updated 7/29/2015 10:23:17 AM ET 2015-07-29T14:23:17

Date: July 28, 2015
Guest: Amy Walter, Mark Leibovich, Howard Dean, John Feehery, Dan
Shaughnessy, April Ryan, Jamelle Bouie, Francesca Chambers

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Trump doubling Bush up in New Hampshire.
Place your bets on who can stop him now.

Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.

Well, the smart money says there`s more to this Donald Trump wave than dumb
show biz. He`s lit up something, something less to do with him than with
his enemies. He`s grabbed -- the enemies he`s grabbed, he`s picked them
well, a coterie of time servers who might look OK in a cabinet but fail to
stir the soul.

Is this why he`s smashing through Bush and Walker and Rubio and Huckabee
like a bowling ball through a setup of tenpins or like a hot knife through
a stick of butter that`s been left out of the fridge so many nights and
days that it`s actually begun to ooze?

Whatever it is, it`s not the way this campaign for 2016 was supposed to go
back when the Republican regulars -- go ahead and call them hacks, if you
want to -- thought they had this treehouse all to themselves.

Eugene Robinson`s a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for "The Washington
Post," Amy Walter is with the Cook Political Report, and Mark Leibovich
writes for "The New York Times."

Anyway, on Fox News just last night, Donald Trump bashed President Obama
and warned that the country is, quote, "going to hell."


president in the history of our country. He`s a very divisive person,
which is why he brings this kind of stuff up. And he should have devoted
more time to working on a good nuclear deal with Iran instead of what he`s
doing because he has just been a disaster for our country.

I`m running because we`re not going to have a country soon. We don`t have
borders. We don`t have law enforcement. They`ve taken all of the power
away from our policemen. And sure, you have a couple of bad apples and you
have some bad decisions being made, and I hate to see it when I see it.
But the fact is, we don`t have law and order. We don`t have -- I mean, our
country is going to hell.


MATTHEWS: Anyway, Trump`s been rewarded for his rhetoric. New polls out
this week show him with a strong lead up in New Hampshire. The latest from
Monmouth University shows Trump with twice the support, as I said, of Jeb
Bush. No one else even comes close. Anyway, the results were similar in a
NBC News/Marist poll from earlier this week, nationally. It also shows
Trump with a big lead over Bush and the other Republican candidates across
the country.

Let me go to Mark Leibovich. You`ve written about it for next week`s "New
York Times" magazine. I think there`s something there. I think he`s
grabbed onto the zeitgeist, at least of the white working class, who are a
big part of the Republican coalition now, something he`s got that none of
these other guys got.

MARK LEIBOVICH, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Well, look, first of all, I mean,
being aligned with the crazies, as John McCain, you know, called him out on
a couple of weeks ago, is not a terrible place to be, especially when
you`re in a crowded primary, when you just have a niche that you`re going
for. And you know, 20 percent`s going to get you pretty far in this field.

So look, the urge to be different, the striving to be different is
somewhere where he is, and it`s a good place to be right now. Who knows
how long it`s going to last.

MATTHEWS: Is he smart about it, is he just -- he lobbed (ph) into this by
accident, a monkey typing "Merry Christmas," as we used to say.

I think it`s --

MATTHEWS: Somebody had to say something would work. He said something --
because these other guys are not grabbing our attention, or even the
voters`, anybody`s.

LEIBOVICH: It`s somewhere in between. I mean, it`s unclear how calculated
this all is. But clearly, look, there has always, from the very beginning
of this primary, been a race to be the person who is crazy, who is other --


LEIBOVICH: -- who is not of the political establishment. I mean, Ted
Cruz, Chris Christie in some different ways --


LEIBOVICH: -- made an effort for it. Trump has just sort of owned it.

MATTHEWS: Amy, you`re a pro on this. You know, he`s talking to different
targets. Huckabee talks to the Christian conservatives, we know that, the
very pro-Israeli person from the far Christian right. Maybe there`s some
Jewish voters he`s getting to now.

I look at this guy, Trump. He`s talking about cops and how much he likes
them. So he starts with illegal immigrants. Now he goes with cops. And
everybody out there in the black community is saying, Wait a minute, the
cops need to be put under better regulation. He`s saying, No, unleash
them. They`re our guys.

He`s clearly carving himself a love affair with white working class guys
out there --


AMY WALTER, COOK POLITICAL REPORT: Right, which is a growing constituency
in the Republican base. I mean, we think of the Republican primary
electorate in its old days was this country club crowd that went out and --

MATTHEWS: Yankees.

WALTER: That`s not there any more. The white working class vote is an
older white working class vote, is bigger and bigger. But here`s the thing


MATTHEWS: -- in all our big cities, by the way.

WALTER: But the --

MATTHEWS: The residual Republican vote is white working class in New York,
Philadelphia, the rest.

WALTER: Absolutely. And Trump`s rise has come at the expense of Mike
Huckabee. I mean, if you look at where Mike Huckabee was in those NBC
Marist polls in Iowa --

MATTHEWS: Do we all cry for Mike Huckabee now?

WALTER: No, but now you understand why --

MATTHEWS: The guy that accuses the president --


WALTER: Now you understand why he`s doing what he`s doing.

MATTHEWS: Why -- is this why Huckabee`s going even more crazy than

WALTER: Absolutely.

MATTHEWS: He`s saying stuff worse than Trump, it seems to me.

absolutely right. Look, this has got to be a time when Huckabee thought he
would was going to be really getting some traction, gaining some ground,
establishing himself at the -- you know, at the upper echelon of that top
tier maybe. Who knows.

That`s what he thought, right, because that`s what you think when you`re
running for president. You think you`re going to do well. Instead,
nobody`s listening to Mike Huckabee until he starts saying crazy things.

