updated 11/17/2015 12:14:06 PM ET 2015-11-17T17:14:06

Show: HARDBALL
Date: November 16, 2015
Guest: Rudy Giuliani, Christopher Dickey, Jay Newton-Small

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Is Washington next?

This is HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews up in New York.

ISIS threatens to hit America`s capital just as it hit France`s. The CIA director confirms the danger, saying other operations are in the pipeline. The top Democrat on Senate Intelligence says she`s never been more concerned. ISIL is not contained, she wants, it`s exploding.

Well, this is not a drill. After Beirut and the Russian airliner and Paris, could Washington be the next target, and could it be soon?

NBC`s chief global correspondent Bill Neely joins us live from Paris today. He`ll be joining us -- in Turkey, today, by the way, President Obama said there was no specific intelligence warning before the Paris attack.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Every day, we have threat streams coming through the intelligence transit. Some of it is extraordinarily vague and unspecific, and there`s no clear timetable. Some of it may be more specific, and then folks chase down that threat to see what happens.

I`m not aware of anything that was specific in the sense that would have given a premonition about a particular action in Paris that would allow for law enforcement or military actions to disrupt it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, a new propaganda video -- you`re looking at it now -- from ISIS threatens to carry out a similar attack in Washington, D.C. Meanwhile today, the director of the CIA, John Brennan, warned the Paris attack is likely to be followed by more.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN BRENNAN, CIA DIRECTOR: I certainly would not consider it a one-off event. It is clear to me that ISIL has an external agenda that they are determined to carry out these types of attacks.

This is not something that was done in a matter of days. This was something that was deliberately and carefully planned over the course, I think, of several months, in terms of making sure that they had the operatives, the weapons, the explosives, through the suicide belts.

And so I would anticipate that this is not the only operation that ISIL has in the pipeline.

I do believe that this is something we are going to have to deal with for quite some time. It`s not just Europe. I think we here in the United States have to also be, obviously, quite vigilant.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Earlier today, Senator Dianne Feinstein, the ranking Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, Senate Intelligence Committee, sounded a warning about the threat posed by ISIS.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIFORNIA: I`ve never been more concerned. I read the intelligence faithfully. ISIL is not contained. ISIL is expanding. They`ve just put out a video saying it is their intent to attack this country. And I think we have to be prepared.

There`s only one way we`re going to diminish them, and that is by taking them out because they are growing. They are in more than a dozen countries now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: NBC`s chief global correspondent Bill Neely joins us live from Paris tonight. Bill, thank you. How goes the investigation, especially toward the catching of that eighth suspect?

BILL NEELY, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, just, Chris, picking up on -- picking up on those comments, it`s not just French police investigating this, it`s Belgian, German and Spanish police, intelligence agencies in Britain, the U.S. and Israel. ISIS is a global threat and it now demands a global response.

Here in France, yes, the investigation is intense, especially the manhunt for that missing possibly eighth attacker Salah Abdelslam. It`s not clear where he is at the moment. The suspicion is that he may be back in Belgium. And of course, this plot was almost centered in the Brussels suburb of Molenbeek.

And also, police naming the suspected mastermind, the person who is believed to be still in Syria, who may be behind the massacres on these streets, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, once jailed in Belgium, a man said to be so radical that he persuaded his 13-year-old brother to join him to fight in Syria. His whereabouts not known.

But this is an intense investigation, Chris. And on the back of that, we had the French president today with some pretty stern warnings. First of all, to ISIS, he said, You won`t destroy France, France will destroy you.

He wants a change in the French constitution so that it`s easier to tackle jihadists and Islamists here in France. And he also wants the military presence stepped up, and to that end, France`s aircraft carrier is this week heading closer to Syria and Iraq. And from that aircraft carrier, French war planes will launch more raids like we saw in the last 24 hours -- 12 war planes attacking the French -- sorry, the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa, Syria, dropping around 20 bombs.

So France wants to step up its military campaign against a threat here. And I suppose (ph) many people asking, however, How will more raids in Raqqa stop ISIS on the streets of Paris? And many people worry that it may, in fact, cause a backlash.

So questions also being asked here, but the president quite firm, We will defeat you -- Chris.

MATTHEWS: Thank you so much, NBC`s Bill Neely over in Paris.

I`m joined right now by the former mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani. Mr. Mayor, thanks for joining us. Your reaction to this, just off the -- well, you`ve been thinking about it all weekend, I`m sure.

RUDY GIULIANI (R), FMR. NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: Well, I`ve been very sad all weekend. Friday night and Saturday was tough, I mean, emotionally living through -- living through September 11, reminded me so much of it. And I thought we had put this behind us. And of course, we haven`t, and I think it`s worse now than it was then.

There`s no doubt in my view, Chris, this should not have happened. Now, we should have remained in Iraq. That was my position when I ran for president. I don`t care about public opinion. I care about the national security of the United States. We should have 30,000 or 40,000 troops in Iraq. And if we had had them there consistently, ISIS never would have emerged. We would have picked that information up immediately. A vacuum wouldn`t have been left.

