updated 10/20/2011 12:17:00 PM ET 2011-10-20T16:17:00

Guests: Howard Fineman, Sue Herera, Josh Marshall, Dee Dee Myers, Ed Rollins, Robert Reich, Joan Walsh,
Dick Harpootlian, Judith Browne-Dianis

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Hitting below the Beltway.

Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.

Leading off tonight: Welterweight championship. Things got really
feisty at last night`s Republican presidential candidates` debate in Las
Vegas. Rick Perry attacked Mitt Romney over health care and immigration.
Romney hit Perry back. And everyone hammered Herman Cain`s tax-raising 9-
9-9 plan.

Well, the big question after all that Republican intramural bickering
is, What have they got? And is this all they`ve got? And that leads to
this. Could it be that the winner of last night`s debate wasn`t even on
the stage, and the winner was perhaps President Obama. He must have loved
what he heard last night. It plays right into his reelection strategy,
which is, I`m better than that crowd.

Then: It`s time for big ideas. Those -- those Occupy Wall Street
protests are a reminder that we`re not going to solve our big problems by
doing little things. But will the politicians listen to that logic, you
need big stuff to deal with big problems?

And a new study finds a law requiring voters in South Carolina to show
photo ID cards -- would that disproportionately affect minorities? Why do
you think Republicans are doing it? That`s the story. We`re going to get
to that one tonight. We`re talking about disenfranchising people. The
state`s Democratic leader called that "electoral genocide," pretty strong
words. Well, I`ll get him to explain that.

Finally, "Let Me Finish" tonight with the Republicans` refusal to
focus on what is the real lure (ph), obviously, to illegal immigration and
their intense focus on suppressing Democratic voters.

We start with the nasty business in last night`s Republican debate.
Howard Fineman, an expert on the fight game, is an MSNBC political analyst
and Huffington Post Media Group editorial director. And Josh Marshall is
with TalkingPointsMemo.

Gentlemen, two pros to look at these. Let`s take a look. Here`s one
of the exchange everyone is talking about from last night. Here`s Mitt
Romney versus Rick Perry getting into a heated back-and-forth, if you will,
over immigration and who -- who mowed my lawn. Let`s get to it. Let`s
watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. RICK PERRY (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And Mitt, you lose
all of your standing from my perspective because you hired illegals in your
home, and you knew about it for a year. And the idea that you stand here
before us and talk about that you`re strong on immigration is on its face
the height of hypocrisy.

(APPLAUSE, BOOS)

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN, MODERATOR: Governor Romney?

MITT ROMNEY (R-MA), FMR. GOV., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Rick, I don`t
think I`ve ever hired an illegal in my life. And so I`m afraid -- I`m
looking forward to finding your facts on that because--

PERRY: I`ll tell you what the facts are.

ROMNEY: Rick, again--

PERRY: You had the--

ROMNEY: Rick, I`m speaking.

PERRY: Your newspaper--

ROMNEY: I`m speaking!

PERRY: The newspaper--

(CROSSTALK)

ROMNEY: You get 30 seconds.

PERRY: Time for you to tell the truth (ph), Mitt.

ROMNEY: This is the way the rules work here, is that I get 60
seconds--

PERRY: Well, no, but the American people--

ROMNEY: -- and then you get -- and then you get 30 seconds to respond,
right?

PERRY: And they want--

ROMNEY: Anderson--

PERRY: -- to hear you say that you knew--

(CROSSTALK)

ROMNEY: Would you please wait?

PERRY: -- working at your--

ROMNEY: Are you just going to keep talking?

ROMNEY: Yes, sir!

ROMNEY: Let me finish with my -- what I have to say!

(BOOS)

ROMNEY: Look, Rick--

(CROSSTALK)

ROMNEY: What a tough couple of debates for Rick. And I understand
that, and so you`re going to get -- you`re going to get testy.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Anderson!

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: I mean, I don`t know how you read that, but he was crying
for help, going after poor Anderson Cooper, who was (INAUDIBLE) he was --
he wasn`t reffing too strongly here last night.

HOWARD FINEMAN, HUFFINGTON POST MEDIA GROUP, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:
No.

MATTHEWS: He was letting the -- letting the fighters go at it.

FINEMAN: Anderson Cooper was like the referee in a pro wrestling
match.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: Let`s (INAUDIBLE)

FINEMAN: The guys were taking the razors out of their trunks, you
know, and he didn`t--

MATTHEWS: OK--

FINEMAN: -- he didn`t see them.

MATTHEWS: What`s your theory behind why Rick Perry went at him like a
mad dog?

FINEMAN: Well, there are a couple of things. First of all, Perry`s
got to get back in the ballgame. He`d been -- his numbers have been
dropping. He wants to be in the story. The surest way to get into the
story is attack the putative front-runner, who is Mitt Romney. And also, I
think Rick Perry wanted to try to establish control of what you call the
Western division of the conservative ranks--

MATTHEWS: Right.

FINEMAN: -- that are challenging Romney, pushing aside Herman Cain and
everybody else, and that`s what he managed to do.

And the other thing that`s going on is that now that Romney is on the
defensive on immigration, it takes the heat off Rick Perry for being on the
defensive on immigration. And the dynamic of the whole thing is the
candidates are leap-frogging each other to get to the right on the issue of
immigration. They could regret that later, but for now, they`ll take it.

MATTHEWS: But -- let me go to -- let me go to Josh Marshall. The
idea that they`re deciding who is going to be the Republican nominee for
president of the United States, in these times when we`re competing with
Russia on economics, with China on economics, Brazil, the whole world -- we
have the toughest economic competition in our history, and it`s going to
get tougher and tougher and tougher to deal with these issues of a world
labor market and resource depletion and everything we have to deal with --
to be arguing over who cut my lawn, when there`s -- when -- when illegals -
- I`m sorry, undocumented workers cutting people`s lawns is endemic, is
pandemic in this country in terms of people doing that kind of outdoor
work.

Your thoughts. I thought it was ridiculous they`re talking about this
stuff.