MATTHEWS: OK, at a town hall meeting in Keene, New Hampshire, yesterday,
Chris Christie confronted a Trump supporter -- this is great stuff -- who
said Trump would make a better president than Chris Christie. Let`s watch
this battle of the big guys.


going to build a wall across the entire 2,000-mile border between the
United States and Mexico, and he`s going to make Mexico pay for it --


CHRISTIE: Now, that`s a great line, right? Everybody loves that. Great!
We`re going to get the wall and we don`t have to pay for it! All I want
you to explain to me --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Got a lot of attention with that, though, you have to

CHRISTIE: Oh, of course he did. And if -- I don`t know whether -- see, I
thought we were talking about actually governing our country and not
getting attention. If the -- if the --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not right now, it`s not going to (INAUDIBLE)

CHRISTIE: No, no. Listen, if the goal here is to find the person to be
president of the United States who can get the most attention, he`s going
to win hands down. If it is the person who can most effectively govern our
nation and deal with the world, I suggest to you that I`m in this race
because I think I`d be better at it than he would.


MATTHEWS: Now, this is the guy that got his name ID and his street cred
from saying to a woman, Shut up, Gail, right? None of your business. Now
he`s got -- it`s New Jersey trying to out-mouth New York, the two big city
guys. I think his -- what do you call it, his vetting of his wall plan is
a little bit too obscure for most people. Your thoughts.

LEIBOVICH: Yes, well, I mean, it`s almost as if he invented this person to
sort of be in the audience to sort of focus on. Trump is getting
attention, and that was a big thing he said, almost as if Christie could
sort of just take that and hit it out of the park.

And what`s also interesting is you have all this sort of vintages (ph) of
Northeast Republicanism.


LEIBOVICH: You know, you got your Trump, you got your Christie. You can
even add Jeb Bush to this, given, you know, the sort of Yankee sort of
traditional, you know, Brahmin --


LEIBOVICH: And they`re -- these are different flavors of outrage or
different flavors of sort of how to approach a Republican primary, when
theoretically, I mean, we`re talking about a Southern populist party,

WALTER: Well, this is the interesting thing --

MATTHEWS: Now. It is a party, and it`s an angry party. That`s why I
don`t put Bush on the list you do. I don`t see how this party can have
this love affair with anger, which they`re going through now, and end up
picking Bush as their candidate.

WALTER: But they --

MATTHEWS: I don`t get it.

WALTER: This isn`t new. Trump didn`t invent this anger. He didn`t
unleash it or unearth it. It`s been here since --


MATTHEWS: -- connected to it.

WALTER: He`s going to have to do it in the same way Marco Rubio --


WALTER: -- in 2010, Cruz connected to it in 2012. And then what
happened in 2014? The establishment said, Oh, uh-oh, we better connect to


MATTHEWS: Do you thing the establishment is going to win the Republican
Party next summer?


MATTHEWS: I don`t think so. I think --

WALTER: OK, who`s it going to be?


MATTHEWS: They`re going to get a year off. They got one off in `64.
They`re about to get another year off.


WALTER: And so it will be --

ROBINSON: That`s -- that`s --

WALTER: It will be who?

ROBINSON: -- (INAUDIBLE) because that doesn`t happen very --


MATTHEWS: I added up all the votes of people on the right. Comes up about
50 percent. All the votes of the people on what we used to call the center
right, the establishment right, about 30. They`re way outnumbered.

So if this thing winnows down to a right wing versus establishment fight,
and Trump wins the right-wing primary, basically, he beats all the other
guys like Huckabee, and he`s left standing to go against Bush, look out,

LEIBOVICH: And so you think that Bush --


LEIBOVICH: -- will be -- would be the established candidate --


MATTHEWS: I hope it doesn`t hurt his standing, but I like Kasich. I think
he`s the real deal, a working class guy and --


MATTHEWS: Well, maybe you have, but I think he`s moving up quick. And he
may make it to the debate next Wednesday -- Thursday night. I think Kasich
gets in that debate and surprises everybody. He`s the Cinderella kid,
getting in, and he might be able to take on -- because he`s got the working
class roots and ID.

When he takes on a big money guy like Trump, he said, Wait a minute, I am
the guy you`re talking to. I am that soddy-buster regular guy that came up
the hard way. You know, you went to Wharton. I went to Ohio State, OK?
Nothing wrong with Ohio State, but you`re bragging about your Ivy League
credentials. I`m taking you on. You`re the elite, buddy. That`d be


ROBINSON: But does anybody take him on that way, take on Trump that way?

MATTHEWS: I think (INAUDIBLE) they`re going to get the treatment that
Scott Walker got the other day. He has a dossier he carries around with
him! He -- oh, you want to fight? Let`s go (ph) about the jobless rate in
your state. Let`s talk about the banking (ph) process (ph). Let`s talk
about the road problem. Let`s talk about the deficit problem.

He`s got it all ready to spit out, and the other guys don`t -- there is no
Trump to attack. What are you going to go after him for?

LEIBOVICH: I think what you might go after him for --

MATTHEWS: What would you hit him (INAUDIBLE)

LEIBOVICH: What I think will really get traction, probably in the debate,
are liberal positions.

WALTER: That`s right.

LEIBOVICH: That`s right. I think that they will go after --

WALTER: Like you`re really --


MATTHEWS: That`s how they got Rubio -- I mean, got what`s his name, Rudy
Giuliani, but does he, like, have gay roommates? What have they got on

LEIBOVICH: No, but you know, Hillary Clinton was at his wedding. I mean,
you can go issue by issue. I mean, there`s a pretty fat dossier --


LEIBOVICH: -- of things that are real third rails for Donald Trump, as
opposed to, say, going after Mexicans --


MATTHEWS: Do you really think he`s going to get stopped by that nitty-
bitty stuff?



MATTHEWS: I don`t like people who disagree with me, but let`s go on here.


MATTHEWS: In "The Wall Street Journal," Gerald Seiber (ph), another smart
guy, wrote today, "The defining characteristic of this cycle so far is the
populist streak running through both parties. Populists on the left and
right disagree on many things, but they agree on the idea that the
political system is broken, that the political establishment is distant and
unresponsive, and that the forces of big money are somehow steering events
in a nefarious manner. Perhaps order will be restored soon. Still, we
haven`t seen anything quite like this since the 1990s, when Pat Buchanan
talked of peasants coming with pitchforks to attack the political
establishment and when a billionaire populist independent named Ross Perot
shocked the system by running for president. On the left, that populist
streak is heard loud and clear in Bernie Sanders`s message."

