updated 7/28/2015 9:22:42 AM ET 2015-07-28T13:22:42

Date: July 27, 2015
Guest: Michelle Bernard, Robert Costa, Wendy Sherman, Richard Fowler,
Michael Tomasky, Anne Gearan


Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.

Will nothing stop this man? Will there ever be a reckoning? After weeks
of rampaging over rivals verbally, Donald Trump is now doing it
numerically. He`s a tight number two in Iowa, a clear front-runner in New
Hampshire, and now tops the field nationally.

Nothing he says seems as important as what he says with sheer downtown
"atty-tude." He sticks it to the political insiders, they gulp, and the
country giggles. It`s as if people have been waiting a long time for
nothing as much as a guy with a lance to run it through these bloated
statements (ph) of the status quo, while all we do is listen and enjoy the
sound of the air blowing out of them.

Howard Fineman`s the global editorial director of the HuffingtonPost.
Michelle Bernard is the president of the Bernard Center. And Robert Costa
is the national political reporter with "The Washington Post."

When it comes to the field right now, Trump towers above it all. The new
NBC/Marist poll has Trump jumping to second place in Iowa, just 2 points
behind Wisconsin governor Scott Walker. In New Hampshire, Trump is in
first place with a 7-point lead over Jeb Bush. John Kasich has jumped into
fourth place there after his announcement last week.

Well, these polls were taken before and after Trump`s tough about John
McCain`s war record. They had no impact, those statements, on his standing
in Iowa, but did knock him down a few points in New Hampshire. Nationally,
trump remains on top. An average of the last five national polls has Trump
leading Jeb Bush by 4 points. He leads Scott Walker by 7, and everyone
else by double digits.

Howard, I guess we`re going into that debate next Wednesday -- it`s just
about a week off from now. This guy doesn`t seem to face the reckoning yet
-- taking on John McCain, no problem. Taking on everybody, no problem.
And it seems like he wants to fight everybody next Wednesday night.

ANALYST: Well, Chris, this early in the campaign, which is a campaign
going full blast --

MATTHEWS: Thursday night.

FINEMAN: -- full blast --

MATTHEWS: Thursday.

FINEMAN: -- next Thursday night, you`re going to see the first big
moment that nobody could have anticipated, a guy who came out of nowhere,
who now is basically dominating not only the polls but the conversation,
who has seized the sense of distrust and cynicism and anger about politics
that`s out there just below the surface, especially in the Republican
Party. And for now, he embodies it.

And he is the guy for whom all the other candidates are aiming and for whom
he is the biggest challenge --

MATTHEWS: Will they shoot?

FINEMAN: I think they have no choice but to shoot, and if they shoot right
and if they shoot strong, then it`s going to be a big day (ph).

MATTHEWS: Robert, you got some insight on this.

ROBERT COSTA, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Look, you may want to take a shot,
but you remember the line from "The Wire, If you come at the king, you best
not miss. All these candidates know there`s an opportunity to challenge
Trump --

MATTHEWS: What do you hear? Are they going to shoot or not?

COSTA: I`m hearing a lot of them are reticent to do so because if you take
him on, that become a story, your battle with Trump. The know that -- then
again, if you`re lower, if you`re Perry, if you`re Graham, if you`re
someone who`s struggling for political oxygen, you have to take the shot
because you have to get attention.

MATTHEWS: Isn`t -- doesn`t (INAUDIBLE) show he wants to win in Iowa. If
he wins in Iowa, knocks off Walker (INAUDIBLE) knock off Walker. He`s the
neighboring state from Wisconsin -- knock him off, win in Iowa, go into New
Hampshire the front-runner. And then all you have to do is beat Bush

I mean, I`m not saying he`s going to be the nominee, but I can see a route
now to early success.

MICHELLE BERNARD, BERNARD CENTER PRES.: Oh, absolutely. But also, I mean,
there is a route to early success and we can see why people like him. He
fights back. He has no shame about saying, I`m rich. He has no shame --


MATTHEWS: -- "F you" money.

BERNARD: Exactly. And --


MATTHEWS: -- a lot of people would like to have it.


BERNARD: He goes after Democrats, he goes after Republicans, he goes after
journalists. There is a path. But also remember, Herman Cain was on fire
at this point --

MATTHEWS: OK, OK, this --


MATTHEWS: You think he`s Herman --


BERNARD: No, I don`t think he`s Herman Cain, but I do think --


BERNARD: -- entertaining as Herman Cain. And do you really seriously
believe that there is a path to --

MATTHEWS: Yes. I do.


MATTHEWS: -- because he`s a hot knife through butter that`s been left
out for about a week.

FINEMAN: Exactly.

BERNARD: So what happens when it`s a two-party -- when you -- when you`ve
got one person --

FINEMAN: Well, we`re not there --


MATTHEWS: I`ll tell you how he gets there. He knocks off -- he knocks off
Walker to win the western conference. He knocks -- he becomes the chief
right wing-candidate, and then goes on and faces somebody like Kasich or
Bush or one of those guys, and that`s when the real reckoning occurs.


MATTHEWS: But I would bet on the right wing against the establishment.

FINEMAN: We`re examining him from the inside out, meaning from politics
out. You have to examine Trump from the outside -- that is, society -- in.

MATTHEWS: The people.

FINEMAN: The in. And a few things about him. First of all, he knows how
to ride media waves and how deal with a hostile media. He`s done it in New
York, which makes a lot of the national press corps, frankly, look like
puppies compared to what they do with the Weimeraners in New York City.


FINEMAN: That`s number one.

MATTHEWS: The what?