JOSH MARSHALL, TALKINGPOINTSMEMO.COM: You know, I think this is --
this is a great debate if you are in the political news publishing business
because it is kind of like professional wrestling. Going back to what
Howard said, I think it`s -- it`s -- it`s even more real than professional
wrestling because these guys clearly really don`t like each other, which
isn`t always the case with the wrestlers.

(LAUGHTER)

MARSHALL: You know, it is kind of weird. I mean, you`ve got -- you
know, making -- making, you know, physical contact and these snide remarks
at each other. You had Michele Bachmann making this comment about -- about
President Obama`s relatives and stuff. It was really kind of a train
wreck.

I do think, though, that -- you know, politics is always zero sum, and
I do think Rick Perry did help himself partly because he got under Mitt
Romney`s skin and he was able--

MATTHEWS: You think so?

MARSHALL: -- kind of pull Mitt Romney--

MATTHEWS: How do you know that?

MARSHALL: -- down to the level of the other people--

MATTHEWS: Josh, how do you know that?

MARSHALL: -- on the debate panel.

MATTHEWS: How do you know he got under his skin? I thought he was
rather controlled, country club, whatever you want to say. He seemed like
he was condescending to the other guy. Your thoughts? Again.

MARSHALL: I think that`s -- I think that`s true to an extent, but you
know, I don`t -- I don`t think he totally lost his cool. But you know,
what -- what Mitt Romney has been doing through this -- you know, through
these debates is up there with the sort of, like, Happy to be here, we all
know I`m really going to be the nominee--

MATTHEWS: I see.

MARSHALL: -- and you know, kind of smiling through it like that. And
so Rick Perry got him off that game, and I think that`s a plus for Rick
Perry, even though Rick Perry didn`t look that good doing it.

MATTHEWS: Yes, he was biting on his ankle there. Notice how Newt is
so envious of the fight? Newt`s looking over there, Gee whiz, I wish I was
in this fight!

(LAUGHTER)

FINEMAN: Yes. Well, of course, then Newt suggested that he wanted --
the way he was going to win the presidency was by having seven three-hour
debates with Barack Obama--

MATTHEWS: Good.

FINEMAN: -- 21 hours of debates.

(CROSSTALK)

FINEMAN: I agree with Josh. What happened here is that Rick Perry
dragged Mitt Romney down to his, Rick Perry`s, level, which is a tough
street fight in a dusty street in Texas.

MATTHEWS: OK. Let`s take a look at this. There he is. This was a
very telling moment, many think, for Mitt Romney. Here`s the former
Massachusetts governor again in a heated back-and-forth with Perry over the
use of illegal immigrants to take care of his property. He defended
himself, but listen to the words he uses at the end. They`re incredibly
incriminating. Let`s listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: We hired a lawn company to mow our lawn, and they had illegal
immigrants that were working there. And when that was pointed out to us,
we let them go. And we went to them and said--

(CROSSTALK)

ROMNEY: You have a problem with allowing someone to finish speaking.
And I`d suggest that if you want to become president of the United States,
you`ve got to let both people speak. So first, let me speak.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

ROMNEY: So we went to the company and we said, Look, you can`t have
any illegals working on our property. That`s -- I`m running for office,
for Pete`s sake. I can`t have illegals.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, then he said "I`m running for office." I mean, if I
was a regular guy, I`d be out there stuffing (ph) the law like everybody
else.

FINEMAN: He was doing fine -- he was doing fine up until the end
there, where he -- in order to try to bolster his credibility, he said,
Well, I told them I`m running for office--

(LAUGHTER)

FINEMAN: -- which--

MATTHEWS: I`ve got to be a fraud!

FINEMAN: -- which means, I guess, that if he weren`t running for
office, he`d hire every illegal he could get his hands on.

MATTHEWS: Josh, that`s exactly what -- everybody`s going to hear it
that way. He basically has to keep his hands clean because people are
watching! What a statement!

MARSHALL: Exactly. I think, you know, that`s the key thing. I`m not
sure a lot of these things that was in -- a lot of things that were said in
that debate, we`re not going to be talking about -- you know, talking about
them a week from now.

But that`s the kind of thing I could see showing up in a Republican
primary debate commercial in January, February, March, into April because
it is one of those things. It goes to something that is one of Mitt
Romney`s key vulnerabilities, that he`s -- you know, that he`s a phony,
that he`s just all package. And that is what you can imagine someone in
Mitt Romney`s position saying, like, Sure, you know, whatever, of course
you hire illegals, but man, I`m running for office here. Give me a break
here.

So it shows that maybe the immigration issue is not one that`s really
so close to his heart as he`s trying to make people think it is now.

(SOUND DROP-OFF)

MATTHEWS: -- and then he says, Of course, if I weren`t running for
office, I`d be grabbing the cheapest labor I could find--

MARSHALL: Yes.

MATTHEWS: -- from across the border. Here`s Rick Santorum and Newt
Gingrich both going after Romney`s Massachusetts health care. First
Santorum said the plan was too similar to President Obama`s national health
care law. Let`s watch the exchange.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICK SANTORUM (R-PA), FMR. SEN., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You just
don`t have credibility, Mitt, when it comes to repealing "Obama care." You
are -- you are -- your plan was the basis for "Obama care." Your
consultants helped Obama craft "Obama care." And to say that you`re going
to repeal it, you just -- you have no track record on that that we can
trust you that you`re going to do that.

ROMNEY: In the last campaign, I was asked, Is this something that you
would have the whole nation do? And I said no. This is something that was
crafted for Massachusetts. It would be wrong to adopt this as a nation.

SANTORUM: That`s not what you said.

ROMNEY: You`re -- you`re -- you`re shaking your head.

SANTORUM: Governor, no, that`s not what you said!

ROMNEY: That happens -- that happens to be--

SANTORUM: It`s in your book that it should be for everybody!

(CROSSTALK)

PERRY: -- took it out of your book.

SANTORUM: You took it out of your book!

ROMNEY: Whose turn? (INAUDIBLE) or mine?

(CROSSTALK)

SANTORUM: Governor? Governor?

ROMNEY: I tell you what. Why don`t you let me speak.