Here`s Bernie, the senator.


billionaires and their friends cannot have it all. Our country, our
government belongs to all of us, not just the few.


SANDERS: At the top of my agenda is to say to corporate America, You want
us to buy your products, well, you damn well better start producing those
products here in the United States of America!


SANDERS: What we are living in is a rigged economy! People work longer
and longer hours, fall further and further behind! People on top make out
like bandits!


MATTHEWS: And Gerald Seiber wrote in "The Wall Street Journal" today, we
haven`t seen anything like this since Pat Buchanan in the mid-`90s.


PAT BUCHANAN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You watch the establishment, all
the knights and barons will be riding into the castle and pulling up the
drawbridge in a minute --


BUCHANAN: -- because they`re coming! All the peasants are coming with
pitchforks after them!



MATTHEWS: I was covering that, and they were a lot of fun up in New
Hampshire. But he didn`t go (INAUDIBLE) He didn`t have the money. Didn`t
have it.

ROBINSON: Nobody did it like Pat.

MATTHEWS: I`m one of those, Mark, unlike you, I believe in phenomena. I
believe this is a phenomenal election coming. They`re not all the same. I
think something`s going on. I think it`s boredom on part of the Democrats,
frustration with the center-left government they don`t think has made them
excited and turned them on at all.

Bernie Sanders sounds like the `60s, and everybody, like me, looks back to
the `60s with nostalgia because things -- as horrible as it was, with all
the tragedies and assassinations, people were mentally and politically
alive. And right now, they don`t feel alive. Amy?

WALTER: Except that who in the Democratic coalition was alive in the

LEIBOVICH: Bernie Sanders.

WALTER: Bernie Sanders.

MATTHEWS: Bernie --


WALTER: No, no, but the political base --

MATTHEWS: He was everybody`s assistant professor of political science.

WALTER: Exactly. The political based (INAUDIBLE) -- and you`re trying to
get people -- and the irony right now is it`s the older people who were
born in the `60s are supporting Hillary Clinton. If you look at Bernie
Sanders`s support, you know --


WALTER: -- people under 45.


MATTHEWS: How else do you explain the phenomenon of Bernie Sanders, who
nobody could have predicted a year ago?

WALTER: That is absolutely right. There is an -- there is --

MATTHEWS: There`s something in the zeitgeist --

WALTER: -- an anger at the --

MATTHEWS: -- in the mood of the country which is a little asymmetric. I
don`t think the Democrats are as angry --


MATTHEWS: You`re ready to say something.

LEIBOVICH: Well, no, I think that that -- I think that that leftward
populism in the Democratic Party has been alive and well for a few years.
I think the fact that Barack Obama didn`t have a primary challenge -- and I
don`t think he would have in 2012 -- it had no expression throughout the
Obama presidency.


LEIBOVICH: But now, I mean, I Hillary Clinton is being saved by the fact
that this is a very weak field. I mean, Bernie Sanders probably has a
ceiling, probably. I think that the ceiling is sort of moving up. But I
think, in a sense, I mean, he`s a -- he`s a positive foil for her because,
you know, if and when she gets the nomination, she`ll be able to move more

MATTHEWS: And he`s not attacking her.

LEIBOVICH: No, he`s not at all.

WALTER: No one is.

MATTHEWS: Nothing personal --


MATTHEWS: Gene, you`re the wizened one here. Let me --


MATTHEWS: -- unique year or a typical year?


MATTHEWS: Is this unique or typical?

ROBINSON: Boy, see, I tend to think things tend to regress to the mean.
You know, they tend to regress to form. So I`m not ready to say that --


ROBINSON: -- that the --

MATTHEWS: I accept (ph), like the French, we`ve historically gone to the
center after all the talk. The bourgeois center runs the country. I know
that. I think this year`s different. I think there`s deep frustration and
deep anger on the right.

It`s like that guy said to me, the Catholic cop I worked with, the little
man, why does he love his country? Because it`s (ph) always God (ph).
And they feel that the nation has been taken away from them. They don`t
like it. They feel that everything`s coming in on them, including taxes
and borders and whatever else.

Eugene Robinson, thank you, sir. Amy Walter, Mark Leibovich -- piece this
Sunday in "The New York Times" magazine.

Coming up -- it`s clown car Tuesday, and this week, Mike Huckabee`s right
there in the front seat. The former Arkansas governor has tripled down on
that comment comparing the Iranian nuclear deal to the Holocaust. But it`s
not just Huckabee. Some big names in the Republican presidential field are
right there with him in the clown car.

Meanwhile, John Kerry`s on Capitol Hill today defending the Iranian nuclear
deal, just as a new poll shows majority of Americans actually want Congress
to reject it.

Plus, President Obama knows he`s on a roll. He says if the U.S.
Constitution allowed it, he could actually win a third term.

Finally, "Let Me Finish" with the most desperate scramble for turf since
the opening of the Cherokee strip (ph).

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: The country`s closely split on President Obama and the job he`s
doing as president. According to a new CNN/Opinion Research poll, 49
percent approve of him and how he`s doing, 47 percent disapprove. When
Americans are asked if they`re better off than they were three years ago,
again 49 percent say yes, 38 percent say no, 12 percent say they`re doing
about the same. And that question is often a leading indicator of how
voters are feeling heading into a big presidential election.

We`ll be right back.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. You ever see it get this nasty, this
early? We`ve got Donald Trump gobbling up the oxygen out there. Mike
Huckabee says President Obama will be responsible for a second Holocaust.
And Ted Cruz is snuggling up to both of them.

It`s clown car Tuesday, and tonight, it`s Mike Huckabee`s in the front
seat, or one of the front seats. Huckabee`s tripling down on his criticism
of the Iranian nuclear agreement. In a recent interview, he said that
President Obama, quote, "would take the Israelis and march them to the door
of the oven."

