updated 9/11/2015 11:59:25 AM ET 2015-09-11T15:59:25

Show: HARDBALL
Date: September 10, 2015
Guest: Liz Mair, Jennifer Granholm, Richard Trumka, Andy Parker, Shannon
Watts, Jamal Simmons, Susan Page, Matt Schlapp

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Trump`s female support zooms as his zingers zip
on.

Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews out in Denver.

Well, today, Barack Obama defeated a united Republican Party to kill
opposition to that five-country Iranian nuclear deal, an historic victory
for him and our country by any standard.

Meanwhile, what`s the deal with Donald Trump? In the strange
political alchemy of 2015 American politics, Donald Trump grows even
stronger in the public mind, enlarging his support among Republican voters,
especially women. Yes, especially with women.

The latest CNN/ORC poll out today shows the Republican front-runner
with a huge lead now, 32 percent. Neurosurgeon Ben Carson is second down
at 19 percent. Jeb Bush trails in single digits still, followed by Ted
Cruz, Mike Huckabee and Scott Walker.

Anyway, it comes as he -- Trump continues to fight with pretty much
everyone else in the race, but it is his comments he made about Carly
Fiorina in the latest issue of "Rolling Stone" magazine that are getting a
lot of attention today.

According to the magazine, Trump was watching a television interview
with the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard on his private plane, surrounded by
his staff, when he said, Quote, "Look at that face. Would anyone vote for
that? Can you imagine that the face of our next president? I mean, she`s
a woman and I`m not supposed to say bad things, but really, folks, come on.
Are we serious?"

Well, both Jeb Bush and Scott Walker called Trump`s attack
inappropriate. Aren`t they scary guys?

Anyway, Trump defended his comments today, saying, if you would
believe it, he wasn`t talking about her looks.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Probably I did say
something like that about Carly. I`m talking about persona. I`m not
talking about look. Although when I get criticized for my hair, which
isn`t that bad -- you know, you`ve seen me, right? It`s not that bad. But
when I get criticized constantly about my hair, nobody does a story about,
Oh, isn`t that terrible, they criticized Donald Trump`s hair. But the fact
is that I probably did say that about Carly or something about it, in a
jocular manner, obviously.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, last night, Carly Fiorina herself told Fox`s Megyn
Kelly the comments of Trump speak for themselves.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARLY FIORINA (R-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Honestly, Megyn, I`m
not going to spend a single cycle wondering what Donald Trump means. But
maybe, just maybe, I am getting under his skin a little bit because I am
climbing in the polls.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Anyway, I`m joined right now by the former chair of the
Republican National Committee, Michael Steele, and also, Liz Mair, a former
on-line communications director for the Republican National Committee.

So Liz, I`ve got to ask you this. Does the RNC have an HR department?
Is there any rules out there anymore? This is weird because Trump just got
up another 13 points among women. He`s hopping, really going wild among
women, meanwhile making these kind of comments. What`s going on?

LIZ MAIR, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Yes, well, I think, first of all,
it`s worth noting that where Trump started off with women was not exactly
as strong as where he started with men. So you know, that plus 13 points
might equate to him now having, like, 15 percent support or something.

But realistically, at this point in the cycle, it`s kind of hard to
say what`s going on...

MATTHEWS: He`s doing better among women now.

MAIR: Well, of course he`s doing better. I mean, that`s what the
polling shows, right? But...

MATTHEWS: Among women than he is among men. His women support is
beating his male support.

MAIR: We are -- we are somewhat through the looking glass. But I do
think that some serious problems that are presented by these comments,
quite apart from what everybody is focusing

on. It`s really hard to actually go and make an argument to voters
that you`re supposed to be this awesome, extremely talented, great, crazy
spot of talent who`s good at hiring and firing and leading and managing,
when apparently, the only qualification that you think is relevant to
somebody`s ability to do the job is whether they`re really good at applying
foundation. That`s pretty strange.

And that`s essentially what he`s saying with these remarks. And so I
slightly wonder whether this is going to come around and bite him in the
backside at the end of the day, but maybe not in the way that a lot of
people are focusing on.

I think there are a lot of people who are focusing on, Oh, are women
going to be offended by this? I think a lot of women, Carly Fiorina,
included -- and to be full -- full in my disclosure, I`ve worked for her,
worked with her quite a bit. I think a lot of women have dealt with people
who are going to make, you know, idiotic, stupid comments like this, and
we`re quite adept at dealing with that and moving on and not really caring
or giving much thought to them.

But I do wonder about voters who are drawn to that supposed executive
experience, whether they`re going to look at Trump and be, like, Hang on.
How`s this guy going to competently staff the federal government and a
cabinet if his primary criteria is, like, what you`re using to judge the
Miss Universe contest, as opposed to whether somebody`s smart, qualified,
what their resume looks like, if they`re tough, if they`re a good
negotiator, and if they can sit in a room and get on with people when they
need to.

It`s just hard for me to imagine that people are going to want to put
a guy in the top job if he`s the sort of person who`s going to sort of
staff his cabinet with, like, Victoria`s Secret angels (ph). That just
seems impossible to me.

