Guests: Chip Saltsman, Barbara Comstock, Joe McQuaid, Jennifer Donahue, Elizabeth Edwards, Rep. Paul Hodes
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Are Democrats over Hill and looking for change?
Will Republicans pick hick over slick?
Let‘s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I‘m Chris Matthews. Welcome to HARDBALL, tonight from Manchester, New Hampshire. We‘re up here where it‘s happening. The headline, of course, Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee are the new frontrunners for the presidency. Last night, Barack Obama won an historic victory in Iowa, beating Hillary Clinton. For Clinton, what was once considered inevitable is now barely likely. Are Democrats over Hill and looking for a change?
Here‘s how the voting went last night. Obama with a convincing win, followed by John Edwards, and then in third place, Hillary Clinton. Today, Obama took his newfound momentum here to New Hampshire.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
Sen. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And in New Hampshire, if you give me the same chance that Iowa gave me last night, I truly believe I will be the president of the United States of America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: And then there‘s Mike Huckabee, the favorite son of evangelical voters, who played David to Mitt Romney‘s Goliath. Are Republican voters ready to choose hick over slick? Here‘s Huckabee today in New Hampshire.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE HUCKABEE (R-AR), FMR GOVERNOR, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We had a great time in Iowa over the last few days, and we don‘t know of any better way to start today than to have a little fun with you guys. And you know, we sometimes need to remind people that those of us who are Republicans have as much fun as anybody.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Can these two very unique politicians, Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee, maintain their momentum? Can they win this thing? And how do they plan to do it up here in New Hampshire?
Plus, John Edwards came in second last night, beating Hillary Clinton. Can he keep going? We‘ll ask his wife, Elizabeth, about the future of the campaign, and we‘ll talk about what‘s at stake in New Hampshire later on in our “Politics Fix.”
We begin tonight with the great Elizabeth Edwards, who‘s campaigning with her husband in New Hampshire. Well, you beat Hillary Clinton?
ELIZABETH EDWARDS, WIFE OF JOHN EDWARDS: It‘s a pretty good job, don‘t you think?
MATTHEWS: You beat the establishment. You beat the people in power.
EDWARDS: I think the real question was can Chris Matthews do schtick.
MATTHEWS: No, that‘s not a question!
MATTHEWS: Well, tell me about how you‘re going to do it up here. How does John Edwards win this election?
EDWARDS: You know, you think about what happened in Iowa—I mean, I was out there, and when I finally would get home—we spent so much time on the road, but when we‘d finally get back to the hotel room at night, you listen to these commercials, and it was just was nonstop -- $9 million by the Obama campaign, over $6.5 million by the Clinton campaign. They had paid operatives all over the state...
EDWARDS: ... incredibly well organized...
MATTHEWS: But you guys are rich.
EDWARDS: We spent $2.5 million on ads, or $2.7 million on ads. So we were outspent, what, 6 to 1?
MATTHEWS: But Huckabee was outspent about 7 to 1 or 10 to 1, and he won.
EDWARDS: No, he—well, he—and he did. But what it says is that you don‘t have to spend the most money in order to have a good showing in a state if you have a message that appeals to the electorate. And John as the message that appeals to the electorate, I mean, and I‘m—I—we‘re bringing it to—bringing the message to...
MATTHEWS: Why did Hillary come in third in Iowa? She‘s the best known candidate. She‘s part of the Clinton team, the Clinton establishment, the most popular name in the Democratic Party for 20 years. Why did she get beaten by both you guys?
EDWARDS: I think that what you said is exactly—she—for the past 20 years. People aren‘t looking backwards. They—you know, we‘re going to need to have some changes in the way things are done in Washington. And we know that if you‘re sort of cozy with the powers that be, that you‘re not going to be the person to make those changes. And I think that the people of Iowa rejected the status quo. Clearly, nearly 70 percent of the voters voted for change, either with Senator Obama or for my husband. And I think that‘s the direction that the race is now headed, is now we—with a choice between, you know, what—how do you think you can effect that change. That‘s where the...
MATTHEWS: Last time around, John Kerry won in Iowa, and then he won in New Hampshire. It seems to be a pretty strong slingshot effect. How do you beat it?
EDWARDS: I mean, you do get it. I mean, you led with that—that during...
MATTHEWS: We lead with the winners here, Elizabeth.
EDWARDS: But I—you know, but—and that happened to us, too, in terms of John Kerry getting a lot of press. The other thing, of course, we had the “Dean scream” in ‘04, which sort of made second place, which John had—not mean as much because you all covered that, as opposed to the second-place finish. Now, of course, you‘re covering Hillary‘s third-place finish instead of John‘s second-place finish. So we‘re still fighting against you guys.
But I think that—John‘s also getting a bump. I mean, we‘re seeing it on the Internet. You know, we‘re on pace to have the best fund-raising day ever. And most of the contributors are brand-new people who are coming into the process, and you know, most of them are small contributors. You know, this is the working man‘s campaign, in a sense. I mean, that‘s who John‘s been talking about and who he intends to fight for. And that‘s who seems to be coming out and supporting him now.
So I think we just have to keep moving forward, pressing forward with the message and making the distinctions about where Senator Obama and John differ.
MATTHEWS: Don‘t you make it easier on Hillary Clinton to have the anti-Hillary vote split between you two?
EDWARDS: Oh, maybe, but you know—you know, it seems to me the anti-Hillary—you know, the Hillary vote isn‘t going to get her there, you know? And I think that‘s why you see her at a podium now sometimes with “change” on there. That‘s why the speech that she gave was so focused on change, when that‘s clearly not what she represents in the party and what she represented when she first started this campaign. She thought that her years in the White House as first lady and then her years as a senator were going to be enough to sweep her into the White House.
MATTHEWS: Do you think John, your husband, has a better chance of winning the nomination if you first knock Hillary out of the race? In other words, even if Barack has to win up here, it‘s better to knock Hillary out because if she is knocked out, then you two can fight it out, John Edwards and Barack Obama. I‘m looking at this strategically. I don‘t know how John Edwards wins this thing as long as those two are fighting for the nomination. They seem to get in the way. Doesn‘t one of them have to get knocked out?
