updated 6/30/2008 10:33:29 AM ET 2008-06-30T14:33:29

Guests: Michelle Bernard, Margaret Brennan, Margaret Carlson, Jennifer Donahue, Wayne Slater, Jeff Johnson, Ron Brownstein, Carla Marinucci, Jennifer Palmieri, Michelle Laxalt

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST:  Heart to heart.  Hillary and Barack merge their brands.

Let‘s play HARDBALL.

Good evening.  I‘m Chris Matthews.  Welcome to HARDBALL.  It‘s unity day for the Democrats.  Today, Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton campaigned together for the first time in a place fittingly called Unity, New Hampshire.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Senator McCain and President Bush are like two sides of the same coin, and it doesn‘t amount to a whole lot of change.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I‘ve admired her as a leader.  I‘ve learned from her as a candidate.  She rocks.  She rocks.  That‘s the point I‘m trying to make.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  So who benefits more from the Clinton-Obama event?  And who was missing from the event?  And how united are the Democrats?  More in a moment.

Plus, new polls show it‘s going to be a fight to the finish in the battleground states.  Later, we talk to two political pros from the left and the right.

And Hillary Clinton is throwing her support, as we just said, behind Barack Obama as of today, but will the women who fought for her follow?  And how can Republican John McCain woo some of those Hillary women?  More later.  Finally, the winners and losers of the week from our “Politics Fix” panel.

But first, today Senator Barack Obama, as I said, and his former rival, Hillary Clinton campaigned together in New Hampshire, but where do they go from here?  Ron Brownstein is with “The National Journal.”  He‘s political director for Atlantic Media.  And Carla Marinucci is with “The San Francisco Chronicle.”

Carla, it‘s good to have you on the show.  You‘re going be first.  Respond to what you see here.  Here‘s Senator Clinton today up in Unity, New Hampshire.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON:  I don‘t think it‘s at all unknown among this audience that this was a hard-fought primary campaign.  We have traversed America, making our case to the American people.  We have gone toe to toe in this hard-fought primary.  But today, and every day going forward, we stand shoulder to shoulder for the ideals we share, the values we cherish, and the country we love.  We may have started on separate paths, but today our paths have merged.  Today our hearts are set on the same destination for America.  Today we are coming together for the same goal, to elect Barack Obama as the next president of the United States.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  Well, I don‘t think you can do better than that, Carla.  I think it was a professional piece of work by Hillary Clinton—first rate, 10-strike.  Heart was there, mind was there, script was there, she was there in totality.  Your assessment of that political event?

CARLA MARINUCCI, “SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE”:  Yes, I totally agree, Chris.  And as one of these hard-core Clinton supporters out here told me today, First you fall in love, then you fall in line, then you sing kumbaya.  And that‘s what those Democrats were singing today.  Clinton—no more talk about Barack Obama and a thin resume, not enough experience.  She wasn‘t talking about her 18 million supporters anymore, she was talking about their 36 million supporters.  She was talking about a change election.

And I think the Democrats, both Obama and Clinton, today were saying, Our party is more behind us than McCain has behind him.  Look, in California, Chris, this is a state that went almost 10 points for Senator Clinton, a very strong hold (ph) for her, and now 12 points for Obama, the latest Bloomberg poll shows.

MATTHEWS:  OK.  Let‘s go to Ron Brownstein, formerly of “The LA Times.”  You know that coast a little bit out there.  But what do you think of her performance today?  I thought it was a (INAUDIBLE)

RON BROWNSTEIN, “NATIONAL JOURNAL”:  I don‘t think Obama could have asked for anything more.  I mean, it really was, as you said, as was strong as she could have been.  It was a very well-delivered speech.  She seemed very genuine in understanding that the moment is now to move forward to the general election.

Look, I mean, there are challenges in unifying the Democratic Party.  This was an extraordinary race.  They—more people voted in this Democratic primary by far than ever before, and they divided the coalition almost exactly in half.  So there are issues.  But in terms of what Hillary Clinton did today to try to put those issues behind them, I think it was a pretty good sign for Obama going forward that she is going to be there, as you suggested, both in kind of—both in kind of message and commitment.

MATTHEWS:  Yes, and in person.

BROWNSTEIN:  Yes.

MATTHEWS:  It was here.  Here‘s Senator Clinton on the choice between Obama and McCain.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON:  If you like the direction America is going, then vote for Senator McCain because you‘ll definitely get more of the same.  But if you think we need a new course, a new agenda, then vote for Barack Obama and you will get the change that you and we need and deserve.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  Carla, it seems to me that she‘s talking to the Hillary army right then.

MARINUCCI:  Yes.  Absolutely right, Chris.  Look, these women who were behind Clinton have had it very tough in the last couple weeks.  I‘ve talked to many of them.  I‘ve heard from many of them.  They are hurting, a lot of them.  They wanted to see a woman president in their lifetime.  It‘s not going to happen.  A lot of them are getting over it.

Some of them—I talked to Susie Tompkins Buell today, a major supporter of Senator Clinton‘s, very generous donor.  She said she welcomed this event.  She said Hillary‘s going a put her heart and soul, obviously, into the Barack Obama campaign.  She‘s not quite there yet.

MATTHEWS:  Yes.

MARINUCCI:  She says, I‘m still going to wait and see.  But it‘s a far less strident stand than she even had a couple of weeks ago.  I think that they‘re coming around.  The trickle is going to become a waterfall.

MATTHEWS:  Yes, that‘s powerful information.  That‘s a great report, Ron.  The fact that—that woman just mentioned...

