updated 9/27/2012 11:17:09 AM ET 2012-09-27T15:17:09

September 26, 2012

Guests: Cynthia Tucker, Tammy Baldwin, Michael Scherer, John Nichols

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Breaking away.

Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.

Leading off tonight: I want you to watch and listen to the next few
minutes here. It may be the most important thing you see and hear in this
entire campaign. It`s a sharp taste of what`s being used to defeat
President Obama. Newt Gingrich -- "What if Obama is so outside our
comprehension that only if you understand Kenyan anti-colonial behavior can
you begin to piece together his actions?"



DONALD TRUMP, TRUMP ORGANIZATION: I would like to have him show his
birth certificate because if he can`t, then he has pulled one of the great
cons in the history of politics.




JOHN SUNUNU (R), FMR. NEW HAMPSHIRE GOV.: I wish this president would
learn how to be an American!




asked to see my birth certificate!


MATTHEWS: And this Reince Priebus tweet, "Obama sympathizes with
attackers in Egypt."

And then last night...


a real president.


MATTHEWS: Tonight on HARDBALL, we`ll show you the true ugly campaign
being run against the president. But even in the face of this ugly attack,
there are two big new poll numbers running in his direction. We give them
to you tonight. Let`s check the HARDBALL "Scoreboard."

According to a "New York Times"/CBS/Quinnipiac poll, President Obama
leads Mitt Romney by 10 points now in Ohio, 53-43. Down in Florida, the
president`s lead in the poll is 9, 53-44. The president looks to be
opening up a big lead now, even in the face of this coordinated attack from
the right.

With me now are "Mother Jones" bureau chief and MSNBC political
analyst David Corn and Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated columnist Cynthia
Tucker. It`s good to have you both on.

I want to talk, first of all, about the good news for the Obama team
right now. Cynthia, why do you think -- take a minute here -- despite this
ugly campaign that I`ve just pointed out in its pattern, its thread, what
they are continually doing to try to delegitimize this president -- why is
he doing well in the toughest states?

CYNTHIA TUCKER, UNIV. OF GEORGIA: Well, Chris, you know, we`ve talked
about the things that Romney has done wrong. And we`ve talked about those
because he`s done so many things wrong. But we haven`t spent as much time
talking about the things that Obama has done right. And Obama has done a
lot of things right.

For one thing, he`s just a stronger candidate. One of -- he relates
to people better. He`s more approachable. His favorability ratings are
higher, while Romney has high unfavorable ratings.

But Obama actually has a set of principles that he believes in, so he
has a message that he carries out on the campaign trail over and over
again. Mitt Romney doesn`t appear to have anything he really believes in,
so he has spent a lot of the campaign flip-flopping. Obama made some early

MATTHEWS: And you -- I understand you believe -- I understand you --
go ahead. Go ahead.

TUCKER: ... that are doing well for him.

MATTHEWS: I understand you believe that they made a very smart
strategic move to go after the 1 percent and to go after fairness and the
whole populist campaign that was pushed and denied and questioned by all
the establishment, and Obama pushed ahead with it saying, No, this is what
this campaign`s about.

TUCKER: Absolutely. You know, there were Democratic bigwigs saying,
Don`t attack Bain. Bill Clinton had something, you know, not enthusiastic
to say about it. But Obama was -- kept hitting Romney on the Bain message.
He knows what he believes. He wouldn`t be thrown off course by a little
bit of bickering from the peanut gallery. And those ads work.

So did the auto bail-out, particularly in Ohio. That`s an early move
that Obama made that Republicans criticized. Mitt Romney was against it.
But it is making a huge difference in Ohio`s comeback.

MATTHEWS: Let me get a look at the latest poll here, and we`ll bring
in David. A new "Washington Post" poll also has President Obama out front
in Ohio and Florida. And inside the numbers, we see how the president has
hit home with Ohio voters on understanding economic problems people are
having right now.

Obama beats Romney by 31 on connecting on their problems, 51 points in
Florida -- actually, 15. On handling taxes, President Obama beats Romney
by a wide margin, 17 points, in Ohio. In Florida it`s closer, he leads by
1 . And on handling Medicare, Obama beats Romney by 19 points Ohio and 15
points in Florida.

What I understood there, looking at the differential, Florida has a
lot of retired people, obviously. Very sensitive. But in a sense, Ohio
has people who can`t afford to get down to Florida in the wintertime. They
have their Social Security, their Medicare, and maybe if they`re lucky,
some pension and savings.

talked about this for months now. After the 2010 elections, Obama sat down
and thought about what his message is, his vision was, what his strategy
would be going into 2012. That was what I wrote about in "Showdown."

And he has stuck to this, you know -- you know, with such devotion and
passion, I think, because he believes in it. And part of that was showing
that there`s a real set -- there`s a real difference, a distinction between
him and Republicans when it comes to all those issues you just talked

But these are value-driven differences, not just policy differences --
You want to do this with the deficit, I want to do that. It`s, like, The
reason I want to do this is because I have a different set of values than
the Republicans.

MATTHEWS: And what are those values? Spell them out.

