updated 4/24/2008 11:05:08 AM ET 2008-04-24T15:05:08

Guests: John Baer, Michael Smerconish, E. Steven Collins, Ron Brownstein, Roger Simon, Jonathan Capehart, Joan Walsh

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST:  Hillary makes her run.  Can she catch Obama? Let‘s play HARDBALL.

Good evening.  I‘m Chris Matthews.  Welcome to HARDBALL.  I am woman, hear me roar in numbers too big to ignore.  That sentiment was as true in Pennsylvania yesterday as it was back when Helen Reddy wrote those words back in 1972.

Hillary Clinton clobbered Barack Obama in Pennsylvania, and he did it with white women specifically—she did it with women, specifically white women, winning two thirds of them.  And the news gets worse for Obama.  Many of those women, along with other Clinton voters, told pollsters yesterday that if Obama wins the Democratic nomination this summer, they will either stay home in November or vote for Republican John McCain.  Think about it.

Overall, Clinton got the win she needed, beating Obama by about 9.4 percent, just short of a double-digit win.  We‘ll break it all down for and you look ahead to the next battles in North Carolina and Indiana, which are coming on strong.

Despite last night‘s results, a lot of Democrats are still saying it‘s time for Hillary Clinton to get out of the road for the good of the party.  But her supporters are saying, quote, “Why should she?”  She‘s got the momentum.  She‘s winning the big states.  And they also say she‘ll be a stronger candidate come November against McCain.  We‘re going to look at the path to the nomination for both Clinton and Obama later in the show.

Plus, as long as we‘re talking about golden oldies like “I Am Woman,” do you remember this hit—I guess you could call it that—from the 1988 presidential campaign?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Dukakis not only opposes the death penalty, he allowed first-degree murderers to have weekend passes from prison.  One was Willie Horton, who murdered a boy in a robbery, stabbing him 19 times.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  Well, the people responsible for that race-baiting Willie Horton ad are now promising to do the same to Barack Obama in North Carolina, the same thing they did to Mike Dukakis nationwide.  And there‘s yet another tough ad that John McCain has asked the North Carolina Republican Party not to run.  We‘ll take a look at that one in the “Politics Fix.”

But we begin tonight with exit polls in the Pennsylvania primary with MSNBC‘s Norah O‘Donnell, and also John Baer, who‘s the political columnist for “The Philadelphia Daily News.”

I want Norah to give me the straight numbers to give the graphic picture in front of us of the amazing thing that happened in Pennsylvania yesterday.  And then I want John to weed into this tricky area of ethnicity and race because it‘s always a tricky subject.  I will join you, John—I won‘t put you out there alone—but it is tricky.

Norah, white women as a category—what happened yesterday?

NORAH O‘DONNELL, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  This was a decisive win for Hillary Clinton in Pennsylvania because she did so well among white women.  White women turned out to be 47 percent of the total electorate.  That‘s huge.  And look at that number.  She won by 36 percent among white women—huge, huge margin.  If Obama wants to win in these remaining contests, he has to do better among women.

But what‘s -interesting about Pennsylvania is it‘s more generational than it is about gender.  What I mean is, it‘s much older composite age of white women in Pennsylvania.  That‘s why she did so well.  Barack Obama has done better among white women in states like Virginia and Maryland, when the composite age was younger among white women.  Interestingly...

MATTHEWS:  But older white women always vote in November.

O‘DONNELL:  That‘s true.

MATTHEWS:  That‘s his problem, isn‘t it.

O‘DONNELL:  That is true.  However, it depends on the state.  Indiana coming up is actually one of the younger states in that country.  So he might do better among white women in Indiana because there‘ll be a lot of younger white women.

MATTHEWS:  John Baer, let‘s talk about that and try to discriminate here, or dissect this.  Are these women voting for a fellow woman, perhaps of their age and generation and hopes, or are they voting against Barack Obama?

JOHN BAER, “PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS”:  I think it‘s the former, Chris.  I think that—I‘ve written and said before that this race really does strike me as more generational than gender-driven or race-driven.  And it‘s clear in Pennsylvania and I think it‘s—I mean, I‘ve seen a lot of evidence just anecdotally traveling around the state.  You get to a certain age and women, particularly white women, really do seem to bond with Hillary Clinton, really do seem to have that—you know, that past remembrance when women had much more trouble breaking through glass ceilings in every area of life.  Younger women don‘t have that, so older women are clinging to her.

MATTHEWS:  Why do you think it‘s so pronounced in Pennsylvania?  Is it just because of the age, the fact that it‘s one of the two oldest states in the union?

BAER:  I think, in large part, it is just the age.  And moreso than that, it‘s the stability.  I mean, Pennsylvania—one of the striking statistics about Pennsylvania is that 78 percent of the people that live here were born here.  This is a state that doesn‘t go anywhere.  A lot of people stay here.  And so those women have been in the same sort of Rust Belt mentality for 40, 50, 60 years.

MATTHEWS:  You know, I‘m wondering whether a lot of the women who voted for Hillary are women who did go into the workforce 20 or 30 years ago and had a tough time, or they were the sort of the stay-at-home woman who didn‘t get a chance to get out and get a job because there weren‘t jobs around, or whatever.  They were held back by the need to raise so many kids.

O‘DONNELL:  I think it‘s both of those...

MATTHEWS:  I wonder where the frustration...

(CROSSTALK)

O‘DONNELL:  I think it‘s both of those, and I think the generational thing is that a lot of these women lived through, essentially, the feminist era.  So yes, they‘re going to bond with another woman of their age, essentially, who has fought through that, and they‘re going to find that appealing.  We‘ve known throughout these contests she does well among older white women.  They cling to her because they admire her and they see and hope for a first woman president.

