updated 10/12/2010 3:00:52 PM ET 2010-10-12T19:00:52

Guests: Chris Cillizza, David Corn, Ken Lovett, Josh Green, Maggie Haberman, Paul Hodes, Damian Muziani

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST:  Karl Rove gets nasty, but what else is new?

Let‘s play HARDBALL.

Good evening.  I‘m Chris Matthews in Washington. 

Leading off tonight: Shades of Nixon.  Karl Rove is reaching back into the Nixon playbook and charging that President Obama has an “enemies list.”  Rove‘s claim came in response to the president‘s claim that Rove and others orchestrated election ads paid for by unnamed foreign donors.  The ferocity of the Republican attacks—that‘s our top story.

Plus, the Democrats‘ hopes of portraying the Republican field as a freak show has gotten a big boost.  First, Carl Paladino, the GOP candidate for governor of New York, said he didn‘t want children being, quote, “brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is acceptable.”  Then we learn that a Republican candidate for Congress likes to dress up like a Nazi in World War II reenactments.  Well, try explaining that proclivity to the voters.

Also, honey, get me rewrite.  Remember we told you that the guys in that Republican West Virginia ad were actually actors hired in Philly?  Well, tonight, one of those actors joins us to talk about his role.  Guess who he supports?

And Sarah Palin, move over.  “Saturday Night Live” has new favorite, Christine O‘Donnell.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Besides, if I were a witch, why wouldn‘t I just cast a spell making all of you forget that I‘m a witch?  It‘s certainly not because the spell requires one newt (ph) per person and I lack a sufficient number of newts.


MATTHEWS:  We‘ll have more on that in the HARDBALL “Sideshow” tonight. 

Of course, tonight is all “Sideshow,” it seems.

“Let Me Finish” tonight with how we can put people back to work and keep this country competitive with Europe and Asia at the same time.

All that‘s ahead.  Now let‘s get to the latest poll numbers in tight races around the country.  For that, we go to the HARDBALL “Scoreboard.”  We‘ll start with Kentucky, where that Senate race is tightening up.  Republican Rand Paul now has only a 3-point lead over Jack Conway, the very attractive Democratic candidate, and Bill Clinton campaigned for Conway today.  Look for an upset there.

And in Wisconsin, it‘s Republican Johnson with an 8-point lead over Senator Russ Feingold.  Doesn‘t look good in Wisconsin.

We‘ll continue to check the HARDBALL “Scoreboard” on all the big races each night leading up to election day.

Now to those new nasty attacks against President Obama and accusations from Karl Rove that the president‘s keeping an “enemies list.”  David Corn‘s the Washington bureau chief for “Mother Jones” and also writes for Politicsdaily.com.  And Chris Cillizza‘s with “The Washington Post.”

Gentlemen, thank you for joining us to start Columbus Day.  Here‘s Karl Rove on Fox.  Talk about bringing coal to Newcastle.


MATTHEWS:  Let‘s listen.


KARL ROVE, FMR. BUSH SR. ADVISER, FOX CONTRIBUTOR:  They have not one shred of evidence to back up that baseless lie.  This is a desperate and I think disturbing trend by the president of the United States to tar his political adversaries with some kind of, you know, enemies list with being unrestrained by any facts or evidence whatsoever!


MATTHEWS:  Human talking points.  Here‘s President Obama Thursday in Chicago.  Let‘s listen to what the president said.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  Two groups funded and advised by Karl Rove have outspent the Democratic Party 2 to 1 in an attempt to beat Alexi, 2 to 1 -- funded and advised by Karl Rove.  Just this week, we learned that one of the largest groups paying for these ads regularly takes in money from foreign sources.

So the question for the people of Illinois is, Are you going to let special interests from Wall Street and Washington and maybe places beyond our shores come to this state and tell us who our senators should be?  That‘s not just a threat to Democrats, that‘s a threat to our democracy!


MATTHEWS:  Well, the Democrats are doubling down on that argument that the Republican campaigns this year are being sponsored and paid for by unknown people, by anonymous sources, secret sources, some of them from abroad, from outside the country.

Let‘s take a look at that new DNC ad that makes the same point.  The Democrats are doubling down.  That may explain why Rove has come out of the bushes on this thing.  Let‘s listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Karl Rove, Ed Gillespie—they‘re Bush cronies.  The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, they‘re shills (ph) for big business, and they‘re stealing our democracy, spending millions from secret donors to elect Republicans to do their bidding in Congress.  It appears they‘ve even taken secret foreign money to influence our elections.  It‘s incredible, Republicans benefiting from secret foreign money.  Tell the Bush crowd and the Chamber of Commerce, Stop stealing our democracy.


MATTHEWS:  Well, that ripped a scab off, didn‘t it.


MATTHEWS:  I understand why old Rove came out of the bushes—


MATTHEWS:  I guess somebody rousted him on this—


DAVID CORN, “MOTHER JONES”:  I want to know what that woman was doing (INAUDIBLE) on her own when her purse was stolen in that ad.  But Karl Rove is really mugging or spinning history when he equates what the Obama White House and DNC is doing to an “enemies list.”  The enemies list—

MATTHEWS:  Well, here what he was doing, he‘s trying to make the president, who has a very high personal approval rating, come down a bit in personal approval—


CORN:  The enemies list was a secret list of people who—you know, including Gregory Peck, Joe Namath, Paul Newman, these great opponents of the White House, who, according to a White House memo—they said, How can we screw these guys?  That was the White House language—




CORN:  -- not mine.  I mean, all Obama‘s doing is calling out his political opponents—


CORN:  -- and Rove is—


MATTHEWS:  -- but he knows what he‘s doing.  Chris Cillizza, isn‘t that—

CILLIZZA:  Yes, sir?

MATTHEWS:  -- the strategy of Rove, who knows what he‘s doing?  He‘s a nasty bugger, but he—what is he doing here?  It seems to me what he‘s doing is saying, I knows the president‘s personally popular, so let‘s call Dick Nixon.