SANTORUM: You`re allowed -- you`re allowed--

ROMNEY: Why don`t you let me speak--

SANTORUM: You`re allowed to change your position--

ROMNEY: Rick, you`ve had your change. Let me speak.

SANTORUM: -- you can`t change the facts.

ROMNEY: Rick, you had your chance, let me speak.

SANTORUM: You`re out of time! You`re out of time!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: I think he`s trying to get Anderson Cooper`s job there, not
president of the United States. Quickly, I have to show this other thing,
but Howard, didn`t he say both? Didn`t he once say, I want to apply this
nationally, and then, I wouldn`t apply it nationally? Isn`t he on both
records?

FINEMAN: Yes. And in the hardback of the book, he said it would be a
great model for the nation.

MATTHEWS: And in the paperback--

FINEMAN: But then by the time of the paperback, he took it out.

MATTHEWS: OK. That -- that is--

FINEMAN: And it`s not in -- I believe it`s not in the e-book, either.

MATTHEWS: OK. (INAUDIBLE) rely on this guy! Anyway, Newt Gingrich
also tried to land a blow on the health care issue, but Mitt Romney fought
back. Let`s watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEWT GINGRICH (R-GA), FMR. HOUSE SPEAKER, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So
there`s a lot of big government behind "Romney care," not as much as "Obama
care," but a heck of a lot more than your campaign is admitting.

ROMNEY: Actually, we got the idea of an individual mandate from you.

GINGRICH: That`s not true. You got it from the Heritage Foundation.

ROMNEY: Yes, we got it from you and the--

GINGRICH: No, what you said is not true.

ROMNEY: You got it from the Heritage Foundation and from you, but --
but let me -- let me--

GINGRICH: Wait a second. What you just said is not true. You did
not get that from me.

ROMNEY: I got it--

GINGRICH: You got it from the Heritage Foundation.

ROMNEY: And you`ve never -- never supported--

GINGRICH: I was -- I agree with them. But I`m just saying what you
said to this audience just now plain wasn`t true.

ROMNEY: OK, let me--

GINGRICH: That`s not where you got it from.

ROMNEY: Have you supported in the past an individual mandate?

GINGRICH: I absolutely did, with the Heritage Foundation, against
"Hillary care."

ROMNEY: You did support an individual mandate?

GINGRICH: Yes, sir.

ROMNEY: Oh, OK. That`s what I`m saying. We got the idea from you
and the Heritage Foundation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: You know, the demonic aspect of the person of Newt Gingrich
-- and I do mean that. He speaks with a forked tongue, where you see both
forks at the same time. He said two opposite things -- I agree with
Heritage, I did not agree with Heritage. I forget the -- that was the
wrong order. First he said he was not part of it, and then he said, I
agree with Heritage, having just denied it. How can you do both in one
exchange, Josh?

MARSHALL: Not very well--

(LAUGHTER)

MARSHALL: -- in that case. You know, I think this is -- another thing
that comes out to me about -- about that little clip is even though he had
some problems with Rick Perry this time, I mean, Mitt Romney has become a
really good debater. I mean--

MATTHEWS: Yes.

MARSHALL: -- you can tell his research team has been all over this
stuff, and he`s got it all in that head. Now, I think, you know, when you
-- when you -- when you pull out facts like that, sometimes you can -- you
can rub people the wrong way because you`re sort of like a smarty-pants or
something like that.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

MARSHALL: But one thing I have noticed is just how much Mitt Romney
is so much better at this than he was four years ago. There`s just no
question about that.

FINEMAN: Yes. But it`s also -- it`s also true, Josh, that not only
does he know how to pull stuff out to attack the other guy, he`s gotten
slipperier than ever before at denying things.

MARSHALL: Yes.

FINEMAN: For example, on the illegal -- on the people who mowed his
lawn, he said, I don`t think I ever hired an illegal. So that was
carefully parsed, OK?

MARSHALL: Right.

FINEMAN: So yes, and that`s -- that`s the whole -- that`s the whole
game.

MATTHEWS: He didn`t get out on the corner where people were looking
for work and pick them up. He had them brought to him.

FINEMAN: Yes. Exactly.

MATTHEWS: OK.

FINEMAN: He hired a company--

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Going into the debate now, much of the focus was on Herman
Cain, of course, who is leading, actually, our poll, including all the
polls, in fact, and his 9-9-9 plan. In the beginning, nearly every other
candidate called the plan a mistake. Well, let`s watch them gang up on
him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANTORUM: Reports are now out that 84 percent of Americans would pay
more taxes under his plan.

PERRY: Herman, I love you, brother, but let me tell you something.
You don`t have to have a big analysis to figure this thing out. Go to New
Hampshire, where they don`t have a sales tax, and you`re fixing to give
them one. They`re not interested in 9-9-9.

HERMAN CAIN (R-GA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The state tax is an
apple. We are replacing the current tax code with oranges. So it`s --
it`s not correct to mix apples and oranges.

ROMNEY: Herman, are you saying that the state sales tax will also go
away?

CAIN: No.

ROMNEY: Oh.

CAIN: That`s an apple.

ROMNEY: OK.

CAIN: We`re replacing a bunch of oranges.

ROMNEY: And I`m going to be getting a bushel basket that has apples
and oranges in it because I got to pay both taxes.

CAIN: Oh, no--

ROMNEY:

PERRY: And the people in Nevada don`t want to pay both taxes.

COOPER: You have said in recent days that Mr. Cain`s 9-9-9 plan would
be a harder sell than he lets on. How so?

GINGRICH: Well, you just watched it.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, Josh, you first this time. Brother, can you spare me
a 9? I mean, this -- this thing here, "brother"? I mean, are they kissing
cousins or what? What`s this "brother" thing? He didn`t say "bro," at
least.

MARSHALL: Perry had whole thing about keeping plum (ph)--

MATTHEWS: What`s this "brother"--

MARSHALL: -- plans with -- with--

MATTHEWS: -- thing all about?

MARSHALL: -- with Herman Cain.

FINEMAN: Plum plans.

