updated 9/15/2015 10:48:37 AM ET 2015-09-15T14:48:37

Show: HARDBALL
Date: September 14, 2015
Guest: Stephanie Schriock

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Republicans cheer (ph). Trump and Carson make
chumps of the rest.

Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.

We`re waiting right now to hear Donald Trump address a massive crowd
down in Dallas. The big news tonight is that Trump and Dr. Ben Carson are
now killing the Republican establishment. It`s a wipeout, with the two
outsiders, neither with any past elective role in government, winning an
absolute majority of Republican support.

It`s all in a brand-new "Washington Post"/ABC News poll that has Trump
in the lead nationally at 33 percent, Dr. Carson second at 20 percent, and
all the big shots, or previous big shots, Jeb, Cruz, Rubio, Paul, Kasich
and Huckabee are stick in skimpy -- that`s a good word for it -- single
digits.

There`s also a new Monmouth University poll of the critical early
primary state of New Hampshire, where Trump is also on top there, followed
by Ben Carson, Ohio`s John Kasich, who is coming up there to third,
followed by Ted Cruz. Jeb Bush is tied with Carly Fiorina in fifth place
with 7 percent.

Think about it, knowing your history. That`s a Bush getting 7 percent
in New Hampshire.

Meanwhile, on the Democratic side, that new "Washington Post/ABC poll
has troubling news for Hillary Clinton. The former U.S. secretary of state
continues to lead against her rivals, including Vice President Joe Biden,
who has not announced whether he will run. Clinton gets 42 percent of the
Democratic voters. Bernie Sanders gets about a quarter of the Democrats
and Biden is now moving up from behind.

But if you look at the trends over the past two months, Clinton is
down 21 points. Sanders and Biden have each gained support at that -- at
her expense, I supposed.

Earlier today, Hillary Clinton was in Iowa giving a strong speech at a
group called Women for Hillary. It was a rally. And here she slams Donald
Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), FMR. SEC. OF STATE, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:
You`ve heard Mr. Trump insult and demean women, haven`t you? He
occasionally throws some heat my way. He recently said I don`t have a clue
about women`s health issues.

(LAUGHTER)

CLINTON: He`d do a much better job for women than I would. And as
I`ve said, that is a general election debate I am really looking forward
to.

In fact, he says he cherishes women. Well, that`s nice.

(LAUGHTER)

CLINTON: But if it`s all the same to you, Mr. Trump, I`d rather you
stop cherishing us and respecting us instead.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, Trump the way-out front-runner right now, is about to
address 20,000 people down in Dallas. NBC`s Katy Tur is there.

Is that the right house number? What is the number for that crowd
tonight, Katy?

KATY TUR, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, the capacity of this place is
about 20,000, and it`s maybe a little bit more than half full, so 13,000 as
of now, but people are still coming in.

It is a pretty good turnout for any event, period. And people were
lining up all day to get into here. There`s also a protest outside by
LULAC, but it was not strongly attended. They expected around 1,500
people. There`s only a few hundred people outside right now.

What we`ve been noticing, though, so far, or lately, is that there
have been very few protesters outside of his events. Early on, in Phoenix
certainly and in Michigan, there have been a lot of protesters. But as
time has gone on, less and less protesters.

And we talked to the people in this room. You talked about the
establishment, Chris. They say much of what they keep on saying, that they
are sick of the establishment, that people -- their politicians, even the
ones that they voted for, have been lying to them and they need someone to
come in and shake things up.

I asked them, Do you care about the fact that he insults Carly Fiorina
or sometimes says things that aren`t well put? They say they don`t care.
They`d rather have somebody who says what they believe that is not
politically correct. And frankly, it`s what they`re all thinking anyway.

So a lot of support in here, a lot of true believers for the Trump
campaign who would be voting for him today, if they could.

MATTHEWS: What`s the male/female count? Can you spot it when you
look at the crowd?

TUR: It`s pretty even, male-female pretty even. It`s surprising, the
number of women you`re seeing here, the number of women that you`re seeing
who are -- just do not care about the comments about Carly Fiorina`s face
or Megyn Kelly. They are not bothered by it. They think it`s fair game.
They think that he is speaking the truth, and they necessarily don`t care
that it might offend a good number of people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, it does, and I guess some people aren`t offended.
Anyway, Katy Tur, thank you. We`ll go live to Donald Trump out there in
Dallas as soon as he takes the stage.

I`m joined right now by some heavyweights, "The Washington Post"
columnist Eugene Robinson and Stephanie Schriock, who`s president of
Emily`s List, which is backing Hillary Clinton for president, and the
HuffingtonPost`s global editorial director, Howard Fineman.

I want to go to you, Stephanie. I know you a bit, and I want to -- we
keep hearing about the white woman, the nurse -- I`m sorry, the waitress
somewhere who says, I really like this guy Trump. He`s a tough guy.

Is this some sort of a retro thing, the guys the way they behaved 30
years ago that they`re rooting for? Or what is it that makes a woman who`s
obviously sensitive about not being knocked for her looks by every cowboy
that goes by, to say, I`ll put up with that? I`ll put up with that!

STEPHANIE SCHRIOCK, EMILY`S LIST: Well, I don`t know I can speak for
every...

(CROSSTALK)

SCHRIOCK: ... woman in the country...

(CROSSTALK)

SCHRIOCK: ... every woman in the country.

(LAUGHTER)

SCHRIOCK: I cannot do that.

MATTHEWS: Well, what about that woman who will put up with Trump`s
BS, his stuff?

SCHRIOCK: You know, I think it is a small percentage of women in this
country, and it is the same group that we see that continue to, you know,
vote for Republicans. But what we continue to see in national elections,
in general elections, is that you have a vast majority of women voting for
Democrats because Democrats continue to support opportunities for women and
families.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

SCHRIOCK: You know, but there is always going to be a percentage of
women who are -- and they tend to be, as you`re probably seeing, I`m going
to guess...

