Perry Bacon, Jr.>

Malloy, Tad Devine>

giving policy speeches from time to time using a speech writer and a

teleprompter. What would breaking up big banks entail, and is it

necessary? President Obama is trying to reassure world leaders that Donald

Trump will be defeated if he`s the Republican nominee. But according to a

report in "Politico", his assurances aren`t working.>

Barack Obama; Donald Trump; Elections; Government>

MATTHEWS: Any impact?

DEVINE: Let me tell you why. Can he take the shot, OK?

MATTHEWS: Remember Mike Dukakis, what he took.

DEVINE: I remember it very well.

In 2006, I did Bernie`s Senate race in Vermont. And after six months of positive advertising from his opponent, the richest guy in the state, they launched the most vicious, negative campaign. Not just in that state, but in America. A series of tough negative ads. The worst you have seen.

And you know what it did? We lost no vote. We never ran a negative ad against the guy. He not only survived it, he thrived on it. The same will be true here. Democratic socialism, on November 19 of last year, he gave a speech for an hour at Georgetown University describing his political philosophy. This isn`t a state secret. OK?

MATTHEWS: I know the name is out there.


DEVINE: And I`ll tell you. One -- two words is going to defeat him? It`s not going to happen.


MATTHEWS: Let me give you a broader statement.

The other guy that does well in national polling in terms of a net positive is John Kasich.


MATTHEWS: And I think, similarly, they have not been the main target of all the vicious attack lines. Trump attacks his opponents. He doesn`t attack Kasich.

DEVINE: Yes, but the thing about Bernie...

MATTHEWS: And Hillary doesn`t really attack Bernie, except on these particular gun issues, which she`s focused on.

DEVINE: The fact that Bernie is honest about his political philosophy is one of the great proof points of his candidacy. It is central attribute as a candidate, his integrity.

I don`t think it will hurt him at all. As a matter of fact, we`d love to talk about it.

MATTHEWS: We may not find out, though.

Anyway, but thank you, Tad Devine.

Up next, Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy is coming here just days ahead of his state`s primary. That`s coming up next Tuesday too.

Tomorrow night at 10:00 Eastern, you got to watch this. Join me for an in- depth look at Hillary Clinton in my new documentary, "It Takes a Country." That`s tomorrow, Friday night, at 10:00 Eastern here on MSNBC.



HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am not here to make promises I can`t keep. I`m here to tell you I will use every single minute of every, if I`m so fortunate enough to be your president, looking for ways that we can save lives, that we can change the gun culture. It`s just too easy for people to reach for a gun to solve their problems.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

That was Hillary Clinton earlier today campaigning up in Connecticut. From day one of her presidential campaign, Clinton has slammed Americans` easy access to guns. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has mostly taken a more moderate position on gun control.

And in an interview today with my colleague Andrea Mitchell, he hit back against Clinton`s criticism of him on guns.


SANDERS: I would ask Secretary Clinton to tell us all about the legislation that she introduced when she was a member of the United States Senate on gun reform, on gun safety. I don`t believe there were any.

And ask her why, way back in 2008, when she was running against then Senator Obama, he referred her to as Annie Oakley, because she criticized him for not being sensitive to Second Amendment needs.


MATTHEWS: Well, joining me right now is Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy, who campaigned today with Hillary Clinton.

What do you make of that comeback by Sanders that Hillary Clinton has not been active on the gun safety of the issue as a legislator?

GOV. DANNEL MALLOY, D-CONNECTICUT: Hogwash, basically hogwash. He wants to cover the fact that he voted against the Brady Bill five separate times.

I think the most difficult thing he has to explain is, why can`t you just sue a gun company? If you can sue any other company in America, why can`t you sue a gun company?

And let me tell you what the result of that is. We know that we could manufacture guns that 2-year-olds, 3-year-olds, 4-year-olds could not shoot. If people could resort to the courts for the sale of guns that 2- year-olds, 3-year-olds, and 4-year-olds can shoot and kill their baby sister, or their baby brother, their mother, their father, then we wouldn`t have those guns being sold in our country any longer.