CORN: Using government as a communal, progressive force to protect
the social safety net and to come together and invest in innovation,
education, infrastructure. We`re in it together. Versus the Ryan budget,
which used as a stand-in first for the Republican nominee, which says,
We`re on it alone, we get rid of government and we just give you a vouch
voucher, you find Medicare on your own.

And then, you know, here comes Romney and he sort of fits the mold.
He`s a 1 percenter. He shows no empathy, even before the 47 percent

MATTHEWS: And a pure market guy.

CORN: ... he`s out there -- and they used Bain, you know, from the
very beginning, as Cynthia noted, to show that there is a value difference.
He`s out there making money for investors, I`m out here thinking about a
wider set of American values, aims and goals.

MATTHEWS: (INAUDIBLE) the auto industry. Here`s a new Bloomberg
poll, Cynthia. It has President Obama leading Mitt Romney by 6 points
nationally, and for one big reason -- half of those polled say they have an
unfavorable view of Mitt Romney. As Bloomberg reports here, this number
is, quote, "a September high for a presidential challenger in the last
three decades." Bloomberg quotes a woman from the poll, a 41-year-old
insurance agent from Virginia, self-described Libertarian, on why she`s
going to vote for Obama. Now, this isn`t cheerleading for Obama, by any
means, but it explains what Romney`s problem is. "If I have to choose
between the two, I prefer Barack over Mitt. I think Mitt Romney`s just so
out of touch. It`s mostly a protest against him and the Republican
establishment. It`s not that I think Obama has done such a great job."

Now, here`s an independent speaking. Romney`s high unfavorable
numbers can be linked to some awkward, and of course, cringe-inducing
moments in the debates and on the campaign trail. Let`s listen to some.


ROMNEY: Rick, I`ll tell you what, 10,000 bucks? $10,000 bet?

betting business, but I`ll...


We could raise taxes on people. That`s not the right...



ROMNEY: Corporations are people, my friend.

(SINGING) O beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain,
for purple mountains majesty above the fruited plain...


MATTHEWS: Well, I don`t know why he got into the fruited plain there,
Cynthia, but he did. But the problem here is not so much his singing
voice, which is no worse or better than my own, I must say, but that he
does say things like, instinctively, when you let Romney be Romney, "Bet
you 10,000 bucks," quick (ph) bucks, put it on the table, I got it in my
wallet. You know, this kind of stuff about corporations being people --
well, no, they`re not. No, they`re not. Corporations fire people.

TUCKER: He`s...

MATTHEWS: Corporations are bottom line institutions.

TUCKER: He`s a very rich guy...


TUCKER: He`s a very rich guy who just doesn`t relate to the struggles
of ordinary people. And because he has had this problem for months now as
shown up in the polls, that`s what made this 47 percent remark so
absolutely devastating for him. It played into the larger narrative that
Mitt Romney is some rich guy who`s very condescending about people who are
not in his fortunate circumstances.

And you know what? There`s so much things wrong with the 47 percent
remark, it`s hard to cover them all. But one of them is, here`s a guy
who`s talking about people who don`t pay anything in taxes, and he refuses
to disclose very much about his own taxes. We still don`t know what Romney
was paying in 2005, 2006, how many tax shelters he has.

These are not things that the average American relates to, and they
don`t believe that he has a plan for helping them.

MATTHEWS: OK, they released a new ad. I want you both to respond to
this ad because this is the kind of ad you run when you`re losing, at least
losing an argument. I don`t think he`s losing the election yet. We`ll see
who wins this thing. It`s going to be decided in November, not now.

But look at this. They released this ad, the Romney people, today.
It appears to be an effort to contain the damage done by what you just
said, Cynthia, that 47 percent disclosure they didn`t want to disclose.
Let`s listen.


ROMNEY: President Obama and I both care about poor and middle class
families. The difference is, my policies will make things better for them.
We shouldn`t measure compassion by how many people are on welfare. We
should measure compassion by how many people are able to get off welfare
and get a good-paying job.


MATTHEWS: Who measures compassion by how many people are on welfare?
Who is the strawman this guy`s arguing with?

CORN: No, well, it is a strawman. They`re trying to, you know, make
a caricature out of President Obama, calling him...

MATTHEWS: The "food stamp president," right.

CORN: ... the "food stamp president." This kind of reminds me of,
like, the story where the woman comes home and finds her husband in bed
with his best friend, and he says, Honey, it`s not as bad as it looks.


CORN: I mean -- I mean, you`ve got -- you have the 47...

MATTHEWS: Is that a joke or true life story?

CORN: I`m sure it probably has happened once or twice.

You have the 47 percent remark with Romney speaking, and other people
have said it, not just me, with complete conviction and passion, telling
people what he really thinks. And then you have this guy sitting in front
of a camera, reading a script. And you have to ask, OK, do they expect
people to buy this now? You know, he -- this is not how...


CORN: ... when he`s caught on camera...

MATTHEWS: Politically -- I have an elephant`s memory for politics,
fortunately or not. It`s made my career. But in 1960, this is exactly
what Richard Nixon said in his debate with Jack Kennedy. "I share Jack
Kennedy`s mission. I share his concerns. We have the same goals." The
people at home are cringing. Why am I giving this guy money? Why am I
voting for a guy who has the same goals as the other guy?"

