updated 11/4/2015 9:25:46 AM ET 2015-11-04T14:25:46

Date: November 2, 2015
Guest: Governor Terry McAuliffe, Jeanne Cummings, Jeremy Peters, Caren
Bohan, Michelle Bernard, Robert Redford>

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Republican free-for-all.

Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.

They were once the staid party, the dignified party. Ronald Reagan
would never enter the Oval Office without wearing his suit coat, never take
it off once he got there. The first George Bush said in answer to a
reporter`s question that the greatest thing about being elected president
was the honor itself.

But that party, the Grand Old Party of fiscal responsibility,
restraint in foreign policy and good manners, has been upended by a romper
room of party crashers, government shutdowners, Tea Partiers. Pushing and
shoving are now the way of Republican politics, with the strongest pushers
and shovers calling the shots, leaving the Hillary-leading Democrats dainty
in comparison.

A rebellion that began in the presidential race has now broken out on
three fronts. First, catch this new NBC News/"Wall Street Journal" poll
just out tonight. Dr. Ben Carson is the new leader with 29 percent.
Donald Trump follows at 23 percent. Combined, the two outsider candidates
are backed by over half the Republican voters.

The second mutiny was Capitol Hill, when one speaker of the House was
dumped and a new one, Paul Ryan, was forced to accept terms. Speaker Ryan
says he`ll do nothing, period, with Obama on immigration.


REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I think if we reach
consensus on something like border enforcement, interior security, that`s
one thing. But I do not believe we should advance comprehensive
immigration legislation with president who has proven himself untrustworthy
on this issue.

CHUCK TODD, MODERATOR, "MEET THE PRESS": Some conservative believe
that pledge only means you`ll work with a Democratic president in 2017, if
that happens, on immigration.

RYAN: I was elected speaker of the House to unify the Republican
Congress, not to disunify the Republican Congress. That means my job is to
lead us to consensus, and to on big, controversial issues, operate on that


MATTHEWS: That means the right is calling the shot.

Now comes the latest front in the rebellion. The presidential
candidates are dumping the very institution of the party itself. A
Republican chairman has been pushed aside, told to handle parking
arrangements while the presidential candidates tend to the hot issues of
the debates.

"The Washington Post" quotes one campaign manager saying major
question is if the RNC should be involved at all. And NBC caught someone
involved in the negotiations among the campaigns saying there`s a role for
the RNC in planning and logistics and campaigns -- the campaigns want to be
dealing with parking? But format, we`re going to do ourselves.

Well, I`m joined right now by NBC`s Hallie Jackson, "Washington Post"
columnist Eugene Robinson and the HuffingtonPost`s global editorial
director, Howard Fineman.

Hallie, welcome to the show.


MATTHEWS: And it seems to me that the Republican Party is becoming
unglued. The RNC, that fellow Reince Priebus, doesn`t have much clout. Of
course, Boehner had no clout. And of course, the party establishment has
been losing badly in all the polls to the outsiders.

Now, let`s get into this. How -- how -- how combustious (ph) is this?

JACKSON: Pretty -- I think pretty combustious, if that is, in fact,
the word you want to use. Look...

MATTHEWS: Actually, that`s not a word.


JACKSON: I was pretty sure you made it up. (INAUDIBLE) Look at where
Jeb Bush, though, is in these polls, right? He`s down at 8 percent. This
is emblematic, I think, of what you`re seeing in the party as a whole,
right, with this anti-establishment surge, these people -- this insurgency
coming up and trying to block out, really, the rest of the establishment.
That`s what you`re seeing not just with Jeb Bush`s polling but why he`s
trying to reframe himself now as somebody who is disruptive in politics

MATTHEWS: They don`t want a moderator in anything, do they. Gene,
they don`t want a moderator in a debate. They don`t want a moderator in
the party. They don`t want anything organized. It`s just -- now they`re
all saying, We don`t even want Ben Ginsburg, the lawyer coming in, and
helping us to get together. They don`t want to get together.

This is -- this is like a riot, right? This is a riot inside the
Republican Party! And candidates want to take it over for themselves, and
in fact, have the power to do that. You know, Trump is...

MATTHEWS: Can Trump...


MATTHEWS: Can Trump just declare some night, My debate night, and
invite other Republicans to come...

ROBINSON: Who knows.

MATTHEWS: ... and some network will cover it?

ROBINSON: Who knows. If Ben Carson can have his on the Internet,
where he wants to have it...

MATTHEWS: Yes, he said that.

ROBINSON: ... (INAUDIBLE) five-minute opening statements or whatever
-- they are doing what they want to do, and obviously, the RNC is not in a
position to challenge them, or certainly not to...

MATTHEWS: The lack of cohesion, I think, these -- these -- I`m
finding new words (INAUDIBLE) here -- bespeaks a bigger problem. It`s not
really an organized political party, like we say about the Democrats in the
old days, it`s not an organized political -- they don`t seem to have
anything in common.

What does George Bush -- Jeb Bush now have in common with Donald
Trump? He wants to blow things apart, and he wants to go back to the
plodding, Oh, let`s talk about these things.

ANALYST: The point is, I think, that -- as Hallie was saying, that the
establishment, such as it is, is virtually nonexistent at this point. And
the Tea Party types and the outsiders are actually -- there`s actually
ideological unanimity in this new Republican Party.

It`s a riot, I agree with you, Gene, organizationally...


