updated 10/31/2012 11:26:05 AM ET 2012-10-31T15:26:05

HARDBALL
October 26, 2012

Guests: Douglas Brinkley, Larry Pressler, Antonio Villaraigosa, Stephen
Battaglio

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Dirtball.

Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.

"Let Me Start" with this. Can you smell it? Can you? It`s the
ugliness of this campaign. Heading into the last week, the Romney campaign
against President Obama carries the scent of hell. John Sununu, the top
Romney surrogate, barks at that lazy one in the White House who doesn`t
know how to be an American, who Sarah Palin mocks for shucking and jiving
and Donald Trump accuses again and again and again of being from Kenya and
playing monkey business with the country`s economic numbers, you know, the
same fellow Romney says cheats on the welfare checks to feed his political
base, the guy Gingrich calls the food stamp president.

Listen to Sununu last night yelling at former governor Bill Richardson
to shut up, saying General Colin Powell`s political judgment is based on
racial bias, Trump offering a big bet the president won`t show his student
transcripts, all to diminish the president`s academic rise to editor of the
"Harvard Law Review."

Yes, it`s all directed at drumming up the blue-collar white vote for
the Republican ticket, and yes, it smells.

David Corn is author of "The 47 Percent" and Joy Reid is managing
editor of TheGrio. Both are MSNBC political analysts.

If the Romney campaign is really winning, you have to ask, then you
wouldn`t think they`d be acting like this. Take a look at Romney campaign
co-chair and former New Hampshire governor John Sununu last night on CNN
and Fox.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN SUNUNU (R-NH), FMR. GOV., ROMNEY CAMPAIGN CO-CHAIR: When you
take a look at Colin Powell, tough wonder whether that`s an endorsement
based on issues or whether he`s got a slightly different reason for
preferring President Obama.

PIERS MORGAN, CNN "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT": What reason would that be?

SUNUNU: Well, I think when you have somebody of your own race that
you`re proud of being president of the United States -- I applaud Colin for
standing with him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SUNUNU: He supported a bankruptcy and eventual support from the
federal government after the bankruptcy.

BILL RICHARDSON (D), FMR. NEW MEXICO GOVERNOR: No, he did not!

SUNUNU: But the important thing is that`s the past! That`s the past!
And what "The Detroit News" said...

RICHARDSON: That`s the moving target that Colin Powell talks about.

SUNUNU: ... is you ought to be looking...

RICHARDSON: That`s his last position, John. You can`t...

SUNUNU: You ought to be looking for the...

RICHARDSON: You shouldn`t have brought that up, John. That was a bad
thing to bring up.

SUNUNU: Hey, Bill? Hey, Bill, why don`t you shut up for a minute and
let me tell you facts!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICHARDSON: This president wants to bring...

SEAN HANNITY, FOX "HANNITY": ... and is now not being civil.

RICHARDSON: ... the country together. He wants to bring the country
together.

HANNITY: By saying that Mitt Romney`s a BSer?

RICHARDSON: And he wants four more years.

SUNUNU: He`s created more racial division than any administration in
history! The data show...

RICHARDSON: Oh, come on! Come on!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Oh, come on. Let me go to Joy on this thing. I know I
push this point, but every day, it becomes truer. Every day, you see the
thread collected, the language used, the way they talk about the president
not as a Democrat, not as a liberal, not as someone they disagree with, but
someone about whom the very person is wrong for the office somehow.

What do you think they`re talking about? Endlessly.

JOY REID, THEGRIO.COM, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Exactly. Exactly. And
this is -- this is about over and over again tweaking the Archie Bunker
crowd. This is about that angry guy. We all know him in the neighborhood.
Because, look, if this was just about Barack Obama or his policies, Colin
Powell wouldn`t magically get sucked into it, too. We wouldn`t be hearing
Sarah Palin talking about shucking and jiving. I mean, how much more
obvious do they have to be?

This is about trying to run up Romney`s numbers among low-information
and blue-collar white voters, particularly older white voters who are
already uncomfortable with the idea of this guy being in the White House --
not a Democrat being in the White House, this Democrat, this president.

The person of Barack Obama is what is offensive to old cranks like
John Sununu...