EDWARDS: If knocking—if John‘s finishing second isn‘t enough to get him in the conversation with you guys, yes, we have to knock one of those two off in order to get him into the conversation. But the truth of the matter is that it‘s not about—you can‘t run a presidential race with your eye on the other guys. You have to run—you have to put blinders on. This is your message.
And you know, this tacking—someone described what‘s happening sometimes, you know, you get a lead, and it‘s like the America‘s Cup. The guy in the lead doesn‘t necessarily have to make a move. All he does is watch what the guy behind him does and tacks, you know, to protect himself. And we‘re seeing a little bit of that in this campaign. John talks about something, a few days later, we might hear the other candidates talk about the same thing. So we need—you know, we need to make certain that people are associating John‘s message with John. That‘s our job.
MATTHEWS: OK. We have two change candidates running right now at the front...
MATTHEWS: ... it‘s John Edwards and Barack Obama. What‘s the difference?
EDWARDS: Well, I mean, there are several differences. I mean, if you were here in New Hampshire, you‘d say, you know, one difference is that one of them supports nuclear power, which is not particularly popular in this state. That would be Senator Obama. And John does not think that that is a reasonable alternative. It‘s not a renewable source of energy, so it‘s basically going down the oil path.
The big—another difference is John‘s never taken money from a Washington lobbyist and—or a PAC, and Senator Obama, we‘re proud that he‘s doing it in this presidential race, but—you know, but he has a history of having taken those kinds of money...
MATTHEWS: But Senator Edwards...
MATTHEWS: Your husband takes tons of money from the trial lawyers.
They‘re an interest group.
EDWARDS: Every person—teachers are an interest group.
EDWARDS: Press people are an interest group. Every time—you can‘t just identify their occupation and say they‘re an interest group.
MATTHEWS: But what‘s—what‘s...
EDWARDS: You do that all the time.
MATTHEWS: How do you defend...
EDWARDS: I‘m a little tired of that, Chris.
MATTHEWS: ... taking all this money from the trial lawyers?
MATTHEWS: They‘re not the most popular group in the country.
EDWARDS: You know, and I suppose there are people who take money from people who own...
MATTHEWS: Teachers are defensible. Trial lawyers are a question mark.
EDWARDS: Well, actually, trial lawyers have spent their lives defending precisely the same kinds of people John‘s talking about, working people who have to go up against corporations or insurance companies and find themselves on the short end of the stick too often because they don‘t have the voice, the champion that they need. And John‘s proud of the fact that he has support of those kinds of people.
I‘m tired of this stuff from you. It is the same song and dance from you all the time!
MATTHEWS: And what is my song and dance?
EDWARDS: That you don‘t—you treat trial lawyers as if they‘re a different breed of American than anybody else. They‘re—they‘re—you know...
MATTHEWS: They‘re just driving the doctors out of states like Pennsylvania, that‘s all.
MATTHEWS: These guys can‘t afford to practice anymore because the trial lawyers are killing them with malpractice.
EDWARDS: The reason that the insurers pulled out of the state of Pennsylvania was because the anti-trust laws do not cover insurance companies. We can argue about this for a long time.
MATTHEWS: I just think—the doctors are the good guys, OK?
EDWARDS: Doctors are the good guys.
EDWARDS: But it‘s not doctors. It‘s the insurance companies that have been the problem.
MATTHEWS: You can‘t even find a bartender (ph) in states like Pennsylvania because of the trial lawyers. Anyway, thank you, the champion of the trial lawyers. Do you think that‘s a good cause to run on for president?
EDWARDS: No, I think that the people who trial lawyers represent, the working people in this country—that‘s what John‘s talking about, is the people he grew up with.
EDWARDS: When he went to work, he went to work not because he was enamored of the trial lawyer, he was enamored of what they did...
EDWARDS: ... of the work that they did, of the people that they represented. Those—that‘s what he‘s doing still.
MATTHEWS: Well, he gave a good speech last night.
EDWARDS: I thought he did give a good speech.
MATTHEWS: That was a good speech. And he‘s a great candidate. And I think you‘re great.
EDWARDS: Can I—I didn‘t hear that?
MATTHEWS: He‘s a great candidate.
EDWARDS: It‘s still not loud enough!
MATTHEWS: He‘s one of the three in the mix right now. It‘s a tough one. I mean, he‘s not that—first woman president, first African-American president. This is exciting history. John Edwards is just another white Protestant from the South.
EDWARDS: I have to say something. You know, I‘m a child of the ‘60s.
You are, too.
MATTHEWS: Right. Right.
EDWARDS: We fought very hard for Civil Rights and women‘s rights. What we fought for is so that it wouldn‘t make a difference that we were a woman or that we were an African-American.
EDWARDS: It shouldn‘t make a—we‘re not allowed now to say, I‘m sorry, it makes a difference to me, I get to—that‘s what we fought for, for it to make no difference whatsoever.
MATTHEWS: Yes. Do you think we‘re there, where we‘re color-blind?
EDWARDS: Not yet.
MATTHEWS: I know.
EDWARDS: We‘re not.
MATTHEWS: That‘s why it‘s exciting, this race.
EDWARDS: Yes, it is exciting.
MATTHEWS: You‘ve got a great face, Elizabeth. I love your smile.
EDWARDS: Thank you. Thank you, Chris.
MATTHEWS: I‘m sorry. I don‘t want to patronize you. You‘re great.
EDWARDS: I‘ll take it.
MATTHEWS: Elizabeth Edwards, ladies and gentlemen.
Let‘s look at Obama‘s speech last night, now that we‘ve talked about Edwards.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: The time has come for a president who will be honest about the choices and the challenges we face, who will listen to you and learn from you even when we disagree, who won‘t just tell you what you want to hear, but what you need to know. And in New Hampshire, if you‘ll give me the same chance that Iowa did tonight, I will be that president for America.