MATTHEWS: OK, let me go to Michael Steele. I know...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: She`s warmed you up for this one, right? But we all know
in the corporate world -- and I`m in the corporate world, you`ve been in
the corporate world -- that even -- even saying something about someone
being attractive in their looks is off base. You`re not supposed to get
into that in the corporate setting, in the business setting. You`re
supposed to be professional. And everybody`s tried to learn that over the
years, the last 20 or so years.

How does he get away with it? He`s a guy from business. He`s a
Republican. Are Republican women so different than other women that they
sort of like this sort of retro behavior, if you will, really retro,
caveman.

MICHAEL STEELE, FMR. RNC CHAIR, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: No, I don`t
think they like it, you know, on its face or even per se. I think what`s
happening -- and it`s very interesting because I`ve asked a couple folks
about this, men and women -- when you hear these comments, what`s your
reaction?

And the response is, I generally don`t like them, but -- and it is the
"but" that keeps them hooked into Donald. It is the "but" that Donald
stays focused.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

STEELE: It is that piece that draws them to him in a way that they
almost excuse these comments. We`ve seen it play out, Chris...

MATTHEWS: Yes.

STEELE: ... since the early summer, comment after comment. There`s
always the "but." It is never, That`s outrageous, period. It`s always,
That`s outrageous, but I like what he`s saying about this, that or the
other thing.

MAIR: But if I can just interject, there is a real problem here for
Donald Trump...

MATTHEWS: Sure. Go ahead.

MAIR: ... beyond the one that I mentioned, and here`s the problem.
Here`s the problem. Today -- I don`t know how many other people noticed
this, but I get updates roughly hourly about what topics are trending in
Google searches. Today, for, like, eight hours, we were talking about
Carly Fiorina. That has not happened with any candidate except for Donald
Trump.

And I think this is really interesting because you`re going to have a
lot of people who are going to go and look at what he said. They`re going
to Google Carly Fiorina, and what they`re going to find out is, Hey, look,
there`s somebody else who has executive leadership skills and who is an
excellent business person who is not a traditional politician, somebody
outside of Washington, D.C., establishment. And look, I could vote for her
and get all the good stuff that I think I`m getting with Donald Trump
without having any of the nonsense.

And that`s a problem for him. The reason he attacked her is because
she`s rising in the polls. And I think part of the reason she`s rising in
the polls is because people know that she has...

MATTHEWS: That`s what she says, right.

MAIR: ... those strengths and he doesn`t.

STEELE: Yes, but her...

MATTHEWS: OK...

MAIR: So we`ll see.

STEELE: Her rise isn`t that high. I mean, remember, the number two
guy is at 19, and that`s Ben Carson. And she was not in that list that you
showed at the top of the show.

MAIR: Not nationally, but when you look at the state level polling,
it`s different...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: But we all -- let me go to Carson here, Dr. Carson. But we
all know television, and because of this spat back and forth, or rather one
way, because of this insults about her looks by Mr. Trump, no matter what
he says about persona, the camera`s going to be on both of them and it`s
going to be looking for a back and forth next week when we have the debate,
next debate.

Anyway, last night, on the religious front, which we`re not supposed
to talk about in politics, Dr. Ben Carson told reporters that faith is a
big difference -- faith is -- between him and Donald Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. BEN CARSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, one of my
favorite Bible versus, Proverbs 22:4. It says, By humility and the fear of
the Lord are riches and honor and life.

And that`s a very big part of who I am, humility and the fear of the
Lord. I don`t get that impression with him. Maybe I`m wrong, but I don`t
get that impression.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Big surprise, Trump hit back today. Here he is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I don`t think he`s a great religious figure. And I saw him
yesterday quoting something, and he was quoting on humility. And it looked
like he had just memorized it about two minutes before he made the quote.

So you know, don`t tell me about Ben Carson. Now, all of a sudden, he
gets on very low key. I mean, frankly, he looks like -- he makes Bush look
like the Energizer bunny.

I`ve met him a few time, but I don`t know Ben Carson. He was a
doctor, perhaps, you know, an OK doctor, by the way. You can check that
out, too. And we`re not talking about a great -- he was an OK doctor.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: Well, Michael Steele, I don`t know what to say except
(INAUDIBLE) this is so high school. I`m sorry. It`s not a great case for
the Republican thinking here. And I don`t care what -- summer -- it`s
summer, winter, fall or spring. They`re talking like high school kids,
yelling at each other...

STEELE: It is.

MATTHEWS: ... at recess.

STEELE: It`s disappointing.

MATTHEWS: You know, first of all, it`s about, Your girlfriend is not
as good-looking as mine, and then it`s, You`re not as good-looking as mine,
and then it`s, My hair versus your hair, and now I`m a better religious guy
than you because I know more Bible citations than you.

I don`t think the doctor looked too good. What`s he talking about
this stuff for? How about a big fat "no comment" when it comes to
religion?

STEELE: Or just end that passage, that Bible passage on faith with
himself. Put the period there and not go into, Well, I don`t know if that
applies to him. And I -- again, I don`t think -- that`s, first off, not
very humble to refer back to the Scripture. But more importantly, I don`t
that`s the kind of discussion you want to have for the office of president.

But do you understand the politics here, Chris? You have an
opportunity here to galvanize evangelical Christians across the spectrum,
behind someone to solidify the numbers for Ben Carson. Trump knows that.
Trump says he`s, you know, leading among evangelicals. That may or may not
be true. But the gap could be closing, and he wants to keep that distance.
So that`s the politics here, and I don`t think it`s a smart way to play the
politics by using faith, one or the other.