FINEMAN: ... because the outsiders want to destroy what`s left of the
organization. But ideologically, they`re all on pretty much the same page
in terms of immigration, taxes, "Obama care," you name it, but They see
what`s left of the establishment as an impediment to...

MATTHEWS: What I love...


FINEMAN: ... to destroy it.

MATTHEWS: Some guys who are good in Spanish -- just to get down to
the basics here, who are more multicultural, like Jeb Bush, who knows how
to speak...


MATTHEWS: ... defines his family as being an Hispanic family, wants
to have Telemundo as a debate sponsor, right?


MATTHEWS: Trump says, I don`t want anything to do with it!

JACKSON: But look at what happened...

MATTHEWS: It`s (INAUDIBLE) one is, Habla Espanol, and one is, No
habla Espanol.

Let`s watch this now. Sunday`s meeting showed that while the
candidates are unified in wanting to take over control of the debates,
there`s little else they agree on. Take the scheduled February debate set
to be hosted by NBC News and Telemundo.

Jeb Bush is pushing strongly for it to go on. He wants Telemundo
there. Let`s watch.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does it make sense to cancel a Telemundo debate?

should have a Telemundo debate.


MATTHEWS: So we should have a Telemundo debate because he speaks
Spanish now, but when Bush`s campaign`s chief made a similar point
yesterday, Donald Trump`s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, reportedly
said, If you do that, Trump walks.

Then there`s the Rush Limbaugh faction of the party insisting debates
should only be moderated by people like Rushbo. Watch this.


about a Republican primary moderated by Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh and
Mark Levin? Now, I guarantee you, you would get incredible ratings for
that. I`d love to see that (INAUDIBLE) I think a whole lot of people


MATTHEWS: So part of the fight`s over language and culture. Should
we have a couple (ph) of cultures represented, including Hispanic culture?

Anyway, Governor Christie now -- he says he doesn`t like having only
right-wing moderators. Let`s watch.


give an observation that someone was not fair or that it wasn`t run well,
but not say, like, Oh, well, that`s awful. We shouldn`t do it.

Put podiums up there. Put whatever three people you want. Ask me the
questions. If I can`t handle that, I have no business running against
Hillary Clinton and I got no business wanting to be president of the United


MATTHEWS: So throw any moderator you want up there. And then,
finally, there`s this (INAUDIBLE) fight over moderators, they fight over
language and actually cultural participation here -- the rebellion of the
kids` table. According to "The Washington Post" (INAUDIBLE) of Sunday
night`s meeting the Republicans all had, on the way in, Senator Lindsey
Graham`s adviser, Brett O`Donnell (ph), said that he`d be lobbying for
equal treatment and no more ghetto-izing of low-polling candidates.

Anyway, in response, Trump campaign manager said, Why do I want to let
someone White House`s polling at 0.1 percent on that stage so he can take
shots at Trump? My question. They can`t agree on the size of the table.
They can`t agree on whether there`s Telemundo participation. What else?
They can`t agree with the moderator (INAUDIBLE) should we have hot shot
right-wingers or just let it play?


MATTHEWS: This is not a political party.


JACKSON: And the other part of it, too, though, is the stakes are so
high because this is so high-profile. Of course, Lindsey Graham wants to
get up on stage with Donald Trump because Donald Trump is pulling in
ratings of upwards of $20 million people, $14 million...

MATTHEWS: Nobody ever heard of Marco Rubio until he was invited to
the table with Donald Trump.

JACKSON: This is not your first rodeo. Look back at the last couple
of cycles. Who watched Republican debates in the primary, the first three,
this closely in previous cycles? You didn`t because of who you have...


MATTHEWS: Let`s see, Newt Gingrich...

JACKSON: Well, in...


MATTHEWS: ... Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney.

JACKSON: Right! And look at the numbers from `07, the debate, the
CNBC/MSNBC debate got about 2 million viewers. Seven times as many people
watched last week`s debate. This is a huge opportunity for the Lindsey
Grahams of the world.


FINEMAN: How can you look away from this (INAUDIBLE)

MATTHEWS: Gene, is this a -- is this a wide-ranging newspaper they
want to talk to or small periodical?


MATTHEWS: I mean, if you -- are they editing this story for everybody
to pay attention to or do they just want the right wing to watch the

FINEMAN: Well, that`s the big question, right, and...

MATTHEWS: Who do they want watching?

FINEMAN: Look, what they`re going to get is they`re going to --
they`re going to -- if they have Rush Limbaugh or whatever moderating a
debate, they`re going to -- they`re going to excite and electrify the
right, and they`re going to bewilder and frighten the rest of the country!


MATTHEWS: But the funny thing, Howard, is the questions they`re going
to ask. It`s like the old days of "The Village Voice" on these nuances of
what sexual freedoms we want this week. I mean, they`re going to be asking
the most nuanced right-wing questions, like we can`t believe!

FINEMAN: Right. Well, the...

MATTHEWS: How many wars do you want?

FINEMAN: First of all -- first of all, Ben Carson and Donald Trump
are calling the shots here now. If the two of them wanted to go off and
stage a conversation, just the two of them, that would draw. Frankly, it
doesn`t matter who the interlocutors are at this point. They`re in charge.

And the whole point here is for the conservative message of the Tea
Party that all these people to one degree or another embody, not Christie
so much and not Jeb Bush, but just about everybody else, and certainly
Trump, Carson, Rubio and Cruz. They`re driving this train right now. And
they`re trying to dictate terms to the party, to the media and everybody


FINEMAN: And I think they`re...