MATTHEWS: (INAUDIBLE)

SCHRIOCK: They`re going to be white.

MATTHEWS: They tend to be white.

SCHRIOCK: They`re going to be white. It`s often white married women,
where we saw, you know, did well -- you know, Romney did well with white
married women.

(CROSSTALK)

SCHRIOCK: The gender gap was huge for Barack Obama.

MATTHEWS: (INAUDIBLE) Scots-Irish down in southwestern Virginia.
They`re white (INAUDIBLE) kind of the people that went to the mountains.
(INAUDIBLE) the United States. They went right to the rural areas, and
they`ve got an attitude.

EUGENE ROBINSON, "WASHINGTON POST," MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: That was
where Jim Webb was going to get his support, actually. He`s written
about...

MATTHEWS: Yes, Pat Buchanan.

ROBINSON: (INAUDIBLE) yes. Exactly.

MATTHEWS: He`s a Buchanan. He`s a Scots-Irish. And there is part
of that white community that`s missed -- they didn`t get to go to good
colleges, or college. They -- they feel like the Democrats have been
focused on the elite and the minorities and have skipped them somehow.

ROBINSON: You know...

MATTHEWS: They must.

ROBINSON: I think what we`re seeing with Trump, in many ways,
transcends gender in that I think it`s men and women who are completely fed
up with traditional politics and traditional politicians. It`s obvious.
More than half the Republican Party now is rejecting any candidate who`s
ever held political office...

MATTHEWS: Yes.

ROBINSON: ... which (INAUDIBLE)

MATTHEWS: That`s the original sin.

ROBINSON: ... poll after poll after poll. We don`t want anybody...

MATTHEWS: Even Fiorina.

ROBINSON: ... who`s a politician...

MATTHEWS: A woman candidate is the part of that -- that -- she`s
getting a chunk, at least, of voters.

ROBINSON: Yes.

MATTHEWS: But it`s really -- do you think it`s just, Throw them out?

ROBINSON: Yes. Yes. And...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: ... in the Democratic Party.

ROBINSON: ... get rid of them. These Republicans are no good.

MATTHEWS: Not yet. It may be there some day.

SCHRIOCK: No, but the...

ROBINSON: No, not yet.

SCHRIOCK: But the Republican Party has really created this. They
have spent decades telling their base that the government is terrible, that
it doesn`t work, that it`s going to fail. It is failing you. That is how
they`re holding on particularly to this particularly white...

MATTHEWS: And leaders want it to fail.

SCHRIOCK: ... group, and the leaders want it to fail. And now
they`re surprised that their base wants somebody that isn`t in elective
office?

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Obama beats them on a lot of big stuff.

HOWARD FINEMAN, HUFFINGTON POST GLOBAL EDITORIAL DIR., MSNBC POLITICAL
ANALYST: Well, there`s that personal edge and the personal antagonism that
President Obama, not just because of race, but because he`s a northern big
city...

MATTHEWS: Ivy League.

FINEMAN: ... Ivy League lawyer. I mean, leave his race out of it.
He`s everything else that they can`t stand.

ROBINSON: Oh, what the hell. Put race...

(CROSSTALK)

FINEMAN: Yes, I`m saying northern...

ROBINSON: Yes, no, exactly. Exactly.

FINEMAN: ... big city, Ivy League, Civil Rights lawyer and
constitutional law professor...

MATTHEWS: Who think he`s better than us.

FINEMAN: ... thinks -- you know, and all that. So there`s all that.
But I think it`s more than the Republicans now. I think when you see
numbers, where respect for Congress as an institution in the country is at
9 percent? That`s not just Jim Webb`s folks down in southwest Virginia.
That`s everybody in the country.

People look at the Congress...

MATTHEWS: OK...

FINEMAN: ... they see it can`t do its basic functions. They look at
the political parties and they see the parties beholden only to their
biggest most -- donors in their most extreme...

MATTHEWS: OK, let me -- let me suggest...

FINEMAN: ... wing, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

MATTHEWS: I want to suggest that there`s a difference between the two
parties on this. Republican Party is, Throw the bums out. You see it in
all the numbers, Jeb Bush getting 8 percent in New Hampshire. Come on!

Hillary Clinton is still the dominant figure and probably the front-
runner, I would say probably best bet to win all across the board...

ROBINSON: Absolutely.

MATTHEWS: ... for the presidency of anybody else. But when you ask
people, Would you rather have somebody who`s never done jack for the
government, who`s never worked anywhere, never been to Washington, never
done anything, or would you like to have an insider, Republicans
overwhelmingly say somebody from outside.

You ask the Democrats, Do you want somebody who`s had some government
experience, it`s two thirds still for the pros!

ROBINSON: Exactly. They...

MATTHEWS: Democrats are pro-government and they want smart people to
run it.

ROBINSON: That`s -- our poll today -- and it`s almost exactly reverse
in the two parties. Republicans want somebody who`s from -- completely
from outside of government. Democrats want somebody with some experience.

MATTHEWS: OK.

FINEMAN: But the main point, though, is that everybody agrees that
the government isn`t working. That the motive...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Hillary`s only beating Trump in the latest poll by 3
points, 40-40. Who would have predicted that a few weeks ago?

Anyway, as Donald Trump rises in the polls, the pressure`s on other
candidates to race to take him on more aggressively at Wednesday night`s
debate, which is coming up in two nights. Senator Rand Paul recently told
the Associated Press, quote, "Someone has to bring him down. I`m not going
to sit quietly by and let the disaster that is Donald Trump become the
nominee."