On the front page of today`s "USA Today," The Israeli ambassador to the
U.S., an all-out hawk himself, slammed those comments, saying, "These are
not words that I would use or that I think are appropriate."

In an interview with NBC`s Matt Lauer, Huckabee dismissed that criticism
and has tripled down.


MATT LAUER, CO-HOST, "TODAY": The Israeli ambassador to the United States
calls your words inappropriate. Some fellow Republicans have called them
offensive and outrageous, and the Anti Defamation League spokesperson
called them completely out of line and unacceptable. And you`re not
backing down an inch.

response from Jewish people has been overwhelmingly positive.

LAUER: As president of the United States, would you use the words "march
the Israelis to the door of the oven"?

HUCKABEE: Yes, I would.


MATTHEWS: Well, Huckabee`s march of defiance continued a few hours later
on Fox. Here he is again.


HUCKABEE: Of course, the reliable left-wing Democratic voices like Debbie
Wasserman Schultz and the ADL -- yes, they have condemned me. But what are
they going to say, no, Iran`s a wonderful country and we need to sit down
and smoke a peace pipe with them?

We`ve seen this before. It did not end well, and in fact, it ended
horribly for 11 million people, 6 million of them Jews, in large measure
because people didn`t take the threats seriously. They said nobody`s that


MATTHEWS: Howard Dean was governor of Vermont, DNC chairman and
presidential candidate, and John Feehery`s a Republican strategist.

Governor, I don`t know. What do you think of this approach? Is this
trying to outshout and out-crazy Trump?

some of it. I think he`s trying to -- the only hope he has is winning in
Iowa, and --


DEAN: -- with Trump ahead in Iowa, he`s got to do something crazy.

MATTHEWS: Are there enough Christian fundamentalists that far right that
like this kind of talk, about Holocaust and ovens?

DEAN: Well, here`s the problem with all this. I mean, in theory, Huckabee
could get the Christian fundamentalists. There are enough of them to win.

Even Christian fundamentalists want somebody who is actually capable of
being president of the United States. He does not look capable of being
president of the United States when he talks like this. And I think he`s

MATTHEWS: It`s interesting that Dermer, who is a pretty hard-right guy,
the former American -- he`s an Israeli ambassador now -- very hawkish -- he
put him down. The ADL, a great organization, took him down.

By the way, I don`t think they`re typically liberal Democrat, by the way.
I don`t like that comment. They defend the concerns of Israel and the
concerns of the Jewish people worldwide. They are not a partisan group.


Mike Huckabee is trying to get coverage. He got coverage with those
outrageous statements. I condemn them. I think they`re really out of
line. Look what happened with Ted Cruz calling Mitch McConnell a liar.
You see all these candidates who haven`t been getting much coverage going
over the line to get coverage because that`s the only way they can get
coverage in this Trump world we live in.

The only guy who is sitting pretty I think is Jeb Bush, because he`s
already the front-runner.

DEAN: I agree with that.

FEEHERY: He`s just kind of laughing at all these guys and they`re making
fools of themselves. I think that Mike Huckabee, look, he ran a good
campaign last time around. He looks like a fool this time around.

DEAN: He did.


MATTHEWS: Which one?

FEEHERY: Mike Huckabee. Yes.

DEAN: Whoever is willing to stand up to these guys is going to be the
Republican nominee. And I think that`s Jeb Bush so far.

MATTHEWS: The funny thing -- well, the absurd thing is that -- a concern
across the board about terrorism and over-the-top zealotry in the Middle
East. And they`re beginning to sound like those guys over there. You
know? The over-the-top accusations, the craziness you hear in Middle East
media, the way people talk about each other in the Arab press, these guys
are talking about each other that way.

Anyway, in the wake of Huckabee`s comments on the Iran deal, we have seen a
torrent of critics attack him. Ted Cruz is not among them. FOX News is
reporting that Cruz -- quote -- "emphatically stands by Huckabee and these
comments." Cruz told them, "It`s a sad day when the president of the
United States cannot or will not see the truth." That was Cruz talking.

Fellow Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum is also defending
Huckabee`s comments. Let`s listen.


RICK SANTORUM (R), FORMER U.S. SENATOR: I`m a little shocked that this is
getting the kind of pushback that it is. I think it is clear that this is
Iran`s intent.

We are going to put them on the path to a nuclear weapon. We are going to
restore the conventional weapon to them. We are going to give them the
money so they can promote terrorism. And then we`re going to protect them
as they go about trying to systematically destroy all of our allies and us.


MATTHEWS: Is this intramurals? I have long thought that there are two
battles for the Republican nomination next year.

There`s sort of the establishment wing, which is small now. It`s probably
Kasich, it`s probably Bush and maybe Walker. And then there`s the right
wing, the Tea Party people. Each one of these guys is taking it from the
other guy. If Donald Trump wins and goes on to go into the primaries next
year and do well, then you can forget Huckabee, you can forget Cruz, forget
all of them.

Cruz seems to be betting on the fact that he will burn out and then he can
take his place, whereas the other guys are afraid he won`t burn out.

DEAN: The trouble is there are five other people lined up behind Trump and
now Huckabee being as crazy as Trump is. If Trump for some reason burns
out, then you have got Huckabee.

MATTHEWS: Or Cruz behind both of them.

DEAN: This is a contest for Iowa. This is a contest for Iowa. Whoever
wins Iowa is going to come out of Iowa with an enormous advantage. And 15
people or 12 people are going to drop out after Iowa.


FEEHERY: This is not at all ideological.

MATTHEWS: I think you`re right, Governor.

FEEHERY: This is all click bait. Everybody wants the click bait. They
want to get in the news so they can raise the money so they can stay in

That`s why they`re going over the top with this language, because they want
people -- they want the attention on them. And this is the kind of sad
thing about our democracy, that we`re all a bunch of masters to click bait.

MATTHEWS: Anyway, click bait means you get --

FEEHERY: Clicked online.

MATTHEWS: On your online -- on your Web site.


MATTHEWS: Anyway, Huckabee`s comments about a second Holocaust came as he
is also ratcheting up his attack on Hillary Clinton.