John McCain warned five years ago, We`ve got to go in. We`ve got to go into Syria. We`ve got to close this vacuum. And we let ISIS emerge. And then we have the president saying the day before this happened that ISIS was contained. He`s getting bad intelligence, Chris.

MATTHEWS: Right. Well, we have a problem here because it seems to me that when we kill them, it helps them. They radicalize. They put up the posters. We kill them. And when they kill us, they get -- they get confidence-building.

How do you kill what is basically an ideology? These people are French. They live in France. They live in Belgium. They may live in the United States. They attack in Beirut. They attack -- they bring down a Russian airplane in Sharm el-Sheikh. They`re not the same group of -- it`s not (ph) like a gang. They`re everywhere. How do you find them and kill them?

GIULIANI: From September 11, 2001, after that attack...

MATTHEWS: That was al Qaeda.

GIULIANI: ... until 2008, we were pretty darn safe here. And we had them on defense. We had 100,000 troops in Iraq. We had 30,000 or 40,000 troops in Afghanistan. They didn`t have the time to figure out how to come and attack us because we had them on the run.

Plus, here`s the thing we`re missing. And the director of the CIA should know this better than I do. The CIA can`t get that much information. (INAUDIBLE) small. You have 50,000 or 60,000 troops in a country, you get a lot of intelligence. You find out about ISIS and ISIL and break-offs and spin-offs.

Why did we have troops in Germany for all those years during the cold war? Why did we have troops in South Korea?

MATTHEWS: To fight the Soviets.

GIULIANI: To fight...

MATTHEWS: Not to fight the Germans.

GIULIANI: No, I know, to fight some of them who come over the border and try to kill us. But we should people in those parts of the world where there are people who want to kill us, and we should be getting information and we should be containing them and we should staying on top of them. And the president of France should invoke Article V of the NATO treaty.

MATTHEWS: And bring us in.

GIULIANI: And bring all of us in, not just us, us and all the NATO members, our proportionate share, and we should do what Dianne Feinstein said. We should destroy them. You do not -- you do not temper a bully by placating him.

MATTHEWS: OK, what do we do with the tens of thousands of refugees? My own view is send them to a fort, train them and send them back, as military people.

GIULIANI: We should not take them in.

MATTHEWS: Why -- well, what should we do with them all?

GIULIANI: Well, first of all, we shouldn`t take them in because the vetting process is a joke.

MATTHEWS: Where do they go?

GIULIANI: How are we vetting...

MATTHEWS: Where do they end up, then?

(CROSSTALK)

GIULIANI: We have no information.

MATTHEWS: If we don`t take them, who gets them?

GIULIANI: Well, I think McCain had the answer to that, and Graham and Feinstein. You set up a no-fly zone.

MATTHEWS: No, what do we do with the refugees? They`re pouring into Europe. They`re pouring -- they want to come here.

GIULIANI: You pour them back into Syria and you put them in a no-fly zone in Syria. And you say, This is going to be a safe -- as we do in other civil wars. This is going to be a safe place. Have them surrounded by NATO troops to protect them. We have airplanes that protect them, airplanes...

MATTHEWS: So repatriate them. Repatriate them.

GIULIANI: Send them back to Syria. That`s where they belong. And protect them in Syria.

MATTHEWS: OK, let`s talk about Russia because they have planes in the air over there, fighter planes over Syria. How do we enforce a no-fly zone without getting in trouble with...

GIULIANI: Well, I would think they would agree -- I think they would agree to that. Their big deal is, does Assad stay in power or not? This shouldn`t affect that. We should still debate that and fight over there.

MATTHEWS: Yes. Do you think we`re hedging on that a bit now? Where do you think we are right now?

GIULIANI: I think we`re -- I think we`re hedging on that...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: We`re not going to insist on him going right away.

GIULIANI: I think we probably think we need Russia in this with us. We don`t. NATO could do this. NATO has, you know, accomplished a lot in Eastern Europe under Clinton.

MATTHEWS: So you don`t have any ideological problem with dealing with the Russians on this?

GIULIANI: I don`t have any ideological problem (INAUDIBLE) solve the problem. Absolutely.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

GIULIANI: Too many lives at stake. And Brennan is absolutely right. There`s going to be -- who knows where or when...

MATTHEWS: What did you think of that picture -- look at that picture on the screen there, Mr. Mayor. There`s a picture we haven`t seen in our lifetimes. There`s Rudy Giuliani -- Rudy Giuliani!

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: You`re sitting with me. There`s Putin, Vladimir Putin, and Barack Obama with Susan Rice, the U.N. ambassador, and a translator, interpreter, trying to hash out something.

GIULIANI: Well, they have a common enemy. I mean, you know...

MATTHEWS: I think it`s remarkable.

GIULIANI: I mean, when you think about it, think of what the Islamic terrorists did in Beslam, killing all the children. That had to have an effect on Putin. September 11 on us, Ft. Hood, now we have France, three different attacks.