MARSHALL: I don`t know where that quite came from. But I -- you
know, I sympathize with these other candidates, though, because they would
-- they were coming at Cain with hard numbers that are just irrefutable,
and you have Herman Cain up there who -- Herman Cain up there who -- who
sort of slips through now as still kind of a novelty candidate, and he`s up
there saying, you know, That`s an orange, that`s an apple, and the rest of
them are sort of, like, What do I do with that?

MATTHEWS: Well, I`ll tell you what you do with it. In Washington, we
pay 6 percent sales tax. You add 9 onto that, 15 percent. That`s not
apples and oranges. It`s one added to one already, another sales tax on
top of another sales tax. I don`t know what Cain`s talking about. Anyway,
obviously this is additive.

Thank you, Howard Fineman. A lot of fun here at the expense of the
Republicans.

FINEMAN: Why not?

MATTHEWS: I don`t think the president`s worried tonight. Anyway,
Josh Marshall, thank you.

Coming up, why the big winners, I just suggested, of last night`s
Republican debate may well be the Democratic nominee next summer, which is
probably going to be Obama.

You`re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Brand-new NBC News Marist poll numbers out of South
Carolina and Florida. Let`s take a look. We got a look at the
"Scoreboard," and there it is. In South Carolina, Herman Cain leads the
Republican field with 30 points. Mitt Romney is a close second at 26.
Rick Perry is way down at 9. Look at him. He has to win that one.

Similar story in Florida, where Cain`s neck and neck with Romney, 32
to 31. These numbers that Cain`s posting are amazing. Perry a distant
third again, showing a pattern here.

But look at what happens in the general election matchups in Florida.
The president is leading Romney by 2 points, that makes sense, 45-43. And
the president leads Herman Cain by 6 points, 47-41. That makes sense.
He`s ahead of Perry, 47-39. They all match up to what seems to be
(INAUDIBLE) conversation.

We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL.

As you just saw, last night`s Republican debate was vicious,
aggressive and at times surprisingly personal. Who came out of it looking
good? Did anyone? Well, the candidates will try to spin it, of course,
but the truth is, there weren`t many people left unscathed from last
night`s performances. So does that mean the Obama team is the only crowd
making -- actually happy this morning, waking up happy?

I want to ask two experts right now, Dee Dee Myers, the former Bill
Clinton White House press secretary, and Ed Rollins, a GOP strategist, who
got Ronald Reagan through that very difficult reelection campaign. He also
worked with Michele Bachmann as her senior manager of her campaign until
last month. Ed, thank you for joining us.

Herman Cain was asked if he wanted to take back comments he made about
people protesting on Wall Street. Let`s listen to what he said and listen
how loudly the crowd loves what he says.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Two weeks ago, you said, "Don`t blame Wall Street. Don`t
blame the big banks. If you don`t have a job and you`re not rich, blame
yourself." That was two weeks ago. The movement has grown. Do you still
say that?

(APPLAUSE)

CAIN: Yes, I do still say that. And here`s why--

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

CAIN: I still stand by my statement, and here`s why.

They might be frustrated with Wall Street and the bankers, but they`re
directing their anger at the wrong place. They ought to be over in front
of the White House taking out their frustration.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Wow.

Well, there he is, Ed Rollins. What do you make of that crowd? I
mean, your crowd out there, they cheer the execution, they boo the gay
soldier, they want the guy who is comatose to die on the gurney. And now
they`re out there saying, get a job, you bunch of bums.

Does your party have any sympathy for any human being in any condition
or walk of life?

ED ROLLINS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I would hope so.

(LAUGHTER)

ROLLINS: We`re compassionate conservatives.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Oh, yes, right.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: A lot of that last night.

ROLLINS: This debate last night reminded me of sort of the
"Housewives of New Jersey." You know, it was very entertaining, but you
wouldn`t want to marry any of them. And I think at the end of the day
that`s what you ended up with here is that I think what happened is Perry
knew he had to get in the game.

It wasn`t the audience in front of him. It was his audience that`s
going to raise money for him, and he had to prove that, as the conservative
challenger, he could basically make the case against Romney. What I think
became very clear with both he and Santorum, two true conservatives, that
disdain that they have for Romney and everything that he stands for really
came out, and that venom is what Romney has got to fight this entire
campaign.

It`s just a pickup from where it was four years ago. I was with Mike
Huckabee. And not a single candidate that was on the stage with Romney at
the end of it would have supported Romney. And I think that`s his
challenge today if he`s going to be the nominee of the party.

MATTHEWS: Dee Dee, just hold off for one second. I don`t want to go
-- it`s so fascinating, what he said.

Why do people who compete with him -- is it jealousy, he`s got great
hair, he`s rich, he`s got the beautiful white, the beautiful kids, all the
-- a quarter-of-a-billion dollars sitting at home if he loses waiting for
him. Is it envy? What makes them hate this guy? I remember McCain
wouldn`t pick him for his running mate, and he picked Palin instead, it
seemed to me, out of complete venom.

ROLLINS: Well, I think a lot of it is they feel -- it`s a little what
George W. Bush -- or H.W. Bush had initially. He overcame over time. But
my sense is a guy like Perry, who is the son of a tenant farmer, 25 years
has never lost a race in Texas, been elected Texas governor three times, he
sees this guy who at the end of two years, his first term, middle of his
first term, he decides I`m not going to run for reelection in Massachusetts
because it`s too tough, I`m going to start running for president.

And I think that`s a lot of what this thing is, that I will be
whatever -- Romney`s history has been, I will be whatever I need to be to
get elected, including saying things in the past. And I`m not anti-Romney
-- but saying things like, I`m not a Reagan Republican. You know, and
obviously today, he`s a Reagan Republican.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

ROLLINS: So I think there`s a lot of that that`s occurred, and
conservatives absolutely loathe and despise this man. And that`s why he`s
never gotten over 25 percent in a poll.

MATTHEWS: What do you think of these clips you have seen of this
rabid behavior, and rabies -- like he`s got rabies, this guy Rick Perry,
going after Romney, and Romney sort of fending him off by appealing to
Anderson Cooper?

DEE DEE MYERS, FORMER CLINTON WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Right.