Carly Fiorina had this to say to a crowd in New Hampshire this
weekend.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARL FIORINA (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, I think Donald
Trump is an entertainer, and I think I am a leader. And so what I do is
talk to the American people about the issues they care about, and I think
they hear what I`m talking about.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: How do you compete? Very sober, very stolid, but not
exciting. And I still -- we were talking about it before we went on
tonight. Why does everybody have to tell you what he`s going to do or
she`s going to do? Why don`t they just do it, darn it? Hillary`s going to
be joyous and pro-press. OK, just be pro-press. You know, Jake Tapper`s
going to start fights between the two contestants and get the -- just stop
telling us! Just do it.

Go ahead.

SCHRIOCK: Well...

MATTHEWS: Your thoughts about why this...

SCHRIOCK: Yes...

SCHRIOCK: What they`re now saying what they`re going to do to Trump.

SCHRIOCK: Yes, well, I -- well, because they`re trying to get
eyeballs to watch it, for one. And it is sort of this, like, build up the
energy, the excitement. It`s going to be an event.

And I`m quite confident it`s going to be an event. I`m looking
forwarded to...

MATTHEWS: What do you think Carly...

SCHRIOCK: ... watching it myself.

MATTHEWS: If you were Carly -- again, you`re the one woman among the
four of us. If you don`t want this job, don`t take it. But what would you
do if you -- would you smack him in the face? Would you use sarcasm?
Would you try to switch the topic to something that`s important to you in
policy? Or would you just get down in the dirt with him and slap him
around?

SCHRIOCK: I think she -- and I think she`s actually done it not too
badly here, which is just call it out, which she -- which she has -- you
know, which she has done, and then...

MATTHEWS: She says it speaks...

SCHRIOCK: ... talk about what...

MATTHEWS: ... for itself what he said about her looks.

SCHRIOCK: Speak for herself. Like, she doesn`t need to say it. And
by the way, it does. It does. And then she`s going to, you know, pivot
to...

(CROSSTALK)

SCHRIOCK: Now, what will be surprising if anybody actually pivots to
policies and issues, which...

MATTHEWS: I can`t think of a single policy...

(CROSSTALK)

SCHRIOCK: ... from anybody.

MATTHEWS: ... debate in the first debate, a single issue -- I don`t
think there was...

FINEMAN: There was a brief one between Chris Christie and Rand Paul
on surveillance. That was it.

ROBINSON: Yes. Yes.

FINEMAN: It lasted about 45 seconds.

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Anyway, Donald Trump has been hitting Carly Fiorina hard
lately on her business record. Here he is switching from face to fiscal
matters.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Hewlett-Packard was a
disaster, and Lucent, the company she was at before Hewlett-Packard, was a
disaster. And it was -- these were two disastrous reigns. And you know,
you say now she`s running for president. Then of course, she lost in a
landslide to Barbara Boxer.

And you know, to be honest with you, the problem we have is we`re so
politically correct that we can`t get out of our way. So people make
statements, and all of a sudden, the statement`s such a big deal -- I`m
only talking about her persona. Her persona. Her persona is just -- she
hasn`t done a good job in, you could call it the private sector.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, Trump has also knocked Fiorina for her looks, of
course, and her voice. What attack will he use against her when she --
they share the stage on Wednesday night`s debate? And does he risk going
too far with this? I don`t know. Nobody knows what too far is anymore.

Trump told "The New York Times," quote, "I`m not going to call her
honey. Look, she`s only got 3 percent in the polls, so in order to get
recognition, I think she`ll start hitting me. So I think she`s fair game."

This is high school recess!

(CROSSTALK)

ROBINSON: Look, it`s far (ph) for her to punch up, right? You start
a fight, you punch up because that elevates you. The thing with Trump is,
he doesn`t -- he never ignores it, right? He punches back, no matter who
it is, now matter how it is. That`s the lesson he has taken from his
business career...

FINEMAN: Chris, what...

ROBINSON: ... and that`s the way he is.

FINEMAN: What`s so interesting to me here is that everybody else is
being defined in this debate, if they`re being mentioned at all, on the
basis of what their strategy is in relation to Donald Trump.

They`re only relevant in this drama on Wednesday night to the extent
that they place somehow into his story. What`s Carly Fiorina going to do?
Is she going to talk about business...

(CROSSTALK)

FINEMAN: Yes.

MATTHEWS: This is -- this is "21" or...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Who`s going to beat Charles Van Doren? Who`s going to
get...

(CROSSTALK)

FINEMAN: He was cheating, by the way, right?

ROBINSON: Yes, right, he was cheating.

MATTHEWS: That`s why I mentioned it.

SCHRIOCK: But what the...

(CROSSTALK)

ROBINSON: Meanwhile -- meanwhile, Trump`s numbers -- you know, they
were supposed to peak at 20. They were supposed to peak at 25. In our
poll now, he`s at 33. That`s a third of the Republican Party...

(CROSSTALK)

FINEMAN: If nobody cares what your strategy is vis-a-vis Donald
Trump...

MATTHEWS: OK -- OK...

FINEMAN: ... then nobody cares about you!

(CROSSTALK)

SCHRIOCK: You`ve got to remember, though, that what`s underneath
this...

MATTHEWS: OK...

SCHRIOCK: I know, we`ve got to step back, because it is, it`s
entertainment.

MATTHEWS: We`re going to break.

SCHRIOCK: We`re entertaining...

MATTHEWS: We`re going to break (INAUDIBLE)

SCHRIOCK: Here`s the deal. Where are their policies? And Trump`s
policy...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Let me do this right now, Gene. I`ll start with Howard
because he`s my friend of long standing. Give me a reasonable estimation
by you and your peers of what the Trump peak will be? Can he get to 50?
Can you get to 40 percent? Is he at his peak? How high can he go?