FINEMAN: The Weimeraners --


FINEMAN: -- in New York City. OK. Number two --


FINEMAN: He is saying, I`m not against government, I`m for Social Security
and Medicare. You know, I`m not against Wall Street. I want everybody to
be me. It`s the politics of personality, and he`s saying, I want everybody



MATTHEWS: You`re sitting in a barroom somewhere, route 40 somewhere, out
in the middle of nowhere, right? It`s 9:00 o`clock Thursday night, right?
Who are you rooting for?

COSTA: They`re rooting for Trump. They want the celebrity candidate. I
just caught up with Trump`s campaign tonight, and they said they`re -- the
candidate, he`s loving this debate.

MATTHEWS: Well, who wouldn`t.

COSTA: He`s sitting up in his 757 plane. He`s reading article after
article. He`s not really doing debate prep, but he`s relishing this
moment. He thinks everybody --



MATTHEWS: We only got one moment here. We got one moment. You`re the
star right now.

BERNARD: Look --

MATTHEWS: Do you want to -- do women have -- my producers, the top
producer here, thinks that women don`t like his style. They think it`s
brash, it`s too macho, whatever you want to call it, dismissive. What do
you think about women and -- I know guys like him. Regular white guys, you
know, working guys --


BERNARD: -- because he`s -- because he`s --

MATTHEWS: He`s taking on the big shots!

BERNARD: He`s sort of anti-intellectual, anti-establishment, anti-
everything. Women, quite frankly, are taking the race seriously, and I
think that they will --

MATTHEWS: Do they like him?

BERNARD: -- that by and large will have problems with him because he`s
not telling us what he`s going to do for the country, other than saying, I
want everybody to be rich and I`m better than everyone else --


COSTA: You know, he`s not emphasizing the social issues, like all these
other --

MATTHEWS: I wouldn`t, if I were him, either.


MATTHEWS: One of Scott Walker`s fund-raisers getting nasty with Trump.
Quote, "As you`ve seen, Governor Walker is now well ahead of everyone not
named Dumbdumb, AKA Trump, in the national polls." Well, Trump got wind of
those comments over the weekend and didn`t hold back. First he slammed
Walker himself at a rally in Iowa.


statement from his fund-raiser about Trump. I said, Oh, finally, I can


TRUMP: Finally.


TRUMP: Wisconsin is doing terribly. The roads are a disaster because they
don`t have any money to rebuild them. They`re borrowing money like crazy.

yes, I wrote this stuff all down, although I don`t need it because I have a
really good memory. But they projected a $1 billion surplus, and it turns
out to be a deficit of $2.2 billion. The schools are a disaster. He was
totally in favor of Common Core!


MATTHEWS: This is why you don`t want to go after him. He has your

FINEMAN: Well --

BERNARD: Exactly.

MATTHEWS: He`s going to go right to it.

FINEMAN: And not only that, he is attacking there -- he is attacking not
from the Tea Party angle on this. Part of the skill and experience of
Trump is he`s running at these guys from all different angles at the same


FINEMAN: He`s criticizing Walker for deficit spending.


BERNARD: But here`s the genius in what he`s doing. This --


MATTHEWS: So you like him? You like him now?

BERNARD: No, I`m saying this is the genius in him. Every single person
has come to him at some point in time --

MATTHEWS: Has asked for money.

BERNARD: -- begging for money. And he`s saying, If they`re coming to
for money, they`re coming to me for advice, I can do better than all of

MATTHEWS: He`s got the surveillance tapes on all these --


MATTHEWS: Anyway, then Trump went after Walker, the governor of Wisconsin,
while taking questions from reporters.


TRUMP: He was up in my office four months ago, five months ago, giving me
an award -- giving me an award. And I like Scott Walker. He`s a nice guy.
But today, one of his people hit me. And I said, Why is he doing that?
The person is a stupid person, but why is he doing that?


MATTHEWS: You know, I get that most of these politicians are so
cultivated, so careful, so many people working for them, telling them,
Don`t say this, don`t say that. And he sounds like it`s coming right out
of his id, everything he says.

COSTA: I`ll tell you, I spent a day with him on his plane. He went --
listed (ph) politician after politician with Trump, and he went -- he went
after every single one of them. He has -- he does have a great memory.
Don`t doubt that. He remembers every meeting he`s had, and he`ll call you
out. He`s willing to take anybody on.

That`s why they`re reticent to take him on in the debate because they know
he may give out the phone number, like he did with Lindsey Graham. He may
take you out. If you`re Scott Walker and you got to win Iowa, you got
Cruz, Carson, so many other candidates, you mess with Trump, you take away
your state.

MATTHEWS: And he remembers every gift he`s ever given somebody.

FINEMAN: Chris, another thing is he is not reticent about attacking from
any angle. If the weakness of Scott Walker is the fact that the roads are
crappy and he`s not behaving like a Democratic (sic) governor, he`ll attack
him with no ideological compunction because Trump doesn`t really have an
ideology --


FINEMAN: He doesn`t have to play defense. He`s always on offense.

MATTHEWS: And (INAUDIBLE) Trump never shrinks from a fight with the press,
of course. Last week, "The Des Moines Register" ran an op-ed saying that
it`s time for Donald Trump to drop out of the race for president of the
United States. What did Trump do? he denied the newspaper press
credentials to cover his events, which he gloated over over the weekend.


TRUMP: Actually, "The Des Moines Register" is standing outside, too.


TRUMP: You know, it`s sort of funny.


TRUMP: It`s a super-liberal rag, not respected around here.

When they start writing accurately, they`re welcome. But they purposely
write incredibly inaccurate stories. So they can come, but they have to
sit with everybody else.