MATTHEWS: Yes.

REID: ... who, by the way, hasn`t had an intelligent thought since
the Reagan administration. Why is he the top surrogate for Mitt Romney?
Because he speaks to that guy, Archie Bunker.

MATTHEWS: You know, I have to think that all this stuff -- I grew up
with it, watching it, from the south mainly, but some were from Rizzo in
Philadelphia and stuff like that, "Pitchfork" (ph) Ben Tillman and George
Wallace, and you know, all those characters down there used to do it. But
now it`s these sophisticated guys, governors of big states, you know, rich
guy in New York Trump. All over the place they keep going this.

DAVID CORN, "MOTHER JONES," MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: What we see is a
continuum. It goes all the way from the birtherism that we talked about
earlier a way to sort of define Barack Obama as literally being foreign
because he`s either -- has the wrong ideas or because he`s black, whatever
it might be, to the idea that he doesn`t understand America.

You know, Mitt Romney has said again and again he doesn`t get America.
(INAUDIBLE) play Sununu saying earlier a few months ago that he said,
Listen, I wish this guy would learn how to be an American.

All the way, it`s all about saying he`s not one of us. And people can
read that all sorts of different ways. If you want to see it racially
because you`re an Archie Bunker type, like Joy just said, then you get that
message that way. If you want to read it because you think he`s a
socialist and you don`t like socialists and it has nothing to do with race,
you can see it that way, too.

It`s really sophisticated. It`s not a dogwhistle, it`s sort of like
an orchestra that plays to a wide audience with different instruments.

(CROSSTALK)

REID: I`m sorry, I just kind of disagree with David Corn. This isn`t
sophisticated. These people can`t define socialist. They don`t know what
it means. It all goes back to the same message. I think it is very much
ethnic, and I don`t think these people are sophisticated at all. This is a
blunt, loud dogwhistle.

MATTHEWS: We had a woman waiting on our rope line the other night
when we were out doing one of the debates, and she was yelling "communist."
I don`t think she (INAUDIBLE) I kept asking her, What do you mean by that?

REID: She had no clue.

MATTHEWS: She didn`t have any notion what it meant. It meant she
didn`t like that look of that guy, whatever.

Anyway, by midnight last night, the Romney campaign released a
statement -- isn`t it interesting how they released a statement -- from
Sununu. Isn`t it interesting how they do this. And talk about
orchestration.

Anyway, "Colin Powell is a friend." I always like the way they say it
in Washington. He`s a friend of whose?

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: "And I respect the endorsement decision he made, and I do
not doubt that it was based on anything but his support of the president`s
policies. Piers Morgan`s question was whether Colin Powell should leave
the party, and I don`t think he should."

Let me get back to this. This is orchestrated, you know, and listen
to some of the stuff he said in the past. Here Sununu had some
inflammatory things throughout this campaign. Listen to him on a press
conference call back in July.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

SUNUNU: The president clearly demonstrated that he has absolutely no
idea how the American economy functions! The men and women all over
America who have worked hard to build these businesses, their businesses,
from the ground up is how our economy became the envy of the world. It is
the American way, and I wish this president would learn how to be an
American!

(END AUDIO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: "I wish he`d learn how to be an American." They always
kick that as the kicker. You`re right, Joy. Isn`t good enough to disagree
with his policies.

REID: No.

MATTHEWS: He ain`t an American!

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Here`s Sununu, one more little bit of this stuff. Here he
is in an interview with Andrea Mitchell, who I know was taken aback when
she heard these words.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SUNUNU: What people saw last night I think was a president that
revealed his incompetence, how lazy and detached he is, and how he has
absolutely no idea how serious the economic problems of the country are.

He`s lazy and disengaged!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: "Lazy." I don`t know how many more dogwhistles or trumpets
you need to play. It`s lazy, it`s the food stamp guy. You know what?
This isn`t sophisticated because it does play on ideology only in the sense
that ideology words that are bad words.

REID: These are the same guys...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: ... particular meaning.

REID: These are the same guys that opposed busing in Boston. These
are the same guys that call African-Americans in general lazy. There`s
just something wrong with them. It`s the same dogwhistle you hear over and
over. And it`s a particularly rich dogwhistle to be blown by John Sununu,
who himself is a naturalized American, born in Havana. Neither of his
parents are American. Barack Obama has more roots in the United States of
America than John Sununu does!

