Transcript: Hardball with Chris Matthews 4/2/17

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

Earlier this afternoon, Hillary Clinton sat down for a frank discussion on a range of topics from Syria to North Korea and, of course, the 2016 election.


HILLARY CLINTON (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Did we make mistakes? Of course, we did. Did I make mistakes? Oh, my gosh, yes. You know, you`ll read my confession.

But I was on the way to winning until a combination of Jim Comey`s letter on October 28th and Russian WikiLeaks raised doubts in the minds of people who were inclined to vote for me but got scared off.


MATTHEWS: Hillary Clinton, who was speaking at the Women for Women International charity function in New York, seemed to let her guard down and at times eagerly needled our tweeter in chief.


CLINTON: And remember, I did win more than 3 million votes than my opponent.


So it`s like, really?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel a tweet coming.

CLINTON: Well, fine. You know, better that than interfering in foreign affairs. If he wants to tweet about me, I`m happy to be the — you know, the diversion, because we`ve got lots of other things to worry about. And he should worry less about the election and my winning the popular vote than doing some other things that would be important for the country.


MATTHEWS: Anyway, her appearance comes shortly after the publication of “Shattered,” a behind the scenes look at Clinton`s doomed campaign, which is currently number one on “The New York Times” best-seller list.

For now, I`m joined by the roundtable tonight. Ned Ryun, CEO of American Majority and writer for George W. Bush, and Jennifer Jacobs, White House reporter for “Bloomberg”, and, of course, Jonathan Capehart, opinion writer for “The Washington Post.”

All of you, I thought it was interesting that little allusion, Jennifer, to the idea that Trump had some help from the Russians, interference in our foreign relations there. I thought it was quite a reference there.

JENNIFER JACOBS, BLOOMBERG: Absolutely. She said, yes, I made some mistakes, gosh, I`ll confess all my sins. Yes, I`ll tell you in my book all my mistakes. But, listen, this was the WikiLeaks from Russia and this was James Comey sending that letter just before the election. That she said, if we had had that election a few days earlier, ten days earlier, I – –


MATTHEWS: It`s hard to argue with that. I mean, I think that`s — if you say a week and a half out, who knew was going to — Jonathan?

JONATHAN CAPEHART, THE WASHINGTON POST: Allusion to Russian interference? There was Russian interference. But also —

MATTHEWS: No, I`m saying before the Comey letter. We don`t know — we all thought she would win anyway. I think it`s fair to say.


MATTHEWS: But before — when the Comey thing hit, I think she made an interesting point that all the undecideds sort of flipped.

CAPEHART: Sure, no. And I think she`s right.

But let`s put that quote that she said, I would have — I would have won. She was quoting something that Nate Silver wrote, and that`s what keeps getting lost in this discussion. Everyone who picks up a paper tomorrow, who is reading online, thinks that she said, I would have won on —

MATTHEWS: Why is she quoting this guy?

CAPEHART: Well, it was part of a larger question.

MATTHEWS: If she didn`t believe him? If she didn`t believe him, why she`s saying it?

CAPEHART: No, she believes him. No, I`m just talking issue with people starting the quote at, “I would have won” —


CAPEHART: — instead of saying, “Nate Silver said I would have won.”

MATTHEWS: She didn`t have to bring up Nate Silver. She brought him up. I wouldn`t have brought him up. She wanted to quote a document — you wanted to document her thinking with somebody else`s testament, but so what?

NED RYUN, CEO, AMERICAN MAJORITY: No. I mean, she`s living in a world of ifs and buts. I mean, the fact of the matter is that she was a terrible candidate.


RYUN: She had $1.4 billion. She ran a terrible campaign. It was a dysfunctional campaign.

MATTHEWS: How did she win the nomination? Why was she so close at the end?

RYUN: You know what? Here`s the thing — it was almost like she was the Bob Dole of 2016.


MATTHEWS: Wait a minute.

RYUN: Not the greatest —

MATTHEWS: What about — OK, Bob Dole didn`t have to deal with misogyny, what do you think?