Well, the -- I think there`s been frustration in these previous
debates. Romney has kind of done this rope-a-dope thing, right, where he
has sort of stayed out of the crossfire and given cogent answers and tried
to seemed pleasant and as kind of round, soft edges.

And yesterday Rick Perry clearly made the decision he wasn`t going to
let Romney get away with that, and so he dragged him down into the mud with
him. So I don`t think either of them came out of it--

MATTHEWS: Yes, you`re not going to be a fricking gentleman with me,
buddy.

MYERS: Right.

MATTHEWS: No, you`re going to get in the mud with me.

MYERS: Right. And there`s no -- if you think about what could Romney
have done to come out of that better, well, there was really nothing. He
was going to get talked over and yelled at and talked down to or he was
going to have to mix it up.

Now, he didn`t do everything as well as he could have. I mean,
appealing to the ref always looks a little wimpy.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

MYERS: And then his -- I think the most revealing moment we have seen
of him in this entire primary is when he said, you know, I had to tell the
gardening company not to hire the illegals because I`m running for office.

He`s totally transactional. That`s what people hate.

MATTHEWS: That`s -- don`t you think, as a person who has worked in
presidential campaigns, that even -- whatever President Obama has stored
up, this is going to be among his tools come next October when they have
the debates, if he makes it. They are going to pull this out on him.

MYERS: That particular comment?

MATTHEWS: Yes, that he was wanting to cover up as long -- he would
play clean as long as somebody is watching.

MYERS: Yes. I think that the whole theme that he`s very
transactional, as Ed was saying, he doesn`t -- it`s unclear what he
actually would -- what--

(CROSSTALK)

MYERS: -- would die on. It`s unclear.

MATTHEWS: Let`s take a look at a couple of Michele Bachmann`s moments
last night. They were not so stellar. At the end of the debate, as
Anderson Cooper was actually wrapping things up, she insisted on -- she
wanted some overtime, 30 seconds of it, and here`s what she said with it.
Let`s watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We need to
listen to Ronald Reagan who said no pastels, bold colors. I am the most
different candidate from Barack Obama than anyone on this stage.

ANDERSON COOPER, MODERATOR: Speaker Gingrich?

BACHMANN: We can`t settle in this race.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, earlier in the debate, she used an attack on the
president -- she went after his relatives. Let`s take a look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BACHMANN: Well, I think the person who really has a problem with
illegal immigration in the country is President Obama. It`s his uncle and
his aunt who are illegal aliens--

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

BACHMANN: -- who`ve been allowed to stay in this country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Why does she want to appeal to the Obama haters, Ed?

ROLLINS: Well, anything I say becomes a criticism, becomes a big
story. So--

MATTHEWS: OK. You can pass. You can pass.

ROLLINS: So, let me pass on this.

Let me just say this just quickly.

MATTHEWS: OK.

ROLLINS: You know, Michele has got great strengths. And she`s a good
retail campaigner. She`s done better in debates in the past. This was not
a bad debate.

But she`s not going to get elected president -- and this was part of
my whole dialogue with her -- by being the most against Obama. What she
has to be is -- everybody on that stage is against Obama. Everybody in
that audience is against Obama, but what are you going to do when you
become president that is going to be different? That`s the part of the
story that is still missing.

MATTHEWS: Yes, I think that she`s hypnotized when she goes out there,
as I have said to her when she has been on my show. She memorizes these
lines. She -- as somebody said in the papers this morning, she lives in a
parallel universe from the other debaters.

MYERS: I think there`s no doubt about that.

MATTHEWS: Do you notice that?

MYERS: Yes. No, she`s always lived in a parallel universe.

And she does. She goes out with these lines, and she just sort of
figures out a way to wedge them in, regardless of what the running dialogue
is.

But, you know, appealing to the Obama haters is not only not going to
make her a good president. It`s not going to get her elected because most
people in the country don`t hate President Obama. They may disagree with
his policies. They may feel like he`s not doing that well.

(CROSSTALK)

MYERS: Well, he still has pretty strong personal--

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: -- 20 percent, 30 percent hate him?

MYERS: Yes. Yes. Yes.

So he`s -- strong personal approval numbers, and so it`s just bad
strategy.

MATTHEWS: I think people that hate him are generally unhappy in life.

MYERS: Yes.

MATTHEWS: Anyway, Dee Dee Myers, thanks you.

Ed, thank you so much. I appreciate you coming on the show.

ROLLINS: My pleasure. Thank you.

MATTHEWS: Up next, we have got the gaffe of the night coming up next
in the "Sideshow."

You`re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL. Now for the "Sideshow."

First up, it`s hard to mention GOP candidate Herman Cain without
referencing his past job obviously as CEO of Godfather`s Pizza, but how
many people have actually sampled a slice of that pizza? Is it any good?

Well, I guess it was only a matter of time before a taste test was
launched. Let`s see how some of the politicos` recruits reacted to that
first bite.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t know about this one.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s -- it`s not that appetizing for sure.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know about this one now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh. Oh.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wow. That is so bad.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The cheese is really sour. The crust is like a
sponge, but all the way through.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right, soaking up all that badness.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, that certainly doesn`t bode well. I think that there
might have been a bias factor perhaps? Well, hardly. The taste-testers
included people from both parties, as well as a Washington pizza gourmand.

Next up, why is it that some Republicans showered praise on Tea
Partiers for taking to the streets back in 2009, but are now targeting
today`s Occupy Wall Street protesters for attempting to have their voices
heard in much the same way? Doesn`t quite add up, does it? And people are
taking note.

Let`s hear now from "The Daily Show" and how they took the offenders
to task last night, starting with some 2009 flashbacks.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART") ,

BACHMANN: I`m asking people to come to Washington, D.C., by the
carload.

SEN. JIM DEMINT (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Take to the streets with their
voices and their votes.

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R), CALIFORNIA: People are trying to fight to
take this country back.

REP. MIKE PENCE (R), INDIANA: Now is the time. Let your voice be
heard.

REP. PHIL GINGREY (R), GEORGIA: Enough is enough.

REP. TED POE (R), TEXAS: Fight for your country.

REP. STEVE KING (R), IOWA: We`re the American people.