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Oh, by the way, one of the great ironies of our lives
living in America, and I -- this country means so much to me -- our history
is so rich and ironic. African-Americans were here for 250 years working
for nothing.

(CROSSTALK)

CORN: Long before some of us came along.

MATTHEWS: I`m not -- I`m not asking for reparations necessarily, but
I got to tell you something. They were there -- they were here long before
most of us.

Let me go to this point here...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Let me go to this point here about this -- the people speak
for Romney when he doesn`t want to do it. They used to say...

REID: Exactly.

MATTHEWS: ... Mickey Cohen, the gangster, said, If you have a dog,
you don`t have to bark.

CORN: Yes.

MATTHEWS: Look at all these dogs he`s got out there. Trumpy --
amazingly successful guy, super (INAUDIBLE) almost like a figure out of a
comic book, you know, downtown business developer in a "Batman" movie.
He`s an incredibly big shot, so a lot of little guys out there -- this
makes, I think, Joy`s point. A lot of little guys out there (INAUDIBLE)
that big shot says he`s from Kenya, must be something there. Trumpy...

CORN: Well...

MATTHEWS: No, really! And then he goes after him, he says the
unemployment number which came in and helped the president a week or so ago
-- it may not help him this week. Let`s watch. Earlier this week, by the
way, in a post criticizing the Obama administration`s handling of the
attack on Benghazi, Sarah Palin headlined her column, "Obama`s shuck and
jive ends with Benghazi lies." And Donald Trump this week offered up money
to charity if the president would turn over college records and passport
applications.

Well, a few weeks ago, after unemployment dropped below 8 percent,
Trump claimed it was a result of White House manipulation. Let`s catch his
wording, though.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think they changed the numbers or...

DONALD TRUMP, TRUMP ORGANIZATION: I do. I do. And I think that they
did a lot of -- there was a lot of monkey business.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: The Doocey sucking up to him is really sickening.

CORN: Well, what do you expect?

MATTHEWS: Why do they treat Trump -- sure, talk to him about housing
development. Talk to him about downtown development. He`s a genius at it.
Don`t ask him his political views because he gets back into monkey business
and he`s from Kenya!

CORN: My overarching point is that these guys -- I`m not saying that
they`re sophisticated. I think this is crass. But what they`ve managed to
do is to sort of take these racial arguments and attacks, but also make
them into something that he`s -- not just that he`s black but he`s foreign.
Remember all the attacks...

MATTHEWS: I know.

CORN: ... that he`s -- that he`s European, he`s socialistic...

(CROSSTALK)

CORN: He`s not one of us. He doesn`t understand. When things go
wrong in Benghazi...

MATTHEWS: Let me ask you...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: If he was home-grown all the way (INAUDIBLE) 200, 300 years
or whatever, like most African-Americans are -- let me -- what do you
think, if his name was Joe Brown...

REID: Exactly.

MATTHEWS: ... a regular name?

REID: Exactly. You know...

MATTHEWS: Would they be treating him any better?

REID: Exactly. And...

MATTHEWS: They might go at him in a different way maybe.

CORN: They went after Bill Clinton in a...

REID: They`d just do it differently.

CORN: They went after Bill Clinton in a different way. It was very
particular to his character...

MATTHEWS: Yes.

CORN: ... and his own life story, and they said he was a hippie, they
said he was Manchurian candidate...

MATTHEWS: He was a murderer!

CORN: Whatever, murderer, all these...

MATTHEWS: They called him a murderer!

CORN: They called him all these things. But with this guy...

(CROSSTALK)

CORN: But this guy, he`s not an American...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Let`s go back to the candidate on the other side. There`s
two candidates running for president. Thank God Trump isn`t one.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: And thank God Sununu is not one. It`s two guys. It`s
Romney and Obama. Romney`s had adequate opportunity throughout this
campaign to come out and say, I will not put up with this. nobody who
speaks for me shall talk like this anymore. You`re all finished. I don`t
want Trump on my side. Instead, he kissed his -- remember that
genuflection out Vegas...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: OK. Sununu is designated as his co-chair. He`s out there
officially as -- in fact, we just saw when he did his correction last night
at midnight, it came out of the Romney headquarters.

