of the United States.

Hillary was the worst. In the history of the United States, there`s
never been a secretary of state so bad as Hillary. The world blew up
around us. We lost everything, including all relationships.

There wasn`t one good thing that came out of that administration or
her being secretary of state.


MATTHEWS: Not second worst, not third worst, the worst.

I mean, what kind of -- is this comic book talk or what?

FINEMAN: Well, that`s New York real estate salesmanship translated to
television, translated to the campaign.


I mean, Michael.

STEELE: No, I agree with Howard on that. Look, he`s pushing the

But this is the key thing, Chris. You said it earlier today. He is
playing to an audience that`s actually listening to what he`s having to

MATTHEWS: And they don`t trust the other guys.

STEELE: And they don`t trust the other guys.


MATTHEWS: Thank you, Michael Steele. Thank you, Governor Dean.
Thank you, Howard Fineman.

Up next, CNBC`s Jim Cramer is coming here with his reaction to some of
Donald Trump`s claims that America is -- quote -- "the next Greece," but is
actually Greece on steroids, he claims. Cramer is going to make you feel

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.



TRUMP: Our country is in trouble. We owe $18 trillion, going up to
$21 trillion very soon. Once we hit $24 trillion, we`re Greece. We are
Greece on steroids.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Donald Trump said today America
is going the way of Greece.

Joining me now is the host of CNBC`s "Mad Money," Jim Cramer.

Jim, is that true?

JIM CRAMER, HOST, "MAD MONEY": No, not at all.


CRAMER: Greece is a bankrupt country. It needs not just financial
help, but humanitarian help.

Our country is the strongest country in the world right now and
probably the fastest grower, so, no, I can`t equate the two at all.

MATTHEWS: Well, what he`s trying to do -- and I understand the math -
- he`s saying that basically our debt now is higher than our GDP that our
economy is able to produce in goods and services. We owe more than that
each year.

And my question is, the Greeks went up to 175 percent of what they
produce in goods and services. At what point does the tilt button go on,
on the pinball machine? When does it stop being too much debt? Can you
tell ahead of time?

CRAMER: Well, Medicare, Social Security, those are very big issues.
Those are entitlements.

I leave it up to you whether the people in Washington will ever be
tough enough to be able to cut those back. It`s a 2035-2040 issue,
absolutely. It`s just very hard to imagine right now. But Trump will be
right during that period. But, right now, no, we`re very, very strong, and
our debt is strong. And everybody in the world wants to invest in our
bonds, because we`re the only safe haven.


What I can`t understand is, the Chinese have always gotten fat and
rich. And I have been over there, as you know. I told you a couple months
ago everything looks like it. The cranes are up. It`s zooming. And now
we find out their stock market is plummeting.

And why? Why aren`t they rich, like they seem to be?

CRAMER: I think the Chinese are a paper tiger. I think we`re too
worried about them militarily. I think we`re too worried about them and
their growth. I think their growth is slowing. They are still growing.

I think they are the country that really has $300 trillion in debt
that is just ridiculously overlevered. But we treat them as if they are
ready to take us over at any minute. I think, if we had a president that
would stand up to them in either party -- and I`m not -- I`m not endorsing
Donald Trump, believe me, but I do think that the idea of going to China
and saying, stop polluting, stop wrecking our air, and stop dumping stuff
is not an absurd position at all. I think it`s truthful.

MATTHEWS: Do you think the point he made about the Japanese and the
car manufacturing was smart too today, where he said that basically they
make all the cars, they`re making them in Mexico, they`re making them
everywhere, and we`re buying them and we`re the chumps? Is that right?

CRAMER: Because they don`t buy our stuff. Yes.

I mean, look, we do all these trade deals. We have never had a trade
surplus in any of the deals that we have done, Chris.


CRAMER: I mean, I know that Donald is given to hyperbole, but there
will be 500,000 cars that are made from Mexico that are going to be shipped
here, where it`s $5 an hour for labor.


CRAMER: And it`s also -- by the way, you can pollute all you want.
That`s Mexico.