MATTHEWS:  John?

BAER:  And also—and also, Chris, I mean, maybe some of them are bitter.  Who knows?

MATTHEWS:  Yes, well, that word is—the trouble with that word is it sort of denigrates the person who is bitter.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  I mean, I‘d rather not describe anybody as bitter because nobody‘s—Are you calling me bitter?  I guess maybe I am bitter.  That‘s what I‘m really angry about, being called bitter.

Let me ask you about—I‘m a Catholic.  I grew up that way.  And I am a Catholic.  And I want to look at this.  I am somewhat stunned by these numbers.  Here it is, white Catholics—that means non-Hispanic, I guess, is the way they do these things, although Hispanics can be white, too.  I mean, it‘s just the way they do these things, white Hispanics, white Catholics -- 72 percent.  These numbers are stunning to me.  Now, you and I know that Catholics are Irish, Italian, Polish, all kinds of different ethnic groups are Catholic.  That‘s an amazing figure, though.  If you put them all together, it‘s overwhelmingly Hillary, more than women as a percentage.

O‘DONNELL:  Seven out of ten voted for Hillary Clinton.  She improved her margin even from Ohio.  But if you look at it in sort of trying to find out why do Catholics like Hillary Clinton better than Barack Obama, it‘s hard, really, to break this down, other than when we‘ve looked inside the numbers, it‘s because they‘re more ethnic, more working class.  So it may be more about their economic status than their religion, about why they trended toward Hillary.  We know she did very well among working class voters in Pennsylvania.

MATTHEWS:  I wonder, John.  It‘s a tricky subject.  I‘ll venture into it first.  I think a lot of people who are Catholic, Italian, Polish, whatever, are still fighting it out for their old neighborhoods, holding on strong, not moving when the neighborhood changes.  They feel the competition with African-Americans, maybe, in the neighborhoods.  Maybe they see Barack Obama as leading the African-American community, although he‘s been very much against playing that role as sort of the champion of one group against another.

BAER:  Well, I think there‘s some...

MATTHEWS:  Tricky area, right?

BAER:  ... truth to that.  The other thing—it is—it is a tricky area.  The other thing you didn‘t mention about Catholics is that most Catholics are white.  I mean, if you go to any church in Pennsylvania, a Catholic church on a Sunday, look around at the congregation, you‘re not going to see a lot of people of color, particularly in an older state like Pennsylvania.

And there are some interesting things going on.  There‘s a professor at Notre Dame by the name of Darren Davis (ph), great guy.  His specialty is political behavior and racial politics.  I‘ve talked to him a couple of times.  He sees this race as increasingly taking away that factor that Obama had when we started, that he could transcend race, and that the media and that the Clinton campaign has increasingly him made him a darker candidate.  And if he‘s right, I mean, this would be the kind of state where there would be some receptivity to that or some—some fear of that.

MATTHEWS:  Well, that would argue that the Clinton campaign has been

very smart to hand out what we call in politics “permission slips”

BAER:  Right!

MATTHEWS:  ... reasons to vote against a person that cloaks his ethnicity and race but simply achieves the same purpose, which is to put him in a corner, referring to him as a Jesse Jackson candidate, that kind of thing, constantly harping on the issue of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, those kinds of things that put him in a corner, right?

BAER:  Well, that and there‘s this notion that, particularly among minority candidates, or minority individuals, that some suggestions tend to stick longer than they would with white people.  The Bosnia thing didn‘t seem to stick with Hillary.  The Reverend Wright thing, we‘re still talking about it today, even given the speech in Philadelphia, which I thought pretty much handled it.

MATTHEWS:  Let‘s take a look at the fall here because, Norah, you were

let‘s talk about that.  Take a look at these numbers.  Present them to us, Norah, white Catholics, what they‘re going to do if Hillary is the nominee.

O‘DONNELL:  If Hillary is the nominee, 85 percent say they will vote for Hillary Clinton, 12 percent for John McCain, 2 percent say they would not vote.  But if you ask about what white Catholics if Obama is the nominee—look at this—only 59 percent say that they would vote for Obama, 21 percent say they would go for McCain, 17 percent said they would not vote at all.  Add those two bottom numbers together, you get 38 percent of white Catholics who say they won‘t vote for Barack Obama.  That‘s stunning in the state of Pennsylvania.  That might suggest he would have some problems in that state in a general election.

On the flip side, he turned out a lot of new voters who supported him.

MATTHEWS:  Yes.

O‘DONNELL:  But there seems to be some residue of people that—

Clinton voters who don‘t like Obama.  Obama voters are more likely to like Clinton and be willing to vote for her in November.  We saw that not just among Catholics but among all voters in Pennsylvania in exit polls.

MATTHEWS:  Well, somebody who doesn‘t like that group of voters might call them Archie Bunkers.  I‘ll call them Reagan Democrats, John.  They‘re Reagan Democrats, people who are culturally conservative, maybe a little culturally conservative on the racial front, on the ethnic front.  They like to think of themselves as Democrats on economic issues, but when it come to the squeeze on some of these cultural issues—didn‘t this all come up earlier, about three weeks ago, in San Francisco, this conversation?

BAER:  Absolutely.  Absolutely.  The other thing, Chris, I‘d point out is Pennsylvania has made some progress.  I know everybody wants to call us Alabama.  Two years ago in the governor‘s race, an African-American candidate by the name of Lynn Swan got 40 percent of the vote.  Barack Obama got 45 this time.  So we‘re making a little bit of progress, anyway.

MATTHEWS:  And my brother was his running mate.

(LAUGHTER)

O‘DONNELL:  And I think one of the others...

BAER:  I didn‘t want to remind you of that.  I didn‘t want to remind you of that.