He`s in essence given protection to an industry that`s designed to kill people. Connecticut has a long history in armaments. I understand that. But we also have a long history in pharmaceuticals. We have an industry that spends billions of dollars to make products to save lives and make lives better. You can sue them if they make a mistake. How come we can`t sue a gun company?

MATTHEWS: I think Senator Sanders said that if you do this in the broad way you describe it, not just going after a gun manufacturer who had some role in sending a gun to a criminal or likely criminal, that you would kill the manufacturing business of making guns. You would kill it because nobody could take that kind of liability.

MALLOY: Hogwash again.

Every industry has evolved, except for this industry. When someone wants to introduce a gun into this country that can`t be fired by someone other than the owner, and they try to sell it at the gun store, you know what happens? People stop going to that gun store, because people will boycott that store, because the NRA tells them to boycott it, because they don`t want safer gun technology sold in the United States, because it undercuts their argument.

MATTHEWS: Do you think it`s fair for Hillary Clinton to run her ad, which is very powerful, about what happened in Sandy, to -- with the terrible shooting up there, and not run it in Pennsylvania?

MALLOY: Listen, I would run the ad.

MATTHEWS: In Pennsylvania?

MALLOY: I certainly would run it. I would run it in Pennsylvania. In Philadelphia? Sure. We have kids dying on streets on a daily basis in American cities, because guns are being sold in other jurisdictions without universal background checks. That`s the number one thing we could do.

It`s also the number one thing that the NRA wants to make sure doesn`t happen.

MATTHEWS: If you`re seen as anti-gun in Pennsylvania, this goes all the way back to Joe Clark, a liberal reformer, way back in -- when he lost in `68 -- you`re dead in Pennsylvania.

MALLOY: We have Republicans who have supported universal background checks in Pennsylvania. And they`re still holding office.

Let`s not go too far. I understand that you know Philadelphia better than I do. But I understand that, if you have a discussion in Philadelphia -- and that`s a large percentage of the Democratic vote on a primary day -- you can actually talk about gun safety. No one wants to see another child kill their mother in a Wal-Mart.

MATTHEWS: It`s just so tough. It`s such a tough fight.


MALLOY: It is tough.


MATTHEWS: Governor, you`re on the right side. I think it`s a good fight. But I look at the culture of our country, and it just -- it`s always resistant to this.

MALLOY: All right.

MATTHEWS: Just there`s something in the country that`s cowboy still. It`s just cowboy about such things.

MALLOY: Let me say one other thing.

We do have to change the culture. But the culture that I want to change is that let`s stop thinking it`s a really good idea to take a person with mental illness to a gun range to teach them how to shoot a gun because it will make them feel better about themselves.

Let`s stop the culture that says, hey, we have got a friend who is really depressed and has suicidal ideations. Let`s take him to a gun range and get him happy again. That`s the wrong way to think about this. Let`s make guns stored safely in homes. Let`s make guns that can`t be fired by children. For that matter, let`s make guns that can`t be fired by anyone but the owner. That`s how you make America safer.

MATTHEWS: Governor, the only letter I ever wrote to a congressman was after Bobby was killed in `68. Please support gun control. That`s a long time ago and we keep trying. That`s all I`m saying. We keep trying.

Thank you, Governor Malloy.

MALLOY: Thank you. Thank you.

MATTHEWS: As I said, you`re on the good side.

Up next, global reaction to Donald Trump, how the world leaders are reacting. Well, they`re watching and fearing, some of them. They fear Trump. Are they right or wrong? Are they really that scared or they just have this sort of thing about America?

Anyway, the HARDBALL roundtable is coming up right now. You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.


GIGI STONE WOODS, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Good evening. I`m Gigi Stone Woods with some breaking news at this hour.

Tributes have been pouring in for musical icon Prince, who passed away earlier today at the age of 57. The president calling him one of the most gifted and prolific musicians of our time. The star was found dead this morning at his home called Paisley Park in Minnesota. The cause of his death is under investigation.