And the companies that are building, Japanese -- the Japanese and the
Germans are on the planes when you go down to the central part of the
country, where they`re making all these. They take a big train ride up
from Union Pacific and they are in your showroom and much cheaper than we
can make.


MATTHEWS: OK, you`re the greatest. Thanks so much. I feel better.
So I shouldn`t worry about China, I shouldn`t worry about -- how about
Greece? Should I worry about that?

CRAMER: They will resolve that. Worry that Chancellor Merkel wants
to be Clemenceau post-Versailles.



What does that mean in America in today`s English? What are you...

CRAMER: It means she wants reparations. She wants her pound -- a
pound of flesh.

MATTHEWS: Oh, reparations. Oh, my God.

CRAMER: Enough already.

MATTHEWS: Oh, God. All right. You`re with Krugman now a little bit,
it sounds like.


MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you.

"Mad Money" airs weekdays at 6:00 Eastern on CNBC.

And, thank you, Jim Cramer.

Up next, in what may be the year of the non-politician, what are the
odds that one of two wild cards in the race right now, Donald Trump and
Bernie Sanders, runs a third-party campaign for president next year?
That`s next in the roundtable.

And you`re watching it, HARDBALL, the place for politics.


Here`s what`s happening.

Officials say there was no cyber-breach at the New York Stock
Exchange, where trading was halted for more than three hours due to a
technical glitch. It resumed shortly before the market closed.

Meanwhile, a network connectivity problem grounded United Airlines
flights for nearly two hours, creating a travel nightmare for tens of
thousands of flyers.

And Baltimore`s mayor has fired the city`s police commissioner amid a
surge of violence. Violent homicides in the city are up 48 percent
compared with the same period a year ago -- back to HARDBALL.

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

Well, there`s something strange happening in American politics. As my
colleague Andrea Mitchell put it earlier today, it is the year of the non-
politician. A self-proclaimed socialist and a big city billionaire have
suddenly jumped to the number two spots in each party`s presidential
primary race, number twos.

Bernie Sanders, an the independent socialist, and Donald Trump are
leading movements that are disgusted with the political class out there.
Well, if establishment figures like Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton are the
nominees, what happens to these movements?

Well, in an interview with "The Washington Examiner" today, Trump said
that he had many people ask him about running as an independent third-party
candidate. And as "The Washington Examiner"`s Byron York reports, "He left
the door ever so slightly cracked at the end when I asked if he would
definitely rule out a third-party run."

Quote: "It`s something I`m not thinking about right now," Trump said.

Well, the roundtable tonight, April Ryan, White House correspondent
for American Urban Radio Networks. David Corn is the Washington bureau
chief for "Mother Jones" and an MSNBC political analyst. And Kristen
Soltis Anderson is a Republican strategist and pollster. She`s the author
of "The Selfie Vote."

Let me start with the new kid on the block.

Kristen, do you think Trump puts all his money into this race between
now and next spring, he comes in second or third, will he go third party?
Because he`s basically running against the Republican Party, as much as
within it.

being welcomed within the Republican Party, at least not the Republican
establishment at the moment.

The statements that he`s made are sort of so outlandish that a lot of
Republicans want to move as far away from him as possible. This is not the
first time that Donald Trump has toyed with the idea of running as a third-
party candidate for the presidency of the United States.

MATTHEWS: Isn`t he already seemingly run as a third -- he`s so
running against the party.

SOLTIS ANDERSON: He`s kind of his own guy. He`s this weird
combination of Pat Buchanan populism, but sort of reality TV flash and
glamour, I mean, to the extent you can use that term with him.

So, I really think that Donald Trump was in this to gain attention and
notoriety and stay in the conversation.


MATTHEWS: I mean, let me start with April. I thought it was an
interesting thing, a combination of flash and TV, "Apprentice" and all the
TV glamour, and Pat Buchanan`s pitchforks.


MATTHEWS: No, really, that`s an interesting overlay.

DAVID CORN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Don`t forget the fence, a very,
very, very big fence.