CILLIZZA:  Well, Chris, I don‘t disagree with you there, but I would say this is a political win-win.  Look, Barack Obama knows that by talking about Karl Rove, foreign money, these outside groups that are involved in spending money on campaigns, it gets the Democratic base, which we‘ve talked about endlessly—

MATTHEWS:  Oh, you‘re so smart!

CILLIZZA:  -- isn‘t that excited—it gets them interested.  Karl Rove—

MATTHEWS:  Cillizza—Cillizza—

CILLIZZA:  Karl—Karl—

MATTHEWS:  You are growing every day in wisdom!


MATTHEWS:  You jumped ahead of me.


MATTHEWS:  You‘ve answered my question, Chris, before I asked it.  Let me just try to question some—some of the slower ones among us, like me, will get to the question before you get to the answer.

CILLIZZA:  Yes, sir.

MATTHEWS:  The question is, Why would a president who‘s way up here, president of the United States, attack this little guy down here named Karl Rove, who just—


CILLIZZA:  -- punching down in politics is usually not a good idea.  You know, you always want to be the little guy who the big guy talks about because, well, then you‘re in—


CILLIZZA:  -- the conversation with the big guy.  The one thing I would say that I think is a little odd—I get why the president‘s doing it, Chris.  But for Karl Rove, gosh, I bet he is sitting back and smiling as broadly—

MATTHEWS:  Yes, I agree with you.

CILLIZZA:  -- as possible because American Crossroads, this group that he—if he didn‘t found, he helped develop the idea for—



CILLIZZA:  -- Barack Obama attacking Karl Rove is great for fund raising.

CORN:  Well, the bigger point, too, is that John Boehner is not as big a target as Karl Rove.  He‘s not as—

MATTHEWS:  Not hatable.

CORN:  He‘s not as well known.  He‘s—people in the base—

MATTHEWS:  He‘s some guy on a golf course somewhere!  Look, here‘s the question—


MATTHEWS:  Karl Rove is the architect of everything that was evil.  He was the guy that took us into that war, built the Iraq Study Group, the whole thing.  Let me ask you about this.  There‘s two options here.  This was my primitive question I was going to put to Chris Cillizza—


MATTHEWS:  -- before he trumped me.  The first—the options were either the president‘s making a big mistake here by punching low, going down on some—you know, some political operative, or he knows that when you‘re facing a ferocious political situation, where you‘re losing the right, probably losing most of the middle, you‘ve got to hold the left.  You‘ve got to hold your base.

CORN:  Well, you have to—listen—

MATTHEWS:  And he‘s doing it—

CORN:  -- right now—

MATTHEWS:  -- like Chris says.

CORN:  Right now, the right has a target.  It‘s President Obama.  The Democrats are running 435 races and 33 --


CORN:  -- Senate races.  They have no centralized target.  The White House tried with Boehner, now they‘re trying with Karl Rove.

MATTHEWS:  Let‘s bring in David Axelrod here because he talked to Bob Schieffer yesterday.  They‘re talking about the same question, What‘s this fight about?  How did the president get into a fight with this middleweight champion who lost a few championship belts over the years, Karl Rove?  Let‘s listen.


BOB SCHIEFFER, “FACE THE NATION”:  This part about foreign money—that appears to be peanuts, Mr. Axelrod.  I mean, do you have any evidence that it‘s anything other than peanuts?

DAVID AXELROD, WHITE HOUSE SENIOR ADVISER:  Well, do you have any evidence that it‘s not, Bob?  The fact is that the Chamber has asserted that, but they won‘t release any information about where their campaign money is coming from, and that‘s at the core of the problem here.

SCHIEFFER:  If the only charge three weeks into the election that the Democrats can make is that somehow, this may or may not be foreign money coming into the campaign, is that the best you can do?

AXELROD:  No, I think that we have a more—a fundamental concern, Bob, which is that the Republican Party and these interest groups, who are now the major force in some of these campaigns, want to turn the clock back to the very same policies that got us into this mess in the first place.


MATTHEWS:  Here‘s Ed Gillespie, the former chair of the party, reacting to Axelrod on CBS.  It‘s so interesting how this fight‘s developed in these last three weeks we‘re going into.  Let‘s listen.


ED GILLESPIE, FORMER RNC CHAIRMAN:  And the notion that David Axelrod, one of the highest-ranking officials, a sworn official in the White House, would sit on this set and say, I‘m going to lob these charges and let them prove it‘s wrong—what if I accuse the cameraman here, of—Hey, you‘ve taken foreign money.  Let‘s—you know, prove that that‘s wrong.  That is an unbelievable mentality!


MATTHEWS:  Gillespie‘s talking about the cameraman there—a little weird.  But I guess the point is—it seems to me—here‘s the question.  Cillizza first.  If the U.S. Chamber of Commerce raises millions and millions of dollars from its corporate sources, including overseas sources, and funnels that money into these Republican campaigns, what was illegitimate about what Axelrod and the president are saying?  I don‘t understand Schieffer‘s question.  I understand Schieffer would say, This ain‘t exactly this heaviest (INAUDIBLE) you‘ve ever—


MATTHEWS:  -- wheeled out here.  But what‘s wrong with the basic charge?

CILLIZZA:  Well, because it‘s—there‘s nothing wrong with the basic charge, Chris, but it‘s hard to prove a negative.  The Chamber is—I think what the White House wants is for the Chamber to disclose all of the money that they‘re spending, which they‘re not going to do.