I know how hard it is. It comes with little sleep, little pay and a lot of sacrifice. There are days of disappointment. But sometimes, just sometimes, there are nights like this, a night that years from now, when we‘ve made the changes we believe in, when more families can afford to see a doctor, when our children, when Malia (ph) and Sasha (ph) and your children inherit a planet that‘s a little cleaner and safer, when the world sees America differently and America sees itself as a nation less divided and more united, you‘ll be able to look back with pride and say that this was the moment when it all began.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Congressman Paul Hodes of New Hampshire‘s a former trial lawyer. He‘s Obama‘s national campaign co-chair. You went in with Obama early on, sir, didn‘t you.
REP. PAUL HODES (D-NH), OBAMA NATIONAL CAMPAIGN CO-CHAIR: I did, in August.
HODES: I saw...
MATTHEWS: Why him? Because he‘s from another state, he‘s from the Midwest, African-American guy. We‘ve never liked an African-American president. You stuck your neck out. Why?
HODES: Well, you know, Chris, I got sent to Congress in 2006 because the voters in New Hampshire were tired of business as usual and politics as usual. They wanted change. And what I saw in Obama was the capacity to bring people together to make the kind of change that the people in this country have been crying out for.
MATTHEWS: We‘ve been at war in Iraq for seven years now. Nobody seems to keep count of that fact. But this war gets longer and longer. Is it part of the thinking of New Hampshire we‘ve been in a long war, which no one seems to have a clear idea how to get out of?
HODES: Well, look, that was the issue, I think, that had a lot to do with sending me to Congress. It‘s an issue that we‘ve all been talking about, although we‘ve been talking about the economy a lot more. But in terms of that war in Iraq, we need a smart, swift, strategic redeployment in order to focus on our real national security needs, and Obama‘s got the idea about how to do it, as do many of the other Democratic candidates.
MATTHEWS: He can end this war?
HODES: He‘s going to get us out of that conflict.
MATTHEWS: Why don‘t you just say end the war?
HODES: Well, that‘s one way to say it, but it‘s also ending a conflict. I don‘t think it is a war. It was never declared.
MATTHEWS: OK. OK. Let‘s take a look at the latest polling up here. It‘s WHDH/Suffolk University tracking poll in New Hampshire. It‘s got Hillary, a 16-point lead over Obama, it‘s narrowed down to 12. Now, to be all fair about these numbers up here on the screen—we‘re looking at it right now, 37-25 -- that was before Iowa.
MATTHEWS: People say Iowa‘s worth 10 points up here. What do you think?
HODES: I think that is at least what it‘s worth. And you know, the polls had me down 25 points not too long before my election. I think the polls are moving in the right way. The momentum is moving. You can‘t underestimate the bump from Iowa for Obama. I‘ve been on the streets now for a couple of days, talking to people.
HODES: I‘m hearing independents saying that they‘re interested in Obama, going to Obama. They know we need a Democratic president. And I‘ve had more than a handful of people say, I was with her, but after the thing in the kindergarten and after that other thing, I‘m going with Obama.
MATTHEWS: OK, let me tell you, the Clintons are masters at spin, as we all know. You can like them or not, but we all agree they‘re masters. Bill Clinton lost the New Hampshire primary up here in 1992 by 8 points to a guy who was dying, Paul Tsongas, the great Paul Tsongas.
MATTHEWS: And he lost by—after being way—way ahead. He lost a huge lead and he lost by—and then called himself “the comeback kid.”
OK, here he is again. Here‘s Hillary Clinton and what she said about losing yesterday. She didn‘t actually lose, when you listen to her. Here she is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Iowa does not have the best track record determining who the parties nominate. Everybody knows that. And yes, you know, New Hampshire is famously independent. It is a place where people want to make up their own minds. They‘re not interested in what anybody else has decided. They want to, you know, look us up and down, make that judgment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, she‘s putting down the Iowa voters already. She doesn‘t like the caucuses, even though it‘s produced a pretty good track record. And the only time the winners don‘t win in Iowa is when they happen to come from next door or the same state. It‘s got an overwhelmingly successful record at picking the winners of Democratic nominations.
HODES: You know, listening to her, there are two things I think about, one I agree with her. New Hampshire voters are independent-minded. But the other thing is the people in this state and in this country are tired of spin and division, and that‘s why Obama is going to win this election.
MATTHEWS: Tell me about the New Hampshire voter.
HODES: Mostly independent and independent-minded. When I go around the state and I go around my district, I never ask anybody what party they‘re in because I just assume that everybody‘s independent or independent-minded. Forty-four percent of the electorate in New Hampshire, undeclared or independent, can choose what ballot they want to go in for. In Iowa, we saw a record number of independents going for Obama. We‘re going to see that same thing in New Hampshire. They want change.
MATTHEWS: Obama going to beat Hillary up here?
HODES: Oh, yes.
MATTHEWS: Thank you. I love this state. Thank you, Congressman Paul Hodes, who is for Obama.
Coming up, the Republicans. Can Mitt Romney win in New Hampshire or will he suffer a second straight defeat? We‘ll talk to the top advisers for Romney and Huckabee. Who do they like up here, the slick or the hick?
We‘ll be right back on MSNBC.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is a nice long process here. We‘ve had, if you will, the first inning of a game that has, let‘s say, 50 innings in it. And we did OK in the first one.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HUCKABEE: A new day is needed in American politics, just like a new day is needed in American government. And tonight, it starts here in Iowa, but it doesn‘t end here. It goes all the way through the other states and ends at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue one year from now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL, from Manchester, New Hampshire. Mike Huckabee‘s message last night—he obviously beat Mitt Romney‘s machine out there in Iowa. Now the fight‘s here in New Hampshire.
Chip Saltsman is Huckabee‘s campaign manager. That‘s a big job. And Barbara Comstock is a Romney campaign senior adviser. I‘m not sure how big you are. Are you really big in the campaign?
BARBARA COMSTOCK, ROMNEY CAMPAIGN SENIOR ADVISER: I‘m a minor player.
MATTHEWS: Do you have a Harvard MBA?
MATTHEWS: Do you have a Harvard MBA?