FINEMAN: Well, so far...

MATTHEWS: Because we said he can`t go any higher, and he is.

FINEMAN: So far, I and my esteemed peers have been wrong about
everything. We have underestimated him all the way along. I don`t know
what the ceiling is if everybody else around him is either too weak or
unimaginative...

MATTHEWS: OK...

FINEMAN: ... to take him on.

MATTHEWS: Want to bet?

ROBINSON: Oh, I -- look, I have no idea what the peak is.

MATTHEWS: Forty? Give me forty. Can he get that high?

ROBINSON: I think it`s -- I think it`s 45.

FINEMAN: If he says 45, I`ll say 46.

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

ROBINSON: There you go. There you go.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: How high can he go?

SCHRIOCK: I think you add up where all of the complete anti-
establishment...

MATTHEWS: I agree. Well said. And if he goes down to the finals,
they winnow it down to him, he gets the Carson vote, he gets the Fiorina
vote.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Eugene, Stephanie and Howard, are, thank God, staying with
us as we await Donald Trump at his big rally down in Texas. About 20,000
people expected do there to stomp (ph) for him. Apparently, a lot of women
are buying the message, which is pretty tough on people`s faces, but I
guess they like something about him. And we`re going to be following it
there.

Anyway, plus, more on the other big political news today coming here,
including those developments on Hillary Clinton`s e-mail and Bernie Sanders
going where few progressives have ever gone, to Jerry Falwell land. Today
he did it.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Well, guess what? Arnold Schwarzenegger is the new host of
"Celebrity Apprentice." Yes, he is! Who knows what`s coming? The actor
and former California governor replaces Donald Trump -- he is replaceable -
- who hosted seven seasons of the NBC show.

Trump offered his congratulations to Arnold on a Twitter and also
tweeted, quote, "To all my fans, sorry I couldn`t do `The Apprentice` any
longer, but equal time, presidential run, prohibits me from doing so.
Love."

We`ll be right back as we await Donald Trump to address a crowd of up
to 20,000 down in Big D. Big night for Trump.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. We continue to await Donald
Trump`s campaign event at the American Airlines Center in Dallas. We`re
going to bring you that when it happens.

We are back now with Eugene Robinson, Stephanie Schriock of EMILY`s
List and Howard Fineman.

I want to ask about the situation now with Hillary Clinton. She has
been backed up now. You can start on this. She has been backed up. She
always said, even if I had kept all my e-mails -- as we know the story now,
the saga -- I had kept all my e-mails in the government system, instead of
putting it in my own private system, then I would still have been able to
delineate which ones were public and which ones were private.

Now the Department of Justice has now said you`re right. You had a
perfect right to take the 30,000 out and put them away somewhere in your
personal belonging.

Then, of course, this weekend another -- not that this is ever going
to end -- we had -- it comes out now that apparently they weren`t
destroyed, that 30,000, which creates another tease for everybody. What`s
in the 30,000? What do you think? How does it stand? Because it won`t go
away. It just won`t go away right now.

SCHRIOCK: It just -- the Republicans don`t want it to go away.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: The news business is following it.

SCHRIOCK: The news like it.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Because we don`t know the end of it yet. What was she
hiding, if anything, or was it just instinct?

SCHRIOCK: I think what we have seen thus far and what I have learned
about Hillary Clinton is she gets up 5:00 in the morning and likes some
good television shows and does a lot of interaction with friends.

That`s what we are seeing. It`s been this constant rollout. And I
think, truthfully, what we are seeing in some of the numbers and what we`re
hearing on the ground, I think people are done with it.

MATTHEWS: You think so?

SCHRIOCK: I think voters are like, let`s move this forward.

MATTHEWS: How do you look at these numbers where she`s going down?

SCHRIOCK: I think there hasn`t been any other conversation. And I
think that time is turning. I think we are going to see a shift here. And
the campaign is ready. They are ready to go. And they`re in a good place.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Here`s the problem. She can`t stop it on her own. Some
outside force has to stop it. What would stop the press interest and
enthusiasm in this story? "The New York Times" has been all over it.

(CROSSTALK)

ROBINSON: Attention-deficit disorder. Attention-deficit disorder
will eventually cool it to a dull roar. I think if it keeps going on at a
low level...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: What if Bryan Pagliano, who was in charge of the server,
gets immunity and can talk about what he didn`t want to talk about when he
took the Fifth last week?

ROBINSON: Well, then we will see. Then we will see what he has to
say. If he has something explosive to say, then the story goes up again.

But if all he says was, yes, I went over there and I put in a server
and that`s that, I checked it every once in a while, nothing -- no deep,
dark secret.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: What we have learned in all these things with the Clintons
is, what happens is, somebody -- here, you have the Trey Gowdy committee,
the special committee. And we have "The New York Times."

They get like a string of something. And they then go following that
string. And they get from Whitewater, which was nothing, to Paula Jones,
which was something, certainly, a civil matter. And then it gets from
there to Monica. And what they do is, they find themselves in situations,
whether it`s Troopergate or Travelgate or whatever the hell it is, that
looks like crap to begin.

And then their enemies take that crap and follow it until they find
something. They will troll until they get something.

FINEMAN: My sense is that the mood of voters who are paying
attention, and the ones especially who are likely to show up in primaries,
who are engaged and interested, are fed up with politics as it`s usually
practiced. I keep saying this, but it`s true.

Yes, in the case of Democrats, they like government, but they want
somebody who can be effective and honest and straight-talking. And the
problem that Hillary`s got, whatever the minute details are of the e-mails
may be, is that the whole story plays into the notion that this is how
insiders play ball, that they don`t come straightforward on everything,
that they don`t give an easy, simple, understandable explanation right
away, that it has to be dragged out of them piece by piece.