But what that kind of back and forth reminded me of—I‘m going to dip into Boston history.  There was a great “Cheers” episode in which Cliff (INAUDIBLE) presented with three historical figures.  He doesn‘t know what the three of them have in common.  His question is, Who are three people who have never been in my kitchen?  Now, those people had never been in his kitchen, but that‘s not the point!  I think that‘s Ed Gillespie‘s point here, like—

MATTHEWS:  OK, let me—


MATTHEWS:  Let me make a narrower case.  A lot of working people in this country are suspicious that the big corporations spend all their time cutting jobs.  They do it for globalization purposes.  They engage in outsourcing.  They send jobs overseas.  They outsource their supply lines overseas.  They do everything they can to screw the working person and make more money.  That‘s what they think.

Who funds them?  Or rather, where do they get their money?  The U.S.  Chamber of Commerce gets money from those very sources and uses it to elect people in Congress who will support that enterprise of shifting jobs overseas, cost cutting, eliminating the American workforce, basically.  They have a grudge here which is pretty American, which is, You are screwing me.  I‘d like to know who‘s paying for this.

CORN:  Chris—

MATTHEWS:  That‘s fair.

CORN:  Hey, Chris, I‘m voting for you because you just made the argument better than the White House has made in the past few days.  They got caught in this tar patch of whether there is or isn‘t foreign money, which is a legitimate question—


CORN:  But the big issue is the special interest money because some of those companies doing that, sending jobs overseas, are not doing it for—

MATTHEWS:  These companies don‘t care where they headquarter!


CORN:  Exactly right.  So the big issue is special interest money overall, and they‘re being caught up now in this little side—

MATTHEWS:  What—I mean, Chris—


MATTHEWS:  -- objective reporter.  Let me put you an objective question.


MATTHEWS:  Chris, what is the number one goal of every major corporation in these tough times?  Reduce costs.  How do you reduce costs?  Reduce payroll.  How do you reduce costs?  Get cheaper sources overseas from cheaper payrolls overseas from people who work for less in sweatshops.  The whole goal is to benefit in your exchange with the working man and woman of this country.  Who‘s side are you on?  That‘s the political question—


CILLIZZA:  Well, Chris, you just—to David‘s point, you‘ve just framed it much more effectively than the White House.  The White House is now in a debate over how much foreign money should they disclose.  And I—

I agree with you.  Look, populism—both populism on the Republican side and the Democratic side—has proved very effective.  Sharron Angle ran as a populist, Rand Paul, in many regards, ran as a populist in their primaries.  Populism still has a place in this country, particularly when you have three quarters of the country—

MATTHEWS:  But it‘s not—


MATTHEWS:  You make it sound like it‘s emotional.  You work in our business.


MATTHEWS:  I know how our business works.  You reduce the number of camera people, you reduce the number of people who work in the business to reduce costs—

CILLIZZA:  But Chris, that‘s not the debate.

MATTHEWS:  That‘s how you—


CILLIZZA:  But that‘s not the debate the White House—

MATTHEWS:  I see it in front of me.

CILLIZZA:  -- started.  That‘s not the debate the White House started, which is big business is bad for America.  I don‘t disagree that that‘s not a bad place for them to fight.  They started on the U.S. Chamber takes money from foreign corporations.  They didn‘t start on the broader—

MATTHEWS:  But they do!

CILLIZZA:  -- point—well, but I‘m not debating—


CILLIZZA:  I‘m debating what the White House started on and—

MATTHEWS:  But you‘re running against the so-called patriot side of everything.  And the right wing claims to be the patriots, and it turns out they‘re using foreign money to get candidates who are elected will support the interests of multi-nation corporations.  This is your argument.

CORN:  Well, it is, but I think it‘s—to me, the source of the money is not the key thing.


CORN:  It‘s what the Chamber and Karl Rove are doing.  They‘re supporting businesses that are doing exactly what you say, lowering costs and trying to get jobs overseas.  Whether they‘re doing that with money that comes from Paris or money that comes from Princeton, I don‘t care.  And I think the White House has—has been—has allowed itself to—

MATTHEWS:  OK, let‘s—


CILLIZZA:  Karl Rove is smiling right now.

MATTHEWS:  One of those guys that you (INAUDIBLE) guys that are out

there with the—with the big white uniforms on and the bullhorns blowing

not the bullhorns, the—whatever they‘re called—the megaphones—cheering on this right-wing cause.  You know what they‘re doing.  David Corn, thank you.

CILLIZZA:  Chris, this is great—this is great for their—I have to say it.  This whole eight, ten minutes was great for their fund-raising because Republican donors don‘t like President Obama, and the more it‘s Karl Rove versus President Obama, the more ads you‘re going to see from American Crossroads, like it or not.

MATTHEWS:  I think you have to think about jobs.  Jobs we have to talk

jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs—


MATTHEWS:  -- David Corn, Chris Cillizza.

Coming up: If Democrats want to paint Republicans as extreme, they‘ve got some new fodder.  Catch what‘s coming.  One Republican candidate dresses up like a Nazi.  He says he‘s reenacting World War II, but why does he want to play that other side?  Another one has lashed out against gays, saying children shouldn‘t be “brainwashed” into thinking homosexuality is acceptable.  Strange characters showing up in this casting call.  Let‘s call it the Republican nominating process.

You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.


MATTHEWS:  Former president Bill Clinton‘s out on the campaign trail for Joe Manchin in West Virginia.  Take a look at this unscripted moment from the rally today, when a woman in the audience fainted.



Believe me, at my age, it‘s—rarely does a lady faint on me.


CLINTON:  The doctor says she‘s OK.  And I‘m going to save her reputation.  It was the sun, not me, that made her faint.



MATTHEWS:  Bill Clinton, he‘s unbelievable.  What a politician. 

Anyway, right there, you saw him right there.

HARDBALL back after this.


MATTHEWS:  Back to HARDBALL.  Well, two Republicans just underscored, if you will, the Democrats‘ argument that the Republican Party this year is in dangerous territory, going fringe, you might think.  First, it came to light that Republican House Congress Rich Iott of Ohio—he‘s the nominated candidate—is a long-time member of a Nazi reenactment group.  He likes to get dressed up like a Nazi, a Waffen SS character, over the weekends.  That‘s his weekend warrior status.