MATTHEWS: Well, we got a warning from ISIS they`re coming here...

(CROSSTALK)

GIULIANI: And they`re doing the same thing bin Laden did to us. Bin Laden declared war on us, and then he came and attacked us. They`re declaring war on us. We should take them serious.

MATTHEWS: OK, you`re a big city mayor. You know how cosmopolitan area -- how do you carefully deal with the Muslim community? Because I mean, Donald Trump is talking about shutting down what he considers hard-line mosques. Now, a hard-line mosque, we know what that is, somebody who`s screaming for war, perhaps. But what about the ones where they`re just Islamist? They have a ...

(CROSSTALK)

GIULIANI: ... good mosques and bad mosques.

MATTHEWS: Well, how do you -- how do you...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: ... as a Western Christian, largely Christian-Judeo country, go into a mosque and say, We don`t like the talk in here?

GIULIANI: Well, you don`t shut them down.

MATTHEWS: You don`t agree with Trump.

GIULIANI: But you do...

MATTHEWS: You don`t agree with Trump.

GIULIANI: I don`t agree you shut them down. But I do agree you can have police in there listening to what they are doing. In fact, I`m the mayor who put the police in. Bloomberg continued it, and de Blasio took them out. There`s nothing wrong with policemen sitting in mosques and churches and synagogues...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: How did it -- what did it accomplish, keeping a policeman in there?

GIULIANI: It saved us, I would say, two or three attacks, and it gave us warning of a fourth one that Howard Safer was able to stop. And sometimes, it`s not imam. Sometimes it`s the people in the mosque themselves. The imam`s fine. The people in the mosque get together and they radicalize themselves. Now, you get undercover cops in there and you start to find out about it, you can get intelligence and you can prevent something like this. You got to be in the mosques.

And frankly, I don`t know any priest, rabbi or minister who wouldn`t welcome having a police officer at their service.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

GIULIANI: So why would an imam worry?

MATTHEWS: We have a tough question for you about Hillary Clinton and her debate performance the other night. She said that the reason she was taking big money from Wall Street is because she was helpful to 9/11 during its crisis up here. She was helpful to Manhattan, Lower Manhattan.

GIULIANI: It is -- it is -- it is true that she was helpful. She was a senator at the time, and I called upon her and she was there every time. And for that, I will always give her credit.

However, I don`t see the connection...

(LAUGHTER)

GIULIANI: ... between that and all the money she was raising from Wall Street 10 years later, 11 years later, 12 years later. I don`t think that accounts for the multi-million-dollar speaking fees. I think -- I think...

MATTHEWS: But you don`t have problem with taking money from Wall Street interests...

GIULIANI: I love Wall Street.

MATTHEWS: ... in political campaigns.

GIULIANI: I`m a Republican.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: OK, I love it!

(CROSSTALK)

GIULIANI: I`m a Republican. They supported my city. How do you think I took care of the poor people in the city?

MATTHEWS: You`re an unashamed capitalist.

GIULIANI: You`re darn right I am.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: Mayor Rudy Giuliani, thank you for that. I assume we got the thing straightened out there.

By the way, I want to thank the people up in this great city. The 92nd Street Y had me there, and they were great welcoming me last night. I want to have a special thank tonight to Anita. I said I`d mention you.

Coming up, the latest in the investigation into who was responsible for Friday`s attacks over in Paris.

Plus, how the attacks are already changing the politics in this country. Have you been hearing it? Have you been listening to it? And the 2016 presidential race is getting red hot over this issue.

Our coverage of the terror attacks on Paris continue after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Paris this afternoon to show American solidarity with France. He`ll meet with French president Hollande tomorrow morning. Meanwhile, this evening, he vowed not the fear the terrorists.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: We must do instead, what is within our power, and that begins with the sense of fierce solidarity among good and decent people everywhere, with the vow that we will never be intimidated by terrorists and with the promise that we will never allow these murderers to achieve their vile aims. No one should doubt that the light still shines in the City of Light, and that darkness will not ever, never overpower it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: That`s U.S. ambassador to France Jane Hartley standing next to the secretary of state.

And we`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Well, as French president Francois Hollande said today, the attacks were organized in neighboring Belgium before they were carried out inside France. Anyway, police raids in that country have centered around the Brussels suburb of Molenbeek, a multi-ethnic community that has sent hundreds of extremists to Syria and ISIS. It`s very troubling area.

Reuters reports that according to federal prosecutors in Belgium, some people apprehended since Friday are being held on charges of terrorism, but an international manhunt continues for those connected to the attacks themselves.

And among those at large is the eighth person -- the eighth person suspected of carrying out the attacks themselves, Salah Abdelslam. NBC News has confirmed that early on Saturday morning, just Hours after the massacre had concluded, he was stopped in a car at the Franco/Belgian border, questioned by officials. However, he was allowed to go free.