MATTHEWS:  Oh, no, I don‘t mind.  Jim ran a good campaign.  He did as well as he could.

O‘DONNELL:  Everything about Pennsylvania was tailor-made for Hillary Clinton.  We heard that in the beginning.  And also, I think, if you look at how decisive her victory, what everyone that I‘ve talked to today said, you can‘t underestimate how much Governor Rendell and Mayor Nutter helped her, especially in the Philadelphia suburbs, where she ended up winning there, to the surprise of many people.

MATTHEWS:  Something must...

O‘DONNELL:  Organizationally...

MATTHEWS:  Right.

O‘DONNELL:  ... she was helped a great deal.

MATTHEWS:  You know, John, I was amazed.  I mean, Bucks and Montgomery both going for Hillary, Delaware and Chester going the other way.  Penn State out there in Centre County went for Barack.  But the rest of the state—I think one of the other counties out there—but basically, the state—Union County.  Basically, they all went for Eddie Rendell‘s candidate.  How strong do you think his pull was among the actual voters?  I know he had a lot of pull among mayors.  Did he actually pull votes?

BAER:  I think—I mean, what he does is he brings some legitimacy to a constituency that he‘s been popular with for 25 years, the whole Philadelphia region and the suburbs.  And some of those outer—those inner suburbs, Chester, Delaware, there is a large African-American community in there.

A lot of the buzz today, Chris, has been about the fact that Obama never really came and campaigned in west Philadelphia or north Philadelphia, never got on a sound truck, never ginned up that whole African-American vote, and maybe that cost him.  If that vote had turned out in bigger numbers, we might not be looking at a 9.4, we might be...

MATTHEWS:  What about the absence of street money, “walk around” money?  Did that hurt him?

BAER:  I don‘t think so.  In a presidential race, people come out to vote.  I mean, the purpose of street money is to get people to come out to vote.  You don‘t need to do that in a presidential race, particularly not this year.  I don‘t really think that was an issue.  Only ward leaders care about that.

MATTHEWS:  Yes, I think it was a big night for Eddie Rendell, actually, and Michael Nutter.  They did show their power to reduce that vote in Philadelphia for Barack Obama and to—I mean, what they did in the suburbs is going to be figured about for years to come, how they managed to crush a guy who drew such huge crowds.  And I was in those crowds, watching those people and the excitement, and yet when it came time to vote, the traditional vote patterns held.  It was a much more cautious vote.

Anyway, thank you, Norah O‘Donnell.  Thank you, John Baer.

Coming up—I just love the fact that the Catholics are now being studied like some sort of—I want to call it a New Guinea tribe now.  We‘re trying to figure them out.  The Pennsylvania breakdown, we‘re going to talk about that, the urban, suburban and rural votes, and what these results tell us about what America really wants in November.

By the way, this is filled with information for November.  If you‘re Barack Obama, you‘ve got to be worried deeply about your ability to carry Pennsylvania after what happened yesterday.

You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.  Hillary Clinton beat Barack Obama by about 10 points in Pennsylvania yesterday, but let‘s break down that Pennsylvania vote by region and see what that tells us about the electorate in Philadelphia.  Well, certainly, in Philadelphia, Obama got 65 percent of the vote, Clinton got 35.  So he won the city pretty handily.  In the Philadelphia burbs of Bucks, Montgomery, Chester and Delaware Counties, Obama got 48.5.  But catch this.  Clinton beat him in the burbs.  No one thought this was going to happen.

Michael Smerconish and E. Steven Collins are joining us right now.  They‘re both radio talk show hosts, very popular in Philadelphia.  Michael, you first.  What happened in Bucks and Montgomery to Barack Obama, who was drawing those immense crowds?

MICHAEL SMERCONISH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  I think that there‘s a tendency, and I know I‘m part of this, to treat the Philadelphia suburbs like they‘re a monolithic voting bloc.  And they have voted in similar fashion in the last several presidential years.  But what happened is that in Montgomery (SIC) County, where Barack Obama had his most staunch advocate, Congressman Patrick Murphy, he got hammered.  And then in Montgomery County, it was a slight margin for Hillary Clinton.  Delaware County, where Joe Sestak was one of the great supporters of Hillary Clinton, it was Obama.  Chester County, it was also Obama.

So I guess the lesson in this is you can‘t look at the Philadelphia suburbs as if they‘re all voting along similar patterns.  I can justify it, I guess, by saying in Bucks County, there‘s more of an industrial base.  And Hillary ran well, as you‘ve been pointing out, with blue-collar, Catholic, non-college educated voters.

But what I see in these numbers is that where she reinforced those support groups, he seems to have lost some support among college-educated voters.  I‘m not sure exactly why, but Reagan Democrats are his big problem.

MATTHEWS:  Do you think he got hurt when Hillary Clinton came out and said she was going to bomb Iran into obliteration?  Do you think that helped with the Jewish vote, for example?  It‘s not a big vote, but do you think that might have turned a little more to Hillary after that promise to do bad things to Israel‘s worst enemy?

SMERCONISH:  No, I don‘t think that that was a determining factor.  I think that there are some issues, some cards that he could play that he has not played.  I mean, he says some things relative to the hunt for bin Laden and Ayman al Zawahiri that I think would play extremely well.

MATTHEWS:  Yes, it‘s your issue, yes.

SMERCONISH:  It is my issue.

MATTHEWS:  Well, that‘s your issue, and I agree with you.  I agree with you completely.

SMERCONISH:  But the only place that he talked about it was on my radio show.  And I think he should have had a spot.  I mean, Hillary Clinton slipped in an image of Osama bin Laden in the 11th hour.  I don‘t know if that had any kind of an effect.  She didn‘t say a damn thing about it during the course of the campaign.