BROWNSTEIN:  Right.  She‘s a big—she‘s a...

MATTHEWS:  ... is one of the toughest holdouts so far.

BROWNSTEIN:  Absolutely.  Well, you know, look, there are two levels you have to look at this at.  One is the elite level, the activists, the fund-raisers, the donors.  For a lot of them, there are—it is going to be difficult to go from putting this incredible effort into the Clinton campaign over the last year-and-a-half to ardently, and you know, excitedly supporting Barack Obama the next day.

The larger question for him, though, ultimately, is the broader universe of downers.  And there I think the issue, Chris, is less whether there are specific animosities among Hillary Clinton voters that she didn‘t win the nomination than whether Obama can appeal to the same constituencies...

MATTHEWS:  Yes.

BROWNSTEIN:  ... that he had trouble with during the primary.  I mean, that is the issue.  There was a very clear pattern of support for Hillary Clinton.  It tilted downscale, mostly non-college voters.  The Latino voters have moved toward him.  Can he do as well as she might have with those non-college white voters, especially the women?  That is still an open question and one that Hillary Clinton can help with, but ultimately can‘t deliver.  He‘s got to close that sale himself.

MATTHEWS:  What struck me, Carla—and it‘s good to talk to you.  I haven‘t seen you in so long.  But Carla, it seems to me the most interesting thing here—and I‘m in the middle of this thing, too, trying to figure this thing out.  There‘s not a big issues difference between these two candidates.  It is—and this is an unusual statement to make—about the heart.

MARINUCCI:  Yes.  Absolutely.

MATTHEWS:  It‘s about her.  It‘s about the heart.

MARINUCCI:  Absolutely.  This is a heart and soul issue for so many women, you‘re right.  Except on savings (ph) on health care, they really weren‘t that far apart.  So for women, this was a line in the sand.  They wanted to see it happen.  They were concerned about the primary and the caucus states and whether Hillary got treated fairly.  They were concerned about sexism in coverage.  So a lot of them...

MATTHEWS:  Yes.  I know.

MARINUCCI:  ... still have these residual issues.  But the bottom line is, when it comes to going for John McCain, I think that is a big step for a lot of them.  I‘ve already talked to some Republican women out here, big donors to Arnold Schwarzenegger, who are saying they cannot go with McCain because of his issues on choice, on reproductive rights.  McCain is going to have to make the argument to a lot of those women in the middle.  It hasn‘t happened yet, and I think Obama has definitely the chance to pick them up.

BROWNSTEIN:  Chris, the larger dynamic here—I mean, you look today, “Time” magazine out with poll, Gallup, the cumulative results from the tracking poll over the last week, and both of them exactly the same result.  Obama is winning 79 percent of Democrats.  McCain is winning 13 percent of Democrats.  That‘s good for Obama, but not great.  The last two elections, George Bush only got 11 percent of Democrats.  Democratic nominees like Kerry got up to 89.  So he‘s doing a good job of unifying the party, but he‘s not exactly where he needs to be.

But what Carla pointed out is kind of intriguing on the other side.  In the polling in both of these “Time” and Gallup polls, Obama is winning more Republicans than Democrats won in the last two elections.  So he is not the only one who faces the challenge of unifying his party.  McCain also has a challenge of consolidating that Republican vote in the same way that Obama has do among Democrats.

MATTHEWS:  Well, here‘s the other half of this team, and this is the senior half, at this point, because he won the fight, Barack Obama.  And I‘m questioning it.  I‘m going to question both of you.  Is he acting the right way after this victory?  Is he going to those contributors?  Is he going to those Hillary people?  Is he going to the army of Hillary people and acting the right way here?  Here he is today, making an effort.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA:  But I also know that while this campaign has shown us how far we have to go, it‘s also proven the progress we have made.  I know that because of our campaign, because of the campaign that Hillary Clinton waged, my daughters and all of your daughters will forever know that there is no barrier to who they are and what they can be in the United States of America!  They can take for granted that women can do anything that the boys can do!  And do it better!  And do it in heels!  I still don‘t know how she does it in heels.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  You know, I‘m looking at Hillary Clinton‘s face there.  What a picture.  Hurt by the results of this campaign, hurt by, perhaps, the treatment, perhaps by the media.  I don‘t doubt it.  It seems to me that there‘s the hurt part here and then there is the help part.  The issues that drive women into politics are not just pride in gender, they are need.  Hillary knew that.  Hillary knew it had to do with minimum wage.  It had to do with equal opportunity in terms of employment.  It had to do with looking out for your parents because women are better at that than men are, looking out for seniors, looking out for kids and child development, not just in the school but actually growing as kids.  Women have better—have been better at those issues.  Does Barack have to start talking the talk here, Carla?

MARINUCCI:  Yes, I think that is a real challenge for Obama and he does need to do that.  He started to do that today.  That comment about women can do it in heels—I mean, I think that resonates with a lot of—

I mean, he‘s got to show that humanity, that warmth, that understanding.  I think Michelle Obama is making an entre for him, as well.  Look...

MATTHEWS:  Can she really does this?  Does she have the equipment to do it personality-wise, background-wise, to talk to these perhaps older women who have perhaps more working-class backgrounds than her highly educated background?  Can she connect?

MARINUCCI:  Chris, look at this week the cover of “US” magazine, a best-selling cover in which she talks about shopping at Target.  I mean, she was on “The View” and I think did a great job.  Michelle Obama has softened her image, but she‘s also been out there with some very good speeches about what her husband stands for.  And I think if you look at two women behind the men in this campaign, Michelle Obama‘s done it, I think, much more effectively than Cindy McCain.