MATTHEWS: Agreed. Let`s to go Bobby Jindal, the governor of
Louisiana. He slammed Donald Trump today on another issue, about his ego.
Here`s what he said at the National Press Club. He`s trying on get away
from the little kids` table, apparently.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL (R-LA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald Trump is not
a serious candidate. He`s a narcissist. He`s an egomaniac. The only
thing he believes in is himself. He is shallow. There is no substance.
He doesn`t know anything about policy. He has no idea what he`s talking
about. He makes it up on the fly.

Donald Trump said that the Bible was his favorite book. Yet when
asked, he couldn`t even name a specific or a single Bible verse that was
important to him or had an impact on him. Well, do you know why? It`s
clear Donald Trump`s never read the Bible. The reason we know he`s never
read the Bible, he`s not in the Bible. Folks, Donald Trump is not a
serious person. This is a carnival act.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Anyway, Trump dismissed Jindal`s attack, telling
Bloomberg`s Mark Halperin, quote, "I only respond to people that register
more than 1 percent in the polls."

So there you have it, Liz Mair. Let`s go back to high school again.
This is Republican fight for the nomination for president of the Western
world to succeed a president you in the Republican Party all believe has
been a disaster. And how seriously is it being taken?

Jeb Bush, who everyone still talks about being a front-runner of some
kind, is sinking there into single digits. What`s going on?

MAIR: Well, I think...

MATTHEWS: And it is September. You can`t keep saying it`s summer.
It`s still...

MAIR: I know. Well, yes...

MATTHEWS: ... technically summer, but it`s getting into the fall.

MAIR: Right. Yes. No, I mean, every month, we say this is too weird
and it`s going to stop soon, and then we go another month and we have the
same conversation, right?

I think that one of the things that`s got to start happening is that
the other candidates in this race really need to start making themselves
interesting and noteworthy to the electorate and raising their name ID.
It`s pretty clear that a lot of people are still rallying around Trump
because, hey, who hasn`t heard of Donald Trump. And I think a lot of
people also need to be going on the attack against him.

I actually disagree when we`re talking about the religious line of
attack. I think, unless I`m much mistaken, all three of us are Catholic
and we probably for that reason have a certain discomfort with this because
we`re always getting attacked for not really caring about the Bible because
we just like to do all our stuff with Latin and incense and whatever.

But with that being said, that does matter to a lot of voters, and we
know that when Donald Trump made his comments about communion being, like,
a cracker, and how, you know, he`s never asked anybody for forgiveness,
that actually did rankle evangelicals. That was a problem.

And so I actually do think if people are trying to get that support,
probably raising that issue is quite valid, even if it`s something that
might seem a little personally distasteful to all of us.

I also think, with regard to Jindal, yes, sure, obviously, Bobby
Jindal is trying to get attention. Who wouldn`t be, in his situation? But
it`s kind of funny. You know, people talk about how Donald Trump does all
this real (ph) keeping (ph) and isn`t PC. I think Bobby Jindal actually
just kind of, like, upped the ante there. I`ve never seen Bobby Jindal be,
like, that straight-talking before. I actually kind of enjoyed that.

MATTHEWS: Thank you. You are the -- this is the strangest assessment
of anything -- it just gets stranger and stranger, Liz, and you haven`t
(ph) started it. I do speak Latin. I know my Latin from altar boy days,
and Michael knows a lot more...

STEELE: Yes, indeed.

MATTHEWS: (SPEAKING IN LATIN)

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Anyway...

MAIR: Tridentine mass (INAUDIBLE)

MATTHEWS: It makes me feel good to do that.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: I love speaking Latin in religious terms. Thank you,
Michael Steele. Thank you, Liz Mair, for outing me as a Catholic.

Coming up -- it`s the doomsday scenario for Hillary Clinton. New
polling shows she`s now trailing, believe it or not, Bernie Sanders out in
Iowa. And what`s worse, "The New York Times" reports Democratic officials
are for something called a plan B, Someone like Al Gore, John Kerry,
Elizabeth Warren, or of course, Joe Biden.

Plus, Donald Trump says his comment about rival Carly Fiorina`s face
wasn`t actually about her looks. Oh, no. It was about her persona. Well,
where is the outrage from women`s groups about this kind of talk? The RNC,
by the way, says, No comment. Aren`t they nervy?

And President Obama steps up Americans reaction to the refugee crisis
over in Europe. He`s directing the United States, our country, to take in
10,000 Syrian refugees. But some Republicans are already against the idea
of that.

Finally tonight, the father of that television reporter who was shot
and killed on air down in Virginia -- he`s vowing to do whatever it takes
to get Congress to enact gun safety laws.

And this is HARDBALL, place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Senate Democrats have successfully blocked a vote to
disapprove the nuclear deal with Iran. All 42 Senate Democrats who came
out in favor of the nuclear deal voted today against the disapproval
measure late this afternoon, and that prevented the Republicans from
getting the 60 votes they needed for the resolution to advance to a final
vote.

That`s a big victory for President Obama, who won`t have to use his
veto power now to get the deal done.