MATTHEWS:  Yes, I think he missed a chance to have a populist message about saving Social Security by raising taxes on better-off people and also going after the special interests in Washington.  He didn‘t have much edge.

Let me ask that to E. Steven.  E. Steven, what do you make of these?  I was raising the very tricky question of why so many Catholics voted for Hillary, and I think part of it—I‘m not sure what the reason is.  It‘s so hard to explain Catholics.  It‘s such a big group of people.  Some of it‘s just neighborhood ethnic politics.  You got a neighborhood you‘re defending against change, and you see an African-American candidate, you see a guy that might be championing that change and you don‘t want to see it happen.

E. STEVEN COLLINS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  You know, I—it‘s funny you raise that because I visited with Michael on his show earlier in the week before the election, and it was interesting that the one caller that mentioned race, focused on race, when so many people in our listenership really thought Barack Obama was not really focused on race...

MATTHEWS:  Yes.

COLLINS:  ... and spent most of his time outside of the inner city of Philadelphia.  So it‘s kind of interesting.

I think street money hurt him in the city.  I heard your comment—the caller earlier—your guest earlier, and I differ with that.  I think street money in a city like Philadelphia, where you need people to be paid for breakfast and lunch and to get the vote out and knock on doors and pick people up, really matters.

Now, remember, he lost this by about 200,00-and-some-odd votes overall in the state.  He could have gotten pretty close to that number in Philadelphia.  And those other Republican folks who changed party affiliation, according to some of the senators (ph) that I spoke to, to just vote for Hillary just because they prefer over Barack Obama in the fall.

MATTHEWS:  When you look at the ward breakout—do you have it yet, Michael and E. Steven?

SMERCONISH:  Yes. 

MATTHEWS:  Do you have the ward breakdown?  Does it look like any surprises?  Or is it basically white and black, the predictable pattern of 100 years? 

SMERCONISH:  Same—same as it ever is. 

(CROSSTALK)

SMERCONISH:  You know, it is the inverted L., which is the minority community and the ethnic J.  And you know what I‘m talking about.  I mean, you could inlay...

MATTHEWS:  South Philly and Northeast Philly are white, and the rest are black, yes.

SMERCONISH:  And—but, you know, I think—and Steven may have information about this more so than I. 

What I keep hearing is that the minority turnout in the city was a good turnout, but it was not an extraordinary turnout.  And I agree with him. 

(CROSSTALK)

COLLINS:  Yes. 

SMERCONISH:  I agree with him that there should have been street money. 

And I have to tell you something else, Chris.  I have great respect for Ed Rendell as a campaigner.  He is the best.  He really is Bill Clinton on a statewide level, and similarly for Michael Nutter.  But I don‘t think endorsements carried the day in this issue.  More than six of 10 folks knew a month ago who they were voting for.  That‘s what “The Politico” reported today. 

And that—that comports with what I have been saying all along. 

There aren‘t many undecided people when Hillary‘s name is on the ballot. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, E. Steven, somebody told me when I calling around one of the chairs, that these people made up their mind in 1957. 

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  I‘m—I‘m sorry. 

That‘s so cynical.  I‘m sorry. 

COLLINS:  I think there was a lot of people here in Philadelphia who were gaga for Obama.  There isn‘t any question about that. 

But, to Michael‘s point, in our city—I talked to Carol Ann Campbell, who is vice chair of the party, as you know.

MATTHEWS:  Sure.

COLLINS:  She went on and on about how that money is needed and how it is not to pay people to vote.  It is to pay people to get the vote out.  In our town, that is a tradition.  People expect it. 

And, yes, to—Michael, your question is right on, because the reality is, as you know, in ‘83, when Wilson Goode ran, there was such enthusiasm.  And you got a significant vote out.  Here, it was impressive, but there were a couple hundred thousand people that could have voted that looked like I look who didn‘t vote. 

MATTHEWS:  I‘m just guessing, based on yesterday‘s example, as an object lesson, we are going to see some street money come November from the Democrats. 

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  Anyway, thank you.

Michael, it is great.  I‘m so glad to spend so much time with you guys the last couple of weeks.  Stay tuned.  Your state is ground zero for the general election, Michael Smerconish, E. Steven Collins.

(CROSSTALK)

COLLINS:  Thank you. 

MATTHEWS:  Up next:  There was some subliminal advertising during Obama‘s speech last night.  Who‘s going to have some fun with this one?  Wait until you catch the product placement here during the speech last night.

You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.  

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “LATE NIGHT WITH CONAN O‘BRIEN”)

CONAN O‘BRIEN, HOST, “LATE NIGHT WITH CONAN O‘BRIEN”:  Political experts say that Barack Obama is attracting mostly younger voters, while Hillary Clinton is attracting much older voters.  Yes.  They may be right, because, today, John McCain said he is voting for Hillary. 

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL. 

So, what else is new in politics? 

Well, free advertising?  If someone from the front office at Abercrombie & Fitch working for the Obama campaign?  Take a look at Barack Obama‘s speech in Indiana last night after the results came in from Pennsylvania. 

You can there see, not one, not two but three Abercrombie shirts among his supporters in that shot.  You can spot the logos right there.  What is this with product placement?  Next, we will be seeing bowling shirts with the name of sponsors on them.  On second thought, in the case of Barack Obama, maybe softball shirts. 

Don‘t jump to conclusions when you hear a group singing for a candidate.  John Mellencamp performed for Barack Obama Evansville, Indiana, last night, but he is not necessarily backing Obama, it seems.  On May 3, Mellencamp will play at an Indiana rally for Hillary Clinton.  Who does this guy think he is, some undecided superdelegate? 