He`s accusing Hillary Clinton of -- quote -- this is worst thing he has
said -- quote -- "ignoring the warning calls from dying Americans in
Benghazi," in other words, deliberately letting her friend Chris Stevens

What do you make of that? Why would he say something like that? There`s
no evidence that Hillary Clinton was sitting around fiddling when her
friend was getting killed over there, no evidence of phone calls from dying
Americans. He`s completely made this thing up, because this is what a lot
of them on the right have always wanted to say. Hillary didn`t give a


MATTHEWS: That`s their point.

DEAN: This is why I actually think Trump is actually helpful to the
Republicans. They`re all going to burn out.

MATTHEWS: No, this isn`t Trump. This is Huckabee.

DEAN: I understand. But it`s all -- but I think John is right. You`re
going -- they`re going to the right because of Trump. They`re going to say
crazy things.

This is crazy. Nobody is going to vote for somebody they think is crazy
for president of the United States. He will get -- if he were to get the
nominee -- if Huckabee were to get the nominee, if he would get to 35, he`d
be very lucky. And so I think they`re all killing themselves and somebody
like Jeb Bush is going to come in and say --


MATTHEWS: Let`s go to back to what you said before. I didn`t think of it,
but this attack on Mitch McConnell, calling him a liar many times on the
floor of the Senate -- I didn`t know they allowed that, because you and I
worked up there. You`re not supposed to talk --


MATTHEWS: -- jump in and didn`t.


MATTHEWS: You do that. And then this guy Huckabee accuses Hillary
Clinton, not of having the wrong policy, not of being weak, but of
basically being a traitor, not defending her own people over there, a
friend of hers, letting him die because she was ignoring it. No one, no
one has brought evidence that Hillary Clinton didn`t try to save the lives
of those people, whatever failed along the lines in getting their lives

He said, ignored it.

FEEHERY: We need a proper --

MATTHEWS: Ignored the calls for life.

FEEHERY: We need a proper investigation of Benghazi. We need to -- and I
think we`re -- they`re doing that. We need all those --


MATTHEWS: How many do you want?

FEEHERY: What we don`t know is this kind of hyperbole that I think ruins
the whole discussion. But there is an investigation that needs to be done.

DEAN: Yes, but if I`m not mistaken, Mike Rogers, when he left the House,
the Republican chairman of the Intelligence Committee, said there was
nothing, this Benghazi stuff was a lot of crap. And I agree with that.

MATTHEWS: Didn`t Trey Gowdy say, we still -- we don`t have anything yet?

FEEHERY: They`re still looking at it.


FEEHERY: And I think a proper and sober investigation is necessary. This
Mike Huckabee comment doesn`t help things.

MATTHEWS: I don`t think Mike Huckabee is investigating the truth. I don`t
think he`s interested in the truth. He`s interested in --


FEEHERY: Well, I know. Of course not. That`s my point.

MATTHEWS: That`s the work character assassination I have heard in a long

FEEHERY: It doesn`t help the investigation. Let`s put it that way.

MATTHEWS: Anyway --

DEAN: It doesn`t help Mike Huckabee.


MATTHEWS: It`s beyond apologies anyway. He`s become a joke.

Anyway, Howard Dean, thank you, Governor. Thank you, John Feehery.

Up next, the National Football League upholds the four-game suspension of
star quarterback Tom Brady. And the league also revealed today that Brady
ordered his cell phone destroyed, so they couldn`t look at it and look for
text messages or whatever. This is looking bad for Mr. Brady.

And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: Today, the NFL upheld its four-game suspension of star
quarterback Tom Brady of the defending Super Bowl champions the New England

And league officials dropped this bombshell. They say Brady deliberately
destroyed his cell phone just before he met back in March with Deflategate
investigators. Brady didn`t tell league officials until June that he had
destroyed the phone.

Brady said that he routinely has his cell phones destroyed. Anyway, the
NFL didn`t buy that explanation -- quote -- "Brady`s deliberate destruction
of potentially relevant evidence went beyond a mere failure to cooperate in
the investigation and supported a finding that he had sought to hide
evidence of his own participation in the underlying scheme to alter the

And NFL commissioner Roger Goodell added that Brady -- quote -- "engaged in
conduct detrimental to the integrity of and public confidence in the game
of professional football."

Late today, Brady authorized the NFL Players Union to appeal the decision
in federal court.

Joining me right now is Dan Shaughnessy of "The Boston Globe."

Dan, thanks for coming on right now.

This is a home issue with you, but you`re a very independent guy. What do
you make of this charge that he destroyed evidence?

DAN SHAUGHNESSY, "THE BOSTON GLOBE": Well, it`s not a good day. I don`t
think -- America does not like destroying evidence. It looks like the act
of a common criminal. And you don`t want to think your star quarterback,
your golden boy, is that guy.

MATTHEWS: What about this -- what is it, the text messages he purportedly
might have sent to his deflator?

SHAUGHNESSY: Well, yes, there`s all kinds of incriminating texts by these
rogue equipment guys who have since been suspended by the Patriots, McNally
and Jastremski.

And Tom -- there`s a million texts on that thing. He evidently decided
that it was better to lose the thing than to let them have it. And this
idea that he changes cell phones every few months, that`s fine. But he was
also aware for several weeks before March 6 that they wanted this
information, and it was destroyed the day he had the hearing with Wells.

MATTHEWS: Is there any legal piece to this? I know that once something
has been subpoenaed, you can`t destroy it. But is this beyond that or
outside the legal world?

SHAUGHNESSY: Yes, they don`t have subpoena powers. And I think the NFL
Players Association is going to appeal on Tom`s behalf here. That`s going
to be federal court. But it`s about the procedures or the punishing powers
of the NFL commissioner.

It`s not going to get into the Wells report or the science or the texts or
that kind of thing, I don`t believe.

MATTHEWS: What do you make of the argument that everybody does it, that
they all have their own methods, these quarterbacks, of getting the kind of
feel on the ball they want?