COMSTOCK: I do not.
MATTHEWS: I don‘t know if you‘re that high up.
COMSTOCK: Unlike most of the Romney family, I do not.
MATTHEWS: I‘m not sure you are that high up then.
COMSTOCK: That‘s right.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you this. Are you going to keep the magic going with Huckabee?
CHIP SALTSMAN, HUCKABEE CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Well, we hope so.
I what we saw last night in Iowa was a little bit of magic. We had a huge turnout in Iowa, one of the biggest we have ever seen. Governor Huckabee attracted all sorts of new people to the caucus.
Let‘s take a look at “The Boston Herald” front page this morning.
MATTHEWS: I‘m sure it greeted you on the airplane when you came in here.
SALTSMAN: We had a few copies.
MATTHEWS: It makes reference to “Slick Mitt.” Now, “Slick Willie” was a phrase used for Bill Clinton back in Arkansas days. Do you like that phrase? Do you like your candidate being called slick?
SALTSMAN: You know, I thought you said “Slick Mitt.” I‘m not sure.
MATTHEWS: “Slick Mitt.”
SALTSMAN: Yes. But I‘ll tell you what. You know, Governor Huckabee last night made a big difference.
MATTHEWS: I‘m sorry.
You are “Slick Mitt.”
COMSTOCK: He‘s the guy from...
MATTHEWS: You are “Slick Mitt.”
SALTSMAN: We‘re the other guy from Hope.
MATTHEWS: I‘m sorry. I confused you. Tired last night.
MATTHEWS: How do you like your candidate being called “Slick Mitt”?
COMSTOCK: Well, Governor Romney—we got here late last night, too -
missed—missed the headline.
But what we‘re doing is, we‘re here. Unique among a lot of the candidates right now, Government Romney is been running a national campaign. He‘s been running in all of the early states. He hasn‘t picked off...
MATTHEWS: Except for Iowa. Has he been running a campaign in Iowa?
COMSTOCK: He‘s been out there. Yes, he was. And what I love about this guy is, he doesn‘t let one setback throw him out of the game.
COMSTOCK: When Rudy and McCain, when things started not looking good, they bailed out. He stayed there. He‘s been working there. He‘s now here in New Hampshire, unlike others, who have bailed out of New Hampshire and are going to wait to pick up...
MATTHEWS: But you guys spent so much money in Iowa, Barbara, I mean, so much money. We figured it out. It‘s like 250 bucks a vote. That‘s a lot of vote money.
COMSTOCK: And he got one of the tickets coming out of Iowa. He came in number two. And this is a long—as he said, there‘s a lot of innings in this game. And he‘s playing...
MATTHEWS: I was amazed that Romney lost Iowa, after all the months he spent out there, all the time out there.
COMSTOCK: Well, he‘s going to continue to bring his message here.
And his message is, we need to change Washington.
COMSTOCK: If you look at the top candidates who came out on both sides, they don‘t want to have a Washington insider. It was bad news for John McCain...
MATTHEWS: So, if you guys lose up here, you will slit your throat, right? It‘s over?
COMSTOCK: No. We‘re...
MATTHEWS: It‘s over. How can you lose next door?
COMSTOCK: Because we are leading—one or two in all of the national polls, in all of the early states.
COMSTOCK: He is playing to win here, just like we were playing to win in Iowa.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about your guy. This is HARDBALL. OK?
SALTSMAN: Yes, sir.
SALTSMAN: We‘re excited to play HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: No, the concern I have, if I were you, is, this is a state that is made up of Yankees, Congregationalists, very sort of stoic Protestant Yankee types, who don‘t show their religion on their sleeve, don‘t talk about Jesus, don‘t make speeches about it, don‘t do commercials about it...
MATTHEWS: ... don‘t call themselves Christian leaders. They just go to church on Sunday and try to lead good lives quietly.
Then you have got a lot of Roman Catholics up here, like me, who are kind of gritty, Italian, Irish, you know, whatever. They don‘t particularly like that wailing and Hosanna-ing either. They‘re not big on that stuff either. They‘re kind of—they go to church and they kneel and stand at the right time, but they don‘t do that kind of thing.
How is a guy who is an evangelical, televangelist type, Sunday morning guy, how is he going to sell in this quiet New England, Yankee town?
SALTSMAN: I think New Hampshire is a great state for us.
And, like we saw in Iowa last night, he attracted all sorts of new voters to the caucus. We won every region. We won every age group, every income bracket.
SALTSMAN: We won the people that cared most about the economy, the war in Iraq, immigration.
MATTHEWS: But your base is the evangelicals.
SALTSMAN: Well, it‘s a great base to have. And we turned out big numbers.
MATTHEWS: There‘s no evangelical base up here.
SALTSMAN: But there‘s a lot of folks in New Hampshire that care about the economy.
MATTHEWS: Yes. Yes.
SALTSMAN: There‘s a lot of them that care about illegal immigration. And we think we can do very well in New Hampshire, because the governor‘s message is not talking about his life as a pastor. It‘s talking about his 10-and-a-half years as a governor.
MATTHEWS: So, you‘re not fearful of the cultural thing, of being too much the hick?
SALTSMAN: Absolutely not.
MATTHEWS: The East Coast-type person won‘t like you?
SALTSMAN: You know, as someone that represents that remark, absolutely not. We‘re excited up here. The governor has been well-received. We just got a huge crowd that we just got welcomed to.
MATTHEWS: What do you mean resents...
SALTSMAN: I represent that remark.
MATTHEWS: I know. You are a country guy.
MATTHEWS: I‘m just wondering whether it sells up here. I might not sell Mississippi. I understand the difference.
SALTSMAN: Chris, they love you in Mississippi.
SALTSMAN: I can promise you that, and Tennessee and Arkansas as well.
MATTHEWS: You‘re sweet. You‘re sweet. You‘re so sweet.
COMSTOCK: Oh, boy.
MATTHEWS: You see what he‘s doing? That‘s how you do it here.
MATTHEWS: Let‘s talk about how it works.