MATTHEWS: High enough to work.


think Donald Trump, if he does become a third party, the symbol for the
third party will be a dollar sign. Money, money, money, money will be his

MATTHEWS: What`s that?

RYAN: Yes. But, seriously...

MATTHEWS: What do you mean? Are you knocking him?

RYAN: Well, in a way, yes.


MATTHEWS: Well, tell me why you`re knocking him. Make it clear.

RYAN: Well, let me say this.

The Republican Party has tried to embrace -- they realize the failures
of their past. They`re trying to embrace everyone, understanding that they
have been viewed for the last four presidential campaigns as the white male
or at least -- yes, about four presidential -- two or three really
presidential campaigns, the white male campaigning group.

So now what you have is Donald Trump, who`s running against what they
are trying to do -- they are trying to embrace me and other people in black
media. Reince Priebus two weeks told me, we are more unified than we are

And Donald Trump, being who he is, is not going up under this
umbrella. So, I feel that if Donald Trump runs against what the Republican
Party is trying to do, he will be a third-party candidate. And he does
things like that.


CORN: You have got to look at this from the bottom up. The issue is
not what Reince Priebus says to you or Chris Matthews or anyone else. It`s
what happening with the Republican Party.

MATTHEWS: Reince doesn`t talk to me.

CORN: Yes. Well, maybe he will..

MATTHEWS: Just a small point.


MATTHEWS: I let him know.


CORN: It`s what`s happening with the Republican voter.

The Tea Party base of the party is so angry. They`re angry about
immigrant. They`re angry about other things, that they want to be vented
at and with.

And so, the Republican establishment may want Donald Trump to go away,
but a strong part of the base wants him to go on. And you know what? And
if the establishment tries to push him to the side, that`s when he`ll go
rogue. If he`s not given a fair shake and they try to keep him out of the
debates and they say, you`re not good enough, got people with them with
their pitchforks and then you go to third party --


CORN: And he`ll get 15 percent.

RYAN: He`s in the debate. He makes that 10 percent cutoff.

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: He makes the 10 percent. But how does it
show up that they jam him out of the party? How would they do that
physically so he could say, I tried, they won`t let me play ball in their
sand box, I`m getting out of here?

they`re already doing sort of official things, you know, trying to set up
agreements with him, treating him like any other candidate because I think
they know you need to distance yourself from what he`s saying but you can`t
pretend like -- I mean, if you want to run for president as a Republican
and you cross all of the T`s, dot all your I`s --


CORN: You`re saying they`re stuck with him.

MATTHEWS: Let me try this now. I want to even this out. Bernie
Sander is also going up to Hillary Clinton as being part of the political
establishment. Let`s watch the senator.


been part of the political establishment for many, many years. And when
the top one-tenth of 1 percent owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90
percent, maybe it`s time for real political shakeup in this country and go
beyond establishment politics.


MATTHEWS: Hard not to argue with that.

Anyway, today in an interview with NBC`s Katy Tur, Donald Trump bashed
Hillary, he bashed Jeb, and he said our country is going to hell.


country. Our country is going to hell. They tell the truth. I say what`s

Jeb bush will never take us to the Promised Land. He doesn`t have it.
Hillary will never take us to the Promised Land. Hillary will be a
disaster as a president.

If we keep going the way it`s going, America is going to be
permanently scarred.


MATTHEWS: You know what, my friend, David, the thing about him is he
doesn`t speak in half measures.


MATTHEWS: This is huge. I`m building a huge --

CORN: Yes.

MATTHEWS: Hillary is an idiot and these guys of crumbs. There`s
nobody that`s not a bad guy or he`s trying, it`s all of this outrageous and
bar room talk basically.

CORN: It`s all at 11 as they say at the final tap. It all goes up to

And this is the problem Republicans are going to have when he`s on the
debate stage and someone asks the question, Jeb Bush, what will you do
about China? He`ll say, I believe in proactive engagement. We have to
have good trade deals.