In France, police launched over 150 raids overnight, this past overnight, targeting known Islamists across the country. Well, the Associated Press reports that French authorities have also named a Belgian national as the lead organizer of the attacks this Friday night, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, who was pictured recently in an ISIS propaganda magazine. There he is.

Christopher Dickey, the world news editor for the DailyBeast, joins me from Paris. Jay Newton-Small is a correspondent for "Time" and joins me from Belgium. Thank you, first.

Let`s go to Christopher. What do you make of the fact that the eighth suspect, if you will, managed to get across the border?

CHRISTOPHER DICKEY, DAILYBEAST, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I mean, it was obviously a screw-up, except it isn`t clear that they really knew what or who they were looking for at the moment that he passed through. Remember, there was a lot of talk about sealing the borders of France.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

DICKEY: But that`s sort of like sealing the border between -- between New Jersey and New York. They were stopping and questioning people.

And, at that moment, they didn`t have any particular reason to think this guy, a French citizen, was going to be a problem.

MATTHEWS: Do the French have the same concern we have about not profiling? In other words, if a person comes through who seems to be from the Middle East in terms of their background and their name, do they have any squeamishness, if you will, about holding that person for further questioning or do they merely treat it as a blind interview?

DICKEY: Well, I think, officially, they`re squeamish, in reality, not so squeamish.

But you have to remember that that part of France and Belgium has a very, very large population of people from the Middle East and North Africa, or at least who are descended from people from the Middle East and North Africa.

MATTHEWS: Right.

DICKEY: I mean, Roubaix, for instance, a big industrial city, has always had a lot of people from North Africa.

It`s not so unusual. It`s not like this was the lone Arab who was coming through. I`m sure that there were hundreds going through that place, that point.

MATTHEWS: Jay, tell us about -- Jay, thanks for coming out. You look cold up there.

Tell us about what`s going on in Brussels in this suburb, which is not exactly a ritzy suburb. It`s a poor person`s suburb, where you have all this terrorism coming out of it, Molenbeek. Tell us about that.

JAY NEWTON-SMALL, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, "TIME": Well, indeed.

I`m standing here in Molenbeek. And we were here today earlier about six blocks straight up that way. The police were here this morning about 10:00 a.m. doing a big raid. They arrested one person. Then they chased another guy into a building. He sealed himself in, barricaded himself in for about six hours. And then, finally, police went in through the roof, set off some explosions and finally flushed him out.

But it turned out that both those guys actually weren`t related, they think, to the terrorism in Paris, although they are being charged with terrorism. And that`s the way this is here, is that there are so many people involved in terrorism here that when you kind of do search house-to-house, you`re coming up with a lot of people who they can charge with terrorism, but aren`t necessarily related to the attacks in Paris.

MATTHEWS: Why does Belgium allow under its own roof, in its own territory the known operation center of so many terrorists? Why can`t it arrest them if they get -- if they are actually connected to terrorism? What is it -- it`s almost like they have got an in-house Gitmo there. But they`re all -- they all at their own freedom to do what they want.

NEWTON-SMALL: They call it Europe`s Achilles` heel.

And it is certainly a weak spot in European security. And that is because Belgium doesn`t really believe in surveillance. They don`t really believe in a lot of the measures that other major European capitals have such as London and Paris, where you have closed-circuit television constantly monitoring things.

There`s no such surveillance on -- either of wiretapping or of cameras here in Belgium. And that creates a huge black hole for most European security agencies and has really helped foster enormous amounts of terrorists coming out of essentially this neighborhood, this -- the second poorest neighborhood in Belgium, this neighborhood -- spreading all over Europe.

There have been terrorists that have come from here that have gone to Madrid, to Paris, to even as far away as Afghanistan.

MATTHEWS: Christopher, tell us about Abdelhamid Abaaoud. He`s called the key person, the key organizer here. He`s where? We don`t know where he is. Possibly in Syria?

DICKEY: Well, no, we think he is probably in Syria at the moment. That is where he is alleged to have plotted this attack.

He is a very highly publicized crazy and cruel jihadist. There was a profile of him in "Dabiq," the propaganda magazine of ISIS. There IS a video of him dragging bodies behind a truck that came out a couple of years ago laughing, making jokes, saying we used to pull jet skis behind this truck, now we pull bodies because it`s God`s will.

He is a disgusting guy, but I would just be careful about this, because he`s got so much publicity, he`s got such a high profile, he may not be the mastermind at all. It may just be easier for ISIS and for us to point him out.

MATTHEWS: Let me go back to Jay Newton-Small for a second.

Jay, thank you. As a reporter, I know you write for "TIME" all these years. Give me some of the ticktock, the atmospheric over there. Do they feel that they are being targeted by the Westerners or do they feel they do have a haven there for the bad guys, or both?

NEWTON-SMALL: There`s a lot of unhappiness. There`s a lot of unhappiness in Molenbeek this morning.

A lot of the residents say just the number of police that have been here in the last four days, they have done four raids. The police have really been going almost door-to-door in this neighborhood. And they feel it`s unjustified, it`s unfair; 95 percent or 99 percent of the people who are here don`t warrant it, they say and that this is unfair to them.