By the way, in 1984, Ronald Reagan tried to use the Mellencamp song “Pink Houses” in one of his campaign ads.  Mellencamp put the kibosh on it.  I guess the guy has narrowed himself down to Democrats. 

Obama Girl backs Obama.  As a dual resident of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, Obama‘s biggest fan was able to vote for him yesterday.  Take a look. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  So, how did—how did the voting go? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Oh, it was so exciting.  I have never—that is the first time voting on a primary.  And it was really exciting.  My mom didn‘t know what she was doing, though. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Oh, Obama mama. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  No, I knew what I was doing. 

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  I suppose getting Obama Girl out there for you is not all that great a consolation when you lose by 10 points. 

Nice digs.  We have some new details today about the palatial new American Embassy over there in Baghdad.  It is worth $750 million.  And it consists of 27 buildings on 104 acres of land, according to “The Washington Post.”  That‘s about the size of the Vatican. 

It has 619 blast-resistant apartments, indoor and outdoor basketball courts, an Olympic-size pool, restaurants, and a volleyball court.

Well, if you think that‘s great, it is nothing compared to the huge entertainment centers we built in South Vietnam a back.  Those had bowling alleys, the works.  Unfortunately, for those who think this way, building big things in other countries doesn‘t guarantee you are going to be allowed to stay there. 

And now it is time for the HARDBALL “Big Number.” 

Yesterday‘s “Big Number,” as you recall, was the total number of appearances that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton made on those morning television shows.  They each went to all three broadcast networks for what we call the full Ginsburg. 

As we called it then, well, tonight, we‘re going to call Hillary Clinton, give her the double Ginsburg.  She hit not just the three broadcast shows, led by “Today Show,” but all three cable morning shows, led by “MORNING JOE.” 

Let‘s watch. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  What happened yesterday was an incredible development. 

It was a wonderful night. 

I was thrilled by the margin of victory. 

It was inspiring and so exciting. 

We just had a great time last night. 

And I‘m just so grateful to have such an overwhelming victory. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  She never left that chair a she did all three networks.

All three networks, all three cable networks, we‘re call it the full victory lap, six appearances by Hillary Clinton—tonight‘s “Big Number.” 

Anyway, up next: the road ahead.  What should Obama do?  What should Hillary do to win this nomination? 

You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.  

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

REBECCA JARVIS, CNBC CORRESPONDENT:  I am Rebecca Jarvis with your CNBC “Market Wrap.”

All green arrows today for Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrials gaining almost 43 points, the S&P 500 up four, the Nasdaq gaining 28 points. 

Then, after the closing bell, Apple reporting first-quarter earnings that easily beat analyst estimates on surging iPod, iPhone and Mac computers sales.  But Apple estimated profit this quarter will be below estimates.  And then, in after-hours trading, Apple shares are down about 3 percent. 

Amazon.com also reporting quarterly earnings after the closing bell. 

Earnings beat estimates, but the company lowered its full-year forecast. 

Amazon shares are down 4 percent after hours. 

And also after the closing bell, Starbucks warned of lower-than-expected earning for the second quarter and the full year.  The company blamed the economic slowdown.  Starbucks shares are down 12 percent after hours. 

Oil prices, well, they retreated from yesterday‘s highs, nearly $120 a barrel.  Oil for June delivery closed at $118.30 a barrel. 

That‘s it from CNBC, America‘s business channel—now back to

HARDBALL. 

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL. 

As the campaigns dissect the results and trends from last night, the Democratic Party is split over whether Hillary Clinton still has a legitimate shot of winning this thing.  There are questions about her chance of coming out on top of the primary popular vote, the elected delegates, and even the will of the superdelegates. 

HARDBALL correspondent David Shuster has this report. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CROWD:  Hillary!  Hillary!  Hillary!  Hillary! 

SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Thank you. 

DAVID SHUSTER, NBC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  While Pennsylvania kept the race going, Hillary Clinton‘s margin of victory was not enough to change the math. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “THE TODAY SHOW”) 

ANNOUNCER:  This is “Today.” 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHUSTER:  So, this morning on “The Today Show,” Clinton tried to reframe a key nomination argument: the popular vote. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “THE TODAY SHOW”) 

CLINTON:  You know, more people have now voted for me than have voted for my opponent.  I won overwhelmingly in Florida.  And more people voted for me in Michigan. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHUSTER:  But Clinton‘s math is fuzzy.  Democrats agreed not to campaign in Florida or Michigan, and, in Michigan, Obama‘s name was not even on the ballot. 

Clinton‘s controversial arithmetic underscores her popular vote challenge.  For Clinton to win it, she needs to stay even with Obama in Indiana and North Carolina, run up big victories West Virginia and Kentucky, where she‘s favored, stay close in the remaining primary states, and still include the results in Florida, where she had a net advantage of 288,000 popular votes. 

Barack Obama can sew up the popular vote by winning North Carolina by 10 points or more and than by splitting the remaining primaries, because, under that scenario, even including Florida would not hurt him. 

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  We have simply been playing by the rule throughout this process.  And we think that if, at the end, we end up having won twice as many states and having the most votes, then we should end up being the nominee. 

SHUSTER:  Another key nomination argument is the elected or committed delegate count.  Here again, Clinton faces trouble. 

CLINTON:  So, I‘m ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work. 

SHUSTER:  To beat Obama in elected delegates, Clinton needs 67 percent of all that are left.  But only in Arkansas this year has Clinton reached a percentage that high.  And since Obama is favored in some of the contests remaining, even Clinton supporters acknowledge, the pledged delegate race is over. 