NBC`s Blake McCoy is standing by outside Prince`s home in Chanhassen, Minnesota.

What`s the latest there?


You need look no further than right here to know what Prince meant to this community and this country. Now the people have been getting off work. They have been coming by Paisley Park, which was his recording studio here.

And not only have they been coming. They have been bringing their little ones, who certainly were not around for the heyday of Prince, but know who he is and know the legacy that he leaves behind. It was 9:45 this morning that authorities got the call that Prince was unresponsive in an elevator here at Paisley Park.

He was declared dead just after 10:00 a.m. Now, we don`t know a cause of death just yet. But we do know that there have been reports that Prince had the flu over the last several weeks. In fact, his plane made an emergency landing last Friday so he could seek medical attention.

An autopsy is being done tomorrow. So, authorities are moving very quickly here to wrap up this investigation. They say there`s no sign of foul play, but they certainly want to learn a cause of death and give people closure.

This community is being hit hard by this. Prince was born in Minneapolis, and even when he reached superstardom, he could have gone anywhere, and he chose to keep his roots right here in Minnesota. He was Minnesota`s favorite son, and you`re certainly seeing that here tonight.

In fact, it`s raining a little bit. It`s been raining off and on, and I`ve been seeing a lot of Minnesotans on Facebook posts that today, this is purple rain falling in the land of Prince.


WOODS: Sad day for music.

Blake McCoy in Chanhassen, Minnesota.

Now, back to Hardball.


President Obama is trying to reassure world leaders, he says, that Donald Trump will be defeated if he`s the Republican nominee. But according to a report in "Politico", his assurances aren`t working.

According to "Politico", "Trump terrifies world leaders and has become the starting point for what feels like every government to government interaction. In meetings, private dinners, and phone calls, world leaders are seeking explanations from Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, Defense Secretary Ash Carter and trade representative Michael Froman on down." Everybody wants to know about Trump and not to be afraid of him.

"American ambassadors are asking for guidance from Washington of what they are supposed to say about Trump."

The report also says Obama hears world leaders` fears about the Republican frontrunner so often he`s developed a speech meant to ease their nerves for him to use.

Anyway, President Obama spoke about his discussion with world leaders earlier this month.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I`m getting questions from foreign leaders about some of the wackier suggestions that are being made. We`ve got big issues around the world. People expect the president of the United States and the elected officials in this country to treat these problems seriously, to put forward policies that have been examined, analyzed, effective where unintended consequences are taken into account. They don`t expect half baked notions coming out of the White House.


MATTHEWS: I`m joined right now by HARDBALL round table tonight. Bob Woodward is associate editor of "The Washington Post", Susan Page is Washington bureau chief for "USA Today", and Perry Bacon is senior political reporter for NBC News.

Bob, what do you make of this?


MATTHEWS: Do you believe world leaders are worried about this guy, Trump?

WOODWARD: Well, I think everyone is scratching their real hard and they`re unsure, but the story in "Politico" didn`t support itself. It quoted the Latvian ambassador --

MATTHEWS: That is, by the way, ladies and gentlemen, this is "The Washington Post", one of its fearless leaders describing what they think of "Politico".

WOODWARD: No, "Politico" is great.


MATTHEWS: Susan, do you think there`s a world leader tenor negatively about Trump --


SUSAN PAGE, USA TODAY: Putting aside the question of whether this story was popularly sourced, I`ve heard from U.S. officials they are getting lots of questions and concerned especially from world leaders who may not be as familiar with our electoral system who may look at this and think that Trump in the end won`t be elected. I think there`s concern.

I think there`s concern that Trump either would change some fundamental policies that have been bipartisan in their nature for decades or that he doesn`t know what the policies are now and still kind of wanders into making statements that strike foreign leaders as being dangerous.

MATTHEWS: Perry, he wouldn`t rule out, when I interviewed him a while back, couple of weeks ago, he wouldn`t rule out using nuclear weapons in Europe. Most leaders don`t talk about nuclear weapons. They don`t have rules of engagement for bombing people into smithereens. But he did.