FINEMAN: ... pretty successful at it.

MATTHEWS: I see a pattern here.

FINEMAN: Pretty successful at it.

MATTHEWS: I think you`re smart. And I think what`s come apart here,
is Reince Priebus started this idea we`re going to suppress the vote.
We`re going to have only the people we want voting, basically, middle-aged
white people. We`re going to make it harder for minorities in big cities
to vote, people that don`t have cars to vote. We`re going to make it --
and then we`re going to get into controlling the debates. And remember...


MATTHEWS: ... make sure nobody like Chris Matthews has anything to do
with our debates. Fine. I can accept the PR. And it`s all this control.

And it`s -- and what they`re really trying to do, it seems to me, is
thwart demographics. They`re trying to make sure they completely control
the topics, the issues. Don`t say anything about evolution. Don`t ask any
science questions because that`ll offend our people.

ROBINSON: Yes, but...



MATTHEWS: -in the Reagan library debate several cycles ago, someone
dared to ask -- it was a call-in question -- dared to ask, Do you believe
in evolution? For (ph) the hands (ph) -- they were so furious about that
that Reince Priebus said, No more debates with wild (ph) questions.


FINEMAN: The fact is that given their own autopsy of what happened in
2012, they should be begging to have Telemundo debates! They should be
going to every possible venue that expands the Republican base. But as
you`re pointing out, they`re doing just the opposite, and it`s because the
people I mentioned are controlling the game.

JACKSON: And the other thing this does, though, if you look at it, it
opens up...

MATTHEWS: They should have a debate on black radio.

FINEMAN: Absolutely.

MATTHEWS: That would be -- that would be interesting...


JACKSON: If they try to control it, it opens up Republicans to this
line of attack that they cannot handle tough questions. And that`s what
you`re seeing folks like Chris Christie and John Kasich pushing back on,
both of them saying tonight that they`ll have a debate. They`re not going
to sign this agreement that`s...



MATTHEWS: I`d I like to have a debate. Are you against abortion
under all circumstances, any circumstance, period? Are you for same-sex --
outlawing same-sex marriage permanently? I mean, ask them these -- are you
doing anything on climate change, anything? These are important questions,
aren`t they?

ROBINSON: Oh, those are gotcha questions!

MATTHEWS: And I`d also ask...


MATTHEWS: ... another economic recession? What are you going to do?
We already have zero interest rates.

Hallie Jackson, thank you. You add dignity and...

JACKSON: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: ... prowess to our effort here. Gene, as always...


MATTHEWS: ... but what`s that to your -- new kid on the block stuff.
Anyway, thank you, Gene Robinson. Thank you, Howard Fineman.

Coming up -- could gun safety become a winning issue for the
Democrats? Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe, a big Hillary Clinton
supporter, is taking on the NRA in what could be a strategy for Democrats
heading into 2016. (INAUDIBLE) Terry`s coming here next, Governor --
Governor McAuliffe -- I -- you know, it took him a while for us to get used
to that, Terry.

Plus, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are the two big winners of last week`s
debate. We`ve got the stats on that. We`re seeing it in the polling. And
now Cruz has predicted that the American -- the Republican race will come
down to just the two of them, the two Cuban-Americans, he and Rubio.
Imagine that? Rubio for the establishment, him for the outsiders.

And yes, tonight, the great Robert Redford`s coming with us tonight.
He stars as Dan Rather in a new movie "truth."

Finally, "Let Me Finish" with the travails of Reince Priebus.

And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics. I love that name!


MATTHEWS: President Obama today traveled to Newark, New Jersey, to
highlight his efforts on criminal justice reform. In an interview with
"NBC NIGHTLY NEWS" anchor Lester Holt, the president reflected on his
legacy and the need for his successor to carry on the fight for racial
justice here. Let`s watch.


presidency can help to galvanize and mobilize America on behalf of issues
of racial disparity and racial justice. But I do so hoping that my
successor, who`s not African-American, if he or she is not -- that they`ll
be just as concerned as I am because this is part of what it means to
perfect our union.


MATTHEWS: That`s our country today.

And we`ll be right back.



politicians talking and not getting things done! We need to lead the way
here in Virginia! And after the tragedy that we had down at Smith Mountain
Lake, after the tragedy that we had at Virginia Tech, I took executive
action and I banned every firearm in every state office building!



MATTHEWS: Wow. Welcome back to HARDBALL. That was Virginia governor
Terry McAuliffe at a rally late last month. Today, he`s barnstorming the
Commonwealth of Virginia ahead of tomorrow`s elections for state senate.
Democrats are trying to take the senate back from Republicans, and the race
is expected to be close down there.

McAuliffe is pushing gun control as a major issue, gun safety, a tough
position to take in a state that`s home to the National Rifle Association`s
national headquarters.

And when it comes to 2016, Terry McAuliffe is a long-time supporter,
of course, of the Clintons. He headlined a Hillary Clinton rally last
month in Virginia after her marathon Benghazi testimony. He thinks she has
the right stuff.


MCAULIFFE: Inside and out, she knows the foreign policy, what needs
to be done for the country. And this woman should be president of the
United States of America. So you let the Republicans keep doing what
they`re doing, their debates. I mean, they`re entertaining to watch. I
mean, I get a kick out of watching them. I don`t learn anything about what
they`re going to do for America.


MATTHEWS: Wow. And today, the Trump campaign says they`ve submitted
more than enough signatures to qualify Trump for the Virginia presidential
primary ballot in March 1st of next year. Virginia will be pivotal in the
2016 White House race, of course.