SHAUGHNESSY: Yes, there`s a distinction between everybody saying they like
the balls a certain way and tampering with balls after they have been

People are using this, oh, Aaron Rodgers says he likes them overinflated.
Well, that`s great. But once they`re approved, you can`t take them out to
a bathroom and tamper with them, which evidently is what the Patriots did.
So, that`s why they`re in trouble here.

Everybody does do stuff. Unfortunately, this team has a prior, somebody
ratted them out, and they got caught. And instead of just saying yes, you
got us, we won`t do that anymore, they basically said, you got nothing,
come and get us. And that`s what is happening now.

MATTHEWS: Within the hub of the universe in which you reside and report,
in that hub of the universe, which is another planet as far as most people
are concerned, will they be mad at Tom or mad at the commissioner?

SHAUGHNESSY: It is planet Patriot here, Chris, as you know.


SHAUGHNESSY: They`re mad at the commissioner. They all need to parachute
down from planet Patriot and get in touch with reality, because this is not
good. It`s not playing nationally.

And, again, I think fans who should be embarrassed are instead emboldened
here. So it`s just going to get more digging in.

MATTHEWS: I want to be there when she -- explains it to Gisele Bundchen.
That will be interesting.

Thank you so much, Dan Shaughnessy, a great reporter and a Holy Cross guy.

Up next, selling the deal. Secretary of State John Kerry makes another
push on Capitol Hill today, as a majority of Americans say Congress should
reject the nuclear deal with Iran.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.



The father of convicted Colorado theater shooter James Holmes taking the
stand today at his son`s sentencing. Holmes` family members are hoping to
save him from being executed.

A Florida man is under arrest for plotting to carry out an ISIS-inspired
attack. The suspect hoped to set off a backpack bomb at a Key West beach.

And the prison worker accused of helping two inmates escape pleaded guilty
to the two charges against her. She could get up to seven years when she`s
sentenced next month -- now back to HARDBALL.


JOHN KERRY, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: The alternative to the deal that we
have reached is not some sort of unicorn arrangement involving Iran`s
complete capitulation.

Now, to those who are thinking about opposing this deal because of what
might happen in year 15 or year 20, I ask you to simply focus on this. If
you walk away, year 15 or 20 starts tomorrow.


MATTHEWS: Anyway, welcome back to HARDBALL.

That was of course Secretary of State John Kerry making his opening remarks
before the House Foreign Affairs Committee today, where he called the
prospect of a better deal with Iran a unicorn fantasy.

Tempers flared during the four-hour hearing as lawmakers opposing the deal
attempted to undercut Kerry`s case.


REP. SCOTT PERRY (R), PENNSYLVANIA: So do you care more about this deal or
the U.N.`s approval or American sovereignty and the approval of the
American people through their duly elected representatives, Mr. Secretary?

KERRY: Congressman, I don`t need any lessons from you about who I
represent. I have represented and fought for our country since I was out
of college.

PERRY: And God bless you for your service, sir.

KERRY: So, don`t give me any lessons about that, OK?

Now, we believe that Iran was marching towards a weapon or the capacity to
have a weapon, and we have rolled that back, Congressman.

PERRY: OK. That`s your opinion.


KERRY: That`s indisputable.


PERRY: Let me ask you this.


KERRY: No, that`s a fact. That`s a fact.

PERRY: Let me ask you this, Mr. Secretary.


MATTHEWS: Anyway, when pressed, Secretary Kerry often pointed out that his
opponents had no legitimate alternative to the deal that`s now on the


KERRY: What this agreement is supposed to do is stop them from having a
nuclear weapon. Now, I want to hear somebody tell me how they`re going to
do that without this agreement.


MAN: Mr. Secretary, we`re going to go to Mr. William Keating of
Massachusetts. The gentleman`s time has expired.

KERRY: They have an ability to go enrich again. What`s the next step for
the United States? Nobody`s answering that question.


MATTHEWS: Well, this comes as the new CNN/Opinion Research poll finds that
a majority of Americans say Congress should reject the agreement with Iran,
52 percent to 44 percent who support it.

Anyway, it also follows a multimillion-dollar campaign by AIPAC and other
groups to pressure lawmakers into scuttling the deal. They`re placing
full-page ads in major newspapers, like this one run by billionaire Michael
Steinhardt in "The New York Times." And now the group Global Zero has
teamed up with Hollywood as well as Queen Noor of Jordan and others to
bolster public opinion for the deal.

Here`s a clip of their latest ad just out today.


MORGAN FREEMAN, ACTOR: The agreement currently on the table is the best
way to ensure Iran doesn`t build a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) bomb.

QUEEN NOOR, JORDAN: And it gives the international community unprecedented
access to verify that Iran is keeping up its end of the bargain.

FARSHAD FARAHAT, ACTOR: A strong deal built on international diplomacy is
the best way forward.

FREEMAN: And the alternative to that is war.

JACK BLACK, ACTOR: Look, we all love our children and the Iranians love
their children.

FREEMAN: And (EXPLETIVE DELETED) we have got a deal on the table that
keeps us all safe.

NATASHA LYONNE, ACTRESS: Do me a favor, OK? Don`t let some hot-headed
member of Congress screw that up.


MATTHEWS: Anyway, President Obama needs to have either 34 votes in the
Senate or 146 in the House of Representatives to sustain a veto of any
legislation Congress might pass to kill the deal.

I`m joined right now by the roundtable: April Ryan of American Urban Radio
Networks, Jamelle Bouie of "Slate", and Francesca Chambers of "The Daily

All of you, whatever you know on this, I would love to know. I`m going to
start with somebody I know knows something I don`t know.

April, how does it look in the House, how does it look in the Senate for
the president to back up a veto if he has to exercise one?

he has votes to sustain a veto. But the question is now, they`re doing the
tally of the votes. And, Chris, I`ve been trying to tally as well. I`ve
called members, done an unscientific poll of members of the Congressional
Black Caucus.

And they say most of the members are in support of the deal. They`re
saying that the only ones really pretty much that will go against it are
the once who have a large Jewish contingent and that`s New York. You have
some other places that will as well. But you also have Representative
David Scott of Georgia who went against it. We don`t know why he did that.