And Republican candidate for New York governor Carl Paladino—you know, the guy who was going to snuff the reporter the other day, whatever (INAUDIBLE) saying, I‘m going to take you out.  He said that people who are gay are not equal to those who are straight.  Well, fair enough, if you buy his arguments.  Wait until you hear them.


CARL PALADINO (R-NY), CANDIDATE FOR GOVERNOR:  I didn‘t march in the gay parade this year, the gay pride parade this year.  My opponent did.  And that‘s not the example that we should be showing our children.  And don‘t misquote me as wanting to hurt homosexual people in any way.  That would be a dastardly lie. 

My approach is, live and let live.  I just think my children and your children will be much better off and much more successful getting married and raising a family.  And I don‘t want them to be brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid or successful option.  It isn‘t. 


MATTHEWS:  Well, there you have the old choice argument that Trent Lott used to say—these kids are choosing between being gay and straight.  It‘s an interesting choice decision.

You have to ask when Paladino made his choice. 

Let me go.  Josh Green‘s here.  He broke the Rich Iott Nazi story for “The Atlantic.”  And Maggie Haberman is with the Politico.

Maggie—hold on for one second, Ms. Haberman.  I want to go to the Nazi story.  It‘s just too much for me. 

You found out that this guy, Iott, who is running as the Republican nominee for Congress out in Ohio, has an avocation.  Explain. 

JOSH GREEN, “THE ATLANTIC”:  Well, he‘s a Nazi reenactor.  He‘s part of a group that calls themselves—

MATTHEWS:  I have never heard of such a thing.

GREEN:  Neither had I.


MATTHEWS:  They don‘t have them in Germany.

GREEN:  Well, it‘s against the law in Germany.  You can‘t put on a Waffen-S.S. uniform, like Iott did.  You get arrested. 

But this group exists mainly in the Midwest.  They‘re called the Vikings and they are modeled after an actual German Second World War unit, which was part of the 5th S.S. Panzer division, mainly stationed on the eastern front.  They get together on weekends.

MATTHEWS:  Is this some kind of homoerotic thing they do?  They put on these uniforms and dance around?  What do they actually do? 

GREEN:  Well, they have a Web site.  You can look at the videos pictures and see.

MATTHEWS:  Well, what do they do? 

GREEN:  Well, they get together and kind of reenact these battles and shoot guns.  They have got real equipment and—

MATTHEWS:  OK.  That‘s his defense.  That‘s his defense.  Who plays the Red Army?  Do they have guys who like to reenact the Red Army?  That‘s what I don‘t buy about this.

GREEN:  I think they match up at like festivals and things like that. 

MATTHEWS:  But there‘s guys who like to do the Red Army number.

GREEN:  Yes. 

MATTHEWS:  But I never heard of that either. 

GREEN:  I didn‘t either.

MATTHEWS:  Do you believe it?  Do you believe there‘s Red Army guys or just Waffen-S.S. guys who are claiming they‘re fighting somebody else; they just like these uniforms?  You have never seen the uniforms on the other side, have you? 

GREEN:  I haven‘t.  But I didn‘t know—


MATTHEWS:  How do you know they exist?  But you do see these pictures. 

GREEN:  You can find—all these guys are out there on the Internet.


MATTHEWS:  For all you know, the other side is the cover argument, that there is some sort of reenactment.  All you know is these guys like to put Nazi uniforms on. 

GREEN:  Well, that we know for sure, because there‘s a lot of pictures and videos.

MATTHEWS:  Well, why?

GREEN:  They say that it‘s because they‘re interested in World War II history.  The problem is, when you talk to actual historians, they‘re appalled at this, because what they do, this group, is kind of romanticize and sanitize this version of history.  They‘re into the guns and the uniforms, but there isn‘t really much mention of the extermination of Jews.


MATTHEWS:  I read the guy‘s defense.  He‘s—


MATTHEWS:  Yes.  I know, total lack of sympathy for the horror of the century, to put it lightly. 

But what about the guy saying he sympathized with this little country that took on the world?  He thought that was just, from a military point of view, so exciting.  That‘s his defense. 


GREEN:  Yes, that they‘re really interested in kind of German history and these military achievements and very much interested in kind of glorifying World War II Germany while trying to kind of separate all the bad things that that country did. 

MATTHEWS:  OK, something you‘re not quite picking up here, or at least I think you‘ve got to sell a little bit.  It‘s not just him.  This is a group that gets together.  There‘s a number of people that like to do this. 

GREEN:  Yes.  They have all e-mailed me today.


GREEN:  Yes, he says millions.  I couldn‘t put a number on it, but I got a couple of hundred e-mails from reenactors sort of just defending—

MATTHEWS:  Nazi reenactors?

GREEN:  Yes.  They prefer the term World War II German reenactors, because Nazi has got some negative connotations.

MATTHEWS:  Well, that‘s true.  I think more than connotations.

GREEN:  Yes. 


MATTHEWS:  Hold on there.

Let‘s go—here‘s how Iott defended his membership in the S.S.  reenactment group.

“There‘s reenactors out there who do everything.  Well, you know, you wouldn‘t do Civil War reenacting if somebody didn‘t play the role of the Confederates.  I hope voters take it in context and see it for what it is, an interest in World War II history.  And that‘s strictly it.”

My son did one of those reenactments, Civil War, because he sort of got assigned to it sometimes, but he played the Southerner.  But the fact is, both sides in the Civil War are proud of their history.  Everybody watching right now from the South, whatever they—obviously, they don‘t like slavery, but they do like the guts of those guys who fought a much bigger army with mechanized force and all the advantages of wealth of the North.

And the Northerners obviously are proud of the fact that they fought for the republic and for the Union.  But it‘s about pride and tradition.  Where‘s the pride and tradition in being a Nazi?  That‘s what I—I don‘t find available to me mentally.  I don‘t get that.  Why would you want to put that uniform on? 