And we`ll be right back after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. He`s winning in Iowa. It`s
Sanders 41, Clinton at 40, obviously very close, with Biden still down at
12. The poll comes just a day after the NBC/Marist poll showing Bernie
with a lead in New Hampshire up there, as well. And there it is, Sanders
at 41, Clinton down at 32 in New Hampshire, Biden at 16.

Can Democrats in the country nominate a socialist, a self-described
socialist? I think it`s a pretty good question.

Jennifer Granholm was the governor of Michigan. She is, of course, a
senior strategist and adviser for the pro-Hillary super-PAC, Correct the
Record. And Howard Dean was, of course, governor of Vermont and a
presidential candidate, of course, himself, and a DC (sic) chairman.

Let me start with Jennifer Granholm. And we put a lot of focus this
program about Donald Trump and whether he will swear loyalty to the
Republican nominee, even though he`s not been an active party member.

Do you think Bernie Sanders should do the same? Should he, even
though he`s not a member of the party and has made a point of not being a
member and saying so -- should he express loyalty to the eventual nominee
and say he will support him or her?

JENNIFER GRANHOLM (D), FMR. MICHIGAN GOVERNOR: Oh, I think anybody
who`s running on the Democratic ticket should say that they`re going to
support the nominee.

But Chris, I mean, socialists, whatever -- young people are not into
labels, but what they are into is results. And everybody who is part of
the bed-wetter caucus -- and both sides have this, but the Democrats
definitely have it -- chill out, everybody. We have five months left until
the first votes are cast. And truly, the two states that follow Iowa and
New Hampshire, which are, of course, South Carolina and Nevada, have her at
30-something points up. It is going to be all right. It is five months
out. And I know you have Howard Dean on, and he remembers well, that, at
this point in 2003, when John Kerry became our eventual nominee, Howard
Dean and Joe Lieberman were ahead of John Kerry.

And he didn`t climb out of that until -- until December.

MATTHEWS: OK.

GRANHOLM: So, it`s going to be all right.

MATTHEWS: OK. Thank you for that.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: Let me to Howard Dean.

It seems like we just heard from Jennifer Granholm saying that the
party nominee has to -- somebody running for a nomination ought to in any
real world, real world, endorse the nominee eventually for the party.

You have got to explain to me. Bernie Sanders has given a number of
reasons for not being a Democrat. It can`t that be your party in Vermont
is too conservative. You have got Peter Welch up there and Pat Leahy and
you, Howard Dean. You`re not exactly centrists. You`re liberal Democrats.
You`re on the left, center-left Democrats.

Why does Bernie Sanders insist even to this day to say, I`m not a
Democrat, meanwhile, saying give me the votes of Democratic Party members
to make me the nominee of the party? I don`t get it. Why doesn`t he join
up, at least for now?

HOWARD DEAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: He is doing it for the right
reason.

I am obviously for Hillary, as everybody knows. But I do respect
Bernie. He chose to run in the Democratic primaries because, as he said
himself, I don`t want to do anything to elect a right-wing Republican
president of the United States. So he has no intention of -- I don`t want
to speak for him, but my reading of it is that he has always been a person
who did what he said he was going to do.

He is running in the Democratic primary because that`s his chance to
be president. If he doesn`t win, he may or may not support the Democratic
nominee, but he certainly isn`t going to run as a third party. And I think
that`s a good thing.

MATTHEWS: Well, why do you think Hillary Clinton`s people are putting
out the word? Maybe we should go back -- I will go back to Jennifer on
this.

Governor, why is the Hillary Clinton campaign putting out the word
they have got a firewall in the South? It must be because they believe
that Bernie Sanders, a socialist, doesn`t have a prayer in the South and
they can take him right across the whole region, because he is not going
anywhere with that label on him, which you say is irrelevant, but it is
certainly relevant to him, because he embraces it.

GRANHOLM: Well, I think that what is important in the South and in
other parts of the country -- and this is a 50-state race, obviously -- and
we all know that Iowa and New Hampshire are disproportionately white
voters.

In the South, you have got a much more diverse group. She has got
over 80 percent favorability in the African-American community. Frankly,
she`s got over 80 percent favorability among Democrats nationwide. She
does much better among Latinos. So she is going to do well in parts of the
country which have -- which are reflective of a diverse America.

And it -- and I don`t -- and let me just be clear. I don`t think her
campaign is putting out anything about a firewall. She is not saying
firewall. It is just that the polls, as you look at RealClearPolitics
right now, the average of polls have her far ahead in those states,
probably for that reason.

And, by the way, the polls on RealClearPolitics, if you look at the
nationwide numbers, she is over 24 points up off of her next rival, which
is Bernie Sanders.

DEAN: Well...

GRANHOLM: So I just want to say that this small -- this one poll in
Iowa and the polls out of New Hampshire, she is going to fight for every
one of those votes. And she has got new fuel in her tank post-Labor Day
weekend. It is very exciting to see her out on the stump today having a
great time in Ohio and Wisconsin.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Bernie Sanders is running on his philosophy, on his
approach to economic policy in this country, especially on income equality.
He is openly saying he has a real problem with the mainstream of this
country politically, including the Clintons.

And I`m asking you, why is that working?

GRANHOLM: Well, I think he has touched a nerve.

I`m sorry, Howard, if -- you go ahead.