And joining me now from Richmond is Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe.
Terry, it`s great to have you on. Governor, I`m sorry. I have to get used

MCAULIFFE: Thank you, Chris.

MATTHEWS: ... your greatness! But it is important to get it right.

You know, I`m impressed by your guts going at it for gun safety in a
state that is Virginia. What`s changed? Why do people now open their ears
and hearts to the idea of keeping bad people from getting their fingers on

MCAULIFFE: Well, as you know, Chris, when I ran for governor, this
was a top topic for me. I talked about it every single day. It`s
important. Here in Virginia, we had one of the worst tragedies ever at
Virginia Tech, 32 individuals were killed, 17 injured. We just had a
tragedy, two journalists killed on live television.

Enough is enough. I`m tired of the politicians bought and paid for by
the NRA. It`s time to stand up. It`s time do something about it. It`s
time to shut the gun show loophole down. It`s time for background checks.

So I`m trying to do that through the legislature, and that`s why
everybody in Virginia who`s watching, please make sure you vote tomorrow.
I need one seat to get control of the Senate, and we can pass common sense
gun laws here in Virginia.

As you know, in Virginia, we`re considered a source state. We saw
last year thousands of guns that were purchased in Virginia went to other
states and were involved in a crime. We need to shut it down.

Gun show loopholes need to be stopped. Everybody should go through a
background check. And we need to make sure that we get people elected to
office who support these goals. Common sense.

MATTHEWS: How do you get the gun owner, the guy who -- or the woman
who believes in the 2nd Amendment fully who does do hunting, who does load
their own shells, who takes a real interest in it, reads all the magazines
-- how do you get that person to say, You know what? Nuts and criminals
shouldn`t have guns.

MCAULIFFE: Well, I think we`re there, Chris. Eighty-five percent of
Americans, according to the Pew Research, say that we should have
background checks. Listen, I`m a gun owner. I own three guns. I just
took my two boys hunting last weekend. But you know what? I went through
background checks.

All we`re trying to do is say that individuals -- issues with mental
illness, domestic abuse -- there are individuals who should not own
firearms. This is common sense. And that`s why I did an executive order.
I just banned all handguns, no open carry in any of our state office
buildings every single day. They need a safe environment.

So, I took action. Individuals in Virginia today, if you have a
protective order against you, you cannot purchase a firearm. But guess
what? You can still own one. So, I`m going to work with our attorney
general to work with our prosecutors and the judges to say, no, no, if you
have got a protective order, you can`t buy one. But guess what? If you
have got one, you need to hand it in.

This is common sense. This is why elections matter. That`s why I
need the Senate here. I need one vote. Common sense, I`m trying to push
the Medicaid expansion, Chris; $2.4 billion a year, we`re forfeiting in

MATTHEWS: I know. That`s a loss, yes.

MCAULIFFE: Common sense.

MATTHEWS: Well, good luck with that.

MCAULIFFE: K-12 investment, that is what people want.

Our economy is booming. When I became governor, I inherited a large
deficit. You know what? We just turned that into the largest surplus in
Virginia history. Our economy today, 4.3 percent unemployment, lowest in
the Southeast of the United States of America. We are creating jobs.

But part of my job as governor is to keep our community safe. So, I
have been a voice day in and day out for commonsense gun restrictions. I
ran on this issue. I brought it up last year.

But what happens here in the legislature is, 7:00 in the morning, with
no recorded vote, it dies in a committee. I need to have one chamber that
can work with me to pass it and then we can get some leverage and get some
commonsense things done. I`m trying to be a problem-solver to move
Virginia forward.

MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about your state and its power in our
country, not just economically, and it is a booming state.


MATTHEWS: But electoral power.

I was watching. You probably watched too that great documentary done
on Mitt Romney after he lost. He actually looked pretty good in that

MCAULIFFE: Yes. He did.

MATTHEWS: And there he is watching on election night, and he goes,
God, I`m even in Virginia. That means I have lost Ohio.

I love it when -- I didn`t think he was that shrewd politically to see
the way the states calibrate. Your state is a bit to the right of Ohio.
It seems to me, if Republicans can`t get -- they need Ohio to win. They
never won without it. If they don`t get Virginia, they are not going to
get Ohio. Does that make sense to you? Your state is really one of those
key deciding states right now.

MCAULIFFE: I think we are one of the five or six key swing states.
Republicans cannot win the White House if they don`t win Virginia.

We are going to win Virginia. It is a true swing state. We win it
for Hillary, Hillary is going to be the next president of the United
States. We are working very hard here. Why. Common sense. But Virginia
has always been a strategic state.

But you got to remember, Chris, when I ran for governor, I broke a
three-decade trend, whoever wins the White House, the other party wins the
governor`s mansion. I carried in with me my lieutenant governor and my
attorney general. First time in 24 years Democrats swept. We control all
five statewides.

And President Obama has carried this state twice. The problem I`m
dealing with tomorrow is, this is an off, off, off year, no statewides, no
federal candidates. That`s why I have been barnstorming the state to say,
if you want common sense, pro-growth, move our economy forward, commonsense
gun restrictions, the Medicaid expansion, please come out and vote

MATTHEWS: And congratulations on that beating that pattern of buyer`s
remorse. You`re right, every other year. It always seems that the year
after a presidential election Virginia goes the other way.

Terry McAuliffe, governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, good luck
tomorrow in the Senate races.