BROWNSTEIN:  I thought the lines about the heels, doing it in heels, was a great allusion to the famous quote about Ginger Rogers, did everything Fred Astaire did, but backwards and in heels.

But look, I thought—I think policy is not going to be the sole solution here.

MATTHEWS:  Yes.

BROWNSTEIN:  I mean, Hillary Clinton did so well with working class women because they thought that she got their lives, that she had been through...

MATTHEWS:  Well, is he too cool?

BROWNSTEIN:  She had been through—yes...

MATTHEWS:  Is he too cool to be...

(CROSSTALK)

BROWNSTEIN:  Indeed.  I mean, she has been through very rough patches in her life, and they felt that she was someone who understood that life isn‘t always a bed of roses.  Obama ultimately has to make a kind of a cultural and personal connection with those voters that goes beyond issues.

MATTHEWS:  OK.  This election is about so much important things, about the war, about the future economic chances of this country in this century against some very tough international competition, about a ridiculous fiscal policy we have right now.  It‘s all got to be fixed in the next four and eight years.  And if this campaign turns on anger and grief and failure to repair human relations, it‘ll be a disaster.  Anyway...

BROWNSTEIN:  It‘s bigger than that.  It‘ll be bigger than that.

MATTHEWS:  It‘s got to be bigger than that.  Ron Brownstein, Carla Marinucci, thank you, colleague, for being on the show, tonight.

MARINUCCI:  Thanks.

MATTHEWS:  Coming up: New polls show Barack Obama picking up steam in key battleground states.  And while it‘s early, how can McCain make up the ground?  By the way, these polls are all over the place.  Which states can Obama pick off from McCain, and vice versa?  We‘ll talk about some of these interesting trade-offs, where Barack can go and where John McCain can pick up.  We‘ll look at the battle for the battleground next.

You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.  Can Obama redraw the electoral map this time?  And where‘s McCain‘s best shot to make up the ground he might lose to Barack Obama in those interesting new states?  Michelle Laxalt is a Republican consultant and Jennifer Palmieri is a former Edwards adviser.  She‘s now with the Center for American Progress.  It‘s like Axelrod.  There‘s all these interesting names here.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Anyway, the Obama campaign is looking to pick up several red states.  Let‘s take a look at them—the Southwestern states, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico—there they are out there, those three states—also Montana up there and Alaska up there, and then down in the South and Southeast, rather, Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia, Georgia because of its large African-American population.  The other two states, I think, on the East Coast because they voted heavily for Barack in the primary.

But let‘s go out West.  The late Tim Russert talked often about this, my colleague, about those Western states.  He said—he was the first person to see that was where the outlet opportunity was for Barack, well before this campaign matured.  Your thoughts, Jennifer?

JENNIFER PALMIERI, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS:  I think that we might be seeing either sort of like 1980, where you saw real realignment of the map after Reagan was elected, and we talked about Reagan Democrats in Michigan.  And I think that we might look back on 2008 and see that the demographic shifts, particularly with people in the West and the new voters that have moved out there, that this might be a big realignment in the map and Obama—you know, the old—we‘ve talked about this before—the old map the Democrats have won by since—hasn‘t really worked since ‘96.  So I think that it will be very different this time.

MATTHEWS:  So you still—you see Barack—you agree with those states that he‘s looking at?

PALMIERI:  I think that—you know...

MATTHEWS:  Western states, Southeastern states, and a couple far western, Montana and Alaska.  You see those as possibilities.

PALMIERI:  Right. And I think he has the—you know, I‘m not so—

I‘m not—I don‘t know if I didn‘t have a lot of money if I would spend a good deal of time and resources in Montana, but he does have a lot of money, so he has the ability to—to—you know, to run a 50-state strategy for the first time that—I mean, even—even probably moreso than Bush had the ability.

MATTHEWS:  And he can outspend because he‘s going to private money...

PALMIERI:  Right.

MATTHEWS:  ... and Senator McCain is sticking with public funding.

PALMIERI:  Because he‘s able to raise so much money from small donors.

MATTHEWS:  OK.  That‘s a case.  Michelle, let me take—let‘s take a look at what McCain is looking at in the Northeast.  He‘s looking at—to poach from the Democrats‘ usual list.  And these are the usual Democratic states.  Look at them up there.  Republicans don‘t usually win up there, but there‘s Pennsylvania.  To its right, along the coast, is Jersey—New Jersey.  And up there in the corner, you can barely see them on this map, but New Jersey and New Hampshire.  And then you go to the upper Midwest states, like Michigan and Minnesota.

So look at where the poaching, the happy hunting ground, if you will, of the Republican—pick up perhaps Minnesota, pick up Michigan, pick up Pennsylvania, pick up New Jersey.  You pick up any two of those, you‘ve cut the heart out of the Democratic Party, Michelle.

MICHELLE LAXALT, REPUBLICAN CONSULTANT:  Absolutely.  I agree with Jennifer, we may well see a realignment yet again, a realignment that we haven‘t seen in the last—since the ‘50s, really, in both parties along both geographic as well as party lines.  We‘ve had the Reagan Democrats, essentially, that gave him the plurality to win, and then Bill Clinton took it back from him.  And so things have sort of shifted just a little bit along the paradigm back and forth from literally the Ronald Reagan race and then into Bill Clinton.  Bush then got them back.

I‘m not sure how much certain candidates actually got a new plurality or whether or not the other party ceded it.  But in this instance, I think that there are some opportunities for both candidates to take a new grab at new demographics.  You point to the West...