REP. ERIC CANTOR (R), VIRGINIA: We can take this country back.

JON STEWART, HOST, "THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART": Oh, my God,
it`s working.

(LAUGHTER)

STEWART: Eric Cantor, are you seeing this?

CANTOR: Believe it or not, some in this town have actually condoned
the pitting of Americans against Americans.

STEWART: Yes, it was you.

CANTOR: We can take this country back.

STEWART: I think you were wearing the same shirt.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: He is so great. As they say here in Washington, by the
way, where you sit politically is where you stand.

And, finally, would it be another 2012 GOP debate without yet another
blatant gaffe on part of one of the candidates? Well, who takes the cake
this time. Let`s give it to Michele Bachmann with this statement on
President Obama`s foreign policy decisions.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BACHMANN: Now, with the president, he put us in Libya. He is now
putting us in Africa. We already were stretched too thin, and he put or
special operations forces in Africa.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Hmm.

Libya is on what continent, Congresswoman Bachmann? Answer: Africa.

Up next: Those Occupy Wall Street protesters are angry, but will
politicians pay attention to what they are saying? Robert Reich says the
protesters are a reminder, a big one, that our problems are big and they
need big answers, and he`s coming here next.

You`re watching HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SUE HERERA, CNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Sue Herera with your CNBC "Market
Wrap."

A late-session slump leaving stocks solidly in negative territory.
The Dow Jones industrial average gave up 72 points. S&P 500 slipped about
15, and the Nasdaq fell 53.

In corporate earnings, the Fed`s Beige Book report and, of course, the
European debt crisis, well, all of those combined to move the averages
lower today. The Federal Reserve said economic activity grew at a modest
pace in September, but investors were more interested in the outlook, which
remains weak and rather uncertain.

In Europe, French President Sarkozy and German Chancellor Merkel are
meeting in Frankfurt today and ahead of that key summit in Brussels this
weekend. Here at home, an avalanche of earnings. Morgan Stanley beat
estimates helped by a one-time accounting gain. Travelers missed profit
expectations due to a surge in catastrophic claims. And then after the
closing bell, American Express beat on earnings. Revenue was in line with
expectations -- eBay flipped it with in-line earnings on its revenue beat.

And that`s it from CNBC. We are first in business worldwide -- now
back to HARDBALL and Chris.

MATTHEWS: Oh, this is going to be a great segment.

Welcome back to HARDBALL.

The president is out selling his jobs plan as we all know over in
North Carolina and Virginia. The Occupy Wall Street protesters continue to
expand to new cities, and it feels like there`s something in the atmosphere
that has people ready for change and something big perhaps.

Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich has put together a bold, big plan
that he says could get this country back to work. We`re going to go
through the plan`s highlights with Secretary Reich, whose latest book,
"Aftershock: The Next Economy and America`s Future," is now out in
paperback. Also joining us is Joan Walsh, of course, editor at large of
Salon.

I want to all to wait for a second.

Here`s Robert Reich`s plan.

Professor, you lay out a plan for the country that includes -- and
this seemed right to me when I read -- big jobs program, like the WPA, the
Works Progress Administration from the `30s, and the Civilian Conservation
Corps, also from the `30s, cutting the military budget in half to come up
with some of the scratch for this, and higher taxes for the rich to come up
with more revenue, with incomes above $5 million subject to a good old-
fashioned 70 percent tax rate.

Mr. Secretary, I want you to go over this in a positive way about if
it could ever get through Congress, if Eric Cantor and the boys would ever
say, sure, try something, nothing else is working, if that day came, what
would happen in terms of our macroeconomy to the unemployment rate if this
went into effect?

ROBERT REICH, FORMER U.S. LABOR SECRETARY: Well, if you had a really
large jobs program, Chris, something that was on a scale and in proportion
to the extent of the crisis we actually have right now, we could get people
employed.

You know, 25 million Americans right now who are looking for full-time
work, this is unprecedented since the Great Depression. And in order to
pay for it, we really do need to tap the only people who have any money.
The top 1 percent of Americans are now taking home an unprecedented, almost
a record percentage of total income and wealth.

Again, we haven`t seen this degree of concentration of income and
wealth since, well, over the last 80 years, since before the Great
Depression. So it`s just logic. If you have to -- if you want something
that is at least proportional to the degree of the crisis we have, and we
have got to pay for it, then we have got to do something that is indeed
bold.

MATTHEWS: Look, I`m with you on this, because I just in -- just
aesthetic terms, Robert -- and, Joan, I want you to follow on this --
walking around my old neighborhood in Northeast Philly, where you see --
the old Pennypack Park neighborhood, the nice old way we put those parks
together, back when they did things like this in the big cities, where you
have the bronze thing that says, this is when it was built, in Washington,
the beautiful bridges, the beautiful parks in the city where public
property, put together, the big lions heads and the big buffalo in the zoo
and all the buildings like the Jefferson Memorial, they were all built the
way Robert described it, as WPA kinds of projects.

Our forests were all protected and groomed and basically preserved by
CCC workers. It`s real work that needs to be done for a better country. I
think he`s right.

Your thoughts?

JOAN WALSH, SALON.COM: I think he`s right, too. I`m with this plan,
and, Chris, you know, as you describe what you and I and Secretary Reich
used to see growing up, a public space that was truly public and that made
you proud to be an American, and it made you proud to be a part of a
country that could do big things and could build things and could create
parks and really -- you know, as we all grew up there was a sense that the
country was getting better and creating more and more opportunity for
people.

And I think the really difficult thing for a lot of people to
understand right now is the tax rates that built the American Dream are the
tax rates we`re talking about here. These were the tax rates after -- from
World War II until -- until the Reagan administration, and for a while in
there, Robert will correct me, it was 90-something percent under Eisenhower
for a while, the top marginal tax rate.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

WALSH: So, you know, I think we need to be having this conversation
and the great thing about "Occupy Wall Street" is the three of us are
talking about way more exciting things than we were talking about on
September 16th. Whatever this movement does, it`s created a space --

ROBERT REICH, FORMER LABOR SECRETARY: You know, Joan, if I can just
say, I agree with Joan, and it`s a very important point here. Chris, I was
in Washington last week, and I came up to -- I had a lot of meetings -- you
know, Washington, meetings and meetings. But I actually had for the first
time I`ve been in Washington in years, conversations with people who
spontaneously began to talk about income inequality, the concentration of
power in this country, the need to do something big.