DEAN: No, well, I was just going to say, first of all, I think
Hillary is going to end up winning Iowa. It has to do with organization
and people -- the reason I didn`t win Iowa is people had trouble -- trouble
with -- have trouble in Iowa nominating insurrectionists. And I was an
insurrectionist, and Bernie is an insurrectionist. And I think it`s great.

I am a big fan of Bernie Sanders. But I think, at the end of the day,
organization wins. Hillary is the most experienced, most qualified to be -
- person to be president of the United States on either side of the aisle.

New Hampshire, I`m not so sure. Bernie is next door. He`s got a lot
of advantages. I think it`s a great race. I think it is very good for the
party that this is happening. And I think Hillary is going -- I think
she`s got the right message and she has got the right gravitas.

(CROSSTALK)

GRANHOLM: Can I just get back to, though -- just to your point,
Chris, about this issue about what he is standing for?

MATTHEWS: Sure.

GRANHOLM: He is talking about income inequality. So is she talking
about income inequality.

DEAN: Right.

GRANHOLM: She is out there. Today, she was talking about paid leave.
She`s been talking -- Richard Trumka is going to be on with you shortly.
She`s been talking about profit-sharing for workers. She`s been talking --
you look at Jeb Bush`s tax plan that he put out, it is all redistribution
to the top.

She opposes all of that. So this campaign is going to be about
economic issues in large measure and more, and she is right there on making
sure that it is built out for the average citizen.

MATTHEWS: Well, this is just unusual for me. Help me along here,
Governor, both of you, both governors. What is the difference between a
Democrat and a socialist?

Governor Granholm first.

GRANHOLM: Well, you know, traditionally, of course, a socialist is
someone who believes that the government can own the means of production.

Now, whether that is still true today in terms of how you define and
what a Democratic socialist is, I think Bernie Sanders would probably say,
not to speak for him, but that government should be much more involved in
redistribution.

But what she is favoring is making sure that government works for
everybody. It is not about the government owning the means of production.

MATTHEWS: What do you think it means? When you`re up there with the
guy, what does he mean when he says, I`m a socialist?

DEAN: He really means he is a progressive Democrat. And that`s what
he really is.

He calls it -- he doesn`t like either party because he thinks both
parties are beholden to corporate interests, which there`s some truth to.
But he -- I don`t think he is much more of a Democrat -- of a socialist
than anybody in Europe is. He is a left-wing Democrat, is she he is. He`s
a progressive. But he is very independent. And he classifies himself...

MATTHEWS: Is that the same thing to you?

DEAN: Yes.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Is that the same thing to you?

DEAN: From a working perspective, yes. There`s no more socialists
left in Europe. Even the French Socialist Party isn`t really socialist
anymore by the dictionary definition. And I don`t think Bernie really is
either.

But he`s entitled to call himself whatever he wants.

MATTHEWS: Yes, I know, because new labor tried to be old labor this
past election in Britain and didn`t go anywhere.

DEAN: No. That`s the problem.

MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you, Governor Granholm. You were very good
to come on the show, and come back again.

GRANHOLM: You bet.

MATTHEWS: Governor Dean, thank you so much.

DEAN: Thank you.

GRANHOLM: Thanks again.

MATTHEWS: Well, old labor didn`t work. New labor still works.

I`m joined right now by the AFL-CIO president, Richard Trumka.

Mr. Trumka, thank you for joining us tonight. We have had an
interesting philosophical debate. But I have to bring you into it.

Do you have any problem? Could you endorse Bernie Sanders if he took
the right positions that he does on trade issues and other inequality
issues?

RICHARD TRUMKA, PRESIDENT, AFL-CIO: I think Bernie Sanders is taking
the right issue on all issues that are important to working people, about
jobs, about inequality, about the right to a voice on the job, so that we
can have and get a fair share of the wealth that we produce.

I think he is doing that and I think that`s why he is having success.
I don`t think people care about labels, what they call themselves. They
have tried to do that too long, and people are fed up with that. They want
someone who is going to solve their problems. I don`t have a job. My kid
doesn`t have a job. Our wages our stagnant. We`re falling behind. Help
us fix it.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: I know. I`m with you on those issues.

But nobody has called him a socialist, except Bernie Sanders calls
himself one. You don`t think that`s important?

TRUMKA: I don`t think people care.

I don`t know what the difference is between a Democratic socialist and
a Democrat. I don`t really know what the difference is. And I think most
voters don`t care. They want to know where he stands on the issues. They
want to know where everybody, all the candidates stand on the issues.

They want someone who is going to solve their problems, who will fight
for them, who will create an economy that will let them win and change the
rules so that they get a fair shot at winning.

MATTHEWS: OK. Let`s talk about fairness.

Where are you on the vice president of -- Joe Biden on the trade
issue? He apparently is with the president on that. He`s made it pretty
clear he`s with the president on that trade bill that you guys oppose as
the international -- all the international presidents are against it, and
you`re the leader.

At the same time, Hillary Clinton has been a bit out there trying to
avoid, I think, taking a hard-and-fast position. You have been tough on
Hillary. You say you want her to take a position. Biden has taken a
position against you on the issue. You seem to be more supportive of Biden
than you are of Hillary.

TRUMKA: That`s not so.