MATTHEWS: (INAUDIBLE) the genius in that first one! He says, They`re not
respected -- "around here" is Iowa. He`s talking in their newspaper
circulation zone. And then he`s saying, They can sit out with you people.
No special breaks. And the people love that!


FINEMAN: Chris, a big part of the anger of the people at the grass roots
of the Republican Party is about the so-called mainstream media, "the
media," the big media, and he`s tapping into that directly. He has the
money and the notoriety and the visibility to be able to tell those people,
Too bad. I`m going to make news whether you`re covering it or not, and if
I have to buy time, I`ll buy time. But in the meantime --

MATTHEWS: Speaking of which --

FINEMAN: -- you know --

MATTHEWS: I got the key question. If he does well in the early outing --
you can start, Michelle. He does well, he does surprisingly well in the
first big three, OK -- New Hampshire -- New Hampshire -- I`m sorry, Iowa,
New Hampshire and South Carolina, he`s in the running going into March, in
the -- in the -- if you have to spend money then because you`re all over
the place -- you got the super-Tuesday and you got the big fight down
Florida -- is he willing to rip (ph) -- to just write the checks to keep up
with the Bush money machine? Will he spend the money when the time comes?
My question.

BERNARD: You know what? Right now, it looks like this is -- I`m someone
who still can`t fathom that this is a real campaign and this is about
anything other than ratings. Right now, though, at this moment in time, he
looks like he`s serious. He really wants it.

MATTHEWS: Will he write the check?

BERNARD: And he will write the checks.


MATTHEWS: -- telling you that?

COSTA: Yes, political insiders (ph). He`s got a campaign manager named
Corey Lewin (ph). He comes from the Koch brothers network, working for
American Prosperity. Trump`s doing all these things around the country
with ballot access, grass roots, but he`s not spending money on ads. Key
question is, if he starts to really stabilize in the polls --

MATTHEWS: If he has $10 billion he can rip off and spend --


COSTA: He has a plane. He has an advance team and a couple advisers.
That`s it. He`s not spending money on ads. That`s the test.

MATTHEWS: You don`t know if he`s going to do it.

COSTA: No, I don`t think he wants to do it. He`s like any billionaire.
He doesn`t want to spend his money.


MATTHEWS: -- Bush`s money. If it comes to that.

COSTA: That`s what Bush`s whole bet is -- I have the organization. I have
the financial --


FINEMAN: He`s -- here`s Trump. He`s going to carry it as far as he can
without spending much money. That`s the way he runs his business, too, by
the way. He doesn`t buy those investments. He gets into them after
they`re built, often. So he`s going to do that as far as he can. His day
of reckoning is down the road maybe even a few months.

MATTHEWS: Is it with himself? How much money is he willing to spend?

FINEMAN: Yes, because he`s not going to be able to -- after bragging how
rich he is, he`s not going to be able to --


BERNARD: -- if he has to spend his own money --

MATTHEWS: I don`t think he`s going to walk away from the winnable.

Anyway, thank you, Howard Fineman, Michelle Bernard and Robert Costa. It`s
a great panel.

Coming up -- the right wing is throwing the kitchen sink in an attempt to
tank the president`s nuclear deal with Iran. And while Mike Huckabee`s
reference to the Holocaust is easily the most glaring, it`s far from the
only attack the Obama administration is facing as it rallies support behind
the deal.

Plus, the empire strikes back. Ted Cruz did something I don`t think I`ve
seen before. He called his own leader, Mitch McConnell, a liar on the
floor of the United States Senate -- a liar. And now he`s feeling the

And Hillary Clinton`s war room is on high alert after those "New York
Times" reports on her e-mails. The question from me is, what`s it all

Finally, "Let Me Finish" with the potent chance that this country`s
Republican voters are in outright revolt.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: Hillary Clinton has proposed a new initiative to combat climate
change in the U.S., and in a new video, she also taunted her Republican
opponents for questioning the science of global warming.


generations will look back and wonder what were we thinking, how could we
possibly be so irresponsible?

I`m just a grandmother with two eyes and a brain. It`s hard to believe
there are people running for president who still refuse to accept the
settled science of climate change, who would rather remind us they`re not
scientists than listen to those who are.


MATTHEWS: Wow. Among her plans, Clinton said that by the end of her first
term as president, 500 million solar panels would be installed across the

And we`ll be right back.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. The rhetoric from opponents of the
nuclear deal with Iran has been heated, but comments by former Arkansas
governor Mike Huckabee this weekend that alluded to a new Holocaust have
taken the dispute to a new low level.


MIKE HUCKABEE (R-AR), FMR. GOV., PRES. CANDIDATE: This president`s foreign
policy is the most feckless in American history. He`s so naive, he would
trust the Iranians and he would take the Israelis and basically march them
to the door of the oven.


MATTHEWS: President Obama responded today at a press conference in


Mr. Huckabee are, I think, part of just a general pattern that we`ve seen
that is -- would be considered ridiculous if it weren`t so sad.

I mean, we`ve had a sitting senator call John Kerry Pontius Pilate. We`ve
had a sitting senator who also happens to be running for president suggest
that I`m the leading state sponsor of terrorism. These are leaders in the
Republican Party.


MATTHEWS: Well, late today, Mike Huckabee appeared on Fox News and he said
he would not apologize.


HUCKABEE: If we don`t take seriously the threats of Iran, then God help us
all because the last time -- this Neville Chamberlain all over again.
We`re going to just trust that everyone`s going to do the right thing.