Are we going to have a clean election up here, where the person who wins-wins, and we‘re not getting a lot of Clinton-type spin? I mean, when Bill Clinton lost up here in ‘92, I couldn‘t believe how docile the country was. He said, I‘m the comeback kid.
He lost by eight points.
MATTHEWS: And he had been way ahead. And everybody writes comeback kid in the headline the next day.
It‘s amazing what you guys will write after an election.
MATTHEWS: Are we going to get a real clean winner here?
MATTHEWS: In other words, would—Huckabee, if he loses, you are going to say, we lost; you‘re not going to say, we won?
SALTSMAN: You mean on—after the New Hampshire primary? We expect to be in the top three.
MATTHEWS: If Mitt Romney wins, are you going to say, congratulations, Governor Romney; you won?
SALTSMAN: Absolutely. Absolutely.
And, if Senator McCain wins, we are going to say, congratulations to him as well.
MATTHEWS: You would rather that happen, wouldn‘t you?
SALTSMAN: Well, we‘re going to say congratulations...
COMSTOCK: Well, that‘s—we have a little situation where they are kind of teaming up.
MATTHEWS: I know.
MATTHEWS: That‘s an accusation.
Are you guys helping McCain?
SALTSMAN: Absolutely not.
SALTSMAN: I always used to say when people would be in Iowa and say, a vote for Huckabee is a vote for John McCain or Rudy Giuliani, a vote for Mike Huckabee is a vote for Mike Huckabee.
MATTHEWS: One of the great public relations experts in America is sitting to your left right now.
SALTSMAN: Oh, she is amazing.
MATTHEWS: She is a genius at spin and all the good things of politics.
Let me ask you this. Do you have any evidence that these folks are working to push McCain?
MATTHEWS: In other words, that was a slip of the tongue? That was a
it was an impulsive comment by you.
COMSTOCK: My point was that both of them have—they have been playing in different states, and so they have been both talking—you know, going out there and hitting—while we were in Iowa, Senator McCain decided—he wasn‘t really playing in Iowa, but came out to make a few hits.
MATTHEWS: Are they double-teaming you?
COMSTOCK: Well, there is a little bit of that.
But, hey, Governor Romney is a big boy. He‘s been successful in the private sector, in government, and in the nonprofit sector, when he did the Olympics, because he can take on these challenges. He‘s been a leader. He‘s been an executive. He knows how to take a lot of—multitasking is something that is easy for him and that he masters.
I mean, last night, when we got on the plane, the rest of the crowd was pretty tired. We had a lot of the press there, but he was just still going strong. He‘s been out there today..
MATTHEWS: OK. One question.
COMSTOCK: ... this guy can get the job done. And that‘s what he did in Massachusetts.
MATTHEWS: Is he going to start writing checks up here, personal money to try to win this thing now, when it‘s really down to the wire? Will he start spending personal money to bolster your chances up here, if it looks close?
COMSTOCK: I don‘t know. Well, he has—he has been open about the fact that he has, along the way...
MATTHEWS: Written checks?
COMSTOCK: ... funded some of it himself, but he also raised more money than any other candidate across the board.
MATTHEWS: Are you afraid he‘s going to spend a lot of money up here?
SALTSMAN: Well, we just saw that in Iowa...
MATTHEWS: Personal money?
SALTSMAN: ... where he probably—probably spent $15 million, $17 million in Iowa, which we beat him. We spent maybe $1.5 million.
MATTHEWS: Well, that‘s not all his money.
SALTSMAN: A lot of it is going to be his money. You will see on the fourth quarter.
COMSTOCK: We have had a lot of donors. We have had a lot of—we‘re going to have a fund-raising day this week.
SALTSMAN: Oh, there‘s no doubt.
SALTSMAN: You have raised a lot of money and you spent a lot of money, and you lost.
MATTHEWS: Is this Huckabee country up here?
SALTSMAN: I think it can be. I mean, we are looking forward to it.
Chip Saltsman, thank you, sir.
Thank you, Barbara.
COMSTOCK: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: Barbara is a pro.
Up next: the high cost of defeat for Mitt Romney. It‘s the HARDBALL “Big Number.” We‘re going to talk about how much—well, we will tell you what the number is about. It has to do with how much you have to pay per vote.
You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
So, what else is new out there? Well, I will tell you what is not new out there: jobs. The unemployment rate has hit a two-year high this week at 5 percent. That‘s not good. You can bet that that‘s going to play a big role as this presidential campaign moves forward.
Will voters reward Huckabee‘s populism because of the higher unemployment, Romney‘s business moxie, or Obama‘s call for change?
One of the things I have picked up, by the way, from smart politicians is to always attack from a defensive position, hit back at the guy who is hitting at you. Remember when the Clinton campaign mocked Barack Obama for wanting to be president back when he was in kindergarten?
Well, here is Barack Obama at the airport today in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This feels good.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
OBAMA: It‘s just like I imagined it when I was talking to my kindergarten teacher.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, that‘s Jack Kennedy stuff, great sarcasm.
Anyway, the Clinton media manipulation campaign continues up here.
Bill Clinton has just told ABC News that Hillary can—quote—
“absolutely be a comeback kid.” “Remember, I lost here,” he said, referring to New Hampshire.
Well, Clinton went on to list all the other states he lost before starting his winning streak back in ‘92.
But let‘s be clear here. Let‘s un-spin the spin. Hillary was never the underdog in this race. She‘s been ahead of Obama since the beginning. And any attempts to paint it differently are flat-out dishonest.
And, just for the record, Bill Clinton crowned himself the comeback kid up here after losing his big early lead in New Hampshire, and finally losing by eight points to an ailing Paul Tsongas.
I want to take a moment, by the way, to salute the senators who just left the race, Joe Biden and Chris Dodd, who have dropped out of the presidential race. They had the guts to run, the sense of public service to get into this very tough competition.
And now it‘s time for the HARDBALL “Big Number” tonight.
No matter what your politics are, you can‘t help but be impressed by Governor Mike Huckabee‘s Iowa victory last night. This is a guy who emerged from obscurity and beat out all the other better-known politicians.