MCAULIFFE: Thanks, Chris.

MATTHEWS: Joining me now is political editor for "The Wall Street
Journal" Jeanne Cummings.

Jeanne, a couple things that I want to remark on in terms of national
projections. Hillary Clinton, strong on gun safety. That is a rarity for
one of the two-party candidates. And she is probably going to be the --
she is the front-runner right now to win the nomination. To stick her head
and neck out like that, there is no interest group out there, there`s no
pandering. That`s just sheer guts to come out for gun safety that I can

of an interest group. The mayors against gun violence are growing. It`s a
growing movement.



CUMMINGS: And, frankly, we are developing a very large community, sad
to say, of survivors of victims of violence in schools.

MATTHEWS: Will they be there in election week when everybody is
thinking about every other issue? Will they be still thinking about gun

CUMMINGS: They will. And those parents are committed to trying to
make change, especially -- the parents of the slain journalist in Virginia
has made it very clear he wants to...


MATTHEWS: OK. What about Bernie Sanders, who appeals to a lot of
people who are young and progressive, and rightly so? And they love the
nostalgia I think of the `60s a bit too, some of that that I remember.

What about him on guns? Because, as he says, his defense for being so
slow on guns is because he`s from a rural state. Is that a defense in the
big debates coming between he and her?

CUMMINGS: Well, I think it`s a fair argument for him to make, "I`m
from Vermont and I was just representing the views of my constituents,"
which is fine. It`s not courageous.

But he will have to explain then, when you get in the White House, who
are you going to represent then? Are you going to be a gun safety rep or
are you going to revert back to what you did when you were representing

And I think one of the reasons that Hillary Clinton is raising this
issue is because it`s a clear distinction between her and Bernie. And
there aren`t that many.

MATTHEWS: Yes. You always want to go where the other person can`t
go. And she is going there. I think it`s very nervy on her part. I give
her credit for you.

Thank you, Jeanne Cummings from "The Wall Street Journal."

Up next: Ted Cruz thinks the Republican battle will come down to him
-- of course he does -- and Marco Rubio. Of course he does, this as a new
poll shows Rubio actually gaining quite fast up in New Hampshire as an
establishment candidate.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.



had some fun. And no reporters were shot. So, it was a good day.


MATTHEWS: Boy, that`s funny, isn`t it? No reporters were shot.

Welcome back to HARDBALL.

That was, of course, the inimitable Ted Cruz out pheasant hunting with
Steve King, continuing his jabs at the media, while pheasant hunting with
Congressman Steve King in Iowa this weekend.

An NBC News poll, by the way, Friday confirmed the consensus view last
week that Ted Cruz along with his Senate colleague Marco Rubio were the
breakout stars of the third Republican debate.

Now a new poll out just today shows that Rubio has received a bounce
in the key first primary state of New Hampshire. According to Monmouth
University, Trump and Carson still lead the pack, but Marco Rubio has now
moved into a third place with 13 points, a significant number, actually, a
gain of nine points since September.

Rubio`s gaining on the eastern side of the board and after receiving
the backing of billionaire Paul Singer last week, Rubio was today endorsed
by Colorado Senator Cory Gardner. According to "The New York Times," Cruz
is also eying Rubio as a long-term rival -- quote -- "Mr. Cruz is privately
telling colleagues that he" -- I didn`t know he had colleagues -- "that he
believes the race for the party`s nomination will boil down to a contest
between himself and Mr. Rubio."

Well, Rubio and Cruz have much in common. They`re first-term
senators. They are both 44-year-olds. They are both Cuban Americans, but
they represent very different wings of the party. Cruz is an insurgent
conservative firebrand, while Rubio has more establishment appeal.

I`m joined right now by the HARDBALL roundtable tonight.

Michelle Bernard, president of the Bernard Center for Women, Politics
and Public Policy. Jeremy Peters is reporter with "The New York Times" and
Caren Bohan is deputy U.S. elections editor at Reuters.

Caren, I near what you have to say on this, since you`re new. This
battle, I really do believe that Rubio has figured out a lot of things.
How to raise a lot of money by being a hawk. All the hawks. "Shellie"
hasn`t jumped in yet; Adelson is not there yet. But Singer is there,
Braman. I don`t even know all these guys, but they are very hard on the
Middle East politics, very hawkish.

And also he is the future. He challenges Hillary, you could argue, on
the age front, if there`s going to be a challenge there. He`s cute. He
looks good on television. I shouldn`t put him down for being cute. It`s
better to be cute than not.

He comes as a really symphonic speaker. Everything he speaks seems to
be part of a large symphony of thought. It`s coherent. It`s a bit
lyrical. He knows how to talk. OK? Is he the guy to watch if the two
outsiders begin to fade?

CAREN BOHAN, REUTERS: He is an extremely talented politician.

And anyone who has watched Cruz and Rubio knows that both of them are
very talented. The problem is...

MATTHEWS: Who is likable?

BOHAN: They are both likable.

MATTHEWS: Cruz is likable? Oh, come on now.


MATTHEWS: There is a mutiny here. There is a mutiny.


BOHAN: Cruz is likable in a room with grassroots conservatives. He
really knows how to fire them up like nobody else. And he connects with

MATTHEWS: That`s what is the new likability. OK.

BOHAN: Rubio is good at that kind of retail politicking. He`s very
good at the one-on-one campaigning.


MATTHEWS: Oh, he`s good at that too. Well, that, I didn`t know.
That`s good to know.