Three times I`ve been to Auschwitz. When I talked about the oven door, I
have stood at that oven door! And for the president to act like that the
only two options are either have a war or take his deal that got nothing --
got nothing! We didn`t get the hostages out. We didn`t get a concession
that they would stop this rhetoric about wanting to wipe Israel off or they
didn`t stop chanting "Death to America." We got nothing!


MATTHEWS: Well, joining me right now is the undersecretary of state, Wendy
Sherman, one of the lead negotiators of the Iran deal.

Madam Secretary, thank you for joining us.


MATTHEWS: What do you make of all that, this hot -- heated -- I mean,
over-the-top stuff like Auschwitz and oven doors and -- you know, the great
thing about Israel, when I`ve been over there and debated over there, you
can debate. There`s a country you`re allowed to take different positions
in. This guy is accusing anybody disagrees of him with being a Hitlerite.

SHERMAN: Well, it`s really quite depressing, actually. It`s very sad
because these are serious issues, these are serious threats.

And actually, Governor Huckabee should listen to his own words. He said we
should take the threats seriously, and that`s what -- exactly what
President Obama, Secretary Kerry, Secretary Moniz and I have done, take
them seriously and make sure Iran cannot acquire a nuclear weapon. That`s
what we`ve gotten. That`s what`s important here.

MATTHEWS: What do you make of the opposition? People like Michael Oren,
the former ambassador from Israel, now says if you vote against this,
that`s -- you`re not doing it because of Israel, you`re doing it because of
American interests. And I have a hard time with that, people throwing
terms around, "existential threat" to the United States.

In the wildest, worst thought (ph) hellish predictions, Iran`s not a threat
to the United States` existence! Phrases like that amaze me, what they --
what are they talking about?

SHERMAN: Well, I think what they are talking about and what is serious is
people are very concerned about what Iran is doing in the Middle East, its
activities that foment instability.


SHERMAN: The state sponsorship of terrorism.

But imagine an Iran with a nuclear weapon, how much more power it would
project, what a deterrent it would be to Israel, to the Gulf, to us. And
so we don`t want Iran to have a nuclear weapon. And that`s what we have to
be about. What I wish people would do is stop the high-sounding rhetoric,
the good five-second sound bite that might work well on TV, and talk about
the facts, because this deal stops all the pathways to fissile material for
a nuclear weapon. That`s what this deal was supposed to do. That`s what
it`s done.

MATTHEWS: Well, as the president mentioned, Governor Huckabee`s comments
are part of a general pattern coming from conservative or right-wing
opponents of the deal who are going to quite extreme lengths to villainize

Even Jeb Bush said: "This isn`t diplomacy. It is appeasement," another
reference to World War II and the Holocaust. Others have warned of dire
consequences as well. Let`s listen to some of it.


months until we`re going to see a situation where other people feel they
have to defend themselves by acquiring their own capability. And that will
in fact I think put us closer to the use -- actual use of nuclear weapons
than we have been at any time since Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II.

goes through, it will result in funding terrorism. And it will endanger
the lives of Americans. It will endanger Israel.

possible death sentence for Israel. This is a virtual declaration of war
against Sunni Arabs. This is the most dangerous, irresponsible step I have
ever seen in the history of watching the Mideast.

fundamentally and irreparably flawed. I believe it weakens our national
security and it makes the world a dangerous place.

away the store to the Iranians, to a group of people who, since 1979, have
been chanting death to America. This was negotiated so badly that you
wouldn`t let this president buy a car for you at a car dealership.


MATTHEWS: I notice that the opponents of the deal have really pulled back
from the -- they were pushing for bombing Iran. We heard that all the
time. And Senator McCain, who is certainly a patriot, would be out there
saying bomb, bomb Iran. He was singing the Beach Boys song as a joke.

Now, all of a sudden, as part of their strategic debating here, they`re
saying all the alternatives not to bomb Iran. No, what is their
alternative? That`s what I kept -- if it`s not eventually to have to blow
up those facilities, what is their alternative? Because I don`t know what
it is. Do you? Is there an alternative?


SHERMAN: Well, I don`t see an alternative that I have heard that makes any
sense. And that`s what the president said today.

Some people say, well, just keep sanctioning them to death until they
capitulate. But, quite frankly, we were able to negotiate this deal
because all of the world and the P5-plus-one, the five, six countries that
were working with us wanted to do this deal, came together to agree to this

If we unilaterally pull out of it because Congress votes it down, we can`t
sustain a presidential veto, the rest of the world might abandon us.


MATTHEWS: I will be the tough guy here. Was the problem with the -- you
couldn`t get tougher with the deal. Was the problem you couldn`t keep your
allies together to make it tougher or the Iranians would never sign it if
it got tougher?

SHERMAN: Well, I think our deal is quite tough.

MATTHEWS: But could you make it tougher? What would you have had to do to
make it tougher?

SHERMAN: I think to make it tougher than it was would have been able to do
something that even the Bush administration couldn`t do, and that is to say
that Iran couldn`t enrich uranium at all, it couldn`t have even a civil
nuclear program where it enriched.

And even the Bush administration, which tried that and was willing to give
normalization in return for it -- we`re not willing to give normalization
of relations in return for it -- got turned down by Iran. So, the real
breakthrough here was to say, like other countries around the world, there
could be a very limited, very constrictive, highly intrusive monitoring and
verification regime to make sure that this was really a peaceful nuclear


SHERMAN: This kind of intrusive monitoring is going to go on for not just
10 years, not just 15 years, not just 20 years, not just 25 years, but for
the lifetime of Iran`s nuclear program.

MATTHEWS: Will it be as safe to emigrate to Israel now after the deal as

SHERMAN: Oh, I believe so.