Joe Biden is a good friend. He`s been a friend of mine, personal
friend, for years. He`s been a good champion of working people. If he
decides -- and it will be his decision -- whether he runs or not, he will
have to face that very issue. And it will be a negative for him in an
election, in a primary and in a general election.

Her not taking a clear, concise position is holding her back. It is
as if she is working to get our vote, but not our support. If she gets our
support, there is nothing that can stop her.

MATTHEWS: Well said.

Thank you so much for coming on, Richard Trumka. And thank you being
patient tonight, sir.

Up next, the big rally on Capitol Hill today on gun violence. it`s a
good cause. We`re going to talk to the father of that TV reporter killed
in that horrific on-air shooting down at Virginia last month about what he
hopes can get done here.

And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MILISSA REHBERGER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Milissa Rehberger.
Here`s what`s happening.

Authorities in Arizona say a total of 11 vehicles have now been hit by
gunfire in the Phoenix area along Interstate 10 over the last two weeks.
Police have called the shootings domestic terrorism.

A judge ruled that the six police officers charged in the death of
Freddie Gray will stand trial in Baltimore.

And Vice President Joe Biden, who is weighing a potential White House
run, is in New York for a taping of "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert" --
now back to HARDBALL.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHANNON WATTS, FOUNDER, MOMS DEMAND ACTION FOR GUN SENSE IN AMERICA:
Alison Parker and Adam Ward were shot and killed on live television.
Alison and Adam were simply doing their jobs. The victims in Charleston
were simply going to church. The women shot and killed in Louisiana were
simply watching a movie in a theater.

These people weren`t in the wrong place at the wrong time. They were
in the right place at a time when their country has the wrong gun laws.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: That was Shannon Watts, the founder of Moms Demand Action,
speaking at the National Day of Action Rally for Gun Safety on Capitol Hill
today. It is one of 50 rallies taking place around the country organized
by the group Every Town for Gun Safety, of which former New York Michael
Mayor Michael Bloomberg is a major supporter.

Watts was joined by Andy Parker, the father of television reporter
Alison Parker, who was shot and killed while on the air in Roanoke,
Virginia, just two weeks ago. Andy Parker was also -- has also inspired
the social media campaign Whatever It Takes, which has become a rallying
call, whatever it takes for gun safety advocates.

And, today, he vowed to fight any member of Congress who opposes his
effort to expand background checks on gun sales.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANDY PARKER, FATHER OF ALISON PARKER: Folks, that is what it`s going
to take to bring about change, keeping the pressure on our lawmakers until
they do the right thing. It`s just doing the right thing. And if they
won`t, we will find their replacement.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: The most recent data from Pew Research shows that support
for gun control measures has dropped 20 percentage points since 1999, from
66 percent down to 46 percent.

And despite that drop, that drop, 85 percent of Americans say they
favor expanded background checks on gun purchases. Well, according to The
Brady Campaign, an estimated 40 percent of guns are sold today without
background checks, 40 percent, two out of five.

I`m joined right now by gun safety advocate Shannon Watts of Moms
Demand Action and Andy Parker, father of Alison Parker.

I want to talk, first of all, to Shannon.

Shannon, every time we go to a new horror, we think, well, this will
be it, that people will wake up who don`t have a fascination with guns, who
see the need for some kind of, well, sobriety about the way we think about
things and take up the argument of the NRA, which is guns don`t kill
people, people do, so let`s keep guns away from the people who should not
have them. And yet nothing happens.

Your thoughts, Shannon.

WATTS: Well, I would argue that with you.

I think something has happened, something with Moms Demand Action and
now Every Town for Gun Safety. We have three million members in three
years. The NRA has five million members and they have been around for
decades. So, we are catching up very quickly. We`re actually winning in
the states.

We are passing laws that keep guns out of the hands of domestic
abusers and that close the background check loophole. We are getting
policies in place in businesses like Starbucks and Chipotle and Target to
have laws -- or policies around guns, just like they do attire or smoking.

It is Congress that shamefully has not acted since Sandy Hook. And if
this Congress won`t act, we will have to get the Congress that will. But
in the meantime, we are not going to stop making noise. We`re going to
kick and scream and yell every time there`s a shooting tragedy like this,
because it`s the way to effect change.

MATTHEWS: Let me go to Andy about your daughter and your feelings.

What do you think you can get done?

PARKER: Well, whatever it takes.

I think that, you know, not to diminish the loss of other victims that
have had -- suffered the same loss that I have, I think that there was a
crest and there was a movement and, as Shannon was saying, there was
progress being made. But Alison and Adam were killed on live TV in front
of 50,000 people.

And I think that now they`re -- I think people are saying, enough is
enough. We`re calling for just closing gun loopholes. Of course, this is
a mental health issue. And -- but it is only half the solution. We don`t
have the market cornered on people that are mentally disturbed, but we seem
to have the market cornered on people that have -- that are mentally
disturbed that have access to guns.

So, I have to believe, and I`m going to stay in this fight as long it
takes and do whatever it takes to win it.

MATTHEWS: Why do you think members of Congress buckle to the pro-gun
people, even on background checks, which our polls show people
overwhelmingly support, NRA members support? Everybody supports the need
to keep guns away from dangerous people. And yet the people who vote in
Congress for a living respond to the real Second Amendment fanatics, if you
will.

PARKER: Well, it is all about money.