CORN: Yes.

MATTHEWS: Cynthia, a younger person than myself, like you, will
probably not remember the Nixon/Kennedy debates as they were on TV, but you
don`t say the other guy is a really good, compassionate guy and he really
does care about people, but I do, too! That`s what he`s saying, I`m just
like him. If you believe he`s compassionate, I am, too! He`s selling --
he`s selling Obama! That`s what I think he`s doing here.

TUCKER: Well, you say that if you don`t have -- you say that if you
don`t have anything else to say, Chris.

Another thing that the Bloomberg poll shows is that voters -- more
voters believe that Barack Obama has a concrete plan for helping the middle
class than believe that Mitt Romney has such a plan.

That`s another problem that Mitt Romney has. He had expected that the
economy would win the election for him. All he would have to do is go to
people and say, I`m not Barack Obama. I can do a better job.

In fact, he needed to do a lot more. Obama has laid out specific
proposals. He`s had a Job Act before Congress for four months now, but
Mitt Romney has been very vague about his proposals for helping the middle

CORN: You know what? This strikes me, just thinking now, listening
to Cynthia -- he seems to have been running this campaign for the last six
months as someone who expected that the voters would want him, not that he
would have to sell himself, his plan, his ideas, that the voters would want
him as a white knight coming in and rescuing the company -- that is, the
U.S. economy.


CORN: And he didn`t have to do much beyond that. And as he`s finding
out, that`s not really the way the game plays if you want to be leader of
the United States.

MATTHEWS: I think there are a few chinks in his armor, by the way, as
a white knight.

CORN: More than one!

MATTHEWS: He didn`t count on the knight from Arkansas showing up

CORN: Oh, yes!

MATTHEWS: Bill Clinton.

CORN: Sir Lancelot!


MATTHEWS: Sir Lancelot showed up in the fields, and he`s not the guy
to go jousting with!

Anyway, thank you -- to complete the last reference to that metaphor.
Anyway, thank you, David Corn. And thank you, the great Cynthia Tucker, so

Coming up: More right-wing vitriol. Newt Gingrich says Barack Obama
isn`t, quote, "a real president." He said that last night. He says he`s a
false president. But voters aren`t buying it. So whenever -- when will
this ever stop, this right-wing effort to try to destroy the legitimacy of
this president? It never stops. We`re going to talk about the relentless

Also, the lead President Obama enjoys in the polls may be helping
Democrats on other job (ph) races like Senate. Tonight, we`re going to
talk to one Senate candidate whose fortunes are on the rise, Wisconsin`s
Tammy Baldwin.

And Mitt Romney isn`t succeeding as a solo act, so the Romney campaign
is now putting Romney and Paul Ryan out on the campaign trail together,
sort of a karaoke duet, I guess. What does it tell you that the big draw
on the Republican ticket is the number two guy?

And "Let Me Finish" tonight with how the Democratic Party has a huge
opportunity to grow after this election.

And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: Now that there`s no chance of another Republican replacing
Todd Akin in the Missouri Senate race, incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill
is hitting Akin hard for his, quote, "legitimate rape" comments back in --
in a new ad. Here she is.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Todd Akin in his own words. On March 18th, 2011,
Todd Akin said he didn`t like Social Security. On September 3rd, 2011,
Todd Akin said Medicare was unconstitutional. On March 16th, Akin said he
wants to abolish the minimum wage. On April 21st, he said he would
eliminate student loans. And on August 19th, Todd Akin said, only some
rapes are legitimate.

What will he say next?


MATTHEWS: Pretty good ad. Apparently, McCaskill waited until now to
start her attack on Akin`s comments so that she would be assured of running
against him and not a potentially stronger Republican replacement as her

We`ll be right back.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. I spoke earlier tonight about
this attempt on the right wing -- by the right wing do delegitimatize
President Obama. Let`s take a look at a sampling from what I call the
"hall of shame," all attempts to declare him, our president, not really an


DONALD TRUMP, TRUMP ORGANIZATION: I would like to have him show his
birth certificate.

If you`re for paychecks, you`re with us. If you`re for food stamps, you`re
with Barack Obama.

JOHN SUNUNU (R), FMR. NEW HAMPSHIRE GOV.: I wish this president would
learn how to be an American!

to see my birth certificate!

GINGRICH: He`s not a real president.


MATTHEWS: Well, this kind of talk, coupled with false welfare ads and
efforts across the country to decrease minority turnout, are what President
Obama faces in the next 41 days.

Alex Wagner host of "Now" on MSNBC and Gene Robinson -- Eugene
Robinson is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for "The Washington Post."

Alex, thanks for joining us tonight. And you know, I just wonder, why
is there so little note of what`s clearly a pattern in this campaign? On
one side, this constant referencing the president as somehow not an
American. It never stops -- birtherism by its various dimensions and
declensions. And on the other side, this attempt to really suppress the
minority vote.

It`s clearly an attempt to win an election in as ugly as possible way,
and nobody seems to talk about it.