Look, no president has backed Israel`s security more than President Obama.
Every president has built on the last president. And we have a whole other
package ready to discuss with Prime Minister Netanyahu as ready -- as soon
as he`s ready.

I have to tell you this, Chris. All throughout this negotiation, all
throughout these two years, Israeli experts at the working level, with the
approval out prime minister, have helped me, have helped my team, have
helped Secretary Kerry by providing their expertise, their know-how.

They`re very knowledgeable. They`re tough. They helped validate ideas
that we had. So I`m very appreciative of the expertise they lent to us.
And I`m only sorry, at the end of the day, they made the choice that they

MATTHEWS: Do we have the firepower if this thing falls through to use the
military option at some point?

SHERMAN: Well, of course we do.

MATTHEWS: To blow up their facilities?

SHERMAN: Well, of course we do.

But you know what? Iran knows how to do the entire nuclear fuel cycle.
And you can`t bomb away knowledge. You can`t sanction away knowledge. The
sanctions got Iran to the table, but never got rid of the program.

MATTHEWS: So, my argument for this deal -- and I am for the deal -- is
that if you get three -- if you blow up everything over there, they`re back
in three years.


MATTHEWS: With this deal, you get at least 10.

SHERMAN: At least.

MATTHEWS: Simple math.

Anyway, thank you, Ambassador Wendy.

SHERMAN: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: Thanks for your service to the country.

SHERMAN: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: I mean it.

Up next, we go to Ethiopia, where President Obama takes on Donald Trump
and, believe it or not, birtherism. Good old Donald, he is carrying his
message everywhere.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

Well, the son of a Kenyan father and a Kansan mother, President Obama was
received on his trip to Africa this weekend like a long-lost son. Of
course, for years, conspiracy theorists and those who wanted to derail the
president`s political career said he was actually born in Kenya. Well, the
president joked about that one.


critics back home are suggesting that I`m back here to look for my birth




OBAMA: That is not the case.



MATTHEWS: Still got that smile.

And, in 2011, it was birther in chief Donald Trump who tried to make the
accusation stick.


the United States don`t even know which hospital. His relatives don`t even
know which hospital he was born in.

The fact is, if he wasn`t born in this country, he shouldn`t be the
president of the United States.


MATTHEWS: Well, in Ethiopia today, President Obama said the political dirt
ball in this country didn`t start yesterday.


OBAMA: It`s been interesting, when you look at what`s happened with Mr.
Trump, when he`s made some of the remarks that, for example, challenge the
heroism of Mr. McCain, somebody who endured torture and conducted himself
with exemplary patriotism, the Republican Party is shocked.

I recognize, when outrageous statements like that are made about me, that a
lot of the same people who were outraged when they are made about Mr.
McCain were pretty quiet.



Joining me right now from Addis Ababa is NBC News senior White House
correspondent Chris Jansing.

Do they get this thing over there in Africa about people on the other side,
and some of them the strangest people out there, saying the president was
actually born in Kenya and shouldn`t be president because of it?

the issue, Chris, at least the small circle of people that I have talked

And particularly in Kenya, they would definitely take umbrage with the
suggest that somehow the president was dishonest. He`s got something like
an 80 percent approval rating there of people who think he wants to do what
is right for that country.

And they know his story. No matter what Donald Trump says, they know his
story; they know where his father came from and what he did, what his
grandfather did. And so for them, it`s a nonissue. It certainly didn`t
make the headlines.

But what was Obama interesting is they know about Donald Trump and, again,
small sample, not scientific, but it is often treated in a very jokey way.
And, tonight, the president went to see the bones of Lucy, the most famous
fossil probably in the world, right, 3.2 million years old, precursor to
Homo sapiens.

And so he`s talking to the Ethiopian curator, and he`s making a very poetic
point about the connection between Lucy and the rest of humanity, and he
paused and said, even Donald Trump.


JANSING: And the president got a good laugh out of that.

MATTHEWS: Well, the irony, of course, is, we all descended from Africa
originally. The human race does, according to all the studies.

Let me ask you about the same-sex issue over there. We have our cultural
evolutions over here, as we know, rather rapidly lately towards same-sex
rights and same-sex marriage, in fact, in the courts now. How is that
going over when he travels with that cultural output over there in Africa?

JANSING: Yes, he`s taking it very carefully.

I don`t know if you remember, but when he was in Senegal and he brought up
the same-sex issue, he got a tremendous amount of pushback. And in the
lead-up to this trip, there were African leaders making all sorts of
suggestions to him he shouldn`t bring it up, don`t talk about it.

Now, he did at the press conference. He spoke very forcefully about it.
And a short time ago, I spoke to a couple of the senior White House
officials who have been with him in these meetings with the leaders, and he
said he also brought it up very respectfully there.

But I think it`s worth noting, Chris, that when he went into that stadium
yesterday with all those Kenyans who were just so crazy about him, so
enthusiastic, it got only a passing mention. Look, he knows that there are
cultural issues here, religious issues that make this a very difficult push
for him or anyone else who wants to push LGBT under the umbrella of human

And so this is going to be a slow process here. They are probably a lot
closer, the average citizen, to their leaders in Africa than they are to
President Obama, however popular he might be here.

MATTHEWS: Chris Jansing over in Africa, thanks for that report.

Up next: Ted Cruz calls Mitch McConnell a liar. And Mitch McConnell
strikes back.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.



The families of two teens who went missing while fishing off the coast of
Florida want the public`s help from Palm Beach to Georgia to search beaches
for any clues about the boys last seen on Friday.

New York`s La Guardia Airport will be torn down and rebuilt in a $4 billion
estimated plan. Vice President Biden and Governor Andrew Cuomo made that
announcement, the vice president once calling it Third World.