RYUN: Listen —

MATTHEWS: Respond.

RYUN: No, here`s the deal. She was — she was a terrible candidate.

MATTHEWS: She said she was a victim of misogyny. She acknowledged that.

RYUN: She claims a lot of things. The fact of the matter is —

MATTHEWS: What do you think about your mood right now? Do you think that`s sort of cashiering (ph) some of your attitudes towards her?

RYUN: No. I`m just saying she wants to — you know what —


MATTHEWS: I mean you`re coming across as a guy —

RYUN: When somebody breaks up and says, it`s not you, it`s me, she wants reverse and say it`s you, not me. She wants to make excuses for everything that went wrong.

MATTHEWS: You really don`t like her, do you? You talk like you really don`t like her.


MATTHEWS: You talk like you really don`t like her, Ned.

RYUN: A lot of American voters didn`t like her.

MATTHEWS: But you don`t like her personally, do you?

RYUN: Of course not. I don`t like her politics.

MATTHEWS: You don`t like her.

RYUN: I don`t like her politics.

MATTHEWS: Oh, you`re being so — you`re pulling back, Ned.


MATTHEWS: I see an attitude here. Jonathan, I see attitude —


CAPEHART: OK, you make your point, and then I`m going —

RYUN: The Democrats are still stuck in 2016. You, by the way, made some great points over the weekend that the Democrat Party is not in the greatest place —

MATTHEWS: Well, I don`t call it the Democrat Party first of all. Go ahead. I call it the Democratic Party. But that`s an adjective. Go ahead.

RYUN: They`re making some wrong decisions.

MATTHEWS: I agree with that.

RYUN: They want to relitigate 2016. They`re going to, but they learned nothing from 2016.

CAPEHART: Ned, you know who hasn`t learned —


CAPEHART: Relitigating the 2016 election — talk to the president of the United States, who can`t help but, in meetings with reporters, saying, hey, look at my map. Look at my electoral map. Or talking about — talking about his electoral win with foreign leaders.

RYUN: But here`s the thing — he won. They lost. Democrats learned nothing from 2016.

MATTHEWS: You know what I think? James Carville, this morning — I don`t care what anybody says about the guy, the Southern accent, all this stuff, he does his shtick, he`s really smart. And the reason they won the `92 election, they won the `96 election and why they lost the 2016 election because they didn`t listen to guys like him.

“Work hard and play by the rules” is lingo to talk to working class whites, because they say, yes, I work hard and by the play the rules, OK? Think about me. Make abortion safe, legal, and rare.

RYUN: Right.

MATTHEWS: Talk to Catholic voters and conservative voters about those issues as if they matter. They matter as much as liberals, OK? They didn`t do that.


MATTHEWS: They didn`t do that. So, I think mistakes were made, you`re right.

The roundtable is sticking with us.


MATTHEWS: When we come back, the HARDBALL roundtable will tell me three things I don`t know.

HARDBALL back after this.


MATTHEWS: We`re back with the HARDBALL roundtable.

Ned, tell me something I don`t know.

RYUN: Trump`s finally getting a chance to remove the Obama holdovers from the NSC. He`s finally getting to put his people in place and I think he`s going to hit a better start with his foreign policy very quickly.

MATTHEWS: Jennifer?

JACOBS: If you had any doubts whether Melania Trump would move down here and live in the White House, lay those aside. President Trump told me in the Oval Office yesterday that Barron and Melania are indeed moving here. In fact, he told us that they have selected a school here in D.C. and they`ve enrolled him.

MATTHEWS: That`s human interest.

But go ahead.

CAPEHART: And of the 20 or 22 people rumored to be running or thinking of running for president on the Democratic slate, I`d say the one person to keep your eye on is New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu who is doing a great thing in his city of removing the four confederate monuments out there on sanctuary cities, and he is a white Southern mayor who gets it on race.

MATTHEWS: Yes, he gets the black vote big time too. I know he did. I was down there moderating those debates.

Anyway, Ned Ryun, Jennifer Jacobs, Jonathan Capehart.