He`ll go, what are you talking about? I will use our military to get
our jobs back. I will use our treasury to blackmail -- he`ll say whatever
he has to say --

MATTHEWS: I`ll get Mexico to build a wall.

CORN: I will start a war with Mexico. You`re just talking like a

MATTHEWS: Who`s closer to the American sensibility right now, him or
the establishment guys?

CORN: He`s closer to the Tea Party base sensibility of the Republican

MATTHEWS: How much of the Republican Party is that? Thirty percent?

CORN: Yes, at least.

RYAN: It`s a small percentage.


RYAN: It`s a smaller portion than the majority.

MATTHEWS: When you`ve got 16 guys running, 30 is a lot.

CORN: Yes.

RYAN: It`s a smaller portion, but a lot of portion.

But let me say this, Donald Trump throws a lot of these bombs out here
to get you to listen. I don`t even believe Donald Trump believes half of
what he says.

Let me tell you something -- he`s doing the same thing that Dr. Ben
Carson did. He said a lot of shocking things.

MATTHEWS: Wait a minute, wait a minute --

RYAN: Wait, wait. He said -- Dr. Carson said a lot of shocking
things and he wound up getting people`s attention. That`s exactly what
Donald Trump is doing.

I`m going to say this too. He`s talking about Hillary Clinton. I
have been at fund-raisers in his own building where he attended a fund-
raiser with Hillary and Bill Clinton.


CORN: I was there.

RYAN: Now, all of a sudden, he doesn`t like them.

MATTHEWS: April is saying that politicians normally say what they

RYAN: Sometimes.

MATTHEWS: This guy doesn`t. Come on.

RYAN: He is not a politician. He is a businessman who works on his
plan. He`s not a politician.

MATTHEWS: OK, fine, fine. Who`s going to come out of the big debate
next month on FOX the winner?

CORN: Donald Trump.

MATTHEWS: I say Donald Trump.

RYAN: For antics.

MATTHEWS: In the polling. Not antics. Who will be leading in the
polls afterwards? That`s how you judge who won. Who`s leading in the
polls afterwards? That`s how you know who won.

CORN: Well, he goes up.

SOLTIS-ANDERSON: So, I`m going to say Jeb Bush which is the sort of
unorthodox answer for this panel, because I think there are still a lot of
folks that still hear the name Bush and they think of his brother --

MATTHEWS: Are you for Bush?

SOLTIS-ANDERSON: I like him, I`m a Florida girl. So, you know?


SOLTIS-ANDERSON: I think he`s going to prove to a lot of people that
he`s not like his brother, that he has a very different temperament,
different ideas. I think that will wind up being a little bit good for

RYAN: Someone close to Trump has told me that he`s not good at
remembering things so we`ll see how the debate prep goes. And I want to
say --

CORN: He`s not going to prep for the debate. Are you kidding me?
Come on!


CORN: He doesn`t need to prep.


MATTHEWS: Let`s (INAUDIBLE) time in here. I`m sorry, you`re great.

By the way, when you go after guys for being too bombastic, I`m
looking at you.


MATTHEWS: I`m sorry. Anyway, Bernie Sanders is out there fully
embracing the socialist label. He told "The Nation", which is a liberal
magazine, that if the American people understood the significant
accomplishments that have taken place under democratic socialist
governments, labor governments throughout Europe, they would be shocked to
know how -- about those accomplishments. Do you think I`m afraid of the
word? I`m not afraid.

I like this.

CORN: He is what he is.

MATTHEWS: He`s not saying it`s just a word. He says it means
something to me.

CORN: Unlike a lot of other candidates, if you ask them, are you for
Medicare or are you against Medicare, a lot of Republicans, they will hem
and haw, because Medicare is socialism.


CORN: You know, Medicaid is socialism.

MATTHEWS: Until you`re 62 or 65.

CORN: Flood insurance for North Carolina is socialism.


CORN: And so, they won`t accept that. But he gets up there and he
says what he believes and that`s why he`s doing well. It`s not because of
charisma. It`s not because of anything else. He`s appealing to a wing of
the Democratic Party.