And Boston Mayor Marty Walsh says he does not want taxpayer -- taxpayers,
rather, on the hook for cost overruns, so the city`s bid to host the 2024
Olympics is over -- now back to HARDBALL.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We now know that, when the
majority leader looks us in the eyes and makes an explicit commitment, that
he`s willing to say things that he knows are false.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

That`s Ted Cruz in a war with Republican establishment over everything that
started Friday, when Cruz, the Republican senator and candidate for
president, called his colleague, the boss, Senate Majority Leader Mitch
McConnell, a liar. Cruz charged that McConnell had struck a deal to review
the Export-Import Bank after telling him otherwise. Well, here is Cruz.


CRUZ: The majority leader looked at me and said, there is no deal, there
is no deal, there is no deal. What we just saw today was an absolute
demonstration that not only what he told every Republican senator, but what
he told the press over and over and over again, was a simple lie.


MATTHEWS: A lie. He`s called the Republican leader of his caucus a liar.

Disputing Cruz`s allegation in a special session yesterday, on Sunday,
Senator McConnell said he didn`t need a deal to allow the measure to


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: When there is overwhelming
bipartisan support for an idea, even if I oppose it, it doesn`t require
some special deal to see a vote occur on that measure.


MATTHEWS: Well, Cruz`s charge also earned him a strong rebuke from Senator
Orrin Hatch, who accused him of grandstanding for the benefit of his
presidential campaign.


SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R), UTAH: Regrettably, in recent times, the Senate floor
has too often become a forum for partisan messaging and ideological
grandstanding, rather than a setting for serious debate.

It`s been misused as a tool to advance personal ambitions, a venue to
promote political campaigns. The Senate floor has even become a place
where senators have singled out colleagues by name to attack them in
personal terms and to impugn their character, in blatant disregard of
Senate rules.


MATTHEWS: Well, prior to his remarks on Friday, Cruz also slammed his
party in a fund-raising appeal on Twitter.

It reads: "There is a profound disappointment among the American people
because Republicans keep winning elections and then we keep getting leaders
who don`t do anything they promised. It`s time to change that. It`s time
to break the Washington cartel."

I`m joined right now by the roundtable, Michael Tomasky of The Daily Beast,
Anne Gearan, a reporter with "The Washington Post," and nationally
syndicated radio talk show host Richard Fowler.

Richard, I want to start with this. To me, it`s theater.


MATTHEWS: It`s street theater, the whole purpose of this, to compete with
Donald Trump. This guy wants to be Donald Trump`s successor on the wild

Here`s his way of taking it. You know, he`s not building a future in the
Senate by calling the leader a liar. That`s not about a future in the
Senate. That`s about getting out of there quickly, like next year in the
presidential election.

FOWLER: I think you`re completely right. I think they`re all sort of
fighting for bits and fighting to be the next Donald Trump, but too bad
nobody can beat the Donald.

We talked about earlier in the show, Donald has a plane, Ted Cruz doesn`t.
Donald has money, Ted Cruz doesn`t. Ted Cruz is just a walking imitation
of Donald Trump.

MATTHEWS: OK. Something is at stake here, that`s called the United States
Congress and the way we run our government. Those words should be taken
down. I work in the Hill for years. You don`t talk about another guy or
woman`s motives. You don`t say they`re no good. You don`t call them
liars. You`re not allowed to do that, because if you did that, it looked
like the French revolution out there every night.

There is a reason why they call Mr. Gentleman from this and Gentlelady from

ANNE GEARAN, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Yes. I mean, you saw the shock from
Republicans when this started to unfold over the weekend. I mean, they
really couldn`t believe Ted Cruz was saying what he was saying about Mitch
McConnell and there was backlash.

And that does not come without cost. They shut him down on the Senate
floor on Sunday and they will continue to shut him down.

MICHAEL TOMASKY, DAILY BEAST COLUMNIST: He`s tapping into anger among
Republicans, conservatives out in the country, not independents or

MATTHEWS: He`s not building a future in the Senate, isn`t he?

TOMASKY: No, I don`t think so. But Mitch McConnell is not going to be in
the Senate forever either. I mean, we don`t know --


ATTHEWS: Anyway, I`m (INAUDIBLE) and lover of politics. This reminds of a
scene from that great movie about the United States Senate called "Advice
and Consent". And we`re going to move in the minute and continue this
thought about advice, that was a `62 movie in which a ruthless senator is
shunned by his majority leader, just like this scene. Let`s watch this
scene in compared to what we just saw.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We tolerate about anything here -- prejudice,
fanaticism, demagoguery and anything. It`s totally clear. But you`ve
dishonored us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Bender of California.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, what I did was for the good of the country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fortunately, our country always manages to survive
patriots like you. We could introduce a resolution to censor and expel
you, but we don`t want (INAUDIBLE) tired old (INAUDIBLE) and make public,
whatever it was. So, we let you stay if you want to.


MATTHEWS: Wow, Anne, press lovers of the Senate in the glory days in the
movies, this behavior lately. He fits -- this is like Cruz trying to play
Ben Ackerman (ph), the bad guy.

GEARAN: Yes, I mean, Cruz is trying here to, he knows what he`s doing.
He`s punching McConnell in the nose for a reason. The theory is that plays
well with exactly the voters he`s trying to talk to.

MATTHEWS: He`s calling him a liar. I never -- I`m sorry, I maybe a funny
daddy, I`ve never seen a guy call a senator, Senate leader a liar. You
don`t say the next day, oh, I don`t really mean that, or let`s be buddies
and have lunch. No, it`s over there.