ALEX WAGNER, HOST, MSNBC "NOW": Well, it`s shameful. I think that
there -- I mean, to some degree, there has been a fairly robust discussion
about the voter fraud stuff. You know, the Democrats, and you know,
progressives have managed to -- to beat back Republican efforts to
disenfranchise hundreds of thousands if not millions of voters.

But you`re right, Chris. I mean, the broader invective against the
president, that he is somehow not American, that he`s an appeaser, that
he`s under the spell of radical Islam, there`s the Dinesh D`Souza
documentary that is the fifth highest grossing documentary of all time,
which purports, you know, the president to be this sort of anti-
colonialist, American, Kenyan revolutionary in the vein of his father,
Barack Obama Sr.

This is something that the Republican Party has been furthering since
Barack Obama was a candidate with Bill Ayers stuff, with the Jeremiah
Wright stuff. And it`s doubling down on an incredibly -- an incredibly
divisive brand of racialized, otherized politics that I think not only
doesn`t serve the Republican Party well this election cycle, but really
does not serve them well in the long term.

This party, I don`t see what the future of the Republican Party is if
these are the spokespeople, the Newt Gingriches, the Donald Trumps of the

MATTHEWS: You know, Gene, it didn`t start here, of course. There was
an attempt -- of course, Nixon, what he would say about Adlai Stevenson
back in the `50s. The Red Scare was used rather obviously. These guys
weren`t one of us.

Bill Clinton was accused of sneaking off to Russia, remember that,
back when he ran. He was some sort of red. Mike Dukakis was a guy that
was -- wouldn`t pledge allegiance to the United States, who was somehow a
card-carrying member of the ACLU, all this dark kind of referencing.
They`re not really one of us.

But then with the ethnic factor, because he has the African name and
he`s black, the doubling down on this, well, he`s not one of us.


Race adds to this, to the armament that they`re using here. It`s a
huge factor in this. But what I think is interesting is that this seems to
perhaps resonate with the hate Obama crowd, but it doesn`t seem to be
resonating a lot with other folks, with -- and...


MATTHEWS: You know, the ones that already have.



MATTHEWS: Then why are they doing it? OK. You cover politics. Why
do they keep putting out this stuff? Why is Newt out there the other
night? And Newt is the most -- craziest of them all, not craziest,


MATTHEWS: ... to use a kid`s words. He`s being mean. But he is, in
saying he`s not American. You have got Sununu, who looks like he`s their
watch dog, the attack dog, saying, can`t he learn how to be an American?

They don`t say that about Walter Mondale? They didn`t say that about
each other. They didn`t say about it Bob Dole.


ROBINSON: They don`t. And they certainly don`t say it in this way.

They keep hoping that -- they`re throwing this against the wall and
hoping that it will stick. And again, it seems to charge up the people who
have already made up their minds, who made up their minds years ago.

MATTHEWS: OK. But here are the smart guys in, where are they at,
Boston. I guess that`s where the headquarters are.


MATTHEWS: Mitt Romney has been running red meat ads on Obama`s
welfare policy, which happened to argue a false claim.

But let`s take a look at this ad they keep running. And this is one
that he`s doubled down on and said it`s feeding his base, Obama is doing
that. Here it is.


NARRATOR: In 1996, President Clinton and a bipartisan Congress helped
end welfare as we know it by requiring work for welfare.

But on July 12, President Obama quietly announced a plan to gut
welfare reform by dropping work requirements. Under Obama`s plan, you
wouldn`t have to work and wouldn`t have to train for a job. They just send
you your welfare check. And welfare to work goes back to being plain old
welfare. Mitt Romney will restore the work requirement, because it works.


MATTHEWS: So that had white people. And it`s fine. Of course, that
normally wouldn`t be the worst thing in the world, but when that ad
actually ran and took the airwaves, Romney went out and defended it to "USA
Today"`s Susan Page.

And in the interview, this is what Romney said -- quote -- "Romney
defends the welfare ads as accurate, accusing Obama of offering state
waivers as a political calculation designed to -- quote -- `shore up his
base,` which is code for African-American Democrats."

So, there you have an ad with all whites in it. And Romney comes out
himself and says, this is so he can feed his base by saying, we will get
rid of those work requirements for people on welfare.

Can you imagine Obama going out and giving a big speech saying to a
big crowd of people in the inner city, guess what, guys and ladies, I`m
getting rid of the work requirement for welfare? Yay! It`s insane. He
would never, ever do that. They would never applaud. It`s a totally
ridiculous, demeaning idea, demeaning to both the recipients of welfare who
have to take it and a president they accuse of just using it to shill, to
just try to get votes with it. It`s so demeaning.

WAGNER: But, Chris, it`s an update of the Ronald Reagan welfare queen
meme. It`s a conservative dog whistle. It`s part of the same racialized
politics that Mitt Romney has been playing for the last eight, 10 months.

This is the -- the welfare requirement, the idea that the president is
abolishing it, he is taking a GOP prescription for reforming welfare and
putting it in place, which is giving more power to the states. But, you
know, the details of that, the fact that tons of things the president has
embraced are actually rooted in conservative ideology has been completely
lost or disavowed by the Republican Party.