They`re afraid of the NRA not contributing to their campaign. It is
pure and simple. And that`s the irony of it, as you say, that most of the
-- most NRA members, they want background checks. They want to close the
loopholes where you can go out and purchase firearms at these flea market
gun shows. They`re for that.

And yet the membership looks at any kind of closing of the loopholes
as an assault on the Second Amendment. And I have said it 20, 30 times on
every interview. We`re not trying to take people`s guns away. We`re for
the Second Amendment.

MATTHEWS: I know.

PARKER: We just want to keep guns out of hands of these people that
are crazy.

And the other -- one of the other solutions is that there`s -- HIPAA
has created such an issue that you can`t share medical information. You
can`t share information about people that potentially have mental illness.

So it -- there`s really another -- it has to be a two-pronged attack.
I agree. Certainly, mental illness is part of it. But when you add guns
to the equation, this is what you get, 88 murders per day.

MATTHEWS: Andy, thank you.

And, by the way, now that we`re talking about the Constitution, the
amendments to it, we should remember the First Amendment and your daughter
Alison and Adam. And the guts it takes for especially young people to go
out there and stand in sometimes tough neighborhoods all over the country,
they go out and they report the news every day, right out there with the
public, no protection, because they trust our country.

They trust to take care of them, behind they`re out there delivering
the free news to us, the truth. And you should be very proud of your
daughter, very proud of what she was doing.

PARKER: Chris, she was -- thank you. She was one of you -- she was
one of you guys.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: That`s an honor to hear that.

Thank you so much.

Shannon Watts, keep up the good work. You have been in it for a
while. Stick with it.

We will be back after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

It`s worth going over exactly what Donald Trump said about his fellow
Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina. Trump hasn`t disputed the
quote. He told "Rolling Stone", quote, "Look at that face. Would anyone
vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president? I
mean, she is a woman and I`m not supposed to say bad things but really,
folks, come on. Are we serious?"

All day Trump has been peppered with questions about the outrageous
remarks. He tried to deflect them on CNN. Here he goes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Why do you talk about how women look so
much? You know, it`s not presidential. It`s probably not even kind.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (via telephone): Look, I`m
talking about persona. Look, here`s another one --

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: You said, "Look at that face, look at that face."

TRUMP: I said nice things about you so at least he says nice things
about some people. When she and other people hit me on things, nobody ever
comes to my defense.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, on ABC`s "The View", Trump tried persona line one
more time. Joy Behar wasn`t buying it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP (via telephone): I`m talking about her persona. She failed
miserably at Hewlett-Packard. She failed at Lucent. She was before that,
she was at Lucent. She did then run for the Senate. She lost in a
landslide. Now, she`s running for president. I`m talking about her
persona.

(CROSSTALK)

JOY BEHAR, THE VIEW: But then why don`t you talk about her brain
instead of her face?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, Trump`s remarks about Fiorina`s appearance cued
Hillary Clinton who told Trump today -- bring it on.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Of course, we hear from
candidates on the other side about turning back the clock on women`s
rights. And there is one particular candidate who just seems to delight in
insulting women every chance he gets. I have to say, if he emerges, I
would love to debate him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, Donald Trump hasn`t apologized for those comments and
his party`s leaders haven`t either.

HARDBALL reached out to the Republican national committee to ask if it
was appropriate for Trump or any other candidate to attack another
candidate`s looks. And we got a flat no comment from the director of
communications of the RNC. So, they`re staying out of it.

Joining me right now are people who are not going to stay out of it.
HARDBALL roundtable, Jamal Simmons is a Democratic strategist, Susan Page
is "USA Today`s" Washington bureau chief, and Republican strategist Matt
Schlapp was White House political director for George W. Bush.

Let`s take it in that order.

What do you think is getting away with here? There`s something
missing in this way we normally judge behavior. The way we do in life.
You`re not supposed to make comments like that about people`s looks in any
polite society. Even in politics -- Jamal.

JAMAL SIMMONS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Chris, we know that Donald
Trump is playing by different rules. And the reality here is there are a
bunch of people who are angry with the establishment. They`re fed up.
They`re OK with him doing something like this because he is their voice and
they trust him to do it. They`re going to give him as much leeway as he
needs, as long as he keeps fighting for the things they believe in. He is
not mortal when it comes to stuff like this, at least not yet.

SUSAN PAGE, USA TODAY: We keep thinking this time he`s gone too far.
No, this time he`s definitely gone too far -- and each time he goes up in
the polls.

I think there will be a point where he goes too far. This comment,
pretty offensive but not out of character of the other things that he said.
So, I`m not sure this is the one.

And his refusal to apologize is, in fact, part of his appeal. That
he`ll say whatever he thinks. You can agree with it or not, but there`s no
way he is going to back off anything.

MATT SCHLAPP, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Yes, I think that -- you know,
if you look at this -- what I just simply don`t get, Chris, is that I think
Carly Fiorina is very appealing. She is a great candidate. She is really
coming across to people in a very positive way.

I think when he takes on members of the press, he gets away with it
with a lot of Republican voters. When he takes on more moderate
Republicans, like John McCain, he gets away with it. Taking on Carly
Fiorina who is a strong conservative and a candidate who`s really rising in
the polls, he missed it, which is why he`s pulled back. And that`s why
he`s saying a question about person, because he knows he overreached.