GREEN:  Really, I can‘t explain—


MATTHEWS:  These Southern guys who put on those Johnny Reb uniforms, if they will, are damn proud to put them on. 

GREEN:  Well, some of these guys—Iott has a German heritage.  This is—he told me this is sort of the history of his country and that he thinks you can separate the atrocities of the Nazi army from the what he would consider acts of valor -- 


MATTHEWS:  But the S.S.? 


GREEN:  -- Nazi, S.S. soldier.  I‘m not saying -- 

MATTHEWS:  But he plays S.S. characters.

GREEN:  Yes. 

MATTHEWS:  He doesn‘t play Wehrmacht, regular army. 

GREEN:  You know, I think this is why he‘s run into some trouble.


MATTHEWS:  I think you gave the guy his best defense he‘s ever likely to get—


MATTHEWS:  -- being a straight journalist on this.

MATTHEWS:  Here‘s Paladino, the guy running for governor, Carl Paladino, running for governor of New York, trying to clarify his remarks this morning on “The Today Show.”

These are his remarks that seemed to be pretty homophobic about the gay pride parade when he was talking to the Hasidim the other day. Let‘s listen.


PALADINO:  That remark has to do with schooling children.

My feelings on homosexuality are unequivocal.  I have absolutely no problem with it whatsoever.  My only—my only reservation is marriage.  That‘s the only reservation I have. 

I have a lot of homosexuals working in my organization.  Young children should not be exposed to that at a young age.  They don‘t understand this.  And it‘s a very difficult thing.  And exposing them to homosexuality, especially at a gay pride parade—and I don‘t know if you have ever been to one, but—but they—they wear these little Speedos and they grind against each other.  And it‘s just a terrible thing. 



MATTHEWS:  Maggie, thank you for joining us, Ms. Haberman.  I don‘t know now you, but I‘m calling you Maggie, because we do first names here.

But what do you make of this?  What story of his do you buy?

MAGGIE HABERMAN, POLITICO:  Well, I think that he was delivering lines that he didn‘t write and his aides didn‘t write last night.  They were written for him by a pretty conservative rabbi who was showing him around.

That having been said, you are sort of responsible for your words.  It was like a walk-back.  And then he went ahead and doubled down again.  I was with him throughout the Columbus Day parade today.  He said it several times.  He talked about the gay pride parade.  He said that Andrew Cuomo had shown he wasn‘t a great father by taking his daughters to it. 

He did say that his one issue with gay rights is gay marriage, and that‘s it.  Other than that, he unequivocally supports them. 

But it‘s pretty hard to go from that to talking about the night before questioning a valid lifestyle.  I don‘t think there‘s much ambiguous about that.  And, you know, it‘s amazing when a candidate actually ups their ante after they have accused their rival of extramarital affairs with this.  We don‘t see this in New York very often. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, I guess—do you think there is any rationale to it?  Is he going for the culturally conservative voter?  He is a culturally conservative man, obviously.


MATTHEWS:  Is he thinking that there‘s a 51 percent out there that would support his culturally conservative views? 

HABERMAN:  No.  I think that he is being himself.  I think that there has been a debate among his campaign, which is a very small group of advisers.  I think he keeps his own counsel a lot.  And I think that they are letting him be him. 

MATTHEWS:  I guess I have covered politics a long time, but I don‘t know about you, but, Maggie, have you ever heard of a politician agreeing to walk into a group and read the speech that he was handed by the group to read as if it were his words?


MATTHEWS:  Here he is.  We see the picture.  He‘s stumbling over these words.  He‘s manfully or whatever—I—trying to read these words, but they‘re not his words.  And then afterwards, he sort of denies them. 

HABERMAN:  No, I have never heard of this before.  I have never heard of a campaign picking up a script from a group that they were visiting and saying, yes, I will read this. 

He says that he read it over in the car and he had some issues with it.  His campaign said that it was given out to reporters actually.  That‘s actually not true.  I spoke to reporters who were there.  It was given out beforehand. 

Regardless, it is hard for reporters to separate out remarks that are attributed to a candidate as prepared for delivery and then be told this wasn‘t something that we did.  This is something that was given to us. 

This is the kind of thing that Carl Paladino, who does have a message that is actually resonating with a lot of people right now, especially because Andrew Cuomo‘s campaign has been seen as somewhat timid.  But this is the problem he keeps running into, is he keeps sort of messing up and having to then spend another day backtracking or explaining or clarifying.  It‘s never good when a candidate is explaining this much.

MATTHEWS:  It‘s so interesting that he pointed out that he was given that sheet to read from when he went to visit the Hasidim community there and—Hasidic community—and he said—and he said, I struck out one line I didn‘t want to read that they had scripted for me.  The line was, “There is nothing to be proud of in being a dysfunctional homosexual.”

HABERMAN:  Right. 

MATTHEWS:  I guess that makes him a moderate. 



HABERMAN:  Well, it moderated the remarks anyway, yes. 

MATTHEWS:  Yes.  It‘s strange.  It‘s but—ludicrous, the fact these people are where they are.  But they are where they are. 

Thank you for unmasking the—this guy in his uniform.  It‘s amazing story.


MATTHEWS:  I think you‘ve done a good job of giving the guy a fair shake, and he still doesn‘t look too good. 

Thank you, Josh Green. 

Thank you, Maggie Haberman, for joining us.


MATTHEWS:  Up next;  Christine O‘Donnell‘s bizarre “I am not a witch” ad gets the “SNL” treatment.  You know it had to.  That‘s next in the “Sideshow.”  This is a really great review of it.

You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.   I think the whole night tonight is a sideshow.  But we‘re going to call our segment still the “Sideshow.”

And it‘s coming up next on MSNBC.