PERRY BACON, JR., NBC NEWS SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: And when he talked to Bob, I believe, he questioned the value of NATO. He`s made comments that are pretty unusual.

I would say, my guess is Donald Trump, world leaders are afraid of them. He probably likes this story. He might bring it up tomorrow. It`s the kind of thing he likes.


BACON: That people afraid of him, right?

WOODWARD: But to say they are terrified -- look, look, they`re always -- when Barack Obama was elected, talk to world leaders and they say who is this guy? What`s he doing to do? What are his failures?

It`s natural. And so, who is not mystified? You`re mystified by the American political system now.

MATTHEWS: But I`ll tell you, if you look at our history like the French, nobody wants to believe that we`re so parallel to French. We always go to the true mean. We always go to the middle. We don`t have right wing governments. Reagan modified, we don`t go right or hard left with the governed.

We generally go to that true north like the French do, we`re a bourgeoisie country, a middle class country. We tend to be in the middle.

Why would they, all of a sudden, think we`re doing this is the question?

WOODWARD: Well, but the question is there`s something going on with Trump. It`s bigger than those of us in this little bubble in Washington understand. I was talking to CEOs the other day, how many are for Trump. It was four.

They walk out and say, by the way, I`m really for Trump but I don`t dare raise my hand in that group. I think there`s a lot of --


MATTHEWS: I think there are a lot of Republican women who say I won`t raise my hand and cross the aisle and go to Hillary.

PAGE: You know, there is I think something that is also a concern to some foreign leaders and some foreign governments and that is the core that Trump that struck with the American public on issues when he says build a wall, ban all Muslims. What good is NATO to us? Even he`s gotten a -- there`s a receptive attitude for it.

MATTHEWS: It`s nationalism.

BACON: Also, a lot of European countries are more liberal than we are. They didn`t like George W. Bush. It seems much more radical on some issues.

MATTHEWS: I want to lighten this up as we close. What is this talk up in "The Boston Globe", the main gist is Elizabeth Warren is this play to be Hillary`s running mate? Is this to be taken seriously?

PAGE: I don`t think so. I mean, you talk about "Politico", "The Boston Globe" says, oh, maybe our own senator is on the short list. It`s hard to picture. They don`t really like each other. They don`t have a relationship with each other.

Putting another woman on the ticket when you`re going to be the first woman elected president --


MATTHEWS: Does sink the (INAUDIBLE) vote?

PAGE: I`m not sure it sinks it, I`m not sure it does what you want to do in your choice for running mate.

WOODWARD: Maybe Bernie Sanders. I think not.

MATTHEWS: I`m with you. We`re all guessing here. I think it`s Tim Kaine. I think he makes perfect sense. Virginia is a good get.

Anyway, the roundtable is sticking with us.

And up next, these people are going to tell me something I don`t know.

And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: You`ll want to tune in tomorrow night at 10:00 p.m. Eastern here on MSNBC. I`ve got a special look at the Democratic front-runner in a new documentary. "Hillary Clinton: It Takes A Country." It`s a look at Clinton`s rise in politics from Arkansas to the White House, the U.S. Senate, to the State Department and now the top Democratic in the race for presidency.

Take a look.


MATTHEWS: In February of 2000, she formally declared and ran against a formidable foe, Rudolph Giuliani. It showed real guts. He critics would have loved it if she`d lost. But in May, the former New York mayor dropped out due to medical problems.

RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER NYC MAYOR: This is not the right time for he to run for office.

MATTHEWS: Rick Lazio, a little known Republican congressman from Long Island ran against Hillary Clinton. In a debate, Lazio got aggressive.

RICK LAZIO (R), FORMER CONGRESSMAN: I want your signature because I think everybody wants to see you signing something you said you`re for.

E.J. DIONNE, THE WASHINGTON POST: It`s dangerous to get physically aggressive in appearance toward a female politician if that politician is as shrewd as Clinton.

JONATHAN ALTER, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: If Trump is smart he`ll watch the tape of that debate because she won that election when Rick Lazio tried to crowd her.