MATTHEWS: Did you believe him when he said it was persona?

SCHLAPP: I`ve got to take him at his words, but I think he is
backpedaling. He`s backpedaling. He is definitely back pedaling.

SIMMONS: Chris, there`s no way that he wasn`t talking about persona.
The reality here is, he talked about her face. That`s what he said. It
had to be what he meant.

PAGE: I agree with that. I think he said face, he meant face. Very
hard to back off.

Also, how do you look at your persona? I don`t really get that.

MATTHEWS: Let me ask Matt, who`s a Republican. Are Republican women
a little more different than Democratic women? I mean, Democratic women I
think are more politically correct. I`m just guessing. You tell me if I`m
wrong.

SCHLAPP: Yes, I think that what we`ve seen in the polls, all we can
do is look at the polls, and you`re not seeing any kind of big gender gap
amongst Republican voters. But I think, look, it`s different when he takes
on personalities and celebrities and members of the media. When he goes
after the only woman running for president, who`s a very credible
candidate, I think he himself knows that he crossed the line. It`s going
to boomerang with I think all kinds of women voters.

By the way, I think it`s going to boomerang with male voters. I just
think this is beyond the pale which is why he pulled back.

MATTHEWS: Let`s hope so.

Anyway, the HARDBALL roundtable is staying with us. And up next,
crisis response. President Obama steps up the administration`s reaction to
the Syrian refugee crisis, 10,000 coming here.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: With Pope Francis coming to Philadelphia in two weeks,
please check out a new article I wrote about growing up Catholic there in
Philadelphia, and the latest edition of "Philadelphia" magazine. The
magazine`s cover is a picture of the Holy Father based on the 2008 campaign
poster for Barack Obama. And there you see it. Pope Francis will be in
Washington and New York before his big visit to Philadelphia.

And we`ll have extensive coverage of MSNBC of all of it here in all
three cities.

We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: We`re back with a HARDBALL roundtable: Jamal, Susan and
Matt.

Well, President Obama today says he wants to let 10,000 Syrian
refugees into the United States proper over the next course of the next
year. The situation has become, of course, dire with tens of thousands of
refugees escaping their war-torn region in a desperate attempt to seek
safety and shelter in Europe.

Well, shocking video like this taken along the border between Greece
and Macedonia illustrates the extent to which the crisis is getting out of
control. It appears to show a Macedonian police officer beating a migrant
with his baton, including a man holding a child.

Anyway, that`s what we`re looking at right now.

Jamal, and, Susan, and, Matt, I want you to tell me what your reaction
was when you heard President Obama was making basically an executive
decision to bring in 10,000 of those refugees.

Jamal, first.

SIMMONS: On a humanitarian basis, this is absolutely the right call.
I think we all remember who read history about what was going on in the
1930s and `40s and the United States being reluctant to take in Jewish
migrants at the time. This is something that`s right.

Politically, though, you can see why this is a fraught decision. I`m
not sure it`s not completely analogous. Chris, Jimmy Carter, you know,
bringing in Cuban refugees in the 19 -- I think it was 1980, ended up
costing Bill Clinton his governorship in Arkansas that year.

It`s a tough -- it`s a tough decision to make politically, and it may
not just affect the president who`s not running for reelection, but other
politicians in his time of immigration being a big issue in our country.

PAGE: You know --

MATTHEWS: You can`t certainly blame for what`s called Mariel
boatlift. Yes.

PAGE: That`s true, and it was very difficult political situation for
Bill Clinton then.

I disagree on the politics of it now. I certainly agree, it`s the
right thing to do. We want European nations to step up and address this
crisis. We have to do something ourselves.

I actually think it`s not analogous to the situation for Cubans,
because for one thing, the United States played a role in creating the
situation that has led to this devastating situation in Syria, and that
gives us not only our traditional responsibility in the world to look out
for people in peril, but also a very particular one with these Syrian
refugees.

So, I think that the 10,000 -- I don`t think it`s going to end there,
I think we`re going to see thousands and thousands more over the next
several years brought into this country. And, of course, we want to be
careful and do the vetting that we do to make sure this isn`t something
opportunistically by people who want to do harm to us. But you look at
these pictures, how can you not respond?

SCHLAPP: You know, my view --

MATTHEWS: Why are we responsible? Syria was never an American
colony. Why is the United States as a country somehow morally or
politically responsible for what`s going on and is going on in Syria today?

PAGE: There are two reasons. One is because we failed -- two
reasons, one is because we failed to do more when there might have been a
possibility of some moderate Syrian opposition against the Assad regime in
Syria. Famously, Hillary Clinton was among those who urged President Obama
to do more than he did.

Secondly, the collapsing situation in Iraq. The very difficult
situation there in the wake of the U.S. war is contributing to the turmoil
in the region that is created, the situation that sent these people
fleeing.

MATTHEWS: Go ahead. Quickly, Matt.

SCHLAPP: Look, all I would say is I`d like to see a plan, number one.
I don`t think he has a plan for the region. And number two, for God`s
sakes, go to Congress and try to get some consent on an issue that`s
important as this.

MATTHEWS: Thank you. Well said. Thank you, Jamal Simmons. Thank
you, Susan Page. And Matt Schlapp, with something I might agree with.

We`ll be right back after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
BE UPDATED.
END

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