MATTHEWS: But, David, you speak the truth. But I think the
government should stay out of Medicare. Have you ever heard that argument?
I love it.


MATTHEWS: And we`ll be back with more of you.


MATTHEWS: Anyway, you were great. I just think you`re really tough -
- a guy that says -- the only guy in town saying anything anybody is
listening to.

RYAN: But it`s not right, it`s not sight. It`s divisive.

MATTHEWS: That`s an argument.

RYAN: It`s true.

MATTHEWS: But they`re listening to him. The roundtable is staying.
And you`re right.

Up next -- I feel like I`m talking at home here. You`re right.

Up next, we got a strong sense from Hillary Clinton about where she
thinks the presidential election will be won or lost. She`s taking an
early shot at Jeb Bush on immigration, so she`s going to go for liberals,
of course, and the Hispanic vote.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: A federal judge in Washington, D.C., issued a big ruling
today against the hometown Washington Redskins. The judge ordered the
cancellation of the Redskins trademarks, ruling that the team name to be
disparaging to Native Americans. The ruling doesn`t mean the Redskins have
to stop using the name but it will make it very hard for the team itself to
stop others from using it, which will cut into their team`s profits and
revenue, of course. The team says it will appeal today`s ruling.

And we`ll be back after this.



would be a competitive race. So, I am happy to have a chance to get out
and run my campaign as I see fit and let other candidates do exactly the
same. And one of the things that I learned last time is -- it`s organize,
organize, organize.


MATTHEWS: That was Hillary Clinton. Of course, responding to a
question about the excitement surrounding her rival Bernie Sanders.

But Hillary is looking past Sanders and turning up the heat against
potential Republican rival, former Governor Jeb Bush and the entire
Republican Party over the issue of -- and this is a big one, immigration.


CLINTON: He doesn`t believe in a path to citizenship. If he did at
one time, he no longer does. So, pretty much, they`re on a spectrum of
hostility which I think is really regrettable in a nation of immigrants
like ours, all the way to kind of grudging acceptance but refusal to go
with a pathway to citizenship. I think that`s a mistake.


MATTHEWS: Well, that was a good capitalization of the two parties.
The Bush campaign actually responded to, saying, "Hillary Clinton will say
anything to get elected and her numerous flip-flops on immigration prove

Anyway, back to the roundtable, April, David and Kristen.

David, it seems to me that she just capsulized it pretty well. The
Democratic Party is going to try to go for the Roosevelt coalition, the big
coalition, including a lot of Hispanic voters, go for it. We`re on your
side on path to citizenship.

The other party is going to have a combination of people on the hard
right spectrum, people like the most egregious would be the hell with those
people who have been here illegally. Let`s get them out of here. I don`t
care if they`ve been here 20 years, as he said today. I`m -- even if he`s
working for me and working hard, I`m getting him out of here.

So, it seems to me that she`s nailed it. It`s going to be a fight
over, are you for it or against it? Are you going to be tough on illegal
immigration at all, which she`s not going to be that tough, or you`re going
to be very tough?

CORN: This was a big issue in 2012. Remember, Mitt Romney talking
about self-deportation. It was a big issue in the Republican primary
before the general, when you had Rick Perry and Mitt Romney and others
debating amongst themselves, how far to go, and running away from the
pathway to citizenship.

Scott Walker used to support the pathway to citizenship. And now,
he`s turned against to it in order to try to win the nominee.

So, first, you`re going to have that fight there with no one actually
supporting what is a majority position, and then in the general, you can
have this very black and white distinction.

MATTHEWS: I agree with that. I think -- she goes after -- I mean,
Jeb Bush. She goes after this guy who has a Mexican wife and says he`s not
good enough on immigration. Excuse me, that`s really wrong-footing a guy a
little bit. I mean, he could say, oh gee, I have to go tell my wife that
I`ll go (ph) to immigration.


MATTHEWS: She`s from Mexico.