Is that true? Do you find that, too, that Rubio is good out in the
street, out walking around door-to-door?

JEREMY PETERS, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": I`ll tell you what is striking
about when people listen to him, because let`s remember a lot of them don`t
know a whole lot about him. He`s not the national figure that Cruz is.

MATTHEWS: There is not a lot to know.

PETERS: Well, he hasn`t been around all that long, right, on the
national stage. And he hasn`t built...

MATTHEWS: First-term senator, and the speakership in Florida is a
rotational speakership. It`s not like you work your way up to it.

PETERS: Right. And he is not into the politics of provocation like
Cruz is. He hasn`t developed this huge nationwide -- well, huge maybe is
overstating it, but a large national following.

When they listen to him, they say, wow, OK, he`s very articulate. He
has a lot of -- like you said, a lot of thought there. But guess who else
that reminds them of? A young first-term senator, very bright and
articulate. For Republicans, I think that is more of a problem.

MATTHEWS: That he`s another high flyer with not a lot of anchor,
right, a lot of lift, but not a lot of base, ballast.

You get a guy who is so new, has a problem paying his bills,
apparently. I don`t really care that much, but apparently he is pretty
difficult to -- he`s credit carding it and things like that. A lot of
people can identify with that, not in a presidential candidate.

I think if you pick -- if you`re a Republican -- and I know you are
sometimes -- if you pick a Republican like Cruz or Rubio, you`re kissing
off the Northeast, just kissing them off. I can`t see Pennsylvania, New
Jersey and the New England states going for either of these guys. They are
not moderate enough.


POLICY: Right after -- but Rubio is someone who gives the impression that
he could -- quote, unquote -- "evolve" once again. Right after he was
elected to the Senate...


MATTHEWS: Because he has. But he`s going right.

BERNARD: He was more conservative.

MATTHEWS: Will he come back?

BERNARD: I think he is going to continue to swing center. I think
he`s a dark horse general election candidate. He`s got -- the Obama --
quote, unquote -- "problem" is also not a problem in the sense that he`s
got a great story to tell.

MATTHEWS: I think he`s smart.

BERNARD: He`s smart.

MATTHEWS: I like the fact he talks about immigration, not because he
is Cuban American. They`re in a particular category.

I like the fact he talks about E-Verify, about the need to enforce
immigration rules. He doesn`t just B.S. it. He says we need to let people
come in and become citizens. But -- he did, at least. And we also have to
make sure we regulate immigration like every other country reasonably and
progressively. He talks about it like he knows what he is talking about.


MATTHEWS: That`s Rubio. Cruz doesn`t.

BOHAN: Rubio and Cruz is -- Rubio has a history of compromising, not
only with moderate Republicans, but with Democrats. Cruz, his whole brand
is built on the fact that he does not compromise.

MATTHEWS: Even with his own leadership. He calls Mitch McConnell a


BOHAN: And that`s where I think that Rubio could appeal in the

MATTHEWS: Donald Trump yesterday tweeted about the skirmish between
Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush. He knows how to exploit these things.

"I told you in speeches months ago that Jeb and Marco do not like each
other. Marco is too ambitious and very disloyal to Jeb as his mentor."

He also took a shot at Rubio on immigration. "Marco Rubio will not
win. Weak on illegal immigration. Strong on amnesty and has the
appearance to killers of the world as a lightweight." Jesus.

In an interview earlier today on Bloomberg -- quote -- "With all due
respect," he went even further. Let`s watch.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He was a member of the gang
of eight, which basically wanted to have everybody come in and take over
our country.

All of a sudden, he went down in the polls and he immediately changed
and got out. He is totally driven by what the public thinks. Bush got
creamed in the debate. But he doesn`t -- if I were the messenger, because
the message is great. His delivery was poor. But the message is great.

He doesn`t show up. Marco doesn`t show up to votes. He doesn`t do
things that you`re supposed to do. I think he is a highly overrated
person. I called him a lightweight. I think he`s a lightweight. I hope
I`m wrong about that.

But I watched somebody on Joe`s show this morning. He`s talking --
he`s fawning over him. He says how handsome he is, how good -- I don`t
know. I think I`m better looking than he is. Am I better looking than

Another thing I didn`t like about him and I don`t like about him, he
was -- he should have been more loyal to Bush. He was very, very disloyal
to Bush. I don`t like that.


MATTHEWS: Jeremy, this guy lives off the land. He reads the paper
every day. He finds out what he can -- what dirt he can do. Oh, he`s
disloyal to Bush. I will stick that to him. He can`t pay his bills. I
will stick that to him.


MATTHEWS: But there is a question. At what point do the people want
to now if the guy`s got a good credit rating?

PETERS: Well...

MATTHEWS: When are they going to ask about his attendance at work?
If you are hiring somebody, don`t you want to know a couple of things,
credit rating, do they pay their bills, and, two, do they show up for work?

And if both are no`s, doesn`t that become relevant as you get closer
to picking a nominee?

PETERS: Well, that`s the attack that is coming on his personal


MATTHEWS: You guys are good at this, by the way, "The Times."


PETERS: I would say -- I would put more of it on Jeb Bush.

But they have been pushing this a lot. They have been pushing the
voting record stuff a lot, right, because they think if they...

MATTHEWS: Jeb has.

PETERS: They think if they can make him look like he is too
ambitious, that he`s too much of a guy in a hurry, he can`t be bothered to
show up for the day job...

MATTHEWS: Slapdash.