At the same time, this is clearly a hotbed of terrorism. They have sent more than 300 people back to Syria from essentially this neighborhood. And it`s a real problem for not only Belgium, but the rest of Europe. And so the Belgian president said on Saturday after the Parisian attacks, the president, Martin, said that he -- it was clear that it was time to really crack down on this neighborhood and to clean it out.

And that is their intention, not just in the next couple of days, but in the months moving forward. There is going to be a lot of changes here. And it is going to cause a lot of unhappiness. And there is an election here actually on November 28. But whatever happens, it`s clearly with the intent of securing this neighborhood and securing Europe.

MATTHEWS: Well, I can`t imagine what the terrorist vote reads like.

Anyway, thank you so much, Christopher Dickey in Paris. Great reporting, as always.

And, Jay Newton-Small, good to have you on from Brussels.

Coming up: what this terror attack in Paris means for the presidential campaign back here in the States, as Americans shift their focus from domestic fights to international issues, the implication for politics at home. And it is clearly getting hotter, especially on the right.

And that is next, when HARDBALL returns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have to look at ISIS as the leading threat of an international terror network. It cannot be contained. It must be defeated.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

That was of course Hillary Clinton on Saturday night in the Democratic candidates debate saying ISIS cannot be contained, in contrast to what President Obama said the morning of the Paris attacks.

The Paris attacks are altering the American landscape here in the United States and shaking up the 2016 contest. The issue of terrorism is seen as a net plus, especially for the more hawkish candidates like Trump and Marco Rubio.

Yesterday, Rubio slammed Hillary Clinton for not using the word Islamic terrorism and called for more aggressive U.S. engagement in Syria.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS: You saw Secretary Clinton there did not want to use the words radical Islam. Your response?

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think that`s -- I don`t understand it.

That would be like saying we weren`t at war with Nazis because we were afraid to offend some Germans who may have been members of the Nazi Party, but weren`t violent themselves.

We`re at war with radical Islam. This is a clash of civilizations. And as I said at the debate earlier this week, there is no middle ground on this. Either they win or we win. I would ask our allies to invoke Article V. This was clearly an act of war, an attack on one of our NATO allies. And we should invoke Article V of the NATO agreement and bring everyone together to put together a coalition to confront this challenge. There will have to be a significant American engagement.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, Donald Trump had some tough talk today on "MORNING JOE."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, if I were president, we probably wouldn`t be in the problems that we have right now, because it`s incredible. We have an attack and then all of a sudden we bomb all these sites. Why didn`t we bomb the sites before?

Attack the oil, because that is their primary source of wealth. At the oil. I would obliterate their source of wealth. And I would also attack the banking system.

JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC ANCHOR: So, would you at least be willing to send 10,000 U.S. troops over there?

TRUMP: Yes, I would. But, Joe, I would engage other countries.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, according to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll, 60 percent of Americans say we need to do more to attack ISIS. But catch this. A much higher number, 76 percent, do not want to send U.S. ground troops over there.

Just how much will the Paris attacks affect American politics? Howard Fineman is global editorial director of The Huffington Post, and Eugene Robinson is opinion writer with "The Washington Post."

Gentlemen, I`m glad you`re back on today.

I guess I will start with this question. Why does Rubio want to have this as a clash of civilizations? I thought that was what ISIS wanted, what al Qaeda wants, to have the Islamic world fight with the Western world. Why would he want what they want, to see the world in a religious struggle, a religious struggle? Why say Islamic? Why don`t we say terrorists? Why does he want Obama and Hillary Clinton to swallow those words?

What is that about, Howard?

HOWARD FINEMAN, NBC CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think it`s about Marco Rubio trying to get as far to the right and as apocalyptic and as -- and as fear-mongering as he can, because that`s what the Republican contest is going to be about now.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

FINEMAN: You have George -- you have Jeb Bush talking more and more like his brother George instead of his father, George.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

FINEMAN: You have Ted Cruz and Donald Trump competing with each other because they have been selling an us vs. them theory of the world for this entire campaign.

This is just their biggest excuse and biggest opportunity to sell that theme.

MATTHEWS: Gene, same question to you, because there is one 1.75 billion Islamic people in the world.

EUGENE ROBINSON, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes.

MATTHEWS: There are Islamic people who as far from Arab as you and I are far from Arab. They`re not Arabs. They happen to be Muslims. They live in India. They live in Pakistan. They live in Indonesia. Why do we want to declare war on them by calling our terrorist opponents Islamic?

ROBINSON: Well, we don`t. Or we shouldn`t.

And, in fact, George W. Bush did not. Right after 9/11, George W. Bush, in a moment that actually filled me with pride, where George W. Bush came right out and said, we are not at war with Islam. We are at war with this crazy al Qaeda group. And we`re going to get them and we`re going to get them good, but we are not at war with one of the world`s great religions.