The other key factor in the path to the nomination involves superdelegates.  And here is where Clinton sees an opening.  The 795 superdelegates include Democrats in Congress, former Presidents Clinton and Carter, Vice President Gore, and state and party officials, who will weigh in and help a nominee reach the 2,025 delegates needed for the nomination. 

The superdelegate system in the Democratic Party was created to prevent another nomination just like George McGovern in 1972.  McGovern won just one state in the general election.  Party leaders felt a system needed to be in place in case most primary voters again lined up behind a candidate who was seen as unelectable. 

So, what makes a candidate unelectable?  It could be a major gaffe, mistake, or scandal.  And that‘s exactly what the Clinton campaign is hoping for, anything that would turn around the polls and show her beating John McCain in several states and Obama in those same states losing to McCain. 

(on camera):  Barring something unexpected and dramatic, though, it seems unlikely the superdelegates will go en masse against the elected delegate count or against the head-to-head verdict of the primary popular vote, because winning that way would undermine the very voters the Democratic Party needs in November. 

I‘m David Shuster, for HARDBALL, in Washington. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MATTHEWS:  Well, you can‘t tell the players without a scorecard.  The question is, which scorecard are we using here? 

Thank you.  That was David Shuster‘s great report.

Ron Brownstein is political director for the Atlantic Media.  And suspicious is the Washington bureau chief for “USA Today.”

We have got two heavyweights here. 

The two normal way of doing this so far was counting delegates elected, and then letting the superdelegates decide if that‘s the appropriate winner.  Now we have a new scorecard, which is the total popular votes.  The Clinton way of looking at that is including Michigan, where they—hers was the only name on the ballot, and Florida, where nobody else campaigned.  In fact, she didn‘t campaign. 

Susan, can they do this distraction successfully?  I mean, it is fair enough.  If they can confuse the delegates, is it OK if they do it? 

SUSAN PAGE, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, “USA TODAY”:  I don‘t think it works to include Michigan and Florida at this point without a deal with Obama to make that acceptable. 

I do think the one path to nomination that‘s open to her now is to win in the popular vote without counting Michigan and Florida.  And that requires a really strong finish here.  But it is still possible.  It is impossible for her to catch up with pledged delegates.  And it is not possible for her to beat him in the number of states.  He already has got that put away. 

But that is the one opening, it seems to me.  But you can‘t count Michigan if you didn‘t have Barack Obama on the ballot. 

RON BROWNSTEIN, POLITICAL ANALYST:  There are no rules here, because this is not an official process, right?

I mean, really, all we‘re talking about with the popular vote is the impact on the decisions of superdelegates.  That is the only tangible impact out of this. 

I mean, the reality is, Chris, that these two candidates have divided the Democratic Party, the Democratic coalition almost exactly in half, with a slight edge to Obama, but with remarkable stability from state to state.  I mean, we have just gone through seven weeks of campaigning, unprecedented spending, torrents of words on TV and radio and in print. 

And, essentially, the major voting blocs divided almost exactly the same way in Pennsylvania as they did in Ohio.  I mean, her vote among non-college white voters was 71 percent in Ohio and 70 percent in Pennsylvania.  It was 52 percent among college whites in Ohio and 53 percent in Pennsylvania.  Nothing changed. 

It‘s—the grooves seem to be cut very deeply in this race. 

MATTHEWS:  Yes. 

BROWNSTEIN:  The superdelegates know what they‘re getting with these two candidates.  They offer different coalitions.  And I don‘t think the remaining contests are going to provide them very much more information than they have today. 

MATTHEWS:  So, even if—so, even if Barack Obama wins in Indiana, he pulls ahead in Indiana, wins North Carolina, wins two big ones next—the week after next, she stays in?

PAGE:  I think she stays.  I mean, I think she‘s made it pretty clear she‘s going to stay in.  And if you have ever met either of the Clintons, you would figure they‘re going to stay in. 

MATTHEWS:  OK. 

(CROSSTALK)

PAGE:  But you need—she needs—if she is going to get this, she needs to provide an opening and some cover for these superdelegates to go against the will of the elected...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Well, what is—what is the cover?

PAGE:  And the only cover that I think is possible for her is the popular vote. 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  To actually win it without the...

PAGE:  To win it without Michigan and Florida.  I think that is the only thing...

MATTHEWS:  Do you agree with that...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  ... that she has to win one of those two columns?

BROWNSTEIN:  Look, I think, right now, you know, both of these candidates, as we said before, have already won more votes in the primary than any Democratic candidate ever, which means that the one who wins the most at the end of this will have won more votes than any Democratic nominee in history.  That‘s a big hill for super delegates to overturn.  I think that‘s important.

Larger, you have to give them the rationale.  If super delegates want to go to Obama, if they believe he is a better general election candidate, they can easily ignore the popular vote.  Ultimately, I think the back bone of this is not the popular vote, but being able to convince people that she is a stronger general election candidate. 

MATTHEWS:  I‘ll play Terry McAuliffe.  I‘ll jump up and down and tell you.  First of all, no, we don‘t have the lead in the elected delegates.  That‘s not the determining factor.  We do have the most people voting for us, Senator Clinton, because even though they weren‘t ratified, those states—they were ruled out of order—they did vote for us.  And what else?  We‘re close in term of the overall popular vote, if you don‘t count those two states.  And also, starting February some date, the 19th, that‘s the last time Barack Obama carried white people across the field. 

So if he hasn‘t been able to do well in the last two months of this campaign, we think it is more important to look at the last two months than the first two months.  And we think that if you look at the last two months of this campaign—it will be three months in a month—that‘s a better indicator of who should win this nomination.  Can‘t they make that case? 