I mean, they -- Mitt Romney has to win 60 percent of white voters and
will stop at nothing to shore up every white vote that he can. And that
includes playing to the lowest -- lowest card in the deck, which is
incredibly racially charged, incendiary rhetoric that is designed to stoke
hatred and foment, I guess, enthusiasm to get folks out to the polls.

MATTHEWS: Gene, I want you to look at this, because every time I see
this, if I see it infrequently, I cry. I know I have been accused of being
too emotional about my politics. But this -- four years ago, John McCain,
the Republican candidate for president, stood up to a supporter who called
then-Senator Obama an Arab.

Here`s his instantaneous, instinctive reaction. Let`s take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have read about him, and he`s not -- he`s not
-- he`s a -- he`s an Arab. He`s not...



MCCAIN: No, ma`am, no, ma`am.

He`s a decent family man, citizen that I just happen to have
disagreements with on fundamental issues. And that`s what this campaign is
all about.



ROBINSON: Yes, that`s called honor.


ROBINSON: It`s called honor. We`re not seeing a lot of that. We`re
not seeing any of that in this campaign.

MATTHEWS: I haven`t seen that on either side in this campaign.


ROBINSON: John McCain is a genuine guy. And disagree with him, agree
with him, whatever, but that`s called honor. The Republican Party used to
believe in that.


MATTHEWS: And to put it more crudely, there`s some crap I won`t eat.


MATTHEWS: I`m not going to go along with what I see as is an ethnic
campaign. It shouldn`t even be part of this campaign. And I`m not going
to go along with what you just said. And that instinctive no, no, is the
greatest American spirit. I`m not going to do that.

ROBINSON: Imagine Mitt Romney doing that. Can you imagine that?

MATTHEWS: I would like to see every politician do that some time,
just once in their life.

Anyway, Alex Wagner, thank you very much for coming on. You were
great. And thank you, Gene Robinson. It`s wonderful to have you on.

WAGNER: Thanks, Chris.

MATTHEWS: We will be right back. This is HARDBALL, the place for



Romney`s plane had to make an emergency landing.

Mitt used this close call to present a bold idea.


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When you have a -- a fire in
the -- in an aircraft, there`s no place to go exactly. There`s no -- and
you can`t find any oxygen from outside the aircraft to get in the aircraft
because the windows don`t open. I don`t know why they don`t do that.

COLBERT: Just as Kennedy challenged us to put a man on the moon...

the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy,
but because they are hard.

COLBERT: ... Mitt Romney is now challenging us to add power windows
to the Delta shuttle.


COLBERT: Not because it is easy, but because it is impossible!





Once again, Mitt Romney, if you heard him there, proves to be one of
the only people on Earth, Earthlings, who says aircraft when he`s talking
about a plane somebody has been on.

Well, with today`s Republican candidate in mind, let`s flash back to
the 1951 sci-fi movie "The Day the Earth Stood Still," where a humanoid
alien called Klaatu touches down on Earth. Here`s a refresher or a first
glimpse, if you haven`t seen it.


MICHAEL RENNIE, ACTOR: I came here to give you these facts, but if
you threaten to extend your violence, this Earth of yours will be reduced
to a burned-out cinder.


MATTHEWS: I don`t know about you, but I can`t help but see Mitt
Romney there. Let`s take a look at a snapshot from that movie. There`s
Klaatu played by British actor Michael Rennie, and he looks to me a lot
like a candidate who has got a 1950s sci-fi doppelganger.

Anyway, back to Earth, but over to France. Newly elected President
Francois Hollande, a member of the Socialist Party, weighed in on the U.S.
presidential race yesterday and almost chooses a candidate to endorse.
Here`s what he said to reporters at the U.N. yesterday when asked if he was
aware of Mitt Romney`s attacks on socialism -- quote -- "Yes. That`s why
I`ll be careful not to say anything at all on this subject because as you
would imagine if a socialist supported one of these two candidates, that
would cost him dear. So, I suppose I should endorse Mitt Romney, but I

Well, even a tongue-in-cheek endorsement for Romney was too much to

Finally talking to extremes. How did Minnesota`s lieutenant governor,
Yvonne Prettner Solon, ramp up extra publicity for an attempt -- or an
event to help support military families? We will call it a high-profile
arrival. Let`s take a look.

That`s not on my bucket list. Anyway, that`s right, skydiving. The
lieutenant governor teamed up with a U.S. Army parachute team to skydive at
120 miles per hour, anyway, from an altitude of about 13,000 feet, right
onto the Minnesota state capital grounds. She followed the dive with a
speech encouraging people to support military families across the country.

Good for her.

Up next: President Obama`s uptick in the polls is helping Democrats
running for office across the country.

And when we return, we will talk to Wisconsin Senate candidate Tammy

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.


JANE WELLS, CNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Jane Wells with your CNBC "Market

The Dow falls 44, the S&P loses eight, and the Nasdaq is off 24. You
know we`re always talking about Apple, but its archrival Google bucked the
losing trend on Wall Street to close at an all-time high, above $750 a
share. And two firms are raising their price target on the stock to $850 a

Good news for drivers, but not investors, though you could be both.
Crude prices slipped again. They`re off more than 9 percent in less than
two weeks. And sales of new homes ticked lower last month, but prices
soared a record 11.2 percent.