And it is a ridiculous thing. I sincerely hope that none of these characters, if they were to become president, would repeat such a thing, because it is a sentiment that no president of the United States who was responsibly discharging his duties would ever utter.

MATTHEWS: I don`t Franklin Roosevelt, as angry as he was at Mussolini, never declared war on the Catholics. Anyway, that would have been a stupid thing to say anyway.

The Obama administration says it`s sticking to its plan to allow up to 10,000 Syrian immigrants seeking asylum into the United States. And here is the president`s deputy national security adviser, Ben Rhodes, being pressed about it yesterday on "Meet the Press."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHUCK TODD, MODERATOR, "MEET THE PRESS": Does the president now have any pause about bringing Syrian refugees into the United States?

BEN RHODES, U.S. DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: No, Chuck, we have very extensive screening procedures for all Syrian refugees who are coming to the United States.

There is a very careful vetting process that includes our intelligence community, our National Counterterrorism Center, the Department of Homeland Security, so we can make sure that we are carefully screening anybody who comes to the United States.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, today, the president`s policy was met with fierce resistance from the right in this country. At least 18 Republican governors have said they want to prevent somehow more Syrian refugees from coming to their states.

The 2016 Republican presidential candidates also reacted. Senator Rand Paul is introducing legislation designed to prevent refugees from coming to the U.S. Senator Ted Cruz called the president`s plan to take in -- excuse me -- refugees an act of lunacy.

Mike Huckabee called on House Paul Ryan to reject the president`s plan or step down. That`s the usual Huckabee. And then Bobby Jindal, the governor of Louisiana, issued an executive order in his state of Louisiana to prevent any more refugees from setting -- settling in his state. I`m not sure that is constitutional.

Jeb Bush said we should focus our efforts as it relates to the refugees for the Christians that are being slaughtered, as opposed to those who are Muslims. So, he would set up a religious test.

Chris Christie was a guest on Hugh Hewitt`s radio show. And Hewitt treated -- tweeted: "Because he lacks confidence in administration`s vetting ability, Chris Christie says no Syrian refugees now, not even 3-year-old orphans."

Well, President Obama spoke out against this type of language rejecting the refugees earlier today at the G20 conference over in Turkey.

Let`s hear. Let`s hear his side.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: ... close our hearts to these victims of such violence, and somehow start equating the issue of refugees with the issue of terrorism.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Howard, how does this break out politically? Who wins in this fight?

FINEMAN: Well, I think obviously the Republicans think that they have the winning hand.

And I will say again that, from the start of this campaign on the Republican side especially, there`s been this sense that they are going to run against the seen and the unseen them.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

FINEMAN: The people who take unfair advantage of us in trade, according to Donald Trump, the people who trample our immigration rules compared -- as said by Ted Cruz.

Now you add this question of refugees to it. And the Republican aim is to stoke as much fear as they can. And I think their calculation is in swing states. Don`t forget, yes, they`re all Republican governors who said we don`t want the refugees. That`s true. But some of them are Republican governors in swing states like Florida, like North Carolina, and demonstrates by presidential tradition such as Michigan, for example.

They clearly think they have the upper hand. And I`m not sure that they don`t. The American people don`t want to send troops abroad. That`s true, according to that -- as that new Ipsos poll showed. But it`s not clear they are going to be favorably disposed to having more refugees come here either.

MATTHEWS: Gene, your thought about the refugee situation. Will the American people absorb the 10,000 or ultimately the 65,000 the president and the secretary of state are advocating?

ROBINSON: Well, they certainly wouldn`t even notice the 10,000, to tell you the truth.

I mean, we should just keep in mind that we are talking about something much less than a drop in the bucket. There are some -- there are like two million Syrian refugees in Turkey. There are hundreds of thousands in Europe. So, whether we take the 2,000 we have already taken or 10,000 or 65,000 makes almost no difference to the situation over there.

That said, I tend to agree with Howard that this is an issue that, if you want to demagogue it, you can demagogue it.

MATTHEWS: I just think something ironic here. If we are asking American service people to go over there and fight at some point, why don`t we recruit among the Syrian refugees? It seems to me you mentioned two million refugees. There must be tens of thousands of those refugees, able-bodied men, that would be willing to join a volunteer force and go back and retake their country.

We keep talking about the Free Syrian Army. I know where it is. It`s in Europe heading here. It`s not over there. I would get out of there, too. Who wouldn`t? I would get out of that hellhole. But the fact is, it`s their country. And the primary people that should be fighting for that country`s liberation are the people from that country.

And I`m not being a hard guy about this. But they ought to be -- we ought to be thinking about sending them to recruiting stations and sending them back over there to win that war, because right now there is no Free Syrian Army over there. We are losing because we don`t have an army. This is the opportunity to build the army.

Thank you, Howard Fineman.

FINEMAN: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: I don`t usually talk like this. But I do think there is something ironic, anomalous about us going over there to fight for Syrian liberation, and the Syrians are coming to live here in America peacefully. This is certainly strange.

Eugene Robinson, sir, thank you.