MATTHEWS:  Why?  Let me ask you why.  Why is it any different than all the elections we‘ve seen since Kennedy and Nixon went at each other, where the map hasn‘t changed much at all?  Why has it changed this time?

LAXALT:  I think it‘s changed because you—let‘s start with who the nominees are.  You start with Obama and Hillary Clinton.  You have the first African-American presidential candidate in the history of the United States of America.  You have the first woman almost nominee for the party in the Democratic Party.  You have an altogether different nation looking through an altogether different lens.

And I think that‘s forcing the political strategists to look at the country, then, through their lens. 

MATTHEWS:  Your take, Jennifer, last word.  Why do you think it‘s a different map this time than it‘s always been? 

PALMIERI:  I think that there have been voters—I think people have been moving to the Western states.  Those demographics have been changing.  They used to be reliably conservative, not well populated, not, you know, super-populated.  And that has changed. 

But, then, sort of to Michelle‘s point, Obama is such a different candidate, that he has ignited the support and passion in a part of the electorate that I think just, you know, wasn‘t really even...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Well, who is voting on those states like Montana?  Are they Easterners who have moved West? 

PALMIERI:  They might be Westerners who have moved east even. 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Oh, from California.

PALMIERI:  I know that there‘s a lot of griping in Montana about everyone from L.A. moving there.  But, and, again, Montana may end up staying red.  But why, when you have the money to invest and you have a candidate that can appeal, why not?

MATTHEWS:  Everybody is saying this.

PALMIERI:  It‘s just great to have the luxury to do that.

LAXALT:  If he ends up—I do not automatically suppose that Senator Obama can take the West away from traditional Republican candidates. 

MATTHEWS:  But you do believe McCain can take Pennsylvania, New Jersey... 

(CROSSTALK)

LAXALT:  I don‘t know that I could agree with either, except with the premise, which is the whole thing is up for grabs, which...

(CROSSTALK)

LAXALT:  ... makes it such a thrilling race. 

PALMIERI:  I think, if you‘re McCain, that‘s where you go.  I think it‘s going to be very, very difficult. 

MATTHEWS:  It‘s going to be wonderful to see...

PALMIERI:  And we have already seen those states.  People have said they‘re going to—he‘s going to have a—that Obama was going to have a really hard time in Pennsylvania.  And we already—I was surprised.  I don‘t trust polls a lot in late June, but you already see that he‘s doing that he‘s beating him by a lot in those states?

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  I don‘t believe it yet.  I think it‘s going to be what you think.  I think it‘s all going to be wild. 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  I think we‘re going to have the wildest campaign ever. 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Anyway, because I think a lot of these primary states are totally unexpected, what happened out West. 

Anyway, Michelle Laxalt, say hello to dad.

And Jennifer Palmieri. 

And up next:  He‘s tight with President Bush, but he‘s standing up for Barack Obama against attacks from the Christian right—a little fight on the right in terms of the Christian world.

Plus, a “Big Number” that has Obama putting his money where his mouth is. 

You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.  

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL. 

Time now for the HARDBALL “Sideshow.”

We heard evangelical leader James Dobson trash Barack Obama this week. 

Now someone is fighting back for Obama. 

“The Washington Post” reports that the Reverend Kirbyjon Caldwell, leader of the largest Methodist congregation in the country, launched a Web site Thursday called James Dobson Doesn‘t Speak For Me.  Caldwell says his group is standing up for our Christian faith and supporting Barack Obama.

It would be hard for Dobson to trash Caldwell.  After all, Caldwell introduced George W. Bush at the 2000 Republican Convention in Philadelphia.  And just last month, he officiated at Jenna Bush‘s wedding. 

Now it‘s time to “Name That Veep.”

This guy has a big business background.  In fact, it was big business.  He was a Republican governor in a very blue Northeastern state.  But he would probably be more helpful to John McCain in other parts of the country, like the Midwest, where his father was a governor, and the West, where he went to school, has strong community ties, and ran an international sporting spectacle. 

He gave John McCain a run for his money in 2008, but dropped out in February.  They clashed often in the primaries.  But that doesn‘t mean he‘s out of the running for this job.  So, who is it?  Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. 

And, finally, it‘s time for the HARDBALL “Big Number.” 

As you know, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton campaigned together today in a New Hampshire town called Unity.  Before they charmed each other in public today, they met last night to assuage big Clinton donors in private.  What‘s the best way to do that?  Write a check.  And that‘s what the Obamas did, $4600, tonight‘s HARDBALL‘s “Big Number.” 

Per “The New York Times,” Barack and Michelle Obama each wrote a check to Hillary Clinton‘s campaign for $2,300 -- that‘s the max for an individual—a symbolic gesture that could go a long way.  I mean it—

$4,600 between them, tonight‘s HARDBALL “Big Number.” 

Up next:  With Barack Obama sharing the stage with Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail today, is this the first step as Obama tries to win over Clinton‘s loyal women voters?  Obama and the women‘s vote—coming up next on HARDBALL.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MARGARET BRENNAN, CNBC CORRESPONDENT:  I am Margaret Brennan with your CNBC “Market Wrap.”

Stocks falling hard again, as oil hit new highs, with the Dow Jones industrial average briefly slipping into bear market territory, meaning a drop folks 20 percent from its most recent high last October.  The Dow ended the day with a loss of almost 107 points, and is down 19.8 percent from its October high.  S&P 500 shed four points, down 18 percent from October.  The Nasdaq dropped five points, down nearly 20 percent from its October high. 

Oil climbed to a record, just under $143 a barrel, before retreating.  Crude still finished at a record closing high of $140.21, up 57 cents for the day. 