And it fits into narrative not only about the past behavior of the
Clintons, but about politics in general. And the last thing you want to be
this year is a symbol of politics. And that`s the problem that she has.
She`s got to change the narrative some way. I don`t know how she does it.
But they have got to figure out some way to do it.

MATTHEWS: Do you think the middle rolls that way or it`s still going
to be about left-right principles issues, that policy and ideology, the
things that people this show and other shows care about?

FINEMAN: I think policy matters, especially this year, to the extent
that it shows you`re willing to be brave and honest and call something for
real.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Would somebody let a hawk become president who is like me,
let a hawk become president because you`re upset about Hillary`s e-mail?
It just seems disproportionate.

ROBINSON: Well, it seems disproportionate. Think about the Supreme
Court.

(CROSSTALK)

ROBINSON: That`s a huge issue.

Just to your point about pulling the thread, with Gowdy`s committee,
it starts with Benghazi. There`s nothing there.

MATTHEWS: I know.

ROBINSON: There`s nothing, nothing there, right.

But if they start pulling the thread, if they get to, say, the e-mails
that were deleted, but may be recoverable, does anybody actually try to
recover them? And then they do they start poring into them?

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Can they subpoena them?

ROBINSON: I don`t know.

FINEMAN: They can try. They will go to court.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Benghazi is nothing more than an accusation based on
nothing, that somehow Hillary let her friend die. That`s what they keep
suggesting.

SCHRIOCK: Well, Howard is starting about pulling the string. That is
the political activity that folks are so exhausted with.

MATTHEWS: Are they?

SCHRIOCK: More -- I believe they are. And I believe, as this gets
closer to where people are going to start voting, to start caucusing, they
are going to want to focus on what these candidates are bringing to the
argument.

(CROSSTALK)

SCHRIOCK: Let`s get this done.

FINEMAN: There is no relationship between the decline in Hillary`s
numbers in the horse race and trustworthiness and this whole story?

SCHRIOCK: I think this is the only story that`s gotten any
significant coverage about Hillary Clinton for the last three months,
despite the fact that she has rolled out some incredible policies.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

SCHRIOCK: That is going to change as caucus-goers and voters are
going to make decisions. And this is where she is going to do incredibly
well. And she`s got a great organization.

MATTHEWS: Well, you may be right. We have watched many a State of
the Union we thought was too long by Bill Clinton, and they loved every
detail of it. So, maybe we`re -- but I`ll tell you one thing. You can
never beat the press.

Everybody tried it when they first got in. George Stephanopoulos
tried to wheel them all over to the executive office. We don`t want any
press around here. Didn`t work.

Eugene Robinson, Stephanie Schriock, and Howard Fineman are staying
with us, as we await Donald Trump, who is about to take the stage at the
American Airlines Center down in Dallas in front of a crowd close to
20,000.

And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

We`re now getting close to Donald Trump taking the stage out there in
just a couple minutes actually, with thousands of people there, Dallas.

Trump was criticized last week for comments reported by "Rolling
Stone" in which he seemed to demean -- I think he did -- the looks, the
personal looks, appearance of Carly Fiorina`s face.

Anyway, Fiorina`s super PAC is out with a new ad, everybody likes it
today, responding to Trump`s attack. "The Washington Post"`s Chris
Cillizza called this ad the best of the 2016 campaign ads so far. Let`s
watch and judge for you.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARLY FIORINA (R), Presidential Candidate: Look at this face and look
at all of your faces, the face of leadership, the face of leadership in our
party, the party of women`s suffrage.

This is the face of a 61-year-old woman. I am proud of every year and
every wrinkle.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Wow. We are back with Eugene Robinson, Stephanie Schriock
and Howard Fineman.

EMILY`S List will now speak.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: I think that is a really good ad, because it puts everybody
in the same boat.

SCHRIOCK: It is. It is a good ad. And it`s good to see some
Republican women, a Republican woman, running, which is good, because they
definitely do not have enough women running.

The problem is, it doesn`t just matter that she is a woman. It
actually matters what she stands for. And does she stand for women and
families? And that`s where we fall apart with Carly Fiorina.

But I think it`s good to see women on the stage. And I`m really
pleased to see it.

MATTHEWS: How is it going for women candidates? A lot of them out
there now?

SCHRIOCK: Well, there`s a lot more Democrats than Republicans.

And Republican women really do, to be honest, struggle getting through
the primaries, is the truth, because you have to move so -- we are watching
it right now. You have to move so far right.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: I want to check some point of history. How did women get
suffrage? How did that happen? Who voted on that? Who voted on the issue
of suffrage?

SCHRIOCK: The men of Congress.

MATTHEWS: Thank you.

SCHRIOCK: Yes.

MATTHEWS: Yes, 100 percent...

(CROSSTALK)

SCHRIOCK: But they all had mothers.

MATTHEWS: But they voted for it.

SCHRIOCK: They all had mothers.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Men are not bad. There are good guys. They voted for
women to vote.

I just want to get a little something out of you there. Thank you,
EMILY`s List.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Eugene Robinson -- Stephanie Schriock and Eugene Robinson.

We continue to wait for Donald Trump. I guess it`s coming up any
second. Bernie Sanders, by the way, entered enemy camp today, enemy
territory, speaking before a group at a very conservative Liberty
University, Jerry Falwell`s campus.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PAGE HOPKINS, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Page Hopkins. Here`s what`s
happening.