ROBINSON: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: Up next: President Obama says sending ground troops is a mistake. But what`s the best option in the fight against ISIS?

HARDBALL`s coverage of the terror in Paris continues after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHARLOTTE BREHAUT, EYEWITNESS TO PARIS ATTACK: Those of you watching at home who could imagine this happening on your door step, do not let yourselves be ruled by fear. The Islamic State groups are trying to use these symbols of our daily lives for their own political end and we will not let them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, that was Charlotte Brehaut who survived the attack and a Paris resident. She was there last Friday night. She is urging people not to be fearful as you heard following the tragedy of France last week.

Well, she spoke today with my colleague Thomas Roberts who joins me now from Paris.

Thomas, thanks so much.

I hope the people from Paris and France know how New York is feeling and reflecting the tragedy. I mean, you see the tri-colors at the Washington Square Arch is very impressive, to see it over all town, including at the World Trade Center towers.
This city is reverberating emotionally with its fellow big city.

THOMAS ROBERTS, MSNBC ANCHOR: Chris, I think you`re right. And Charlotte was a great example as someone not born here in France. She is from Britain originally and a young journalist who is living and working here in France and loving it.

And as you point out, she was at dinner with friends at La Petit Cambodge, one of the places that was attacked, and she was lucky enough to walk away being able to tell her story.

We spoke to her many times over the weekend. We had her own our network. She`s been quiet over the last 12 to 24 hours, but wanted to come out today specifically with that message about resilience. And we`ve seen this tremendous effort of resilience today not only with the Eiffel Tower being lit in French blue, white and red, but also with French President Hollande coming out with a very strong message today after a day of mourning.

And, Chris, all this takes place, it`s very fluid right now, while there have been over 168 raids, 23 arrests and 104 people being questioned. The main person they want to find is this 26-year-old Frenchman born in Belgium, Salah Abdeslam who is believed to be connected in this. His brother was also involved in this but they believe he is a live and a big thread to what they want to link to what happened here in Paris on Friday.

MATTHEWS: Well, Paris still looks good from here.

Thomas Roberts, thank you for joining Us from a tragic feeling of Paris.

ROBERTS: Sure, Chris.

MATTHEWS: As I said, New York is feeling it as well, as its sister city if you will, and I`m very proud of that.

When we return, defeating ISIS. President Obama says we have the right strategy. We`ll see if that works.

Our coverage of the terror attacks in Paris continues after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Well, in an event at the White House itself today, First Lady Michelle Obama weighed in on the Paris attacks, urging people to show strength and resilience in the wake of tragedy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHELLE OBAMA, U.S. FIRST LADY: Our thoughts and prayers of course are very much with the victims, their families and all the people of France, and we will continue to keep them in our hearts in the days ahead. As my husband said on Friday, this was an attack not just on France, our dear friend and ally, but on all of humanity and our shared values. And as we mourn, we know that we must continue to show the strength of those values and hopes that the president spoke about when he talked.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well done.

And we`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: During this weekend`s G20 Summit on counterterrorism, President Obama huddled Russian President Vladimir Putin. What a picture that is, the two spoke for more than 30 minutes, look at them, head to head.

Well, after that real life summit, President Obama said there would be no change in U.S. strategy combating ISIS. The president faced a barrage of questions from a testy press corps over in Turkey, including one reporter who asked the president, quote, "Why can`t we take out these bastards?"

Anyway, the president was defiant that there would be no American-led ground war in the Middle East.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There had been a few we suggested we should put large numbers of U.S. troops on the ground. It is not just my view, but the view of my closest military and civilian advisers that that would be a mistake. Every few months, I go to Walter Reed, and I see a 25-year-old kid who`s paralyzed or has lost his limbs, and some of those are people that I ordered into battle. And so, I can`t afford to play some of the political games that others made.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, President Obama also had a message for the hawks in the Republican Party today. Let`s listen to that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: What I`m not interested in doing is posing or pursuing some notion of American leadership or America winning or whatever other slogans they come up with that has no relationship to what it actually going to work to protect the American people and to protect people in the region who are getting killed and to protect our allies and people like France. I`m too busy for that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, I`m joined right now by NBC News terrorist analyst, Evan Kohlmann of Flashpoint, and MSNBC`s Steve Kornacki.

To the layman, I being a layman, this war seems very difficult because every time we kill some people there, they get radicalized back home, everybody in the world knows about it. They get more recruits. We have not got to the point of bombing a hospital, but you know that`s coming somewhere in ISIS territory, and every time they kill, they get more momentum.

They kill, they get killed, they win both times.

How do you end -- or eliminate or even degrade an enemy like that?

EVAN KOHLMANN, NBC NEWS TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, look, I think it`s true. I think, you know, we talk about airstrikes. But a lot of these airstrikes, we`re doing it with cuffs on, because we`re deliberately avoiding very obvious targets where if we struck them, yes, we might struck ISIS, but we`d also cause civilian casualties.

MATTHEWS: And being on the television all over the world the next day.