That`s it from CNBC, first in business worldwide -- now back to

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

The battle for United States Senate comes down to a handful of races
across the country, as the Republicans need to net just four seats to take
control. Well, one of those races is in Wisconsin if they win the
presidency, but momentum there has shifted in recent weeks toward the
Democratic candidate, Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, who leads her Republican
challenger now, former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson, by four points in
the latest PPP poll.

Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin joins us right now.

Thank you. It`s great to have you on. You seem to be doing pretty
good out there in Wisconsin, a state that has caused so much noise in the
last couple years because of the fight over public employees and their
rights. How does all that affect your race, the big fight with the
governor out there, Scott Walker, with the unions on one side, public
employee unions?

How does that affect the interest voters are having in this year`s

REP. TAMMY BALDWIN (D), WISCONSIN: Well, I think we have seen voters
in Wisconsin engage more than ever before.

We have, as you said, had a lot going on in our state, a lot on the
ballot. And people are organized. People are thinking hard about the
future and jobs and the economy. And so, I think it`s, if anything, going
to actually increase voter turnout and participation. We`re always a high
participation state, but I think we`re going to see it grow.

MATTHEWS: You know, I was at the Democratic Convention down in
Charlotte covering for the network, and I was taken by, sure, there were a
lot of good speeches, but the one that seemed to move people didn`t have
any rhetoric, it was common sense, it was Bill Clinton.


MATTHEWS: What effect do you think Clinton had on just talking to
people about their challenges and what the president`s faced in office?

BALDWIN: He gave an amazing speech.

And what was really important about it is just matter of factually
walking through the allegations that have been raised and coming back with
responses. I mean, there`s been so much misleading information, especially
from the right-wing super PACs and the special interests. And he just
methodically went through it all.

And I have to say my favorite line from his speech was about balancing
budgets, that it`s based on arithmetic. And you may not know this, Chris,
but I was a math major in college, a double major in math and government.
I get it. We have to make things add up if we`re going to get our economy
back on track, start creating jobs and attack our deficit.

MATTHEWS: Well, let`s take a look at this.

In the midst of Mitt Romney`s 47 percent fallout, when everybody found
out what he really thought in rooms where it cost 50,000 bucks to get in
the door, your challenger, former Governor Tommy Thompson, tossed some
blame on Romney for his own sliding poll numbers. In other words, the guy
running against you is blaming the guy running against Obama. Let`s watch
him in action.


thing is bound to have an impact on every election, you know, whether
you`re a Democrat or Republican. If you`re a standard bearer for the
presidency is not doing well, it`s going to reflect on the down ballot.


MATTHEWS: Well, right now, Obama, the president, leads Romney, the
challenger, by seven points in Wisconsin according to that latest poll.

What effect do you think -- when you`re traveling every day, working
20 hours a day, practically, campaigning, and all your head is around
meeting people and remembering names and being nice to people, and trying
to think, what do you think the effect of the other thing that is going on
the whole time? They`re trying to decide who to make their president.

How does that get into people`s minds, do you think, when they`re talking
to you?

BALDWIN: Yes, I have to tell you that when people are focusing on the U.S.
Senate race, they`re really asking themselves a couple of basic questions,
whose side are you on? Who`s fighting for the hard working middle class
families of Wisconsin? They know I`m on their side and that`s what I`ve

But they`re also learning a lot about what Tommy Thompson has been
doing for the last decade of his life. You know, he left Wisconsin and
joined the Bush administration. In his service there, he gave the drug
companies a sweetheart deal with the Medicare Part D program. He said he
made it illegal for Medicare to bargain with the drug companies in order to
get better prices for seniors.

MATTHEWS: Yes, yes.

BALDWIN: And then he did the revolving door. He`s been working at a
big lobbying firm, making millions of dollars representing those powerful
interests that already have too much say in Washington.

So, in Wisconsin, people are saying, whose side are you on? And they
are figuring out that I`m squarely on their side. That`s the fight I`ve
always taken.

MATTHEWS: OK. Well, thank you. Good luck out there. You`re doing
very well. I see you`re moving up in the polls, you`re making it happen.

So, Tammy Baldwin, running for senator in Wisconsin. Polls are
moving. Thanks for coming on HARDBALL.

With me now is a man who`s very nonpartisan, trying to figure this
out, MSNBC political analyst and "Post" politics editor, Chris Cillizza,
talking about the state of play in the hottest Senate races.

You know, Chris, like you, I do watch these races all the time and
I`m confounded by, to me, so many races like Massachusetts, Connecticut,
Nevada, certainly Montana, North Dakota, Missouri, are all to me within the
margin of error. They all look close.

interesting, Chris, because I do think -- I think Congresswoman Baldwin has
benefitted from this. I do think that -- as you`ve seen over the last 2
1/2, 3 weeks, movement nationally at the presidential level and in swing
states to President Obama, you`ve seen down ballot, Tim Kaine in Virginia,
Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin trying to move as well.