And stocks were also under pressure once again from the financial sector, with Lehman Brothers predicting that Merrill Lynch is likely to post a quarterly loss of over $5 billion, and Moody‘s reportedly ready to cut Morgan Stanley‘s credit rating. 

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

HARDBALL. 

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL. 

Today, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton made a strong show of unity, but is it enough to persuade Clinton‘s die-hard women supporters to get behind Obama? 

Hillary Clinton asked them to do that, today. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), NEW YORK:  To anyone who voted for me and is now considering not voting or voting for Senator McCain, I strongly urge you to reconsider. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  Michelle Obama is an MSNBC—Michelle Bernard...

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  ... is an MSNBC political analyst, and Margaret Carlson is a Bloomberg News columnist.

You first, Margaret. 

Now, you‘re from Pennsylvania.  And I have talked to some people there recently, and they have, let‘s say, an attitude, some of them, about Barack Obama.  It‘s not just that he beat Hillary Clinton.  They‘re mad at him.  So, the question is, how long is that going to last, or will it last through the election? 

MARGARET CARLSON, COLUMNIST, BLOOMBERG NEWS:   And they‘re mostly women who are mad, I would say. 

MATTHEWS:  Yes. 

CARLSON:  Some of it‘s going to last, because, for some women and for people who are grieved, this is a place to put their anger, which is, by God, I‘m not voting for him. 

But most of them will come around, because it‘s destructive.  It‘s irrational, unless, suddenly, you agree with McCain on issues, because Hillary Clinton and John McCain are very far apart.  But if—if a woman is pouring all her discontent, because, by the way, women still aren‘t equal to men in so many ways, and they are going to pour it in, then they‘re not.  But I think that‘s a small—I think that is a small group.

MATTHEWS:  But does that become the campaign for some people, just opposing Barack Obama?  Does that, in itself, become a campaign, the life purpose? 

MICHELLE BERNARD, NBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Women for Fair—Women for Fair Politics, that‘s exactly what it is.  They are three million strong.  These are Hillary Clinton supporters who feel very aggrieved at their perception of how Senator Clinton was treated during the campaign. 

I watched an interview of, I think, the founder, or one of the members, the other day.  And they have sat down.  Carly Fiorina is working with Senator McCain.  They have done a virtual town hall meeting with these women.  And they are aggressively going after the women‘s vote, and particularly women who supported Senator Clinton.

And if you speak with Carly Fiorina, here is what she says.  It‘s almost like:  We hear your pain.  Senator Clinton was discriminated against during this campaign.  The man who held up a placard in New Hampshire that said “Iron my shirt” is demonstrative of how many—so many American women are treated, news commentators who said, “I hear Hillary Clinton‘s voice and it reminds me of my first wife.”

MATTHEWS:  Do you think more Republican women—or Republican men would have said “Iron my shirt” or Democratic men? 

(LAUGHTER)

BERNARD:  I don‘t think...

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  I‘m just asking. 

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  Let‘s take a look at John McCain. 

I don‘t know anybody that thinks like that, but...

BERNARD:  Yes. 

MATTHEWS:  ... apparently, that guy with the sign did a lot of damage. 

BERNARD:  Yes. 

MATTHEWS:  What a clown. 

Anyway, today, John McCain talked about winning Clinton‘s supporters. 

There he is out there.     

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I do think we are able to attract some of Senator Clinton‘s supporters, not so much because of any reason that they think that I may serve America best. 

I had a woman at a town hall meeting yesterday at Xavier who was wearing a Hillary hat.  I was pleased that she was there.  and I was pleased to respond to her comments. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS:  This is like Pat Buchanan welcoming—welcoming the Jewish voters that thought they were voting for Joe Lieberman. 

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  He will take any vote he can get.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  That wasn‘t...

CARLSON:  It‘s not even a mistake.  It‘s not a butterfly ballot. 

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  But he was really smart not to say, it‘s because you love me...

BERNARD:  Yes. 

CARLSON:  ... to recognize that it‘s people coming over because they‘re unhappy with the choice. 

MATTHEWS:  But he didn‘t even make an appeal for these women.  He said, if these people are angry enough to vote for me, I will take them.

CARLSON:  Well, he‘s a straight talker. 

BERNARD:  Well, every vote counts.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  Yes. 

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON:  Some of the—don‘t examine the vote you‘re getting too closely and the motives for it.

But, you know, some of this anger that‘s out there is not Obama‘s anger.  It is the “Iron my shirt” guy. 

MATTHEWS:  Yes. 

CARLSON:  It‘s us.  It‘s just a whole ball of anger. 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  I hear the anger against the media, against me.  I hear it against this “Iron my shirt” character.  But I also hear it against Barack Obama.  I hear it, and I‘m amazed because, I didn‘t—he did do this thing, right?  What was that thing he did?  And he did this thing.  She‘s likable enough? 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  But these are—out of a billion words he spoke, he did two things that were taken the—were taken badly. 

(CROSSTALK)

BERNARD:  I mean, this thing—that‘s—anybody of a younger generation get that‘s hip-hop from a Jay-Z video. 

(CROSSTALK)

BERNARD: “Dirt Off My Back.”  It‘s from one of his albums. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, is it not—it is dismissing women?

BERNARD:  No, it‘s not dismissing women.  It‘s dismissing anyone who sort of disrespects you.  And I think people of a certain generation got that. 

But I think that what we‘re seeing in this campaign is that so many women of a certain age are angry, angry, angry, and Barack Obama is the easiest person to take it out on, because their candidate—I think they were stepping into her shoes and seeing as their hope for women.  And she‘s not there.