I mean, I wouldn`t be funny about it. But it is kind of difficult for
poor Jeb to explain in a Republican Party that doesn`t like immigration or
immigration generally, perhaps, he`s got to take a position. How does he
do it?

SOLTIS-ANDERSON: Well, I mean, he has taken a position.

MATTHEWS: What is it?

SOLTIS-ANDERSON: His position is that we need to do something about
the folks that are here that doesn`t involve deporting 12 million -


MATTHEWS: To allow them to become Americans ever?

SOLTIS-ANDERSON: I think his position involves allowing people to be
able to stay here and become of their communities.

MATTHEWS: To become Americans.

SOLTIS-ANDERSON: I don`t think he has supported a pathway to full
citizenship without --

MATTHEWS: Well, that`s not very helpful to people who have been here
20 years. They want to be able to vote.

SOLTIS-ANDERSON: It is not sending them back home.

CORN: It`s keeping them in limbo for a long time.


RYAN: Who said I was a liberal?


RYAN: OK, well. Well, let me say this, I think Jeb Bush is true to
himself and his true to his household.

And I think that being married to a Mexican woman, Mexican native, and
having mixed race children, he stepped out there. I mean, I think when he
made that announcement, speaking in Spanish, he let the Republican Party
know who he was.


RYAN: For Hillary Clinton to say that he`s flip flopped, I don`t
know. She`s trying --

CORN: But he has.

RYAN: Wait a minute, wait a minute.

I know he has. But for her to go after him like that and
understanding where he stands now, it is kind of wrong because in my
opinion, because they are both -- she is going after the man that is
primarily focused in on a subject that she is trying to really get
Hispanics on.


RYAN: I`m in agreement.

MATTHEWS: Could I try something really wild? Could it be that be
she`s not afraid of Jeb Bush this week. She`s afraid of Bernie Sanders
this week so she picks a fight with Jeb Bush?

RYAN: That`s a good point.


MATTHEWS: She doesn`t want to fight with Bernie openly, so she picks
a fight with the other side and make herself look more militant.

CORN: Every front runner doesn`t want to have a fight with the people
behind them. Jeb bush isn`t picking a fight with Scott Walker or Marco
Rubio yet. He keeps talking about Hillary Clinton as well. So, each side
is trying to get --


RYAN: So, you`re saying she`s deflecting from her own party to throw
him out of --

MATTHEWS: No, you always want to fight with the other side to make
yourself stronger with your own people.

CORN: Yes.

RYAN: Good point.

MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you, April Ryan. I`m occasionally brilliant.


MATTHEWS: Thank you, April Ryan, David Corn and Kristen Soltis-
Anderson. It`s great to have you on. Please come back.

When we return, let me finish with the performance we saw today from
Donald Trump.

You`re watching HARDALL -- HARDBALL -- the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: Let me finish with a bit of pure American politics.

Like it or not know, by Donald Trump or not, the performance he put on
today in that televised interview was political gold. Trump did what other
politicians are not doing -- connecting to millions of American people, to
tens of millions. He is doing it by blasting the professional politicians
for not doing what they should be doing, for not creating a workable,
honest immigration system, for not honoring a workable way to protect their
tax money.

People want to know that the people at the top are looking out for
them, caring for this country the way they would, protecting the country
from illegal immigration, protecting their tax dollars. And right now,
they don`t think the big shots in either party are doing either.

Trump is on to something. He is saying terrible things about people
coming across the border from Mexico.

They`re coming here to work, work hard. He is suggesting most of them
are criminals.

But what he is right about is that the politicians are doing nothing
to stop the flow of people coming here illegally, not really. And because
they`re failing, he is succeeding.

I have a lesson for Republicans because they are the people who will
pay the immediate and perhaps long term price for the outrageous stuff
Trump is saying -- is that if they don`t get serious about passing the
Senate immigration bill, Trump will be the only game in town for those
angry about illegal immigration. If they don`t pass this measure, which
includes tough new rules about hiring, that ensure American employers are
not hiring people here, illegally, Donald Trump will not only create a
circus in the Republican Party, he will be the ring master.

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

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.


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