MATTHEWS: You`re going to love it. That`s 10:00 p.m. tomorrow night here on MSNBC. And we`ll be right back.


MATTHEWS: We`re back with the HARDBALL roundtable.

Perry, tell me something I don`t know.

BACON: So, we focus on Donald Trump getting 1,237. Other number to watch, Ted Cruz`s staff believes if they get over 800, that`s their target number, they can make the case to the delegates, we can now overturn the popular vote.

MATTHEWS: Where do they pull that number?

BACON: The number is interesting to me. I think it`s crazy. But that`s the number they`re talking about.

MATTHEWS: Eight hundred is the goal.

PAGE: So, Republicans are worried about a lot of things. Haley Barbour is now warning that bounce you should get out of the convention is going to be a dip after this next convention because it`s going to be so contentious that --

MATTHEWS: Either way.

PAGE: No matter who`s nominated --

MATTHEWS: The Republican convention will be a failure.

PAGE: -- it`s going to make the Republicans dig a little deeper hole to get out of if they`re going to win --

MATTHEWS: You know, I find him off-camera, and off the record, one of the smartest Republican briefers on facts. I always find him great.

Bob Woodward?

WOODWARD: Yes, I think things abroad can affect our election and it`s not just terrorism but this vote in Great Britain about whether to stay in the E.U. is a big deal politically. And if for some reason they don`t stay in the E.U., the political impact, the economic impact, will be giant. And it may infect us in a way that will affect our politics.

MATTHEWS: I`m sure still be top of the fold.

Thank you to our roundtable, Bob Woodward, Susan Page and Perry Bacon.

When we return, let me finish with young Jack Kennedy`s convention fight in the 1956.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this:

There`s lots of talk right now about what a contested convention would look like. You know, with candidates battling each other for delegates right up there in the arena. Well, the last time either party went through something like that with a live balloting with none of the delegates pledged ahead of time was in 1956, that was the year when a hesitant Adlai Stevenson, having won the Democratic nomination, declared he wouldn`t pick a vice presidential nominee, he`d leave to it the delegates.

Well, Stevenson made the announcement at 11:00 on Thursday night, the balloting was set for Friday afternoon. Well, the man who made the most of it was a young senator from Massachusetts, John F. Kennedy. As Tip O`Neill recalled, Jack went to Chicago prepared for lightning to strike.

On the first ballot, Kennedy trailed the Tennessee Senator Estes Kefauver, 483 delegates to 304. Al Gore Senior earned 178. New York`s Robert Wagner, 162. Hubert Humphrey 134. No candidate had a majority.

On the second ballot, Kennedy started to gain. Arkansas shifted to Kennedy, then Delaware, then New York.

Then came a loud voice heard to the convention hall, Texas proudly cast its vote -- for the fighting senator who wears the scars of battle. It was Lyndon Johnson.

And then as Bobby Kennedy would charge, something fishy happened. Speaker Sam Rayburn who was chairing the convention refused to recognize the delegation shifting to Kennedy, instead, he called on Oklahoma which went to Kefauver. From then on, the tide turned. Minnesota, Tennessee, Missouri, all went to Kefauver.

Kennedy who would come with 39 delegates of the majority now saw his moment in one of those iconic moves that marked his career. He started pushing his way through the convention floor, arriving at the podium, he grandly conceded the race to Kefauver. And that impulsive race to the podium made Kennedy a hero in the party, made him look the victim to fellow Catholics, who saw a bias hand in what had happened. To them, it was another case of prejudiced politicians killing the chances of a Catholic who dared to reach too high.

Instead of going down on a losing ticket that fall, Kennedy would loom thereafter as the front-runner for 1960. He would not have done better, he could not have done better, that afternoon in Chicago if he`d wired the entire episode himself. And that`s the legacy of the last contested political convention of either party.

And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.

Join us again tomorrow at 7:00 Eastern for HARDBALL and tomorrow night at 10:00 eastern for our premiere of our documentary on Hillary Clinton, "It Takes A Country."

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.


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