The campus of Mississippi`s Delta State University is on lockdown
after a deadly shooting. Police say a gunman shot and killed history
professor Ethan Schmidt in his office on campus. The alleged gunman is
also a suspect in another fatal shooting about 300 miles away. A manhunt
is under way, but police say they do not believe the shooter is still on
Delta`s campus -- and now back to HARDBALL.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (VT-I), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I came here today
because I believe from the bottom of my heart that it is vitally important
for those of us who hold different views to be able to engage in a civil
discourse.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

That was Bernie Sanders, the senator from Vermont, an independent,
socialist, actually, self-described, speaking to a Christian conservative
audience down at Liberty University in Virginia. That was today at a
school. The school was founded by televangelist Jerry Falwell.

We continue to wait for Donald Trump to get on the stage down in
Dallas. And we`re going to go to that when it happens.

But for Bernie Sanders, a self-described socialist, as I said, Liberty
University was an unlikely venue, don`t you think? One Republican state
senator down there even quoted as saying, "It`s like Pat Robertson going to
a nudist colony."

Hmm.

Well, people down there, despite facing a skeptical audience, Sanders
used the opportunity to find common ground on his hallmark issue, which is
something that most people are worried about, income inequality.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANDERS: I want all of you, if you would, put this in the context of
the Bible, not me, in the context of the Bible.

We are living at a time where a handful of people have wealth beyond
comprehension. When we talk about morality and when we talk about justice,
we have to, in my view, understand that there is no justice when so few
have so much and so many have so little.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: That is one potent message.

But here we go with Donald Trump with a very different message, a
multibillionaire personifying everything that Bernie Sanders holds with
contempt.

Let`s watch this difference coming up now. Actually, he is making his
way up slowly. This is a little -- a long march here.

But Trump -- David Corn, this may be an opportunity in our country to
have an actual discussion about people with exponential wealth.

DAVID CORN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes.

MATTHEWS: Not to make millionaire here a millionaire, but when they
make billions. They don`t work that much harder than everybody else, if at
all.

CORN: Right.

Well, I thought what Bernie said was great. Yes, he put in the
context of religious principles, try to connect with that crowd and have a
wide debate. He is a message candidate.

It`s resonating with the Democratic left. But Donald Trump is talking
about hedge fund guys making too much and getting a short ride and how
billionaires like him...

MATTHEWS: They pay a lower tax rate. Not hedge fund. Equity people
make...

(CROSSTALK)

CORN: And that political -- and that they are buying politicians. He
has some of that anti-billionaire populism himself. So, maybe...

(CROSSTALK)

CORN: ... debate.

MATTHEWS: Gene, let`s watch this. We will get back to you in a
minute.

Here`s -- here he is.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Wow!

MATTHEWS: Donald Trump.

TRUMP: Amazing!

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: Amazing. Thank you. Wow.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: So exciting.

Do you notice what`s missing tonight? Teleprompters. No
teleprompters.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: We don`t want teleprompters.

That would be so much easier. We read a speech for 45 minutes.
Everybody falls asleep listening to the same old stuff, the same old lies.
So much easier.

So, you know, I have a little debate coming up on Wednesday.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: And I hear my -- I don`t -- let`s call them opponents. Can we
call them opponents? We`re allowed to do that, right?

(LAUGHTER)

TRUMP: You know, New York was very nice to you people last night.
You know that, right?

(LAUGHTER)

TRUMP: Did they hand you that game? They handed it.

I said, I am going to have the friendliest audience -- sit down.

(LAUGHTER)

TRUMP: I am going to have the friendliest audience afterwards.

So, I wasn`t sure, was I happy or was I sad?

(LAUGHTER)

TRUMP: But Jerry Jones is a great guy. And he deserves everything he
gets, frankly.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: And, you know, another great guy is Mark Cuban.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: True.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

And I think -- you know, he`s been talking a little bit about maybe
some day doing this himself. I think he`d do very well. We may not have
the exact same feelings about where we are going, but that`s OK.

But Mark was great, he actually called me literally a few days ago and
said, you know, if you want to use the arena, which is, by the way, is a
beautiful arena. This is a great arena.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

And Dirk, I love him. He`s one of my favorite players, one of my
favorite. And the mavericks have been fantastic. It`s just a great team.

But he said if you want to use the arena. I said, Mark, when? How
about Monday night? That was like in four days. And you had a big holiday
in between.

And he said, I think they really like you in Dallas. They really like
you in Texas. Maybe you can get a lot of people.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

Because we were coming here and we thought maybe we would get 1,000.
We never get 1,000. It`s always like the same thing.

You know, we went to Alabama. We started off with a 500-person
ballroom.

And after about two minutes - look at all these guys, paparazzi, ay
yai yai. Look at this. We got everybody here.

We started off, by the way, with a 500-person ballroom. And after
about two minutes, the hotel called up begging for mercy. We can`t do it.
They were inundated. So, we went to the convention center. And that was
10,000. That was wiped out in about an hour.

So, we went to a stadium. We had 31,000 people which is, by far, the
largest, they say like ever for an early primary. It`s probably true.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

When I see these seats full, can you people see me up there?

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

I don`t know. Man. I said to them, don`t fill up the upper rings,
it`s not fair. You are great. Thank you all. I appreciate it.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

So I want to thank Mark and I want to thank -- where is Pastor
Jeffries. Where is he?

Come here. I love this guy. Come here.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

I shouldn`t say this, I should not say this, pastor, because, you
know, I need all the help I can get. I will say I`m leading with the
evangelicals big league, and I really want to thank you, because you`ve
been so good.

He said, he may not be perfect, but he`s going to make this country
great. He`s a leader. That`s what we need.

I want to thank you, pastor. I really appreciate it.

He`s been so great. I am Protestant. I am Presbyterian just in case
anybody wants to know.

So the polls come out and we`re really killing it. We are killing it.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

They mentioned a little while ago, Scotty, about the silent majority,
it`s back. And it`s not silent. I think we should call it, maybe we
should call it the noisy, the aggressive, the wanting to win, wanting to
win majority. That`s what it is.