REID: Exactly.

MATTHEWS: This is orchestrated.

CORN: Right.

MATTHEWS: I keep waiting -- it`s way too late now...

(CROSSTALK)

REID: It`ll never happen.

MATTHEWS: ... Sister Souljah moment, the moment...

(CROSSTALK)

REID: It`ll never happen.

MATTHEWS: ... like -- like the great John McCain on this point, when
he pushed back and said, No, that`s not true.

CORN: I`ve been waiting this whole campaign -- we`ve talked about
this earlier -- for Mitt Romney to show one inch of spine...

MATTHEWS: Of shame. How about shame?

(CROSSTALK)

REID: He won`t!

CORN: Shame or spine, whatever. There`s not a single courageous
statement or move he`s made as a politician that I can discern, unlike his
dad. He`s the opposite of his dad, who took gutsy positions even at
political cost...

REID: But wait a minute...

CORN: ... again and again and again.

MATTHEWS: Let me ask you...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Here`s an election night scene. Romney with Sununu, his
co-chair, Donald Trump, all up there on the platform together thanking
everybody for generous support...

REID: Exactly.

MATTHEWS: ... ignoring all the dogwhistles, all the horrible smell of
this campaign as if it never happened!

REID: As if it never happened.

MATTHEWS: Your thoughts, Joy.

REID: But this is a guy who didn`t even have the courage to stand up
to the racism in his own church when he was not just a member, he was a
bishop. Mitt Romney has never shown moral courage.

If you look at his history in his career, when he was confronted with
the lack of minorities and women at Bain Capital, where he was the boss, he
said, Oh, minorities and women don`t want to work in private equity, they
just don`t like it. They had this idea -- look, the idea that...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: I think we separate there. I know. I know. We separate
there. I don`t want to get into anybody`s religion. I know we have...

REID: But I mean, the point...

(CROSSTALK)

REID: It`s not his religion. It`s not his religion!

MATTHEWS: I -- I don`t want to get into...

(CROSSTALK)

REID: It`s him not standing up to it.

MATTHEWS: OK. Fair enough.

REID: It`s him not standing up to it.

MATTHEWS: That`s your point. That`s your point.

REID: He was a bishop. He`s not stood up to it. So the point
being...

CORN: Well, the other thing is, during -- during -- listen, you were
moved by the great Civil Rights movement. I wasn`t quite old enough to be,
but...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: I want to correct myself. George Romney cared about Civil
Rights. A lot of Mormons care about Civil Rights, despite whatever the
theology was.

CORN: No, no, no.

REID: Right.

CORN: But Mitt Romney never seemed to be engaged by that while being
a member of a church that practiced racism. I mean, that`s just a known
fact.

MATTHEWS: OK. Let me thank you all tonight. I mean, there are
different versions of the dream here at HARDBALL. Thank you, David ,Corn
and thank you, Joy-Ann Reid.

REID: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: Coming up, two strategies. One candidate`s playing the
role of incumbent, ironically, avoiding interviews and contact of any kind
with the media. The other`s acting like the underdog, criss-crossing the
country doing a blitz of television.

Here`s the surprise. The roles are in reverse. Governor Romney`s
acting like an incumbent, like Dick Nixon, and Obama`s acting like the
challenger. What`s behind both strategies?

Also, while everyone was paying attention to the presidential race,
very quietly and under the radar the Democrats have significantly improved
their chances of holding control of the United States Senate in a year when
Democrats were supposed to be on the defensive. How`d this happen?

And see if you can recognize these voices from NBC`s 1980 election
coverage.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TOM BROKAW, NBC NEWS: Now solid blue practically all the way from the
Mississippi River westward, leaving only Oregon, Washington and Arkansas,
as you can see.

DAVID BRINKLEY, NBC NEWS: Beginning to look like a suburban swimming
pool over there.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: "A suburban swimming pool." That was, of course, Tom
Brokaw and then David Brinkley announcing Ronald Reagan`s landslide
election back in the days when we called Republicans blue.