BOHAN: Exactly, that he will look unserious.

But let`s remember, they used that same argument against a lot of
other people, Republican and Democrat, John McCain, Barack Obama. All
these senators who have run for office...


BERNARD: Just the not showing up.

PETERS: I do know that Marco Rubio`s people believe and they have
seen evidence that they are in strong position to ride this out, because
you know what? People hate Washington. And if you`re not showing up at
the Senate...

MATTHEWS: I know. Anything bad looks good.

Anyway, the roundtable is sticking with me.

Up next, these three are going to tell me something I don`t know,
beginning with Michelle here.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.



MATTHEWS: Michelle, tell me something I don`t know.

versus blue state feminist is back in full form. On Friday, Carly Fiorina
will be going back to "The View." The last week, the ladies of "The View"
on ABC mentioned, noted that her face in their opinion looked demented
after the last CNBC debate. Carly Fiorina struck back -- struck back and
said there is nothing more scary to the liberal media than a conservative
woman. But she failed to note she made fun of Barbara Boxer`s hair in 2010
when she ran for her Senate bid. So, on Friday, she will have explaining
to do.

MATTHEWS: To take on Boxer would be a challenge. She lost to Boxer.


MATTHEWS: Yes, Jeremy?

JEREMY PETERS, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Marco Rubio, who has taken a lot
of heat over the course of his career for intermingling his personal
finances with state party finances back in Florida --

MATTHEWS: I think it`s called mixing.

PETERS: -- expect more of that to come back up.

MATTHEWS: Thanks to "The Times"?

PETERS: In a -- not thanks to "The Times". But I think thanks to his
political opponents.

MATTHEWS: I think that is the mother load of news coming.

CAREN BOHAN, REUTERS: So, Chris, we all know there is this intense
competition between Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio playing out for the donors.


BOHAN: So what -- we do know that, but what we don`t know is that the
Jeb supporters are putting out the word that people shouldn`t flock toward
Rubio because of his position on abortion. Rubio takes a farther right
position than abortion than Jeb.

MATTHEWS: How far can you go, no exceptions?

BOHAN: No exceptions.

MATTHEWS: Period --

BOHAN: So, the argument is, if he is taking a position like that,
he`s going to have a hard time running on that against Hillary Clinton.

MATTHEWS: I think the donors` wives, if they`re males, better be
careful, because they`re watching that. What you just do? You gave
millions to who?

Anyway, thank you. The HARDBALL roundtable, Michelle Bernard, Jeremy
Peters, and Caren Bohan. By the way, the social issues are very important
to donors, too.

Up next, he`s one of Hollywood`s most iconic actors and he`s no
stranger to history or politics. Robert Redford will be here to discuss
his latest role as a famous journalist. You can`t be more famous.

And this HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: Former U.S. Senator Fred Thompson died Sunday in Tennessee
after recurrence with lymphoma. At age 30, Thompson was selected as
Republican counsel in the Senate Watergate Committee where he made a name
for himself in his questioning of Nixon aide, Alexander Butterfield. By
the way, Thompson was the one who popped the question about a White House
taping system.

Decades later, he won the Tennessee Senate seat himself, vacated by Al
Gore, and would eventually run for the Republican nomination in the 2008
presidential campaign.

But Thompson also made a name for himself outside of politics
appearing in more than 20 feature films like "The Hunt for Red October."
And as a tough Manhattan district attorney with a booming voice Arthur
Branch on the NBC show "Law and Order."

Fred Thompson was 73 years old.


MATTHEWS: We are back.

Renowned actor Robert Redford is famous for movies he starred in about
politics and journalism, movies like "The Candidate", where as a U.S.
senate hopeful, his character challenges the political establishment. And
another about investigative journalism in "All The President`s Men" or a
movie about broadcast television journalism with a romantic drama, "Up
Close and Personal."

And now, he is starring in a new film about a crisis in journalism and
the movie is called "Truth". It recalls the firestorm about the 2004 CBS
"60 Minutes" report investigating then-President George W. Bush`s service
records in the Texas air national guard. Several producers and executives
at CBS lost their job because of that report, including the legendary "CBS
Evening News" anchor Dan Rather.

Robert Redford plays rather in the film. Let`s watch.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Andrew, I need him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where? You`re not taking him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You say that, but here I am.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stash in a hotel two blocks up.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dan, you can`t leave your own party. I`ve got 50
affiliates and their wives waiting to talk with you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You want to finish this off. I already had three.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: General, this is Dan Rather.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you for doing this.


MATTHEWS: Robert Redford joins me now.

Robert, thanks so much for joining us tonight live.

What made you want to get into this hot -- talking about a hot issue?
I mean, it`s the end of Dan Rather, who is a friend of mine and I like to
think you are, too. Boy, talk about controversy, the media, the world
we`re in right now, with the fight over the debates and the moderators.
You are in the middle of a stew right now, I think.

Your thoughts?

ROBERT REDFORD, ACTOR, "TRUTH": Well, right in the middle of the stew
-- well, I don`t think I`m in the middle of the stew going on politically
right now. I mean, for me, this is a personal opinion, it feels like loony
tunes and note-so-merry melodies. To me, it`s kind of depressing in terms
of what we could be hearing but aren`t. So, but that`s my personal

MATTHEWS: What about the movie? I`m talking about what happened with
Dan Rather. At the heart of it is an investigative report on George Bush`s
air national guard story which is a hell of a good story. Did he, in fact,
show up? Was he given special treatment? These are all good questions.
But then the whole thing came down to the documents that Bill Burkett
produced that turned out to be highly questionable, to put it lightly.