BROWNSTEIN:  They have reasonable arguments.  Barack Obama said today, we have won the white blue collar vote in a whole bunch of states.  It‘s just not true.  He‘s won white voters without a college education in just a single state, Wisconsin.  He even lost them in Illinois.  He‘s won white voters who earn 50,000 or less, I believe, in just three states. 

MATTHEWS:  He lost the white women in Wisconsin.  

(CROSS TALK)

BROWNSTEIN:  The problem is—and I agree.  I think the problem Hillary Clinton has is that Obama can point to other constituencies that are stronger for hill, particularly upscale independents.  The reality is that if she come out of this with a deficit of 100 among the pledged delegates, she needs at least two-thirds of the super delegates to go in her direction.  And in fact, as we both know, the movement has been the other way, steadily heading towards him. 

PAGE:  The nomination has to involve another thing.  It has to involve a big Obama gaffe or scandal or controversy.  He survived the Jeremiah Wright.  He survived bitter-gate.  She needs something else to happen that raises really fundamental questions about his ability to win. 

MATTHEWS:  How do you tell black voters, young voters that the person they voted for, and got the most delegates elected for, isn‘t going to be the nominee?  How do you tell them that in Denver? 

BROWNSTEIN:  Especially if that person has won more votes in the primary than any Democratic candidate in his history.  That is very difficult thing to do. 

MATTHEWS:  Even if the Clintons have the cheek—I‘ll use that word -

to do this, to stand on a platform and say, we‘ve taken it away from you. 

PAGE:  They can argue that.  But I don‘t think it flies with the people who are going to make the decision, absent something that really raises bigger questions about Obama‘s electability. 

BROWNSTEIN:  One thought though, among those people making the decisions, there has to be a little anxiety growing about the consistency of Obama‘s troubles with the white working class voters at the core of the party.  He is getting 28, 29 percent in some of these states of white Catholics.  Democrats have to be able to compete for white Catholics.  They don‘t have to win them, but they have to be competitive in a general election. 

And Hillary Clinton‘s arguments are not totally without merit, but he does have a lot on the other side.  He has all the energy, all the money he can raise. 

MATTHEWS:  He needs a new speech that‘s populist and delivers the goods to working people that they haven‘t heard him advertise yet.  He hasn‘t advertised he will do something for them, instead of just are serenade them.

PAGE:  Indiana is an opportunity.  

MATTHEWS:  He‘s got to talk about Social Security reform.  He has to talk about he‘s going after the special interests in the way that SCIU ad did the other day. 

(CROSS TALK)

MATTHEWS:  That campaign in Pennsylvania lacked edge and fire.  He has got to have some fire besides the kumbaya.  He‘s got to say, we‘ve got to win this thing for some deep reason.  I didn‘t hear the reason.  Anyway, I didn‘t hear it.  I heard the music.  I didn‘t hear the reality.  Anyway, Ron Brownstein, Susan Page.

Up next, final goodbyes to Pennsylvania, then on to North Carolina, the Tar Heel State and the Hoosier State, Indiana.  It‘s all in the politics fix.  By the way, those two biggies are coming up Tuesday after next.  This is HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON:  I have to go back to Washington to vote on a really important piece of legislation.  And people say, well, you know, it is last minute.  I‘m not sure we can really pull it off.  I said, yes, but you know, I really want to go to Indiana and I want to be here to tell you that I‘m going to be here for the next two weeks doing everything I can to help as many Hoosiers understand that I will be there for you and you can count on me. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL and the politics fix.  Our round table tonight, Joan Walsh of Salon, Politico‘s Roger Simon, and Jonathan Capehart of “The Washington Post.” 

Joan and gentlemen, I want you both to respond to something I said last night.  Always tricky territory; I loved Hillary‘s speech last night.  And I don‘t know whether it is the words or the manner, but something about it seemed vastly improved.  What do you think, Joan, of last night‘s speech?  Did you catch her victory speech?

JOAN WALSH, SALON.COM:  Of course, I did, Chris.  I totally agree with you.  I thought about something I saw this weekend too.  I was channel surfing.  I was just another voter sitting on the couch on a Saturday watching television, and I flipped back and forth between her speeches and between Obama‘s.  Hers, they‘re kind of unbelievable in their level of detail.  She‘s the energizer bunny. 

She‘s going to help you keep your house.  She‘s going to help you afford college.  She‘s going to solve problems you did not even know you had, Chris.  The energy just come across.  And Obama, very inspiring.  He‘s going to fix the process.  He is going to bring us together.  He was still complaining, unfortunately, about the ABC debate.  And there was nothing really specific to connect you, besides you don‘t like the process and you‘re a little bit alienated.  I thought that was very significant. 

MATTHEWS:  Jonathan, in the past, the Clintons have always won the argument that—the details in State of the Union Addresses by former President Clinton have gone over wonderfully with real people, if not with the critics.  People want to know specifically what you‘re going to do for them.  And I agree, Barack Obama has failed in Pennsylvania to tell the voters of Pennsylvania that he‘s going to do something about Social Security and programs that matter to them. 

JONATHAN CAPEHART, “THE WASHINGTON POST”:  I think that‘s one of the reasons why—remember, he used to do those big rallies, thousands and thousands of people.  In fact, most of the rallies were like that.  I think in the six weeks, the Obama campaign maybe a conscience decision that we‘ve got to get him out of these giant arenas and put him in small groups of people so he can talk one-on-one, make that connection, and talk about real issues and real things. 

As Joan said, unfortunately, he is still complaining about last week‘s debate.  And he is still high-flying up here when states like Pennsylvania, want to bring you down to Earth to make sure that you know how they‘re feeling and what their issues and problems are. 