MATTHEWS:  Back to HARDBALL.  Time for the “Sideshow.” 

Party on, California.  Republican candidates Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina made a memorable appearance at Friday night‘s Hispanic awards dinner.  You can see there a mariachi band cheered the two ladies on as they downed tequila shots. 

Here‘s Fiorina showing the spirit. 


CARLY FIORINA ®, CALIFORNIA SENATORIAL CANDIDATE:  You know, I must say, this evening has spoiled me forever. 


FIORINA:  And I don‘t know.  I think every speech should begin with a shot of tequila. 




MATTHEWS:  Wow.  Meg Whitman, remember, has a problem with Latinos, having fired one after employing her illegally for nine years. 

Next: “I am not a witch,” that was the opening of Christine O‘Donnell‘s campaign ad and the subject, of course, of “Saturday Night Live”‘s latest send-up. 


UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS:  Hi, I‘m Christine O‘Donnell, and I am not a witch.  I‘m nothing like you have heard.  I‘m you. 

And, just like you, I have to constantly deny that I‘m a witch. 

That‘s the kind of candidate Delaware hasn‘t had since 1692. 


UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS:  And that‘s why, if elected to the human Senate, I promise to fly straight down to Washington on a plane and do exactly what you would do, not spells.

So, this November 2, vote for Christine O‘Donnell, AKA Sereda the Enchantress, because I am not a witch.  And, if I am, do you really want to cross me?  I didn‘t think so. 

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS:  Paid for by the Coven to Elect Christine O‘Donnell, who is not a witch.


MATTHEWS:  The Coven to Reelect—that “I am not a witch” ad, by the way, the original, may be the most unforgettable political ad ever. 

Up next:  New Hampshire Senate candidate Paul Hodes, he‘s starting to close the gap against his Republican opponent, Kelly Ayotte, but can he beat her?  This is one of the close Senate races that will decide who controls the Senate.  And the Democratic candidate, Paul Hodes, is coming here to HARDBALL in a minute—only on MSNBC.


MATTHEWS:  Wild show tonight.  Welcome back to HARDBALL.

One of the many states where Karl Rove and his associates are hitting Democratic candidates with TV ads is New Hampshire.  Let‘s listen.


NARRATOR:  In New Hampshire, Congressman Hodes claims:

REP. PAUL HODES (D-NH), SENATORIAL CANDIDATE:  You deserve a senator who is a real fiscal conservative and who gets rid of the pork. 

NARRATOR:  But Hodes voted for the pork-filled stimulus bill, $1.9 million to study ants in Africa, $39 million for office upgrades for politicians, billions wasted and unemployment still higher.  No wonder “The Union Leader” says the guy just can‘t tell the truth. 

American Crossroads is responsible for the content of this advertising.


MATTHEWS:  Well, the latest ARG poll of New Hampshire shows Hodes—that‘s the Democratic candidate, the congressman—trailing Republican Kelly Ayotte by just five points now.  Ayotte‘s lead has been cut from 14 in just two weeks. 

Congressman Hodes joins us now from Boston. 

Congressman, thank you for joining us right now.

It seems like you‘re in a heck of a race right now.  What are you doing that‘s selling with the voters?  Why are they turning to you, going from 14 down to 5 down?  It looks like the projection is good for you three weeks out. 

HODES:  Well, Chris, thanks. 

Clearly, the momentum is with us in this campaign.  And, really, it‘s because there‘s a simple choice in this election.  Are you going to choose somebody who stands up for the people and against the special interests, or are you going to stand with somebody who wants to hand our government over to big oil, big Wall Street, the big health insurance companies, and who‘s been endorsed by folks like the Chamber of Commerce, who just released an avalanche of misleading, negative advertising that the New Hampshire voters have little appetite for. 

And, Chris, today, there was a stunning development in this campaign.  E-mails were just released which show that, back in 2006, Kelly Ayotte‘s chief campaign strategist way back then said to her, get ready to run.  This was in late October of ‘06.  She responded, “Have you seen that a police officer was killed and I‘m going after the death penalty?”

He responded, “Well, we know where New Hampshire A.G. Ayotte stands on the death penalty by the switch.”

It‘s stunning that as a public servant, the New Hampshire attorney general, the chief law enforcement officer, would inject the death penalty into a political context, try to use it as a spring board for her political ambitions.  It‘s not the kind of—


MATTHEWS:  Are you saying she set out to execute somebody in order to get votes?

HODES:  What I‘m saying is that she wasn‘t above, using a murder case and a death penalty case as a spring board for her personal—

MATTHEWS:  Yes, but give the evidence of that again.  You have e-mails.  What do the e-mail from her suggest what you just said?

HODES:  Well, because her immediate response when her campaign strategist in 2006 says get ready to run, her immediate response is, I‘ve just announced I‘m seeking the death penalty.  And he says, absolutely right, I know where you stand, by the switch.

MATTHEWS:  A switch like electric chair?  Is that what you by switch?

HODES:  That could be the only thing he could have meant.  He‘s accepting what she says.  He understands—


HODES:  -- she‘s talking about using the death penalty as a political springboard.  You know, it‘s wrong.  It‘s not the way the A.G.‘s office that I was in under David Souter worked, fiercely independent, fierce integrity.

She ran—she based her campaign saying she‘s not a politician.  She‘s a prosecutor.  This is cold.  This is ruthless.  This is a politician who is planning to run for years and wants the people of New Hampshire to believe she‘s something else.


MATTHEWS:  Congressman, you‘re not the odd man out.  You‘ve been elected in New Hampshire.  What is it about New Hampshire that‘s going to accept you this year?  Which a very tough year for Democrats?  Because you‘ve got to run with a president who‘s popular personally, but his policies aren‘t and this economy is terrible.  How do you—how do you tack against that wind storm against you?