There`s a new, by the way, ebook -- there`s a new one coming out on
TV`s election coverage through the years with video going all the way back
to 1940. We`re going to have that on tonight.

And "Let Me Finish" tonight with this campaign that`s really starting
to smell.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Some breaking news. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has
been taken to the hospital after a car accident on a Las Vegas freeway.
Police say Reid`s car was one of six in a chain reaction crash including
two Las Vegas police vehicles and two capital police vehicles. A staff
member says Senator Reid is stable and, quote, "doing fine." We`ll have
more as we learn it.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. In the closing days of this
campaign, the two candidates for president are pursuing very different
strategies. On the one hand, President Obama has gone on a virtual media
blitz, speaking to various radio shows, "Rolling Stone" magazine, as well
as TV interviews with seven affiliates just today and sit-downs with Jay
Leno, Brian Williams and MTV, which he`s doing today, as well.

In contrast, the Romney campaign says the candidate has no plans for
any additional interviews before the election. He`ll apparently stick to
giving speeches, like he did today. In fact, billed as a major policy
speech, Romney offered no new policies, nor did he give any explanation for
how he will implement some of his more mathematically challenged promises,
like that $5 trillion in tax cuts or capping federal spending at 20 percent
of the GDP.

As Paul Krugman of "The New York Times" wrote this morning, quote,
"Mr. Romney`s plan is a sham. It`s a list of things he claims will happen,
with no description of the policies he would follow to make those things
happen."

Of course, if you refuse to let the media ask you questions, you never
have to worry about giving them answers.

Joan Walsh is editor-at-large for Salon and author of "What`s the
Matter With White People?" and Douglas Brinkley`s a professor of history at
Rice University. He wrote the cover story in the new issue of "Rolling
Stone" and conducted an Oval Office interview with President Obama.

So what do we make of this whole thing now, the strategy? First with
you -- with you, Douglas. This whole idea of a president -- it clicks with
me as sort of, like, maybe the Dewey campaign of 1948, where the guy
basically -- as you know, William Manchester wrote in his beautiful book,
"The Glory and the Dream," he said he had every means of communication to
say anything he wanted, and he had nothing to say. And also the Nixon
campaign of `68, where he basically hunkered down with his big lead and
said absolutely nothing, including no interviews.

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN, RICE UNIVERSITY: Yes, I was
thinking of `68 today. Look, you remember when Brian Williams did that
interview during the London Olympics of Mitt Romney, and it was a disaster.
He almost got thrown out of the U.K. And at that time, Charles Krauthammer
wrote a recommendation to Mitt Romney which was, Zip it, be quiet, you can
only do damage to yourself in these interviews. It`s not the art form that
Mitt Romney is good at.

Barack Obama is facile and quick-witted, can be funny and he could
really get into policy depth. Mitt Romney there`s -- I think is quite
shallow, in some ways. And he`s better off probably just running the ads
that he`s doing than going on the talk show circuit.

MATTHEWS: Joan, your thoughts, too, about -- you have to interview
people all the time. It seems to me there`s -- he doesn`t think he has to
do it because it`s below him to answer questions, and I think as a business
guy, a tycoon really, he can talk to anybody he wants to or not talk to
anybody. That`s the difference between the political press and the
business press.

JOAN WALSH, SALON.COM: Yes. He`s not used to it. It`s like he`s
running a Rose Garden strategy, but he doesn`t live in the Rose Garden yet,
and no one`s told him, Chris.

But Doug is absolutely right. He`s not -- he`s not good on his feet.
His last few interviews have been disastrous. He was terrible with David
Gregory. When Paul Ryan sat down with -- with Chris Wallace, he was
hammered on the absence of details in their plans.

Romney couldn`t even handle Bret Baier from FOX. So, they can`t even
go to FOX. When they go on FOX, nobody blows FOX who is a Republican,
except these two guys. So I think it`s sort of the prevent defense, except
he`s not sitting on a lead. He`s got a narrow popular lead. But he`s
behind in most of the swing states.

He`s behind in Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nevada. You know, I don`t --
I`m not sure this is so safe, but it`s probably the safest course for him.

MATTHEWS: Well, I think Baier was -- Bret Baier was pretty good in
that interview, as we will see.