GEARAN: Oh, McConnell is going to have a long memory. I mean, again, shut
him down on Sunday and he`ll continue to do that if he sees.

MATTHEWS: Richard, back to your point this is another way to beat Donald
Trump. It`s on TV. Maybe the battle is on the tube and he`s getting on
the tube, using the Senate, you know, to get him on television, which is to
get him back public so when Cruz sees, perhaps Donald Trump flaming out, of
he ever does flame out, he steps into his place. That`s what everybody
thinks is going on.

FOWLER: I think you`re exactly right. I think the problem for Ted Cruz is
that this type of Senate gamesmanship is inside baseball. We care about it
within the beltway. Outside the beltway, people don`t care.

MATTHEWS: Don`t use phrases like inside the beltway here because you won`t
be inside the show again. OK, look, because we are inside the beltway, I
can`t help.

FOWLER: It`s true.

MATTHEWS: This is what Claire McCaskill, one of my favorites, had to say,
respond to this, "There`s something unseemly about Cruz following Trump
around like a lost puppy hoping to get leftovers when he finally flames
out", and that`s what I think Cruz is doing here -- Anne.

GEARAN: Yes, that`s very funny but it`s true. He would like to be the
inheritor of this national wave of anger that is fueling Trump and he`s
betting that Trump will flame out at some point. He`s also really, really
trying to get in and make as you were he`s part of the first debate, which
has got some ground rules that might exclude him if he`s not, if he doesn`t
start pulling better.


TOMASKY: He`ll make the debate but, Chris --


TOMASKY: Chris, do you think that Ted Cruz is really bothered by this?



TOMASKY: Do you think that upsets him (INAUDIBLE)?

MATTHEWS: No, there are rules.

TOMASKY: There are rules and he`s broken them.

MATTHEWS: And he said something about Kemp and a bunch of guys and a huge
story and the other side won that fight. They won. For some reason, the
parliamentarian must have because they are supposed to stop this. You
know, Anne.

TOMASKY: Cruz` base --


MATTHEWS: --like a referee in an NBA game. You stop it.

TOMASKY: Cruz` base in Texas will be with him.

MATTHEWS: That`s a bored commentary. If one of the guys, I shut you down.
You want to out-shout me here? Go ahead.

FOWLER: No, there`s no need to out shout. Two different ways to operate
in the Senate. You can operate as a younger senator like Elizabeth Warren
does, make coalitions and make partnerships and get things done, or you can
be like Ted Cruz, the whiny kid in the corner, and you`ll still always be
the whiny kid in the corner no matter how long you`re there.

MATTHEWS: So you`re a progressive?

FOWLER: I am a progressive.

MATTHEWS: (INAUDIBLE) Elizabeth Warren. A nasty asymmetry in the way you
presented that argument.


MATTHEWS: Anyway, the round table is staying with us.

Up next, back to those outrageous comments from Mike Huckabee about the
door to the Holocaust, that the nuclear deal with Iran will take Israelis
and march them to the door to the oven. Nice terminology there, Huckabee.

And this is HARDBALL, a place for politics.


MATTHEWS: RNC Chair Reince Priebus was skeptical this morning about a
possible third party bid by Donald Trump, should Trump not win the
nomination as a Republican. Here is what Priebus had to say.


REINCE PRIEBUS, RNC CHAIRMAN: Certainly, I think our candidates should
pledge not to run as a third party candidate. I don`t see that happening.
I think everyone understands that if Hillary Clinton is going to get beat,
he`s going to get beat by a Republican.


MATTHEWS: I don`t know what that means. Trump can still run. As for
Trump`s lead in the polls, Priebus said he believes the billionaire is
touching a chord with Americans frustrated with Washington.

We`ll be right back.


MATTHEWS: We`re back with the round table: Michael, Anne and Richard.

I want to get back to Mike Huckabee`s incredible, over the top critique of
the nuclear deal with Iran. Many on the right have made comparisons to the
Holocaust and the Nazi Germany, but Huckabee took it to a new low.


MIKE HUCKABEE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This president`s foreign policy
is the most feckless in American history. He`s so naive he would trust the
Iranians and he would take the Israelis and basically march them to the
door of the oven.


MATTHEWS: You know, I don`t quite get it. The great thing is I have been
there not many times but in Israel they are open to debate. You can be at
peace now with the balance crowd. You can be Tzipi Livni, you have
different points of view, Isaac Herzog. You`re allowed to disagree with
the Netanyahu approach. You can have an open discussion without people
accusing you of being a Nazi.

What is it about our culture? We can`t discuss the Middle East without
these references?

GEARAN: Well, this is a special case for Huckabee. I mean, clearly, he`s
appealing to what he thinks is a base at home.

MATTHEWS: Evangelical Christians.

GEARAN: Absolutely. And also, the Sheldon Adelson money people, too. I
mean, he wants --

MATTHEWS: So, he`s gong in that direction, too.

GEARAN: Absolutely. What he ends up doing here is sort of being more pro-
Israeli than the Israelis, because to your point, they actually are having
a debate about this.

MATTHEWS: What do you think, Mike?

TOMASKY: You know, Huckabee -- this doesn`t have anything to do with
Donald Trump. He`s not trying to out-Trump Trump. He`s just Huckabee.
This is who he is and this is how he talks. I actually read his book, his
book that came out last year. It`s full of lines -- not quite like this.
Not Holocaust lines but unbelievable screeds, crazy screeds about Obama,
about Hillary Clinton, about Democrats, about Jerry Brown, everything under
the sun, you name it.