But what`s interesting, as you mentioned, Connecticut -- to be
honest, I did not think -- I`m from Connecticut. Linda McMahon is
Republican nominee, she ran in 2010 and lost in a very good Republican
year. She`s remarkably close at the moment to the Congressman Chris
Murphy, which you wouldn`t think, given the last couple of weeks. I mean,
I think broadly Senate candidates have benefitted from that movement, but
there are exceptions.

MATTHEWS: Is that women who just say it`s about time we have a woman
in Senate from Connecticut? I mean, is it just -- I mean, think she can
win. I think you`re right.

By the way, I want to remind people as I did to some of our producers
today, even in years where one party wins the presidency, there`s people
that come out of nowhere and win in the other direction. Joe Biden won
that Senate seat at the age of 29 and hasn`t lost since in the governed
year, when everybody else is getting killed in the Democratic Party. So
there will be people that go the other way.

CILLIZZA: I agree and there`s always some of that. I would say
honestly, Chris, and I hate to be so bottom line about this, but I think
the best thing Linda McMahon has going for her is she can continue to write
as many checks she likes. She`s very, very wealthy. She spent $50 million
in the 2010 campaign and she`s running against a guy, in Chris Murphy,
who`s just not all that well known.

He`s a member of Congress, sure. Connecticut`s not that big a state.

MATTHEWS: She`s bigger.

CILLIZZA: Yes, she`s a big figure and, look, she`s spending tens of
millions of dollars on TV. It`s just a fascinating a little bit of an
outlier. You know, you think everything shifted towards Democrats and I
would say broadly --

MATTHEWS: Is she pro-choice or pro-life, to use the shorthand, where
is she on the abortion rights?

CILLIZZA: Does not talk about it, I believe --


CILLIZZA: It just doesn`t -- I mean, it`s focused almost
exclusively, Chris, excuse me, on being a businesswoman, someone who can
bring an outsider perspective. And I would say she shouldn`t talk about it
in Connecticut because she`s not going to win on that issue.

MATTHEWS: Yes, it`s very good thought. I think she`s probably a
very good candidate.

By the way, Massachusetts looks as murky as ever up there with Scott
Brown and Elizabeth Warren. Same as -- totally murky.

Anyway, thank you very much, Chris Cillizza, the pro around here.

CILLIZZA: Thank you, sir.

MATTHEWS: Up next, Paul Ryan revs up Republicans. Mitt Romney, not
so much. What`s going on between these two? Is this marriage working?

They were dating all right, but I`m not sure this thing is working.
We`ll be back to figure out whether Ryan is on top or Romney in this fight.


MATTHEWS: The song "Moon River" by the great Harry Mancini was the
wonderful way, the upbeat spirit of the early 1960s. It`s dreamy melody
and glorious lyrics and things about the country`s debonair spirit of the
times and said we were people in love with our country, and nobody sang it
better than Andy Williams -- who died yesterday in Branson, Missouri. We
will miss him much as we miss and thirst for that spirit to which he sang.


MATTHEWS: We`re back.

Conservatives were thrilled when Mitt Romney took their advice, of
course, and picked U.S. Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as his running
mate. And when the campaign came under criticism, Republicans begged Mitt
to unleash the young conservative star, that`s Ryan.

Well, today comes news of Mitt Romney`s Ryan infusion. The two will
be spending more time together on the trail in the coming weeks. Will this
double act, this duo, this duet, energize the candidates and voters?

John Nichols covers politics for "The Nation," and Michael Scherer
writes for "Time" magazine.

Michael, you first. I was impressed when he picked a guy, it showed
guts. He picked a conservative with a real agenda, with a real record on
the budget, with all kinds of tricky stuff like Medicare changes, and then
he had his good speech. They both had good speeches together. And then he
seemed to have a one-might stand with the guy and split.

Now he`s back saying we`re dating again, we`re going to show up
together. What`s that about?

MICHAEL SCHERER, TIME MAGAZINE: Remember that week when they first
came together, the word from the campaign, the press was bold.

MATTHEWS: It was bold.

SCHERER: It was a bold pick. The idea was, you bring Ryan in and he
-- you make Mitt Romney, who`s never been conservative, golden boy into a
movement leader, into an ideological leader.

MATTHEWS: But they didn`t really dig in.

SCHERER: They thought they had done it and they could back away from
it, a move a way from it a little bit, especially on the issue of Medicare
which is a very delicate dance for them, especially in states like Florida.
I think what they`ve seen in the last few weeks is the story is now about
Mitt Romney personally. And by bringing Ryan back in, they turned it back,
they are hoping, into a story about the ideas, about the contrast, about
the policies they are putting forward.

MATTHEWS: Well, John Nichols, if you go back into Ryan territory,
you do risk what is there waiting for you. A friend of mine or family
members say a doctor told me, this is a real problem. Medicare -- messing
around with people`s insurance, which for most people is Medicare is
dangerous territory for any candidate for president.

JOHN NICHOLS, THE NATION: I think it is incredibly dangerous and I
would remind folks that Paul Ryan was given a task over these last few
weeks and that was to secure the state of Iowa. He went to Iowa
repeatedly, campaigned there a lot at the state fair and events around --
even in smaller cities and at the end of the process, we get polling that
shows Romney/Ryan to be down eight, nine points in Iowa.