WALSH: He was. He was very good.

MATTHEWS: But one reason why Romney might steer clear of sit-down
interviews, for the past few days, he`s been barraged with reporter
questions about an uncomfortable topic, Senate candidate Richard Mourdock.
Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUESTION: Governor, do you wish that Senator Mourdock would pull that
ad?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Which way are we going?

QUESTION: Governor, do you disavow Mourdock`s comments on rape?

(CROSSTALK)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you.

QUESTION: Governor, do you disavow Mourdock`s comments on the rape?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: What do you make of that, Doug? I mean, Douglas, it seems
to me that he has that wonderful immutability there -- or mutability to
just say, I`m turning on the mute button, I`m not saying nothing, live with
it.

BRINKLEY: Yes, I think so.

Remember, he`s been taking a lot of pages from Ronald Reagan.
Remember when President Reagan would walk in and he suddenly couldn`t hear,
and he would cup his ear and wouldn`t have to answer questions. And I
thought in that third debate we saw a lot of Reagan in Mitt Romney in the
since of just talking about peace and being a bit genial.

This is a candidate now who realizes if he gets loose on a talk show,
they`re going to ask him about his taxes, they`re going to ask him about
Bain Capital, and those issues have somehow died. You don`t hear the press
talking about it much.

So I think they see it`s just a sea filled with land mines if Romney
gets out there and tries to freelance Q&As.

MATTHEWS: Well, isn`t this an assault -- an implicit critique of our
democracy?

I do think we Americans don`t think long-term. We`re great at crises,
we`re not good at long-term thinking about the debt and immigration, having
serious policies for way down the road. But it also says something about
the electorate. The electorate doesn`t seem to say, this guy has a tax
question, why is he hiding the tax returns? Or this guy doesn`t have
numbers that add up. Look at that $5 trillion in cuts he`s going to give
us, but he doesn`t say how he`s going to pay for it with eliminating
deductions.

And how is he going to pay for the extra $2 trillion for defense?
Where is this money coming from? But that was two weeks and nobody
remembers.

Joan, this is a problem.

WALSH: It is a...

MATTHEWS: People don`t remember two weeks ago. How do they remember
American history and what kind of president they`re picking? Just a
thought.

WALSH: It`s a problem. You`re right. But people are busy.

And I think part of it is our job, Chris, and I don`t know that our
colleagues are doing the best job. Obviously, if we can`t get to him, it`s
hard to ask him about his taxes. But people could be talking more about
taxes. It`s kind of like he stonewalled us, and we all -- I guess I`m
going to say I was wrong when I said months ago he`s going to have to tell
us, he`s going to have to tell us.

He hasn`t had to tell us. I don`t know that he will have to tell us
in the next 11 days. But some of it is that the media gets distracted by
he does a decent job of handling us. We have spent the days after this
awful last debate, where he lied, you don`t like it when I use that word,
but you let me anyway, when he dissembled and he said that he was just like
President Obama on issues of war and peace, when he`s not.

The media -- everybody praised him. Everybody was like, well, it was
very savvy for him to move to the center and emulate President Obama
because the public is very tired of war.

Wait, savvy? We`re impressed by savvy? We`re not impressed by --
we`re not going out and saying, wow, that was a remarkable display of
dissembling. What does this man really believe? It`s just all about the
horse race.

MATTHEWS: OK. As the extremely literary like to say, to wit, today
in his policy speech, Romney made some dubious statements about Medicare
and health care. Let`s watch him in action. This is how you do it, Joan.
This is how this guy does it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: We will save Medicare and Social Security both for current
and near retirees and for the generation to come. We will reform health
care to tame its growth and the cost that`s been going skyrocketing to
provide for those with preexisting conditions as well and to assure that
every American has access to health care.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: We will tame its growth, Douglas, tough love for Obamacare.
We`re not going to eliminate it. We`re not going to starve it to death,
we`re going to give it some tough love, we`re going to tame it. And we`re
going to keep al Well, those good features like, oh, preexisting condition
coverage. He can get away with murder if nobody is interviewing him. And
who is to stop him?

BRINKLEY: That`s the absolute strategy.