We want to win. We`re tired of being pushed around by incompetent
people. We are just tired of what`s happening. We are sick and tired of
what`s happening, and it`s going to change. It`s going to change.

But before I get to that because that`s unpleasant, but it`s going to
be pleasant because I finished this speech last week. And I have to say,
we`re going to have so many victories that at some point, they are just
going to be coming out of your ears.

Though, I have to be careful what I say about coming out of somebody`s
ears. Have to be careful. Nose, ears, eyes, those are the only places I`m
talking about. The only.

But we`re going to have so many victories and they`re going to be
great victories. And we`re going to have them all the time because we have
an amazing country. We have a country that is dying. They just want to
have victory.

We don`t have wins anymore. We don`t have it.

So, the debate. I hear they`re all going after me. Whatever.
Whatever. No, I hear it.

Everybody, you know all these geniuses, the talking heads, some are
great. Actually some have come around.

You know at the beginning, three, four months ago -- well, he`s just
doing this for fun. He`s doing this for his brand. I need this like for
my brand, OK? But he`s doing it for his brand. One person, a real loser
said, he`s a clown. He`s a clown.

Now, they`re saying, oh, how do we stop this guy? No more clown. I
haven`t heard the word clown in a while. Tell you, they don`t use that
word anymore. They don`t use it.

There`s a group of pundits out there, I don`t think they`re smart. I
think they pretend they`re smart. You know, they wear the heavy glasses
and they look and they look and they look, I`m not talking about Perry who
happens to be a nice guy. Really. He is a nice guy.

But he came after me hard, didn`t he? Man. You know, I had dinner
with him a couple of years ago, I thought he was terrific, then he came
after me very hard. You know, I gave him a really good -- it`s easy when
somebody drops out of a race. I`m going to say good about everybody,
everybody. But I like that man and frankly, he tried.

But I`m talking about the guys that sit around the tables and they
talk about us. They talk about me. And they say, well -- but most of them
are now saying, we think he`s going to win. Can you believe it?

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

Now, we still have a few out there, the hatred is so incredible, it`s
so incredible, absolute hatred. I watch some of these guys. Like this
guy, should I mention names?

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

OK. I will. The problem is when I mention them, they can never, ever
support me. That`s the problem.

And you know, look at all those live television feeds. It`s always
tough. Every time I speak, they put me on live television so I have to
make different speeches. These guys go around and make the same speech,
hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of time. Nobody cares.

It`s true. It`s true.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

It`s true.

You know, you`ve got CNN live, you`ve got them all. And who needs --
no, they`re 50 percent good, 50 percent. They`ve been pretty nice.

But you know who really, when you think about it, who has to do this?
So I come out today. How many live feeds you have? Look at all those
cameras back there. Take a look, everybody.

Now, if you like the media, give them a big hand. If you don`t, give
them a big boo.

(BOOS)

I had a feeling.

You know, the truth is, there`s some really great people, I`m dealing
usually in the world of financial. That`s easier, it`s like numbers.
You`re either good, you`re not good, it`s sort of much easier.

But I found the press to be much more honorable in the financials, the
financial media. But the political media -- and I found some great ones.
There are some great ones. But should I mention some? I`m not going to do
that because you leave some out.

But, OK. So George Will is a disaster. The guy is a disaster.
Honestly, another one, Karl Rove.

(BOOS)

No, he`s terrible. Terrible. He`s terrible. He still thinks that
Mitt Romney won. He`s still going around saying, I think he won.

This guy raised, think of this, he ought to be in Wall Street. He
raises money pretty well.

He raised last cycle, the last presidential election, he raised $434
million and didn`t win one race. Can you believe that? Can you believe
it?

I understand it because I saw some of the commercials that he made. I
saw a commercial he made against Barack Obama, and I called up and I said,
who did that commercial? It`s one of the best commercials I`ve ever seen.
I`ve got to use that firm, they`re phenomenal.

But I didn`t realize it was against Obama, it was so good for Obama.
That was the one with Germany and this. Remember? Do you want a rock
star?

Do you want a -- I said, he`s not a rock star. We have an incompetent
president. This is not a rock star.

We have a president that doesn`t know what the hell he`s doing.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

So Karl Rove, every night -- you know, some of these guys like George
Will and Karl Rove and a few others, but those I`ll mention, they like
anybody in the real estate business, right? A couple of us. I love real
estate.

Let me just tell you, one of the great people. Andy Beal. Beal Bank.
Stand up, Andy. Stand up, come on. He is a shy man. He`s only worth
about $6 billion. He`s been a great friend of mine. I don`t want to
borrow any from him because he expects it to be paid back in full and on
time, right, Andy?

But you look at some of these guys and they`re like boilers, real
estate. Boilers. Bill O`Reilly said the other night -- and Bill O`Reilly
is a good great. Great guy. Great guy.

Although he`s tough and he`s tough with me. That I can tell you.
People say, how can you say he`s a great guy? But he`s fair. I saw Karl
Rove on the show the other night and the name Trump came up. And you could
see, it was like a boiler ready to explode.

I think the guy is a total incompetent jerk, but him and -- and there
are others. But I would say this -- anybody that gives him, Karl Rove and
others, the group of losers, anybody that gives them money, you`re losers
yourself. Doesn`t make sense, because they don`t know what they`re doing.

So, the polls come out, and everybody is surging but Trump. They
don`t want to say I`m surging. I went up to 40 percent today in New
Hampshire. You saw that -- 40 percent!

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

Second -- second is, I think, 11 percent or 12 percent, right? And I
won`t mention names because he`s actually a nice guy. I`ll mention names.
Why shouldn`t I? Should I? Yes. Right?

It`s Ben Carson. He is a nice man. I think he`s in second place at
11 percent or 12 percent.