And what is more impressive is how badly he was outspent by second-place finisher Mitt Romney. Tonight, two “Big Numbers.” The first is the amount of TV ad money Romney spent for each of his votes in Iowa. That number is roughly $238 a vote, 238 bucks a vote.
How much TV ad money did Huckabee spend for each of his Iowa votes?
So, the numbers tonight, $238, which was the cost of each of the
Romney votes here in Iowa, 35 bucks for the votes of Mike Huckabee in Iowa
an amazing difference, a tribute to democracy—tonight‘s “Big Numbers.”
COURTNEY REAGAN, CNBC CORRESPONDENT: I‘m Courtney Reagan with your CNBC “Market Wrap.”
Stocks nosedived after a worse-than-expected December jobs report. The Dow Jones industrials plunged 256 points. The S&P fell 35. And the Nasdaq dropped 98 points.
Employers added just 18,000 jobs in December, the fewest in more than
four years. Meantime, the nation‘s unemployment rate rose to a two-year
high of 5 percent. The news fueled fears of recession, but also raised
speculation the Fed could cut interest rates again at this month‘s meeting
by as much as half-a-point.
Meantime, the Fed announced it is increasing the amount of money available to banks through a new auction process it created to ease severe credit crunch. The Fed is offering banks up $60 billion this month. And that‘s a 50 percent increase.
And oil retreated because of concerns about the economy. Crude fell $1.27 in New York, closing at $97.91 a barrel.
That‘s it from CNBC, America‘s business channel—back to HARDBALL.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Are you ready for the next five days?
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
CLINTON: Well, so am I.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL from Manchester, New Hampshire.
The Iowa caucus is one for the record books already. So, what‘s next in New Hampshire?
Joe McQuaid is the all-powerful publisher of the all-powerful “New Hampshire Union Leader,” which endorsed John McCain for president. And Mike Barnicle is an MSNBC political analyst. He‘s also from this region.
MATTHEWS: So, I will be the one with the odd accent here.
Joe, why McCain?
MATTHEWS: And can he do it? Because we all think he will.
JOE MCQUAID, PUBLISHER, “THE NEW HAMPSHIRE UNION LEADER”: Oh, I think he can. And I think he‘s actually the true conservative in the race, which has bothered some of the young fry around the country at “National Review” and other places, who were accusing “The Union Leader” of rank hypostasy.
And I think McCain is true to his beliefs and his convictions. And he‘s come back because he‘s been in New Hampshire, and he‘s got the old fire going. I think Mike was out on the trail with him, and used that word, that there is a real fever, or fire, and the guy is feeding off the crowds and vice versa.
And you can only do that in New Hampshire, where you can actually talk to the voters and the voters can size you up.
MATTHEWS: Mike, is this going to be like Huckabee, the guy who is the hick out there, beats slick out in Iowa, and the regular, gritty maverick beats the slick guy up here?
MIKE BARNICLE, NBC ANALYST: It looks that way, Chris. It‘s interesting.
MATTHEWS: Slick ain‘t selling, huh?
BARNICLE: Well, you know, it‘s funny.
I talked to you before the program. And you go out with Romney, who is a nice enough fellow. He is a very nice fellow. He‘s brought a CEO‘s mentality to this campaign. And his—he‘s basically product placement. And he‘s not getting that top shelf in the supermarket with the Frosted Flakes.
And John McCain is now. And, as Joe just alluded to, I was out with Senator McCain a couple of days ago. And who was the old guy in Texas, Jim whatever with all the...
BARNICLE: Jim Hightower, he once said about someone that he‘s hotter than high school love. And that‘s what John McCain is right now in the state of New Hampshire.
My—my only instinct on him is that the thing that might hurt him is, what do the independents do, given the choice between Barack Obama and John McCain?
MATTHEWS: And I‘m wondering how you poll that, Joe. How do you know which way that guy or that woman who get into the ballot box on a cold Tuesday here and decides, do I go for the Republican or the Democratic ballot?
MCQUAID: We are not big on polls. I must say that, watching you guys in Iowa, a lot of people were dissing “The Des Moines Register,” their last poll, which turned out to be dead on.
I don‘t know how the heck they do it, especially in—in caucus country. I think there will be a good split, some independents going one way, some the other. And some are going to go for Ron Paul, who is not getting...
MATTHEWS: Are you guys out to pick a president or just show personal preference? Because Pat Buchanan won up here in ‘96. and didn‘t go much further after that.
Are you guys picking a president or just saying, this is how cranky we are up here?
MCQUAID: No, not cranky. We are saying, this is what the nation ought to do. They don‘t—they don‘t always...
MATTHEWS: You sound like Hillary—“what the nation ought to do.”
MCQUAID: They don‘t always follow our lead.
MATTHEWS: Are you instructive up here?
MCQUAID: Yes. That‘s what we‘re—we‘re just saying, this is our view.
MATTHEWS: OK. Do you think John McCain should be the next president?
MCQUAID: Yes, I do.
MATTHEWS: Better than Hillary?
MATTHEWS: Better than Obama?
MCQUAID: Yes, clearly.
MCQUAID: Experience, courage, competence.
He‘s not wavered. He‘s taken some unpopular stands, unpopular with his own party. But he has not gotten off of them. We have had a couple of long sessions with him, and he‘s the guy who is trying to convince us of his position, not like the guy—
MATTHEWS: Do you think he is still fighting the Vietnam War?
MATTHEWS: You sure? Because I get the feeling when he takes a tough position in Iraq he doesn‘t believe in the Iraq war, as much as he believed in the Vietnam War that he fought and sacrificed in. He just says, we don‘t walk away from a fight. Rather than—would he have ever taken us into Iraq?
Do you think John McCain would have taken us into the Arabian desert to be surrounded by our enemies?
MCQUAID: I don‘t think so.
MATTHEWS: You think he‘s smarter than Bush?
MCQUAID: Yes, I do. I think he‘s—tactically and strategically, he‘s smarter than Bush.
MATTHEWS: That‘s a good question, Michael.