CARLSON:  That‘s—no, that‘s so right, because you want to express it some way.  And this is a very public way to express it. 

BERNARD:  To do it.

CARLSON:  But, Chris, out of millions of words, actually, Obama doesn‘t have that many that you can put between quotes and say, look how much he doesn‘t like women. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, let me ask you.  No, this is a campaign of isolated words.  Let me tell you.  I have been through it. 

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON:  That‘s right. 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  It‘s also the categorical campaign. 

If Bill Clinton said this guy got about as many votes as Jesse Jackson, oh, he‘s a racist.  If somebody says something about Hillary Clinton, oh, he‘s a sexist.  Everything is categorical.

It couldn‘t be that, of course, Bill Clinton is stating a fact, or it couldn‘t be that I or somebody‘s stating a fact.  Everybody has a big, heavy categorical message.  If you‘re tough on Hillary, you‘re tough on all women.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  Charlie Black made a statement that everybody accepts, which is that a terrorist attack would probably help McCain. 

MATTHEWS:  It happens to be probably a fact. 

CARLSON:  Yes. 

BERNARD:  Yes. 

CARLSON:  So—but you can‘t say some true things, especially if they‘re to your advantage, because they look...

MATTHEWS:  The truth is not a defense.

CARLSON:  It is not.  It is a gaffe. 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  You‘re the lawyer, Margaret.

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON:  It is a gaffe.

But, you know, today, Hillary and Barack Obama looked like two seventh-graders just trying to get together at a mixer. 

MATTHEWS:  Didn‘t you like it?

CARLSON:  I liked it.

BERNARD:  I did.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  I liked the way the senator from New York talked about heart. 

Now, I don‘t know if I could give a speech about...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  I don‘t know if I‘m metro enough to be talking about heels and everything, like our friend Barack was.  I‘m a little older than that guy. 

BERNARD:  No, you‘re not.

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  I don‘t think I can do shoes.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  But I‘m not on “Sex and the City‘ in terms of the lingo. 

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  But when she talked about separate paths, our hearts are now set on the same destination.

CARLSON:  The destination.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  That was what it was—because, let‘s face it here, political fans, all of us, this is not a fight about issues.  Barack probably would have the same voting record as Hillary Clinton, would probably do the same things. 

But doesn‘t he have to make some clear statements now?  I will fight with Hillary at my side for health care for all Americans.  I will fight with Hillary at my side for equal pay. 

Doesn‘t he have to make some clear clarion calls? 

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  Well, I think he‘s doing that.  He did that...

MATTHEWS:  Is he?

CARLSON:  He did that today. 

(CROSSTALK)

BERNARD:  He did it today.  He did it a few days ago. 

I think that he needs to go out.  He needs Senator Clinton to campaign for him.  But I also think that, while he will get a lot of Senator Clinton‘s supporters, there are a group of women who are very angry, and they‘re either going to sit it out or they‘re going to vote for John McCain.  They‘re very vocal about it.

MATTHEWS:  Why are they mad at Barack? 

BERNARD:  I think he‘s the easiest person to be mad at. 

There‘s this famous video on YouTube of one woman who is stomping out at the Rules and Bylaws Committee that took place last May.

CARLSON:  Oh, right.

(CROSSTALK)

BERNARD:  And she‘s saying, he‘s unqualified.  And I‘m a second-class citizen.  And because Hillary Clinton didn‘t get it, it means that I am nothing now. 

For that group of women, that feel that sad about their lives, he‘s not going to get their vote. 

MATTHEWS:  OK. 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Is this a sense, Margaret, that women—the women we‘re talking about—we‘re not talking about conservative women—we‘re talking about activist Democratic women, as a group—believed that it was Hillary‘s turn? 

CARLSON:  I don‘t know that...

MATTHEWS:  Is that it? 

CARLSON:  No.  They think she got so close, and then this man swept in. 

MATTHEWS:  But that‘s when she started to get all the women to vote for her.  That‘s when it became a gender election to her favor...

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  Right.  Right. 

MATTHEWS:  ... when she began to win all the primaries.

When it became a gender test, Hillary did great.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  And, by the way, she carried, I think, most of the—she carried an awful lot of white men, too.  Obviously, there was an ethnic distance there. 

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  Remember, at the beginning, she did not want to be the women‘s candidate.  And she eschewed that, because it would pigeonhole her.

Then, as it went along, she accepted that she was and took advantage of it. 

MATTHEWS:  It helped her.

CARLSON:  It helped her a lot. 

But, you know, for these angry women, they‘ve watched all along the way—when the cool guy comes in and gets the corner office, and they‘ve been doing their home work and you know, doing the briefing books.  I saw something today, Chris—kind of like you.  I saw something today which is, remember how Al Gore—Al Gore gave a great speech when he lost the Supreme Court.  And he grew as a person.  I -it‘s possible—I saw Hillary Clinton today being more open and genuine and she‘s accepted it and she‘s moving on.  It‘s like, wow, the language of Dr. Phil.  Sorry to use it—

MATTHEWS:  I wrote a blog on this about three weeks ago.  I‘m not being patronizing, because I‘m looking up to her, obviously.  Some of the greatest political heroes to both political parties never became president.  They have bigger role in the party‘s legacy than the people who won the presidency.  Barry Goldwater is a hero to the Republican party, never won.  Adlai Stevenson, Hubert Humphrey, Hillary‘s in that league now.  She‘s in that league now, already.  And she‘s only at her age.  She‘s got another ten years, at least, in politics, at least.  She‘s already in the league in the two greatest people in the pantheon of Democrats in the last 50, 60 years. 