Now, I`m at 40 percent and it`s actually 41 percent but they don`t
want to say that. They don`t want to give me the benefit of a couple of --
you know, if I`m 40.9 percent they`ll say I`m at 40 percent. Do you
understand that?

So, Ben Carson, good guy, I think he`s 11 percent or 12 percent. And
they`re saying -- here is the headline. Carson is surging!

I said, what about me? Where`s my name? I`m at 40 percent. Where is
my name? It`s unbelievable. Do you know where my name is?

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

They don`t know where my name is either.

By the way, can you see in the back? They have the best view. Can
you see, it`s really my hair?

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

Well, that`s the other thing. I mean, I get killed on that. I had an
article recently -- it`s true. They have the best view. They know.

Not that bad, right? I mean, I`ve seen worse. I have friends, it`s
over. I have many friends, the hair is over.

But I had the article the other -- the other day. A great article.
They said Trump is a financial genius, right? They said all good things.
They said he`s doing great, doing great here and -- but they said he wears
the worst hairpiece ever -- the writer said this -- wears the worst
hairpiece. And I said that`s terrible. If I can`t show the article to
anybody, even though it was a good article.

But in the polls it`s been so amazing. We started off, and everybody
said -- you remember this -- I won`t run. I won`t run. And I said, why do
they say that? I`m telling you I`m going to run.

NBC came over. And as you know -- I like NBC. For years we had "The
Apprentice." It was a tremendous success, one of the great successes on
television. And their head of Comcast, I`d say his first name is Steve and
he is a phenomenal guy. Steve Burke, one of the great people. A great guy
and a great manager.

He came over with a group of people from NBC. Steve is one of the --
he is the head of Comcast. And they said, we`re going to renew "The
Apprentice." And by the way, it`s a lot of money. Did you see in my
certified financial statement what I made with "The Apprentice"?

When I gave that up "The Apprentice", I mean, I made $213 million.
Can you believe it? From a television show.

And I had -- I had these announcers say, oh, no. I think he only made
a million dollars. Guys like Joe Scarborough, who is a good guy, right?
Yes. He said, no, no. He`s got a prime-time show for years. It`s got to
be -- when they checked it, 200.

So, NBC renews "The Apprentice." and I told them don`t do it because
I`m running for president. I`m going to make our country great again.
Don`t renew it.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

Now, you know if I make $213 million over a -- you know, run of 12
years or whatever, that`s a lot of money. Even for me, it`s a lot. That`s
a lot of money. That`s pretty good, right? Considering it`s not my main
business.

But I made this money, and the people come up, and they say, oh, well.
We`re going to renew it anyway because he`s not going to run. So NBC
renewed "The Apprentice." They announced it. They renewed it. They said
that Donald Trump will do another season, and I told them not to do it.

Then I told them that I`m not doing it again. And they went in the
up-front arena, and they were so angry at me. They were so angry.

But you know what, I give up a lot when I -- when I do this, I give up
a lot. I miss all of these deals. I love my business. I love what I`m
doing.

Andy can tell you that. Tom Benenson can tell you that. I love --
Club Corporation of America, by the way, in case you have never heard of
Tom Benenson.

But I lose a lot. Not only I don`t do "The Apprentice" and get paid a
fortune. It`s also I lose opportunity, all these deals. I have a deal in
China. I have deals all over the place that I could do.

Boo, boo. But it`s true. It`s like picking up a check. It`s like
picking up a check. But I give up a lot.

You know, when a politician, all talk no action, politician runs, what
do they give up? They give up nothing. They run. You know what, they
run, they lose, they win, they don`t care, all they want to do is be re-
elected or run again if they fail, right?

With me, it`s -- it`s a whole big deal. It`s a whole big deal. And
you know, I`m self-funding my campaign. I`m not taking all of this blood
money. Not doing it.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

I`m not doing it. And I feel a little bit awkward and a little
stupid. I have guys offering me millions and millions of dollars. You
know, when you`re in number one place, then the blood-suckers come out --
the lobbyists, the special interests, the donors.

Don, we love you. Guys I haven`t heard from in ten years. Don, we
love you. You know, 40 percent in New Hampshire, winning Iowa.

We`re killing in Iowa, incredible people. New Hampshire, incredible
people. South Carolina, incredible people. Incredible numbers there too.

We`re winning in Florida! Think of it. You have Jeb Bush, governor
of Florida. You have a sitting senator in Florida, Marco Rubio, and the
poll comes out the other day. Trump is leading in Florida!

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

Can you imagine? Big lead.

How about this? Have you ever heard of the great state of Texas?

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

Leading in Texas. How does that happen?

So -- so it`s been an amazing period of time. I have never
experienced anything like it, and I have been well known for a long period
of time. That`s why I got chosen for "The Apprentice" in the first place.

In fact, I don`t know if you just heard. They called me up today,
NBC, couldn`t be nicer. They finally calmed down. I settled my lawsuit
with them. Did you hear? Did you hear?

Yes. She heard.

I settled my lawsuit with them last week. A lot of litigation.
Settled it. They couldn`t have been nicer.

And they called me today and wanted everything, you know -- they want
me on their side, and I am on their side because I really like the guys at
NBC. And they have announced or will soon announce, you know who will take
the place of Trump? Arnold!

Arnold. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Good, right? I think he`s a good
choice. And he`s a friend of mine. And I approve him 100 percent and I`m
with him 100 percent. And I think he`s going to do great and we`ll raise a
lot of money for charity.

You know, I`m still in it because I have a big chunk of it. A lot of
people don`t know that. These are minor details.

But I think Arnold is going to do great. And so, they just announced
today that he`s going to be doing "The Apprentice" because I`m not allowed
to do it because I`m doing this. So, I wish Arnold well.

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

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