HODES:  Well, that‘s because where I‘ve always stood.  Chris, I‘ve been an independent voice for New Hampshire when I was in Congress.  I first ran talking about deficits.  So, I‘ve got a real brief to stand on in terms of fiscal responsibility and fiscal conservatism.

And I‘m telling people that we‘ve got to walk and chew gum, we‘ve got to cut wasteful spending, but we also got to grow the economy on a firm foundation, and we simply can‘t go back to a U-turn in the policies that got us into so much trouble.

And that‘s all my opponent is selling.  She wants to tell sell tax cuts for the rich that are going to hurt the deficit by $700 billion.  She‘s fine with tax breaks for companies that shift jobs overseas.  The folks in New Hampshire know that we need to make “made in America” mean something again and they‘re responding to a message of fiscal responsibility and rebuilding the middle class and bringing jobs back to New Hampshire.

MATTHEWS:  It sounds like you wanted Bill Clinton out there because Clinton balanced the budget back when he was president.  Is he going to come in and campaign for you?

HODES:  Oh, I‘d be happy to have President Clinton.  Frankly, I‘d be happy to have President Obama.  He‘s still quite popular in New Hampshire.  People understand that he stands for rebuilding the middle class.

MATTHEWS:  OK.  Let‘s take a look—let‘s take a look at Bill Clinton today.  The former president in Kentucky.

Let‘s listen.


WILLIAM J. CLINTON, FMR. U.S. PRESIDENT:  We dug this big old hole for eight years and we gave them 21 months to get us out.  We‘re not out.  Throw them out, put us back in, let us get our shovels and dig again.  Be mad.  They‘re playing you.


MATTHEWS:  They‘re playing you.

Thank you very much, Congressman Paul Hodes for coming tonight from New Hampshire.  Good luck in your race for the United States Senate.

Up next, remember this TV ad Republicans run against Joe Manchin in West Virginia?  The one that was going to be, quote, “hicky and blue collar looking”?  Well, Manchin‘s hitting back.

And when we return, we‘ll talk to one of the actors from that ad.  He‘s going to give us the insight on what it‘s like to put together one of these political ads that obviously gotten to a lot of trouble.

This is HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.


MATTHEWS:  Wow.  New Jersey Governor Chris Christie says he‘s not ready to run for president in 2012, but he‘s starting to get the rock star treatment from activists in the party.  He‘s campaigned for candidates in all the important states, Ohio, Iowa, for example.  And this weekend, he beat out Sarah Palin in a presidential straw poll.  The Virginia Tea Party Patriots gathered yesterday in Richmond, and Christie edged out Palin.  That‘s down in Virginia.  Christie killed what was to be the nation‘s largest public works projects citing rising cost and will likely to burnish his image among cost-cutting conservatives.

HARDBALL will be right back.


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.

This is going to be a treat.  An actor who lives in south Jersey now finds himself at the center of the West Virginia Senate race.  Actor Damian Muziani has had extra roles on “Saturday Night Live,” including this bit from the sketch “Nark Squad.”  He‘s done some hosting work in Philadelphia as well.


DAMIAN MUZIANI, ACTOR:  Top of the morning to you.  Welcome back to “Better Philly.”  I‘m Damian O. Muziani.


MATTHEWS:  Wow.  Here‘s the role that put him in the national political conversation.  Let‘s watch.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Obama‘s messing things up.

MUZIANI:  Spending money we don‘t have, stimulus, Obamacare.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes.  And Joe Manchin supported it all.

MUZIANI:  Joe‘s not bad as governor, but when he‘s with Obama—

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  He turns into Washington Joe.

MUZIANI:  And Washington Joe does whatever Obama wants.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes.  Well, we better keep Joe Manchin right here in West Virginia.

MUZIANI:  Away from Washington.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes.  It‘s the only way we‘re going to stop Obama.

NARRATOR:  The National Republican Senatorial Committee is responsible for the content of this advertisement.


MATTHEWS:  Damian Muziani, sir, it‘s a treat to have called up and say you‘re available.

Where did you shoot that commercial for the Rs, for the Republicans?

MUZIANI:  As you probably already know, Chris.  That was shot in south Philadelphia.

MATTHEWS:  Ha!  Do you know—do you have any idea why they cast this?  Why they went to Philly to get the West Virginia feel?  I mean, I‘m just wondering if they want—you‘d think they want to go out in the country somewhere a bit at least.

MUZIANI:  I don‘t know if that much thought actually went into it, Chris, but when you hire an actor, you‘re hiring someone who can or cannot do dialects and can work with material that‘s given to them.  So, you go where the work is and I guess the availability is there.

MATTHEWS:  No, you guys, you know, I didn‘t—I have to tell you, I‘ve been to a lot of dinettes in the morning.  I know guys go in the morning to get away, read the paper, hang out with the boys.  Not just retirees, but guys those age, your age.


MATTHEWS:  And I didn‘t find that commercial to be negative. But any way, that could be anywhere along the Pennsylvania turnpike, it could be anywhere along the highway.  The guys are wearing Cat hats, Caterpillar hats, fine.  Your accent, was that—did you work on that to make yourself seem more Mountain State or what?  Or did you just do your regular south Jersey accent or what?

MUZIANI:  No, I mean, there was a little bit of a removal of a south Jersey accent.


MUZIANI:  And again, you‘ve looked at this documentation, so you know that they really weren‘t looking for accents, just plain-speaking plain folk.

MATTHEWS:  And what about the costuming, was that ready when you got there?  You are fit the uniform or how did that work?

MUZIANI:  Generally, as an actor, when you‘re called to the set a lot of times, they‘ll ask you just to bring wardrobe choices.  So, you will bring flannel shirts and hats and boots, and things of that nature.  A lot of times, what ends up on the screen is not so much the material itself but a lot of times, how it blends with the other material.   You‘ve got lighting to worry about, the color saturation, the framing.


MUZIANI:  A lot of that goes into it.  So, it doesn‘t help to look too much into it.