REDFORD: Well, look, for me, I`m all about story. That`s what I`m
about, is what`s the story? You know, and who are the characters that
embody the story.

But for me at that time that was a story that I don`t think ever got
fully told. It was an open and shut case. It popped up and went back down
again so fast you wondered, well, wait a minute, wasn`t there more to this?
We never knew until now. So, I think what the film does or tries to do is
to open it up to look at what the full story was and let the audience
decide for themselves how they feel about it.

MATTHEWS: How do you think rather comes off?

REDFORD: As me playing him or Dan himself?

MATTHEWS: No, you`re great. In fact, you`ve opened the door to my
applause now. I think you really caught him, his formality, his good old
boy -- his Texas thing combined with his formality the way he`s a bit
awkward personally. He`s a good guy, but he`s very awkward. I think you
captured all of that. And so did Cate -- I don`t know here, but she`s just
charismatic. That`s all, the way she played it. But really got rather --

REDFORD: Cate can do anything.


REDFORD: Thank you.

It was not an easy -- it was a challenge for me as an actor. But I
enjoyed that because I had to play somebody that was very well known on a
nightly basis and everybody knew what he looked like. And if I was going
to play him I couldn`t -- if I mimicked him that would be a caricature of
him and that would be terrible.

On the other hand, how to get an essence of a guy, and you hit some of
the points, Chris. He`s very polite, he`s very -- he`s -- he has a genuine
compassionate exterior. But what I found out, what sat underneath that was
a tremendous kind of a wolf desire to get to the truth. And so that
dichotomy is what interested me.

MATTHEWS: You know, I look at all your movies and I think about --
you`re going -- the series about winners. And "The Candidate" being one of
them. "The Candidate" I still think is the best political movie. I`ve
seen them all. I think you got that.

Investigative reporting, you have the fabulous Woodward-Bernstein
team. You captured the excitement and the honesty of those guys, the
courage to take on a presidency and all his men and to have them do it just
as two young guys. I mean, there`s -- you really do find the romance in
politics and in journalism and especially when they clash, like this movie

REDFORD: Well, that`s because -- that`s because what I`m most
interested in is the characters themselves. With Woodward and Bernstein,
when I went into that, and I spent four years working on that project,
there was a similarity, by the way, with what`s happening with Rather and
Mary Mapes and Woodward and Bernstein, there`s a difference because with
Woodward and Bernstein, they were going after the truth, they were digging
in to get to the truth against the odds of an administration that did not
want that revealed.


REDFORD: But they had the support of their bosses. They had Kay
Graham and they had Ben Bradley. They had their support.

On this situation, you had Rather and Mapes trying to do the very same
thing, but in the end, they did not have the support of their bosses
because you look at the picture then you get into the whole thing about the
conjunction between corporations, media and journalism. And I remember --
boy, I`ll tell you. I`m a big devotee of honest good news.

And I remember there was a time, and I think the film says this.
There was a time when the news was sacrosanct. There was -- that`s what it
was. Entertainment had its area and the news had its area. It was

Slowly what happens, entertainment at some point begins to creep into
the news and to change the dynamic. I think that`s kind of sad because I
think news is vitally important.

MATTHEWS: Yes. I think you`re right about the feature pieces they

By the way, I`ve never told you this but I`ve got to tell you, I was
in the Peace Corps on my way home from two years in Africa. I go to
Mombasa in Kenya and I go to see "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid." I
thought I had come home. That was America.

You know, the country had changed in two years, and that movie was
such a cultural iconic piece. Number two, a little more applause here for
Robert Redford. I think "Quiz Show" is one of the best movies ever made.
And you made it. That movie is perfect.

REDFORD: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: And it gets better every time I see it.

Robert Redford`s done it again with "Truth." Thank you so much for
coming on the show tonight. And it`s in theaters right now. And we`ll be
right back.

REDFORD: Thank you, Chris.


MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this:

For a good many months, I`ve criticized the Republican Party for
trying to stop people from voting who they assume will vote for the
Democratic candidates. It`s gotten to be pretty clear that the party`s
efforts in legislatures across the country, setting tougher requirements
for voting such as government-issued ID cards is limiting minorities, young
and old people, from the voting booth. Well, more recently, the Republican
Party officialdom have tried to control the electoral process in another
way, hugging control of the debates under the leadership of Party Chairman
Reince Priebus, the same man who has overseen the voter suppression effort,
the goal has been to ensure that only the media organizations the party
prefers should be keeping order and asking questions at Republican
presidential debates.

Well, the reason for this, which the party has admitted, is to avoid
having uncomfortable questions being asked, questions like do you believe
in evolution? Whatever. The fact is and the Republican leader has
asserted it is a fact that there will be no such questions about science,
no hands up if you agree questions asked, period. That`s the way they want

OK. So, now the question at the table is whether the Republicans
should be allowed to ask themselves questions by people they believe are at
least as conservative as the most conservative among them. This is what
one candidate said. Ted Cruz is proposing the three moderators be Rush
Limbaugh, Mark Levin, and Sean Hannity. Well, that would be fun, wouldn`t

But what happens when you have only the voters you want voting, white,
middle-aged and minimally well-off, when you have debates run only by the
party itself, all topics safely predictable, and even have the questions
all coming from people guaranteed to have opinions on the outside rail of
Republican thinking. Who do you blame defeat on then?

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

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.


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