CARLSON:  It looked like she could have lost ugly, but it turns out she has lost beautifully. 

MATTHEWS:  By the way, today was a piece of perfection, the scripts, the performance, the body language, the use of the word heart was done beautifully.  Anyway, it was one of those beautiful weddings in a secular sense.  Thank you, Michelle Bernard.  Thank you, Margaret Carlson. 

Up next, Hillary Clinton strongly endorses Barack Obama.  Is it enough to unite the party and get her supporters into his corner?  Does he need to make her his running mate?  Well, I think he has to do other things.  That‘s my hunch.  A lot of other things.  Not necessarily that one.  The politics fix is next.  This is HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL and the politics fix.  Tonight‘s round table, Jennifer Donahue of the New Hampshire Institute of Politics, BET News correspondent Jeff Johnson, and Wayne Slater of the “Dallas Morning News.”  I want your views, lady and gentlemen.  First of all with you, Jennifer, this thing today, what did you make of it?  Hillary and Barack together in New Hampshire, your state? 

JENNIFER DONAHUE, NEW HAMPSHIRE INSTITUTE OF POLITICS:  First of all, I thought that from the perspective of reaching New Hampshire voters, it was poor strategy, only in that most of the people there were from Vermont and New York.  Now, that‘s OK.  It‘s OK to have a photo op in New Hampshire.  It doesn‘t help you win the state as a battleground.  I was glad to see them shaking hands at the beginning for a long time, but people had to be bused in from 35 minutes away, then wait two hours in 90 degree weather, which people up here get very cranky about. 

So from that perspective, from a purely logistical stand point, it was a non-retail manufactured event, very not New Hampshire.  The event had to be done.  They had to get it done, get it past them.  It was beautifully orchestrated.  Senator Clinton played her part to a T.  If she had campaigned like that, with that positive, upbeat, real personality going and that humor, she‘d probably be the nominee. 

MATTHEWS:  OK, Jeff, well, it‘s clear that New Hampshire wanted breakfast in bed today.  What about the rest of the country?  How did it go over as a national event?

JEFF JOHNSON, BET NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  I have heard people on air talk about how beautiful it was.  I think it was beautifully scripted.  I didn‘t feel that same emotion.  I didn‘t feel Hillary as personable as I thought she could.  Maybe it‘s just this juxtaposition to this very relaxed Obama with his sleeves up, and a much more rigid Clinton that I didn‘t think was strong enough, despite their matching colors, looking like they‘re going to Disney World together.  I don‘t know if I really felt the love. 

MATTHEWS:  You thought the script was right but not the performance. 

JOHNSON:  Absolutely. 

MATTHEWS:  OK, let me go to Wayne Slater on that question.  Did you think that today signaled in body language, in text, in words, in everything, in the visual, to Hillary Clinton‘s supporters that Hillary is truly rooting for Barack Obama to be our next president? 

WAYNE SLATER, “THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS”:  Well, initially I got the impression that you had two people who were coming back together for the kids, but they still have these sort of domestic problems that had to be worked out.  I had that feeling.  It was a pretty event.  I thought it was really great. 

MATTHEWS:  You guys are so tough.  No, Jennifer says it wasn‘t good enough for New Hampshire.  You two guys say it wasn‘t good enough for the smell test. 

SLATER:  I thought though that by the end of it—whereas I thought there was absolutely no chance that he would name Hillary Clinton the presidential candidate going into it, she really looked great.  The things she said were passionate and effective.  I think if she continues this kind of message, it will really help bring women around to the Barack side. 

DONAHUE:  I mean, my whole problem with this premise is I think he had to get this over with for the sake of Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton, perhaps, and for the sake of a few, a very narrow slice of die-hard Hillary Clinton supporters.  But I don‘t think he had to do it to win the election.  This election will be won in the middle.  It will be won in the independent swing states, Colorado, Minnesota, New Hampshire, places where the independents are going to swing it.  That‘s how one of these two men will win. 

I don‘t think spending too much time courting the Clinton voters, who will ultimately be too grumpy to vote or they will just get on the band wagon, is really necessary at this point.  This thing needs to be won. 

JOHNSON:  This isn‘t not just about winning Clinton voters.  This is about making sure that a party that was divided in some way, shape, or form at least looks more united, so that Obama has the ability to deal with McCain and not this lingering divisive tone from the primaries.   

SLATER:  One thing, in terms of unity, who was the guy who wasn‘t there, and of course he wasn‘t going to be there today.  But when is he going be around?  That‘s Bill Clinton.  You get the sense that Bill Clinton was back in the mansion.  You know, he‘s the last guy on Earth who still thinks there‘s a chance that he can stop this Barack Obama.  It‘s sort of like Frankie will never get this party.  It will make him a star.  You know what, Barack Obama is the star of this party now. 

MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you about some of the votes that are out there.  Let‘s take a look at the women vote.  It just came out today, the “Time Magazine” vote.  It‘s got Barack leading among women—I don‘t know about this number -- 45 to 39, among Latino voters he‘s up 51-34.  That is substantial.  Obama also leads among—actually in the Catholic vote.  Just a minute, just a minute.  According to this, he‘s ahead among the Catholics.  I‘m going to wait and check that one out.  I‘m not sure that‘s a right number.

Let‘s take a look here, talk about the women vote.  First of all with you, Jennifer, the women vote, is that enough of a lead, six points? 