MATTHEWS:  Does it bother you to be playing a political guy to be knocking Manchin, the governor of West Virginia.  You probably never met the guy.  I mean, you‘re knocking the guy saying he‘s an Obamaite, he‘s no good for the state and you‘re doing that attitude and all thing there.

What did you think of that?  Did that—is that your thinking?

MUZIANI:  Yes, well, it‘s no—for me, it‘s no fun to knock anybody, especially somebody I don‘t know, and we didn‘t even know—

MATTHEWS:  Ha!  Ha, ha.

MUZIANI:  We didn‘t know who Joe Manchin was until the day of the shoot.  It was all pretty much you know kept quiet.

MATTHEWS:  Did you Google him—Googled the guy since to find out who Manchin is?

MUZIANI:  Yes, I pretty much know who he is now especially since he‘s run his own commercial starring me.

MATTHEWS:  Okay.  Here it is, here it is.  Here‘s Joe Manchin, he put out this ad to counter the one that you‘re in.


NARRATOR:  John Raese thinks we‘re hicks.

NARRATOR:  His people hired actors from Philadelphia to attack Joe Manchin, and told him to dress hicky.


MATTHEWS:  Philadelphia, isn‘t that a great put down (ph)?

By the way, I‘m from Philly, did you have to say water instead of water?  Did they teach you how to talk outside of Philly or what?

MUZIANI:  Well, yes, saying water or, yo check this out.  You know, you can‘t really say when you‘re trying to be middle of the road.

MATTHEWS:  You could have an attitude from Philly, could you?

MUZIANI:  Attitude.  Forgot about it.

MATTHEWS:  Yes, beautiful.  That‘s where I grew up.  So, look we‘re talking about that.

This ad is really—what I thought about it was the hype.  Do you think it was wrong to ridicule this ad from the other side?  Or do you think—do you it knocked anybody?  I don‘t think it did.  My thoughts.  Your thoughts?

MUZIANI:  Well, yes, you know, if someone‘s offended by a word, whether it‘s the word hick—you know, you‘re a hicky or something like that, obviously, that‘s not—that‘s not right.  I think where Joe Manchin might have went off the tracks was, he‘s blaming the actors for pretending that they are West Virginians.

So, if his solution, well, we should have hired West Virginia actors to do this sketch—commercial, sorry, it ended up being a sketch, would be to say, well, they‘re still going to read John Raese‘s script.  They‘re still going to be ripping and humiliating you, Joe Manchin.

So, you‘d rather people in your home state rip you than people from outside of the state.  I don‘t think that that would have made him happy.  I think the big problem is that really he‘s behind in the polls and it‘s desperation time.  But I honestly, I like that.  And that actually makes me kind of lean towards supporting the guy.  I don‘t live in West Virginia, but I kind of hope he wins.

MATTHEWS:  You hope Manchin wins?

MUZIANI:  Sure, you‘re a Philly guy.  You like a Rocky Balboa story, right?  This is Rocky Balboa—


MATTHEWS:  I want to get you some cues from you, because my son‘s an actor and he‘s doing what you‘re doing, trying to get these jobs and I got to tell you, I‘m rooting for you every day of the week, sir, because it‘s tough.

MUZIANI:  Don‘t follow my footsteps.

MATTHEWS:  Have you seen “City Island” yet about the cop trying to make it as an actor?


MATTHEWS:  That‘s a great movie, “City Island.”  Andy Garcia.

MUZIANI:  I don‘t know if I‘ve seen that, yes, yes, Garcia.


MATTHEWS:  Damian Muziani is the kind of guy that I like.  Anyway, thanks for coming on the show and being a good sport and endorsing Joe Manchin.

When we return,, let me finish with how America can put people back to work and stay competitive at same time.

You‘re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.


MATTHEWS:  Let me finish tonight with the only issue this really matters to voters this election, the one that drives all of the heat, the anger, the cussing, the news: jobs.

That Friday unemployment number stuck at 9.6 percent begins to look dangerously like the reset.  Not higher normal but the new normal.  If this is where we‘re going to be stuck as a country, bumping up against 10 percent of us regularly out of work—it‘s really almost double that number, if you add up the unemployed, part-time employed, temporarily employed, the fact is there‘s a nastily high amount of underused people in these United States that aren‘t working, haven‘t been, and won‘t be for the foreseeable future.

And the reality, which is hitting hard right now, is that big corporations make their profits by coming up with state-of-the-art ways to reduce the number of people they have on their payrolls, people they have to pay salary to, health care and retirement benefits.  They look constantly to engineer their operations to get machines to do the work.

Productivity and automation are great for the corporate bottom line, not so great for the guy or woman who used to work at the plant but doesn‘t anymore, and their kids who grew up looking forward to work there.

So, if we‘re going to have full employment again, meaning a jobless rate down to around 4 percent or 5 percent again, we‘re going to need a new demand for labor, something that doesn‘t depend on getting ginned up by the consumer or the corporation.

Ironically, the new frontier of job creation in this country may be in that huge area right where we live, the roads and bridges we travel every day, the subways and train lines we use, the airports that handle all of today‘s traffic.  It‘s here that the jobs of the coming years could come and making steel, building bridges, manufacturing road equipment—that‘s what President Obama pushed for today in a meeting with current and past transportation secretaries.

But it‘s not enough.  Europe has fast trains, so does Asia, why are we stuck in the past?  Why don‘t we fly from Washington to New York instead of taking rapid rail?  Why aren‘t we riding across America at 300-plus miles an hour like they do in other continents?  Why is America a flyover country between New York and L.A. when it should be what unites country by rail?  Great question.

Today, the president began to answer it.  But it‘s not enough, not nearly enough, if we‘re ever going to put America to work, putting this country where it belongs, on the rebound.

That‘s HARDBALL for now.  Thanks for being with us.

Right now, it‘s time for “THE ED SHOW” with Ed Schultz.




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