I mean, the mere fact that we have this occupation of Wall Street
movement that is extending around this country is changing the tenor of the
conversation in Washington. It`s already having a success.

MATTHEWS: Well, I asked one of the "Occupy Wall Street" protesters
the other day, he was on HARDBALL, what motivated him to get involved.
Let`s listen to an actual protester`s answer.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For me, it was feeling like I didn`t have a place
for my voice to be heard, feeling like that I wasn`t represented in
government, feeling like I wasn`t represented in the broader economic
system. You know, coming out of college and having $50,000 in debt, being
unemployed for two years, working odd jobs that barely pay the rent with no
health insurance and limited options.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: You know, Joan, I don`t understand why the representatives
in Congress that we see all the time and talk to, all they do is play
defense. They sit around protecting programs from being taken -- reduced
by 5 percent when they should also be out there saying here`s what
government can do.

And I`ll tell you. I was out in Yellowstone with my daughter, trip of
my lifetime, Yosemite National Park, if anybody doesn`t think this is what
makes America great, they are stupid enough not to go there.

And by the way at a certain age, Robert, you get to go there for the
rest of your life for 10 bucks. And I`ve got to tell you it`s the greatest
dale in the world.

WALSH: Whoa, I can`t wait.

MATTHEWS: And we built it like CCC workers. Well, you can wait. CCC
workers and WPA projects made this country beautiful and why we hold back.

I want to give you one last pitch. Go ahead, Robert, why should we do
it, the positive thing. Not the taxing, but what we can do with the money?

REICH: The positive part is we are a can-do nation. We are
optimistic.

I mean, we don`t sit back and allow 25 million people to be looking
for full-time work. We don`t allow 14 million people to be unemployed. I
mean, this is not the American way. It`s also not patriotic.

You know, when I look at the occupiers and I see and ask myself what`s
the moral foundation of what they stand for, what they stand for is that we
are all in the same boat. It`s not a bunch of individuals out for each
other. We`re all in the same boat. We care about each other. We want to
make sure that the benefits of this country are spread widely enough that
we can all gain something out of it, and the opportunity is genuinely equal
-- not that there`s handouts, but that they are real opportunities in terms
of infrastructure and schools and jobs.

This is -- this is not a radical idea. This is something that is
absolutely mainstream America, and what`s radical is what`s happening in
Washington.

WALSH: Right.

MATTHEWS: Well, thank you, Robert.

Joan, go ahead.

WALSH: We are the 99 percent is the new "E Pluribus Unum." That`s
the new update of "E Pluribus Unum," and we should think of it that way.

MATTHEWS: Well, I remember a president that said ask not what your
country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country. It wasn`t a
million years ago.

Anyway, thank you, Robert Reich. Thank you, Joan Walsh.

REICH: Thanks, Chris.

MATTHEWS: Up next, South Carolina has a new law requiring voters to
show a photo ID, a government issued one. And a new study finds that that
law is disproportionately, surprise here, affecting minority voters, in
fact, Democrats.

The chairman of the state Democratic Party says it`s electoral
genocide. Is that overkill in saying that? We`ll hear what he has to say.
He`s coming here next.

This is HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: What`s the first thing you think of when you hear the names
of the top Republican presidential candidates?

A new "Washington Post"/Pew Poll found that for Herman Cain the single
word Americans most frequently cite isn`t a word at all. It`s 9-9-9.
That`s proof that Cain`s tax plan is coming through.

For Rick Perry, it`s Texas. For Mitt Romney, the most frequently used
work is Mormon -- which tells you his religion is an identifying factor for
most people, for better or worse.

We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. NIKKI HALEY (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: We are going to make sure we
maintain the integrity of our voters. We are going to make sure we
maintain the integrity of the election system. And we`re going to do it by
saying if you can show a picture to buy Sudafed, if you can show a picture
to get on an airplane, you should be able to show a picture to make sure
that we do what is incredibly inherent in our freedoms, and that is the
ability to vote.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Pandering.

We`re back.

That was South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley back in May right after
she signed a new voter identification bill into law. Since then, there
have been complaints by many South Carolinians that the law will
effectively end up disenfranchising many traditionally Democratic
supporters in the state.

And a new study just released by the "Associated Press" backs up many
of those claims by proving that blacks in the state of South Carolina will
be hit the hardest by the new photo ID requirements. The Department of
Justice is currently looking into whether or not the South Carolina law
violates the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

But will the law stand up to the increased scrutiny, or will it
ultimately be nullified?

Judith Browne-Dianis is the cofounder of the Advancement Project. And
Dick Harpootlian is the chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party.

Dick, I want to start with this. When did this idea come about? I
know you have a very hard time winning general elections down there on the
Democratic side for president in these recent years. But why are the
Republicans getting so randy to roll up the vote, if that`s what they`re up
to?

DICK HARPOOTLIAN, SC DEMOCRATIC PARTY CHAIRMAN: Well, I think two
reasons, Chris. They saw what happened here in 2008 -- huge African-
American turnout. Huge African-American turnout because of President
Obama, and they are wanting to do whatever they can to diminish that.

And the way you do that is you -- and remember, now, we`ve got a
couple hundred thousand people who are registered to vote, but don`t have
picture IDs. They don`t have a driver`s license. They don`t have any ID,
and to go get that, they`re going to have to pay money for a birth
certificate. That -- and many of these people are poor.

So, the idea -- Nikki Haley`s idea was, you know, why would we have to
convince these people to vote for somebody, let`s just make sure they don`t
vote.

(CROSSTALK)

HARPOOTLIAN: An old South Carolina tradition.

MATTHEWS: Yes, suppose you`re 80 years old, start with that group, 80
to 90. You`re surviving, an older person, elderly, right? Imagine you got
to go haul yourself down to some government agency, spend 20-something
bucks or whatever it is, try to find where you go, then you have to find
out where you go next, and then you need to find out where you go next --
all in the pursuit of being able to vote.