BARNICLE: He slipped that one past you, Joe.
MCQUAID: Hi and inside.
MATTHEWS: I think it‘s interesting, because a lot of people might vote for McCain. I respect the hell out of him—who don‘t agree with him on the war to be a good thing to be fighting, but maybe he‘s only fighting the war because he‘s in the war, not because he would have put us there.
MCQUAID: Correct. He is not refighting Vietnam.
MATTHEWS: You don‘t think, Michael?
BARNICLE: I think you nailed where John McCain is on the war in Iraq. I don‘t think had he been president of the United States he would have poured troops into Iraq the way President Bush did. But because of his career in the military, because of his family‘s history in the military, he‘s enormously loyal to the military of the United States of America. So he chooses to maintain that the surge is working.
I don‘t think that means, A, that he is still fighting the Vietnam War. Nor I do think, just from hearing him, that he would have put troops into Iraq the way Bush did.
MATTHEWS: Let‘s talk about the election coming up in November. It is 2008. It‘s hard to believe we are in an election year right now, finally after all the foreplay. Is that the right word? Pre-gaming, if you will. It‘s 2008. This state went Democrat last night. Iowa looks to me, after watching the returns coming in last night, overwhelmingly Democrat. That state is probably going to tilt Democrat at the end of this year.
Is New Hampshire going to be a Democrat state this year?
MCQUAID: I think it will be tough for the Republicans anywhere. There is a sea change happening in the country, not one with which I agree or the “Union Leader.” But I think it‘s going to be very difficult. I think a lot of Republicans are coming back to McCain because they sense that he is the only guy who has a shot against the Democrats.
MATTHEWS: Do you agree with that, Michael?
BARNICLE: Yes, I do.
MATTHEWS: You could vote for McCain, couldn‘t you? You could.
BARNICLE: I could, yes.
MATTHEWS: If you didn‘t like the Democrat that year, you could do it.
BARNICLE: I could indeed bring myself to vote for John McCain. But I think all of us underestimate or don‘t have a handle yet on the depth and the speed of change that‘s out there, of people‘s hunger and thirst for change in this country.
MATTHEWS: We saw a lot of it in Iowa. The number of people they put
you know the numbers. They had 125,000 last time. They had 200,000 -- over 100,000 people more showed up against all—years and years we‘ve grown up thinking when is the big change year going to come? When are the young people going to show up and not just put t-shirts on and go to rallies? They showed up.
MCQUAID: They showed up in 1968 for Eugene McCarthy, too, in New Hampshire. They weren‘t all able to vote. But they showed up and they stayed for weeks at a time.
BARNICLE: And 40 years later, they are here in this amazingly similar election in 2008.
MATTHEWS: Were you with McCarthy in ‘68?
BARNICLE: No, I was up here.
MCQUAID: He was with Joe McCarthy.
MATTHEWS: I always want to know whether people are Bobby or Gene. It‘s always an interesting question, who were you with. I was with Gene until I knew we had to be with Bobby. Bobby was the only hope. I was with Bobby. Thank you, Joe McQuaid, a very powerful man, and Mike Barnicle.
Up next—the Friday before the New Hampshire primary. We‘ve got the politics fix coming up. This is HARDBALL, or as they say up here HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EDWARDS: What we learned last night is that the status quo is yesterday, that change is tomorrow, and tomorrow begins today, right here in New Hampshire.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL from Manchester, New Hampshire for the—by the way, it‘s the politics fix right now. With me, a pretty familiar face, Jennifer Donahue of the New Hampshire Institute of Politics, Chuck Todd, NBC News political director, and Joe Scarborough, who gets up at dawn.
MATTHEWS: Thank you, guys. I just wanted to do what I did last night, which is a smell test. I‘m accused of being pushy, but I‘ll be pushy.
What‘s going to happen. What do you smell this Friday evening?
CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS POLITICAL DIRECTOR: I think she is in better shape than people realize.
TODD: I think she‘s got a fighter‘s chance. That‘s all.
MATTHEWS: She is ahead in the polls. Why are you making like she is the underdog?
TODD: Because I think she is the underdog. All the momentum is with him. I think some of these public polls are under-sampling this independent stuff. Trust me, you think everybody is looking at the “Des Moines Register” poll, what they did. They figured out that, hey, maybe we are missing some of these new Barack voters? We‘ve got to be careful that they come in.
I heard somebody today say, New Hampshire is an older electorate. Normally Iowa is the older electorate. New Hampshire is the younger electorate. He could find a lot of young voters here. He could duplicate what he did here. I think they know that. The only thing that I would say is that Obama looked a little cocky today. To actually start saying a win here and I‘m off to the presidency, you might send the message to New Hampshire voters, hey, let‘s extend the race.
MATTHEWS: What do you think Jennifer?
JENNIFER DONAHUE, NEW HAMPSHIRE INSTITUTE OF POLITICS: I think Chuck just hit on something, because here‘s when Democrats in New Hampshire will make their minds up and independents, tomorrow, the debate. How will Hillary perform? She does well in debates. She‘s disciplined. She learned a lesson last night.
MATTHEWS: Except in Philly.
DONAHUE: Except in Philly. And she has been hemorrhaging ever since. She had Philly happen and then she has been campaigning in a negative fashion ever since.
MATTHEWS: Because something fell through that night, inevitability fell through.
DONAHUE: It did and so she‘s been in a freefall. But I do think Iowa leveled her out. Despite the fact that she looked stunned last night, and she did --
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you, suppose Charlie Gibson asks her a good question like Tim did, a decision where you really have to choose between constituencies, choose between Latino voters who want more of an open border and the voters, the Lou Dobbs types, who definitely don‘t want to have an open border, right? And you have to choose on the spot. You‘ve got to make a big political call on the spot. Can she do it?
DONAHUE: Go to the middle.
MATTHEWS: Does she need a lifeline, Joe? Does she have to call up Mark Penn or somebody?
DONAHUE: She has got to go centrist, not liberal, because she already voted centrist and right on the war.
JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC ANCHOR: But, my gosh, did you see that crowd last night in Iowa? it was one of the most remarkable speeches I‘ve ever seen.
SCARBOROUGH: Obama‘s speech. That was not a crowd that wanted a safe answer. The Iowa voters were not a consistency that wanted a poll tested, market-driven, Frank Luntz Scott (ph) blessing type of group, where, if we say this word, how do they respond? They didn‘t want that. They wanted to scream. They wanted to cry. And they did it. Same thing on the Republican side.
MATTHEWS: Joe, you and I are soul brothers on this one. I‘ve got to tell you, that‘s the question; do you want a big picture with a big message or do you want another Democratic political leader, like a political ward leader, divvying out the little things to the people? Here‘s what you need; here‘s what you need.
Hillary passed out a piece of literature in the last couple of days in Iowa which asked you to say, are you handi-capped, are you African-American? What are you? So they could send you back the literature that would be appropriate to your interests. That is so particular.
DONAHUE: Mark Penn should start paying the Clinton campaign, actually, for letting him work for them.
MATTHEWS: Why do they do this?
DONAHUE: That‘s just a real flaw.
TODD: Here‘s what I‘m curious about—
MATTHEWS: It was really saying, what is your price?
TODD: New Hampshire has seen this Obama phenomenon take place and it took place two years ago, right, with Devall Patrick.
DONAHUE: Yes. Obama was in this room a year ago.
TODD: A source of mine, a Boston Democrat who worked against Patrick in that primary and watched that speech last night and watched Obama in Iowa and said, I‘ve seen this freight train. It comes and it comes barrelling at you. Every time they thought they had Devall Patrick pinned, every time this hope, this new language, this new politics—even in New England, where you thought they didn‘t like that, you thought they wanted issues—Boston is the ultimate constituency town. Manchester is a constituency town.
MATTHEWS: I‘m setting you up, Chuck. You are the expert. After all my life of listening to the Democratic party sell the dream, the dream of black opportunity in America, opportunity for all the different ethnic groups that have been shut out, opportunity for real change, sooner or later, don‘t they have to deliver it, not just be the middle-of-the-road Democratic party?
TODD: January ‘09, I mean, if they don‘t have universal health care, if they don‘t pass these massive new things they are promising, absolutely.
MATTHEWS: But I‘m talking about the candidate. Doesn‘t the candidate sooner or later have to match the description of the commercial?
TODD: Not until he gets elected. I think he can play this out until he gets elected.
SCARBOROUGH—For Barack Obama is you always talk about how the machine always beats the dreamer.
MATTHEWS: It has been the case.
SCARBOROUGH: It has been --
DONAHUE: It has been.
SCARBOROUGH: But in this case, though, Barack Obama may be the dreamer, but he‘s the dreamer with 100 million dollars. That‘s my kind of dreamer.
MATTHEWS: Who is this guy John Henry? Who is the guy that was the—who beat the railroad trucks?
SCARBOROUGH: Exactly. He died at the end, but again—
TODD: But he won.
SCARBOROUGH: I would like to know though, what is the last great American political speech that rivalled what we saw last night with Barack Obama?
MATTHEWS: Reagan‘s in ‘64.
SCARBOROUGH: Reagan‘s in ‘64, maybe Bobby Kennedy‘s the night Martin Luther King died. This was one of the great speeches, one of the great moments of modern American politics. You can‘t buy that. If you have that plus 100 million dollars, get out of the way, duck.
DONAHUE: I agree with you.
MATTHEWS: What does she do with the body? How does she get rid of Barack Obama if she ever gets to beat him? How does tell him—how does she say, now step aside and go back to being junior senator from Illinois? You‘ll never be on the ticket because I have other plans. I‘m going to give it to—I‘ll give it to Evan or I‘ll give it Strickland. How does she say no when that drum is beating at the convention?
DONAHUE: She can‘t. She is in a box. Listen just a minute, here‘s the thing, he was in this room one year ago. There were 5,000 people here. The next week there were 10,000 people here. This is no joke.
MATTHEWS: You are talking about Obama.
DONAHUE: Obama, OK? Here is the reason Hillary Clinton is still viable, is that the economy up here is going south. the DOW dropped 260 today.
MATTHEWS: My DOW dropped 260, too.
DONAHUE: -- the number of bankruptcies in New England. So let‘s not
SCARBOROUGH: What does that do? That points to change.
DONAHUE: She is the economy candidate.
SCARBOROUGH: It‘s 1992 in New Hampshire again, except this time a Clinton doesn‘t win. This time a Clinton loses because change is called for.
DONAHUE: I think he is going to win. I‘m going to put it on the record. But I also think she is going to maybe do pretty well.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you, are the American voters as docile as they were in 1992? When Bill Clinton was able to walk on the stage perfectly timed for the local news and the national news, 11:00 news, actually—he came out at about 10:00, I believe it was in 1992. He had lost an election where he had been well ahead of Paul Tsongas, I mean, way ahead.
He lost that primary by eight points, a substantial staggering defeat.
He walks out and says, I guess I‘m the comeback kid and declared himself
the winner. How can you get away with that? And the national press bowed
down. I guess you are. The next day he goes on “Good Morning America” and
they treat him like a conquering hero. When is the country going to reduce
It‘s almost like “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” How do people get their minds controlled?
DONAHUE: It‘s you guys. I love you guys.
MATTHEWS: If the Clinton lose, will they at least notice it? That‘s all I‘m asking, Chuck.
TODD: Look, I thought it was interesting last night how the Edwards‘ made it very clear they finished second and how they were watching. I had more Democratic strategists from two of the campaigns that dropped out who said, who were sitting there rooting, hoping, praying she did not get that last three tenths of a percentage. Because they were just like, it will speed up second place.
MATTHEWS: We‘ve got to go. Jennifer Donahue, Chuck Todd, Joe Scarborough. Join us again Monday night at 5:00 and 7:00 Eastern for more HARDBALL. Then on Tuesday, Keith Olbermann and I will have the full coverage of the New Hampshire primary results Tuesday night. Right now it‘s time for “TUCKER.”
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