MATTHEWS: What moves this guy? He`s like a Rastafarian talking about
Ethiopia. I mean, it`s not realistic. Israeli is a country. Like any
other country, with strengths and weaknesses. It is not perfection land.

TOMASKY: He`s got this messianic --

GEARAN: He leads Holy Land tours. I mean, this is a big, big deal for

MATTHEWS: You`re right. I read about that.

What do you think, Richard?

FOWLER: I think he`s into it but I think the problem here --

MATTHEWS: Why comments about Hitler?

FOWLER: He truly believes it.

MATTHEWS: He believes that -- OK.

FOWLER: I really think he believes it. Now, it`s un-presidential, but he
believes it.

MATTHEWS: This deal, you can argue it both ways, and it`s legitimate.
It`s a tough one. You know, ten years better than nothing. Better than
back at it in three years. That`s an argument.

There`s another argument don`t trust no matter what they do, although we
can say we are trying to verify. You say, well, you can`t really verify.
It`s an argument.

Why the Armageddon discussion?

FOWLER: But here`s -- I agree with you on that point.

MATTHEWS: They already have a nuke potential. If there wasn`t a deal,
they`d be doing it.

FOWLER: I guarantee you, I think this is a good deal overall, and that`s
why I think Mike Huckabee is wrong. This deal at worse case scenario slows
town their ability to develop a nuclear weapon. And I think that`s a good
thing for all Americans and for the world.

MATTHEWS: What`s his deal do? What`s Huckabee`s deal?

FOWLER: He doesn`t have a deal, which is part of the problem.

GEARAN: Right.

MATTHEWS: I think the deal is to bomb, bomb Iran. I think that`s what it
is, but he doesn`t want to say it.

FOWLER: That doesn`t work.

MATTHEWS: It would be after a deal goes down though. Once the deal goes
down the doors open, the big fight over how fast do we go to war?

TOMASKY: The deal won`t go town. He`s going to have --

FOWLER: The president has the votes.


FOWLER: The president has got the votes on this.

TOMASKY: He has the votes.

MATTHEWS: Forty-six in the House, right?

FOWLER: You got it.

MATTHEWS: How do you get that? You`re just grinning. You know something
I don`t know.


MATTHEWS: Report. Looks good in the House, how about the Senate, 34 votes
in the Senate?

FOWLER: I think he has the votes.


FOWLER: Both chambers.

TOMASKY: At least one of them.

MATTHEWS: Good Monday for me.

Anyway, on the campaign trail there was push back to the Huckabee comment.
Here was Hillary Clinton jumping into the argument.


offensive and they have no place in our political dialogue. I am -- I`m
disappointed and I`m really offended personally. This steps over the line
and it should be repudiated by every person of good faith and concern.


MATTHEWS: Well, Jeb Bush also went after Huckabee. He said he should tone
down the rhetoric.


JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have been to Israel, not as many
times as Mike Huckabee, who I respect. But the use of that kind of
language is just wrong. This is not the way we are going to win elections.
That`s not how we are going to solve problems.

So, unfortunate remark, I`m not sure why he felt compelled to say it.
Having said that, this is a bad deal, and I can see why people are angry
about it.


MATTHEWS: I`m going back to argument. Everybody, jump me on this -- I
think the eastern conference of the Republican Party, which is made up of
people like him, and Kasich, and Christie even, and certainly, Walker.
They see government as a responsibility.

The other side sees it as a chance for radical debate, radical action,
complaint, resurrection, insurrection almost. And I think Jeb still talks
like that and the other guys are competing for the other flag.

GEARAN: Yes. I mean, you`re seeing it play out absolutely in the primary
right now. You got two wings. And then you got Trump who sort of like --

MATTHEWS: He`s perfect (ph) of western division.

GEARAN: Absolutely.

MATTHEWS: Anyway, we`ll get back. My theory, eastern division regular
normal people. Western division, look out.

Anyway, Michael Tomasky --

TOMASKY: They put Scott Walker in the wrong place.

MATTHEWS: Well, we`ll see. I think he still wants to be considered an
alternative to Bush, not an alternative to that guy out there. But I think
the other guy looks your way. Anyway, he sees him as a threat on the

Michael Tomasky, quibbling to the end. Anne Gearan, Richard Fowler, I
think Richard Fowler is a welcome guest here.

When we return, let me finish with the potent chance that this country`s
Republican voters are in revolt.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with the potent chance that this country`s
Republican voters are in revolt.

Just look at the latest national polling. In fact, the average of five
national polls. Look how the GOP establishment is doing and how the
resurgent party`s right wing is doing. It`s not even a contest. Jeb Bush
is at 14 percent, one vote in 7. Scott Walker, vote one in nine. Chris
Christie, three in a hundred. Rick Perry, two in a hundred. That adds up
to 30 percent, three in ten Republicans nationwide.

Now, count up the chunk of Republicans being grabbed by the Tea Party
types, 18 percent for Trump, six percent for Rubio, Paul, Huckabee and
Cruz. Plus, 5 percent for Dr. Ben Carson. Just about half, 49 percent for
the rebels.

What this suggests is that when this thing winnows out, the winner of the
establishment league, Bush, Walker, Christie or Perry, is going to have 30
percent of the vote total. The winner of the hard conservatives is going
to have 50 percent of the total. It`s not even close as I said.

I just don`t see how the party that`s pushing for these guys on the hard
right are going to get excited by a ticket led by Bush, Walker, Christie or
Perry. That strikes me as weak beer for the red hots, especially after
they have had a few months of swigging the 100 percent proof of Donald

And based on the numbers, there are a lot more red hots than there are even
barely moderate establishment types. Donald trump didn`t light the fire.
It was already burning when he got here.

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

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.



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