KOHLMANN: And ISIS would make videos out of them.

The problem is this, is that the individuals behind this attack, they received some kind of training in firearms and explosives used here, they were not the Boston bombers. These weren`t explosive made up --

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: These weren`t lone wolves, entirely.

KOHLMANN: Here`s the sophisticated explosives made by someone who knew what nay were doing. The only time you have that.

MATTHEWS: Mr. Abaaoud, do you buy that they have a ring leader somewhere, perhaps in Syria calling the shots, putting this operation together.

KOHLMANN: He certainly talked about exactly that when he was interviewed in "Dabiq" magazine, ISIS` magazine. And, look, I mean, the problem is that as long as you have a group that holds on to territory, and in that territory you have folks that are training others how to make explosives, how to shot up theaters --

MATTHEWS: How do we retake the territory when you have a Shia-led government in Damascus and a Shia-led government we put into Baghdad and these are all Sunni people?

KOHLMANN: I think that`s part of the problem. We, at one point, had an opportunity here to recruit Arab nationals, Arab Sunnis to fight against ISIS.

MATTHEWS: And?

KOHLMANN: I`m afraid that window may have closed.

MATTHEWS: Why don`t we recruit among the Syrians who are leaving? I`m serious. Two million people, there must be some able-bodied men among that group who`d be willing to join an army to go back and take their country back, and if they don`t want to take the country back, how are we going to do it?

KOHLMANN: If those people had faith in us, they wouldn`t be running from Syria. And I have to say, I understand their perspective. We once said there was a red line in Syria. No one was --

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: I`m not blaming America --

KOHLMANN: I`m just, this is -- look, this was the reasonable position.

MATTHEWS: If it`s my country, I would want it back.

KOHLMANN: Look, we talk about this, but you see the refugees fleeing, we`re seeing families with kids. You can`t expect, you can`t expect, you know?

MATTHEWS: I`m talking about able-bodied men.

Steve, your thoughts, first, the whole question, how do we eliminate? I mean, everybody is talking about destroy, even eliminate, people like Hillary Clinton. How do we do it?

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I`m looking at the politics of it. The thing that was striking to me today was the response from the Republicans, you heard unanimity with the topic of the refugees. Every Republican I heard today talked about, we don`t like the policy, we don`t want them.

MATTHEWS: Where`s your surprise?

KORNACKI: Just all variations on ways to refuse them.

But when it came then to the question of, OK, what do we do in terms after strategy against ISIS, I heard Donald Trump saying, well, yes, OK, I`d be OK with 10,000 troops. I heard Mitt Romney say we need to be OK with the idea of troops. Then, I heard Carly Fiorina be asked point blank about the troops, wouldn`t commit to sending any of them.

So, I think there`s a lot less agreement --

MATTHEWS: What`s the strategy?

KORNACKI: Well, that`s the thing, there`s less agreement on the Republican side right now about this basic question of, do we want to commit our -- do we want to commit ground troops.

MATTHEWS: Sounds like unanimity on both sides. The president is totally against it, and the Republicans are against it.

KORNACKI: Lindsey Graham is for it, Trump says sends some, Mitt Romney says we need to send some, John McCain says --

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: OK. When does Lindsey Graham not want to send soldiers? He always wants to send soldiers. I mean, that`s his default.

I think there`s a problem. Millions of Syrians coming here, we go fight their war for them, it`s insane. I can`t see why we would fight to liberate Syria without at least asking the Syrians if they like to join us.

KOHLMANN: But, look, I mean, look, these -- again, these are families. I mean, this is like when you see the boats coming from World War II Europe.

MATTHEWS: Our country is filled with families too.

KOHLMANN: And we turned these people away. These are not fighters.

MATTHEWS: Do you have how many soldiers of ours are fighting overseas are in multiple deployments who have families?

KOHLMANN: Look, everyone has families, but when you have little kids, and there are barrel bombs dropping --

MATTHEWS: I don`t know why -- look --

KOHLMANN: Look, it`s important --

MATTHEWS: We`ve been talking about building up a Syria army for years now. There is no Syrian army. The basis of a Syria army is leaving.

KOHLMANN: That`s true. That`s true.

MATTHEWS: OK.

KOHLMANN: I don`t think you can fault the people from running from barrel bombs dropping --

MATTHEWS: I`m not faulting them. I`m saying think about fighting for your country.

KOHLMANN: Look, I agree. The time for fighting for the country was back in 2013. These people are desperate. They`re afraid.

MATTHEWS: Try that on the American, they`re not going to accept this. It`s not going to work.

Anyway, thank you, Evan Kohlmann. You know your stuff about terrorism. Let me talk to you about politics. People want to fight for their own countries first, then we jump in.

Evan Kohlmann, thank you. Steve Kornacki is very placid and professional.

We`ll be right back. Thank you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Well, it`s coming up on 2:00 in the morning over in Paris.

And that`s HARDBALL for now.

Our coverage continues now with Chris Hayes.


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