MATTHEWS:  One reason he‘s been high flying is to avoid the flak that‘s coming at him.  Here‘s some more; the North Carolina Republican Party is rolling out this nasty new ad that attacks Barack Obama over Jeremiah Wright.  Let‘s listen and look. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  For 20 years, Barack Obama sat in his pew, listening to his pastor. 

REV. JEREMIAH WRIGHT, FORMER PASTOR:  And then walk up to sing God Bless America.  No, no, no.  Not God Bless America.  God Damn America. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Now, Beth Perdue and Richard Moore endorse Barack Obama.  They should know better.  He‘s just too extreme for North Carolina. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  The North Carolina Republican party sponsored this ad opposing Beth Perdue and Richard Moore for North Carolina governor. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  That ad, he has asked them to drop it.  What do you think of that ad? 

ROGER SIMON, “POLITICO”:  It is certainly nasty.  I‘m not sure it is unfair though.  The media having run that clip about a million times more than the North Carolina party ever could run that clip.  Who is more guilty?  What is unfair about the ad is the implication that Barack Obama sat in that pew and heard Jeremiah Wright say those statements.  Barack Obama says he never heard it, bla bla bla. 

But, as Jonathan indicated, Barack Obama is not past this incident.  And Jeremiah Wright is going to come up in the general election.  It just is, just like people clinging to their guns and religion.  He better get used to it. 

MATTHEWS:  Jonathan, John McCain says, in a letter to them today, he thinks they ought to pull the ad.  They‘re clearly going their own way on this.  They say it is a local issue.  They‘ll stick with it. 

CAPEHART:  I find it very interesting in this regard; he is able to have it both ways.  There is an attack ad on Senator Obama.  He gets to denounce it.  He gets to say, take it off the air.  And then they get to say, well, no, we won‘t do it.  And by the way, every cable network is going to show it, every half-hour on the half-hour, because it is a big story. 

Heck, I saw on MSNBC that this ad was out there.  I went to the website and I watched it.  I told other people and they watched it. 

MATTHEWS:  To make your point, Jonathan, we‘re going to show you a worse one of these ads when we come back after the break, all for free.  This is one put out by Floyd Brown, the inimitable guy who did the Willie Horton ads.  We‘ll be back with that ad when we come back.  You‘re watching HARDBALL.  This is the round table of the politics fix.  You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  We‘re back with the politics fix.  Let‘s take a look at this ad now.  It is proud by Floyd Brown.  He is, of course, the guy who produced the Willie Horton ad back in that ‘88 campaign.  This is for North Carolina.  It‘s an attack ad against, guess who?  Barack Obama. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  My boy killed at 15, beaten with bricks after a gang member crashed into his car.  Severo Enriquez, just 14 years old; when he refused to flash a gang hand sign, he was shot five time in the back. 

They all died in 2001 in Chicago.  The “Sun Times” called it urban terrorism and demanded action on gang violence.  But that same year, a Chicago state senator named Barack Obama voted against expanding the death penalty for gang related murder.  Can a man so weak in the war on gangs be trusted in the war on terror? 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  There you have it, Jonathan. 

CAPEHART:  Wow!

MATTHEWS:  The first shot. 

CAPEHART:  All I can say is he‘s going to look back on the cling/bitter controversy with fondness.  That‘s a really hard ad, a really hard ad.  He is going to have to have an answer for it, whether he likes it or not. 

MATTHEWS:  It‘s a giant permission slip for somebody who doesn‘t want to vote for him to begin with.  And it‘s also a permission slip for the Republican party to use him as a target throughout the general election.  Right, Joan? 

WALSH:  Yes, this definitely proves, as Jonathan said, that nothing Hillary has done to date is really even a tenth of what will happen to him in the general election.  It‘s not a reason not to nominate him, because she will have—we can all sit around and write the attack ads on her.  It‘s going to be a nasty race.  The one thing she has is that she‘s faced it before and she‘s fought back. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, Roger, this guy hides under a rock every couple generations, shows up again with another ad against a black candidate, or using a black person as the bad guy.

SIMON:  I‘m not a great fan of Brown, and I wrote ostensibly about the Willie Horton ad when it was used in a negative way.  I‘m not sure you can say this ad is racially motivated.  This is an attack on Barack Obama for a specific vote not extending the death penalty for gang members, or whatever the heck it‘s about.  But it‘s not—you can‘t say that every time someone uses Barack Obama‘s picture in an ad, it‘s racism.  The guy is what the guy is.

CAPEHART:  Bravo, Roger.

SIMON:  There are some unfair that are going to run, not by McCain, but by the 527s and others.  I‘m not sure this is one of them.

MATTHEWS:  You wonder whether the sound and the fury of the urban theme here doesn‘t sort of capture him as one of the criminals.  Joan, that‘s the way I saw it.  It sort of put him on the street corners with the killers.

WALSH:  With the gang members, right.  He‘s soft on gangs, and gangs equal black in this ad.  I thought there was a little bit of racial coding, but I think Roger makes an otherwise good point.  I think we can go too far in saying anything. 

MATTHEWS:  I get criticized for being over-sensitive to these ads, but I know the country I grew up in and this is an easy target.  I‘m sorry, Jonathan, you don‘t agree.  Go ahead. 

CAPEHART:  I agree with Roger and I agree with Joan agreeing with Roger.  I think Roger is absolutely right.  Just because you criticize Barack Obama doesn‘t mean that it‘s racially motivated or should be viewed through a racial lens. 

MATTHEWS:  You guys may be right.  I may be right.  Anyway, Roger, I like being right rather than wrong.  Thank you, Roger.  Thank you, Joan.  Thank you, Jonathan. 

Join us again tomorrow night at 5:00 and 7:00 Eastern for more HARDBALL.  Right now it‘s time for RACE FOR THE WHITE HOUSE with David Gregory.

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

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