JUDITH BROWNE-DIANIS, THE ADVANCEMENT PROJECT: That`s right, and it
becomes the barrier to voting. I mean, you think about the elderly people
who have to go find their birth certificate, marriage license, get public
transportation to get there -- it becomes the barrier. It`s the easy way
out.

You know, this is nothing but old-time voter suppression. You know, a
state legislature puts in place laws that are going to block African-
Americans and Latinos from voting, and then it hits the elderly and
students. I mean, South Carolina, the numbers that came out are startling
about the impact it will have on students, particularly black students in
the state of South Carolina.

MATTHEWS: Why black students?

BROWNE-DIANIS: Well, black students because many of them, again just
like 25 percent of African-Americans in this country, do not have state-
issued photo identification.

MATTHEWS: They don`t have driver`s licenses?

BROWNE-DIANIS: Many people do not have driver`s license. It`s not a
common thing.

MATTHEWS: I know, in big cities, it`s the same thing.

BROWNE-DIANIS: That`s right.

MATTHEWS: Let me go back to this Nikki Haley. I don`t know what to
make of her, she`s brand new to politics, Dick. But why would she be so
windswept and elitist in her conversation?

Most people don`t get on airplanes. I think my parents were on an
airplane maybe once in their life. I remember when my grandmother took a
trip once, the whole family went out to see her off to St. Louis. Not
everybody is so frisky as to jump off on airplanes all the time.

What is she talking about? Like everybody flies, everybody should
have a photo ID card. Who is she now? Where did she get that from?

HARPOOTLIAN: Well, she`s out of touch with reality. You know, she
just got back from a trade mission to Paris, where she spent our money,
$22,000, on pate and champagne on a cocktail party while she`s out there,
stayed in $600 five-star hotels.

She hasn`t got a clue. And this makes perfect sense to her. Why
should we have to convince African-Americans, poor people, students, to
vote for these crazy programs we have, just don`t let them vote?

MATTHEWS: Well, let`s go to this. I think the ACLU ought to be
involved in this and everybody else, the NAACP and everybody. Let me take
a look at this.

"The Associated Press" analysis finds that a greater number of voters
in South Carolina majority black counties would not have the identification
required by the state. Here it is. The report shows that in Richland
County, 50 percent of those impacted by the new law were non-white voters;
while in Orangeburg County, a shocking 73 percent of those affected were
non-white.

So, what are you going to do about this, Judith?

BROWNE-DIANIS: I mean, you know, there are a few things. In places
like South Carolina and Texas, we`re filing letters with the Department of
Justice. The Department of Justice has to pre-clear these laws and approve
them.

MATTHEWS: Because they`re still covered by voting rights.

BROWNE-DIANIS: That`s right. And so, we`re putting pressure --

MATTHEWS: Which Rick Perry wants to get rid of.

BROWNE-DIANIS: Right. And Rick Perry, by the way, won`t provide the
race evidence, the data that the Department of Justice needs. Six hundred
thousand people in the state of Texas do not have photo identification, and
those are already registered voters.

So, we`re trying to collect that data. We`re going to prove to the
Department of Justice that they should stand with the Voting Rights Act and
protect voters. And then in some places where we think that these laws are
going to see -- we`re going to see them again. In North Carolina, we think
the legislature with pull it back and we`re going to be fighting it every
step of the way.

MATTHEWS: Dick, how much cheating is in voting right now? My
experience is that the way you really -- the way we monitoring elections in
this country, somebody -- local people sitting behind a desk, they all know
everything, you come in and you vote basically by your local neighborhood,
everybody knows who you are -- when you give your address, people know who
you are.

Your thoughts, Dick. I think that`s the way it`s done. It isn`t
perfect, but do we need an ID card system?

HARPOOTLIAN: Well, not one -- Chris, you`re right on the money. Not
one reported case of voter fraud in the last 10 years. Why all of a
sudden, it`s going to cost $2 million to implement this. It`s going to be
-- as we said -- disenfranchise people. So, the only explanation -- it`s
got nothing to do with integrity, as she said. It`s got everything to do
with no integrity.

MATTHEWS: It smells. Thank you very, Dick Harpootlian. And thank
you, Judith Browne-Dianis. Thank you both for coming on.

HARPOOTLIAN: Thank you.

BROWNE-DIANIS: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: I like the right cause, the good cause.

When we return, "Let Me Finish" with how the Republican presidential
campaign has turned into a sort of a race to the bottom. It doesn`t look
too good last night. I`m sure they chuckled in Chicago and at the White
House last night.

You`re watching HARDBALL. I call it the welterweight championship.
Maybe it should the featherweight. We`ll be right back, on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: "Let Me Finish" tonight with this: the Republicans run to
remove President Obama has gotten ugly. The candidates are now competing
to destroy each other.

Talk about bottom feeding -- Rick Perry going back into the old tired
story about Mitt Romney having hired a lawn service that hired workers in
the country illegally. Is that what the decision to lead this country into
the 21st century should be based upon? They were not even arguing
immigration policy.

To his credit, Mitt Romney mentioned the E-verify system that`s meant
to help employers who want to avoid hiring people in the country illegally.

But the hard fact is that many American businesses obviously don`t
want to stop hiring people in the country illegally. The very last thing
they want is a verifiable ID card they are required to check -- one that
really works, because that would stop them doing precisely what they`re
doing, getting cheap work out of people desperate to take whatever wage
they can get.

Instead of asking ID cards from workers, the Republicans are now out
to require American citizens to carry ID cards if they want to vote. You
can get who these people are, and why they don`t want the voting,
minorities and other poor, old people, and others who might tend to vote
Democratic. They want to make it easier for employers to get cheap labor
illegitimately, harder for Democrats to get votes from people who show up
to vote legitimately.

What a wonderful display of partisan self-interest, and public
cynicism.

And that`s HARDBALL for now. Again, thanks for being with us.

"POLITICS NATION" with Al Sharpton starts right now.


END

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