Now, also, I`ve polled some people when it comes to the Congressional
Hispanic Caucus, about a third of the CHC opposed the deal. And then you
have a handful of Asia Pacific caucuses that say they`re opposed to the
deal as well.

But the White House is thankful for any support that they`re getting.
They`re also saying, they made it clear that they received a note, a letter
from 150 Dems that sent a letter of support to them during the Iran
negotiations. So, they`re tallying the votes right now.

MATTHEWS: They only need 146.

Jamelle, what do you know?

JAMELLE BOUIE, SLATE: I don`t know anything in particular, but this deal
has become a partisan issue, right? It`s an issue in presidential
election. Republicans are campaigning on it. I think the fact --

MATTHEWS: Who knows the ambassador from Israel is meeting with the House
caucus, Republican caucus, meeting with all the groups.


MATTHEWS: I think if this passes, it will be the biggest mistake that
Netanyahu ever made, joining the Republican Party, which took away from his
prestige as prime minister of Israel.

BOUIE: I wouldn`t disagree. To answer that, you know, right now, because
there`s this synergy between the Republican Party and Netanyahu, this is
giving some Democrats to openly be more critical of Israel. And added to
that is the fact that, because this has now polarized and partisan, my
hunch is that Democrats aren`t going to want to deliver a defeat to the

MATTHEWS: Right, it would be like in the British system, it`d be a like no
confidence vote. That`s what I think.

BOUIE: Exactly. And so, given that, I would be surprised if the White
House can`t get the votes it needs in other chambers.

MATTHEWS: We expect the vote, what, September roughly.


FRANCESCA CHAMBERS, THE DAILY MAIL: You know, in you`re counting, April,
one group you didn`t talk about was the Jewish Americans who are in
Congress. And there`s a contingent of 18 members of Jewish Democrats who
are in the House. And I think that`s one place to look where Republicans
might be able to pull some votes.

Now, already two of them have clearly said they`re with the president, but
again there`s a large contingent --

MATTHEWS: I think -- I`ve been studying politics all my life, the Jewish
community is very hard to read sometimes. They`re not monolithic at all.
And there`s a liberal crowd, a left crowd, a center crowd, a right crowd.
And it`s become pretty pronounced.

I know one of the people I respect the most in the United States Senate
Dianne Feinstein has come out for it. Dick Durbin in Chicago is for it. I
suspect that Boxer will.

I think it`s very important. It is a little ethnic, because it`s New York,
as to how Chuck Schumer is going to go.

CHAMBERS: And I do think Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand.


MATTHEWS: I think Chuck Schumer is enormously prestigious and they won`t
just say he did this for Israel. They`ll say, you know, he made a
calculated judgment, he thought about it. So, he`s going to be watched.

I think he`ll stick with the president when it comes to the override, I
think. He may not be with him in the beginning. He`ll be one of the 34 I
think that hang with him. I don`t know.

BOUIE: It ceased to become an issue just about Israel. It`s become a
partisan issue. I think the partisanship of it changes.

MATTHEWS: They`ve got to stop this language. The ovens, talking about
ovens, and --


RYAN: Huckabee was wrong.

MATTHEWS: Iran is going to defeat United States --

RYAN: Huckabee was wrong.

BOUIE: If the White House can sustain the veto, they might have to thank
Mike Huckabee.

MATTHEWS: And hearing, by the way, Secretary Kerry, also pushed -- he
faced a pushback from members of his own party. Here was his exchange with
Democratic members of Congress, here`s one, Brad Sherman of California
gives out with him.


REP. BRAD SHERMAN (D), CALIFORNIA: You`re not going to be able to persuade
them to change just by charm, although you bring a considerable amount of
that. You`re going to need to threaten them with new sanctions unless they
change their behavior. Is Congress and the United States free under this
agreement to adopt new sanctions legislation that will remain in force as
long as Iran holds our hostages and supports Assad?

JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: We`re free to adopt additional sanctions
as long as they`re not a phony excuse for just taking the whole pot of the
past ones and putting them back. We can put them in place.

SHERMAN: So, they need -- Secretary Kerry, it`s my time and I`ve got a
whole lot of other questions.


MATTHEWS: Anyway, that`s a -- he`s the more liberal member of that when he
had the fight with Howard Berman last time around in the single-party
primary. He`s pretty hawkish there.

APRIL: But let me say this to you -- any time you talk about sanctions and
Iran, you have to be careful, because when it comes to this deal, if there
is no deal, if the U.S. doesn`t have this deal, what happens to the
countries that work for the deal and that have sanctions --

MATTHEWS: You mean China and Russia?


MATTHEWS: They`re not going to go back with us.

RYAN: No, no, but the sanctions may unravel, their existing sanctions
against Iran may unravel. So, if our deal doesn`t happen with Iran --

MATTHEWS: I think he`s making a really hard case this is the only game in
town. We`ll see how if that holds up in the next couple of months. That`s
a very strong line. If you don`t buy this, there`s no deal, there`s
nothing. If he can win that argument, I think he wins the argument.

If they get around him and say there`s some other deal out there, some
unicorn --


MATTHEWS: Anyway, we`ll be right back. The roundtable is sticking with

And up next, President Obama said he can win a third term if he ran for
office again if the Constitution permitted it. Could. OK, let`s not --
he`s not swaggering that one. He just says -- what`s he supposed to say?
I couldn`t win if I ran for third term? Where is the news here? Anyway,
it`s the news.

And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: Jon Stewart`s in his waning days of "The Daily Show", he`s
lining up a range of big name guests, including last week`s appearance by
President Obama. But it turns out Obama`s appearance on the Comedy Central
show weren`t the only time those two guys met. "Politico" now reports that
Jon Stewart was invited twice to the White House, once in 2011 and 2014 as
the administration recognized Stewart`s powerful influence in the media.

We`ll be right back.


MATTHEWS: We`re back with the roundtable: April, Jamelle, and Francesca.