So the notion that Paul Ryan brings a magic to this ticket I think is
beginning to fade.

MATTHEWS: I don`t think he believes he`s magic because he`s running
for re-election for the United States Congress even though he`s running for
vice president. He`s already got his plan B in effect.

Anyway, if you heard Ryan, the ad he had running with the campaign,
would you think it was the Romney campaign. Think again. Here he is up
and running in Wisconsin for his own congressional campaign in case he
doesn`t make it to Pennsylvania Avenue or to the vice president`s house.
Let`s take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can America afford the path we`re on?

critical decision to make. Will we leave something better or worse for our
children? Politicians from both parties have made empty promises which
will soon become broken promises if we fail to act now. We must take
action to prevent the most predictable economic crisis in our country`s

Washington promotes a culture of dependency. We need a culture of
accountability and personal responsibility.


MATTHEWS: So if Governor Romney gives a concession speech, I hope we
get to cover them all because it`s true and people know this really
happened, somebody lost and somebody won, he will now say, sorry, governor,
I`ve got to go over my victory speech at my congressional campaign
headquarters. It`s going to be so weird.

SCHERER: To be fair, I think Joe Biden ran ads in Delaware in 2008.


SCHERER: I think he did. So you can do this and you`re absolutely

MATTEHWS: Let me do the math on that, `72. That was the year for
him. Go ahead.

SCHERER: Ryan is setting himself up to be --


SCHERER: Ryan is setting himself up here to be what he has always
wanted to be win or lose. So the election doesn`t determine Ryan`s fate.
If Romney loses, there`s going to be a huge chorus for the Republican Party
saying it was just that guy`s fault. It`s not our ideas, it`s not --

MATTHEWS: Whose fault?

SCHERER: Mitt Romney`s fault.

MATTHEWS: That`s what I think.

John, you`re write for "The Nation", you`re not a right winger, but
I`ve got to ask you, don`t you have the sense that`s the way the pendulum
will go. They won`t say that Ryan has too much weight on the ticket.
They`ll say it didn`t have enough ideological weight to win.

NICHOLS: I think you`re right about that but I also think that Paul
Ryan is worried about that issue. And, you know, Paul Ryan is a very
ambitious political player. He`s a nice guy, hard worker, very
disciplined. I think much more disciplined than Mitt Romney.

MATTHEWS: Yes, he`s up at 4:00 in the morning and does pushups.
It`s pretty amazing.

NICHOLS: And hundreds of them, man. While listening the Rage
Against the Machine.

But is he a disciplined player with a political career track. I
think he is worried about being in the bottom of a badly losing ticket.
You know, it didn`t really go that well for Sergeant Shriver after running
with McGovern in `72.

And so, I do think that Ryan thinks about it. My sense is that he
wants to get out there and be more out front. Whether that creates a
tension, don`t know. There`s no question at one point Mitt Romney and Paul
Ryan really liked one another and really thought they were going to gel.

We have not seen that yet and, frankly, they need to do that in
October if they are to begin to turn this campaign around.

MATTHEWS: Is this important to you? Do you think they need to look
like they like each other? Is that important in politics, to look like a

SCHERER: Yes. I think so. And also I haven`t seen anything that
shows they don`t personally like each other. I think there`s some
difference over what strategy they use, what the message. But they seem to
be getting along with each other on the bus.

MATTHEWS: I think there are two different people, there`s one person
who we call, as you know, we all know the term, conviction politician.
That`s Ryan. Nobody would ever call Mitt Romney conviction politician
ever. They are not to be confused.

Anyway, thank you, John Nichols. And thank you, Michael Scherer.

When we return are, when I return, let me finish with the Democratic
Party`s big opportunity to become a huge political party after this
election -- after this election.

You`re watching HARDBALL, a place for politics.


MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this: it seems that the
Democratic Party has an opportunity to grow this election. I know that
most of the focus is the change that`s been made in the Republican Party --
how it`s moving inexorably from a center-right party to an all out right
wing party, have the moderates are dying off and Tea Partiers are becoming
the mainstream.

All of that`s happened -- there`s no denying, and it`s because the
Republican Party is morphing into a right wing party that I see the
opportunity for the Democrats, should they choose to embrace. There are a
lot of people out there, I grew up with them, who would not call themselves
liberal but are pragmatic about a lot of things liberals are for. They
like and rely on Social Security, on Medicare, and for purposes of long-
term care, Medicaid.

They care about good public schools and they want a government to do
a good job protecting the health of the air they breath and what they eat.
These people believe in the science they studied in school and they take a
"live and let live" attitude toward other people in this country. They
don`t want a big churchy government telling them how to live.

So if the Democrats are smart, even reasonable, they will make the
biggest grab in history for the people that the new right wing party is
leaving behind, as it shifts further and further leaving the legacy of
Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan behind.

Democrats, pay attention. This is your chance to build a party back
up to that grand coalition of the New Deal in new frontier years. Why on
earth, wouldn`t you?

And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us. "POLITICS
NATION" with Al Sharpton starts right now.


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