DONAHUE:  Yes, because McCain tends to turn women away.  They‘re not fighting for the men.  They both do well with men.  They‘re fighting for the women.  Obama, yesterday, not only did he do the event today, but yesterday, Michelle Obama and Jeanne Shaheen had a really good retail grassroots event that I went to here in Manchester, where they talked about going back to the unfinished business of civil rights, equal pay for men and women and people of color, child-care issue, college issues, issues that women voters respond to. 

Women voters aren‘t a monolith.  This isn‘t all about likability and who can be cute for them.  This is about who really makes the difference on the issues they have problems with, day care, having a job.  That is what resonates for women, high food prices, gas prices.  I think Obama, his campaign is going deeply into that message.  There‘s no doubt about it. 

MATTHEWS:  Let me go to Jeff.  It seems to me, I‘ve been talking to some people around the northeast, Pennsylvania, elsewhere, you do hear from women who haven‘t made up their mind, who were very big for Hillary, who don‘t like Barack.  I mean, I hear it.  They‘re mad at him for the primary, the way it worked, the way he won. 

JOHNSON:  At the end of the day, this is like the dad who leaves the house and the kids are home with mom and they‘re still angry that dad left.  It‘s going to take some time for them to come back around.  At the end of the day, they‘re still from the same family.  John McCain‘s not going to be the guy that comes in and sweeps them up and is able to make them feel good.  If his this is a real ideological battle, which I think it‘s going to be, those loyal Democrats are going to go over to Obama, even in they‘re still upset about what happened during the primary. 

MATTHEWS:  What about those single moms just not going to another male, to use that parallel?  Just not going to another candidate?

JOHNSON:  You and I both know that people who are real Democrats are so tired of a Republican in the White House, they‘d be willing to vote for Donald Duck if he had Democratic values. 

DONAHUE:  I totally agree with that.  There‘s no way on Earth that women, given the choice of a Republican or sitting it out, are going to sit back in this election. 

JOHNSON:  Absolutely not. 

MATTHEWS:  We‘re going to come back with a big question; what about Bill?  We haven‘t talked about him.  I think he‘s over with—he‘s over there with Mandela having his 90th birthday party, with Nelson Mandela, which I would like to go to too.  But he‘s going to come back at some point from that birthday party in England.  We‘re going to get a chance to see if Bill is on base or not.  We‘ll be back with our round table and the politics fix in just a minute.  You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS:  We‘re back with the politics fix and the round table.  I just want to underline the fact that among Catholic voters—and that‘s a swing vote generally in most election—McCain is way ahead right now, which has got to be troubling for the Democrats.  He‘s up at 57-43.  That‘s a 14-point spread now going into this weekend in the “Time” poll.  Jennifer, your thought on that?

DONAHUE:  I well, I think that‘s the choice issue.  That‘s pro-choice, pro-life.  He‘s going to keep a large number of Catholics.  There‘s no doubt about it.  Catholic churches are preaching in voter guides saying go for the candidate that votes the way you want them to vote on the life issue.  That‘s the reason for that.  There are some Catholics, who, as per the Pope, feel that the war in Iraq is just as big as a life issue, so to speak, that weigh in on that. 

MATTHEWS:  I think it‘s also the middle class.  Catholics are middle class.  I think the Catholics have a problem connecting with Barack Obama so far.  We‘re going to see about that.  Let me ask you both, starting with Jeff, Bill Clinton, an amazing figure in American political life, the man we all thought—I did, certainly—was probably the best politician of our era, having a troubled time in this campaign, taking shots the from the Barack people, you might argue, over the top shots from Barack people.  He‘s out of action.  He‘s going to come back into action.  He‘s over there with President Mandela, celebrating the great man‘s birthday, 90th birthday.  But he‘s going to come back.  What role is he going to play here?  

JOHNSON:  Clearly, I think, this was an opportunity for Hillary to be able to create unity with Obama by herself.  I think, as the supportive husband, he‘s going to come back in now that all of this has been settled and do the same thing.  They are going to need him in some of these battle ground states.  They‘re going to need him in some of these swing states.  He continues to be very popular and has the ability to hit middle America, to hit some of these demographics that Obama has a difficult time pulling in.  He‘s going to be part of that team and part of one of those surrogates that has to be very valuable in shifting some of those demographics toward Obama. 

MATTHEWS:  Doesn‘t he have to come in there, Wayne, and take on John McCain among white, rural people who might be inclined to work vote for him, working people who have economic needs but might vote for the more familiar, perhaps John McCain.  Doesn‘t he have to come in there and say, no, Barack Obama may have a different background than you.  He may look different than you.  But he‘s more of a Democrat than this other guy? 

SLATER:  Look, Bill Clinton feels that his brand, the Clinton brand has been damaged for whatever reason.  He‘s going to come back.  No interest like self-interest.  It‘s at least in his interest to restore the brand of the Clintons.  He‘s a Democrat at heart, so he‘s going to do this.  You know, your Catholic numbers are exactly right.  Some of those Catholics are ethnic Catholics.  I talked to McCain folks who said look at western Pennsylvania, southeastern Ohio.  There are a number of Catholics in these area‘s, working people.  These are the kinds of people who Bill Clinton can come in and say Barack Obama is OK. 

SLATER:  Not to mention Cleveland, Detroit, Pittsburgh, where people are suffering incredibly economically and have been long time Clinton supporters. 

MATTHEWS:  Jennifer, thank you very much for joining us, Jennifer Donahue up in New Hampshire, Jeff Johnson, Wayne Slater.  Join us again Monday at 5:00 and 7:00 eastern with David Gregory.  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.

END   

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