President Obama wrapped up his historic trip to Africa today. But before
departing Addis Ababa, he addressed African leaders and said the following.


our Constitution I cannot run again. I can`t run again.


I actually think I`m a pretty good president. I think if I ran I could
win. But I can`t.


MATTHEWS: He also offered a glimpse of his life after he leaves the White


OBAMA: And I`ll be honest with you I am looking forward to life after
being president. I won`t have such a big security detail all the time. It
means I can go take a walk. I can spend time with my family. I can find
other ways to serve.


MATTHEWS: Anyway, they always want to spend more time with their families.
How many times have we heard that? Let me ask you this, that was in the
context of telling African leaders, look, it`s not so bad to serve your
terms as president and then do something else. It`s a little trickier in
dangerous countries if you don`t protect yourself after you leave office,
you`re dead. So, there are few people like Kenneth Kaunda of Uganda who
went off and taught at Boston University.

But he seems to be making the case for smooth, democratic transitions. But
the message back at home is he`s bragging.

What did you think?

CHAMBERS: Well, you absolutely do have to look at it in the context of the
case he was trying to make. You know, one clip that you didn`t show was
him saying they`re all so rich. I don`t know why they would be in office.
They have so much money. They can just leave with all that.

MATTHEWS: Who was he talking about? The guys, the presidents of --

CHAMBERS: He`s talking -- yes, some of the African leaders. They`re so
rich. You know, why don`t you just leave?

But, you know, I think it was the comments -- they did sound hubris. You
know, I could win again, I could keep wining and staying here as long as I
want, you know?. I think he distracted from his own argument by making
those comments.

MATTHEWS: Jamelle?

BOUIE: I don`t -- you know, I don`t think it is terribly hubristic for
President Obama to say he could win again, just from the fact of the
matter. Economy is growing.

MATTHEWS: Well, the numbers, he`s about 50 percent right now.

BOUIE: Right, 50 percent, the economy is growing. If the presidential
election was this year, he was incumbent and everyone knew he was running,
I would bet money --

MATTHEWS: He could beat Trump you think?

BOUIE: Oh, certainly, certainly.

MATTHEWS: I think.

RYAN: That would be a good --

CHAMBERS: Well, I did write about this --


MATTHEWS: We`ve been waiting for that one.



CHAMBERS: I actually did dig into the numbers. I will agree from that
standpoint. If you look at his numbers in 2011, at the same time in 2011,
they`re roughly the same as they are now. Same thing leading up to the

So, yes, he could be reelected.

MATTHEWS: And by the way --

CHAMBERS: But why bring it up? Why bring it up?

BOUIE: Why not?


MATTHEWS: Here`s my concern. You mentioned you heard my concern. It is

You`ve got to stay in your fighting stance as a politician until you are
out of the game, to the last minute, you can get hurt.

RYAN: You`re right, Chris.

MATTHEWS: And therefore, I`m worried he is getting too loosey-goosey with
this kind of comments he wouldn`t made a year ago. It sounds like

RYAN: But let me say -- but you`re right. I don`t think it`s bragging. I
think this president now, he has had to walk such a fine chalk line. You
know this. The president that we saw first term is totally different from
the second quarter, four -- well, second term fourth quarter president. He
is a totally different person.

He doesn`t have anything to lose now. But you are right, he has to walk
that line still. But he feels like the weight of the world is off his
shoulders. I remember --

MATTHEWS: Don`t you think it`s good to have the weight on your shoulders?

RYAN: To a certain extent, because you stay on your toes. He is still on
his toes.

But let me say this, Bill Clinton towards the end of his presidency, so
many people -- particularly, African-Americans wanted him to stay, in
Africa, people around the world, wanted him to say in office. He said,
look, constitutionally I can`t say. I have do go into the world and do my

And Obama has to do the same thing.


CHAMBERS: And you also have a president (ph) sitting here accusing
Republicans, though, of playing fast and loose and all this stuff, he is
sitting there, playing loosey-goosey with some of the stuff as well. So, I
just think it`s harder for him to make the accusation at some of the
Republicans running for president when --


RYAN: He`s not throwing out Donald Trump stuff, OK? He isn`t doing that.

CHAMBERS: I didn`t say that. I didn`t say that.

BOUIE: The real strategic advantage in Obama being bombastic like this.
Hillary Clinton when she runs next year is going to need to have a
Democratic Party completely behind her. Barack Obama being optimistic,
that helps her.

MATTHEWS: OK. Well, he is optimistic. We agree that.

RYAN: You will not see Hillary Clinton being like this.

MATTHEWS: April Ryan, Jamelle Bouie, Francesca Chambers, thank you for

When we return, let me finish with the most desperate scramble for turf
since the opening of the Cherokee Strip.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with the most desperate scramble for turf
since opening of the Cherokee Strip.

What I`m talking about is this first Republican presidential debate next
Thursday. To get in it, which is the only way to actually get into this
competition you have to score poll numbers in the top ten. If you don`t,
you don`t make the cut. You get to sit and watch the two-hour battle from
the same seats everybody else has. The top ten get the good seats. All
the rest get Siberia.

It used to be a contest of who could get some political calm as to put you
through the gate. Some columnists like Jake Germond would do a write-up on
you and say, how you`re getting noticed out there in Iowa, for example.
And some other columnists would say, that a hopeful was, quote, "being
mentioned" for the nomination.

Well, all this led Russell Baker of "The New York Times" to once coin the
phrase, the great mentioner, that mysterious figure not that there was one,
who got you mentioned for president, and therefore seen as being in the

Well, today, the great mentioner is gone. The gate to entry into serious
presidential politics is through the door set up next week for the first
debate. Ten candidates will be allowed through. And our next Republican
candidate will most likely be among them.

So, what we have now is not a great mentioner or a political columnist or a
caucus to assemble and call the herd, but a TV show. Guess who is going to
do well on the TV show? Could it be the candidate who is there already,
who`s made his bones on TV, grilling other people in their confidence,
deciding the verdict himself? Bet on Trump to be the star of this show.
And HARDBALL will be there to cover it before and after the fireworks.

And that is HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.



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