And it`s -- he`s able now to claim everything. I had mentioned he`s
like a chameleon on plaid. He can just be whatever he wants to, to
whatever crowd he is. And if there`s nobody to really call him out -- and
I do think the short attention span, Chris, is the problem.

I thought when Osama bin Laden was killed, it was such a defining
moment for our country, but that was in the spring, and you don`t even feel
it really resonating in this election. It`s people questioning Libya
because it was much more recent.

It`s very hard for a sitting president to get his kudos from things
that he did in the last couple years, when people are just on last week`s
news cycle, and Mitt Romney`s not feeding the beast. He`s refusing to feed
the media beast in his mind any bit of raw meat.

MATTHEWS: Right.

Well, as you wrote in your "Rolling Stone" piece, Doug, President
Obama used some rather saucy language to describe about Mitt Romney.
Talking about your colleague`s 6-year-old child, who wished him luck, Obama
said -- quote -- "You know, kids have instincts. They look at the other
guy and they can -- well, they will say, well, that`s a B.S.er. I can
tell."

Anyway, we don`t use the word here, of course. This is television.
But the idea -- what do you think of him saying that? Did he say that in
passing? Or is that part of the interview?

BRINKLEY: Oh, it was after we left the Oval Office in passing, just
doing a little bit of small talk.

I found it just part of the rhythm of what we were doing. I was
laughing a little bit. I didn`t take it very seriously. You know...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Yes. He doesn`t like Romney too much, does he?

BRINKLEY: Doesn`t care for Romney.

And like -- that B.S. word is used by every single -- 99 percent of
America uses it, and I think it came from the heart. He was telling a
little bit of a joke.

MATTHEWS: Right. I think it must be amazing to sit there like he`s
had to in these debates and listen to the other guy go 180 on...

BRINKLEY: Yes, exactly.

MATTHEWS: ... everything he`s been saying to get the nomination, like
he went 180 on everything that he did to get to be governor of
Massachusetts. Everybody is the past. Nothing is prologue.

Anyway, thank you, Douglas Brinkley, great historian.

And, thank you, Joan Walsh, a great colleague here.

Coming up: How long would it take to you watch all the ads the Obama
and Romney campaigns have run, in fact, just in Ohio alone?

Well, this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL. And now to the "Sideshow."

Nancy Pelosi was on "The Daily Show" last night with her own spin on
what President Obama calls Romnesia, you know, Romney`s tendency to forget
what he said last year, last month, last week. Pelosi brought up the
failed personhood amendment in Mississippi.

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

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: Governor Romney had
endorsed personhood amendment in Mississippi.

JON STEWART, HOST, "THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART": No, I remember
that.

PELOSI: And even the people of Mississippi rejected that position.

STEWART: Well, Romney also rejected that position as well.

(LAUGHTER)

PELOSI: Well, the president calls it Romnesia. I have my own what I
call Mittology.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Anyway, also taking on the late-night comedy scene
yesterday, first lady Michelle Obama. She and Jimmy Kimmel put together an
ad actually to get you out of bed on Election Day.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE")

(HORN BLARING)

MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: Election Day, Election Day, up and at
`em. Up and at `em.

(HORN BLARING)

M. OBAMA: Let`s go. Move it.

(HORN BLARING)

M. OBAMA: Let`s go. Get your shoes on. Let`s go. Move it. Move
it. Move it. Up! Up! Up!

JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE": All right. OK.

(HORN BLARING)

M. OBAMA: Time to vote. Come on. You can do it.

(HORN BLARING)

KIMMEL: OK. I`m voting.

M. OBAMA: Out the door, out the door. And eat some carrots.

(LAUGHTER)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I`m Barack Obama, and I
approve this message.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Also, Mrs. Obama has been encouraging people to take
advantage of early voting just in case, for example, her words here, your
toilet overflows on Election Day and you can`t get to the polls.

Interesting message there.

Also, Lena Dunham -- Dunham, rather -- the creator, writer, and lead
actor in the HBO series "Girls," steps up to help the Obama campaign with a
new ad encouraging young people to vote.

Here she is talking about voting for the first time.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LENA DUNHAM, ACTRESS: Your first time shouldn`t be with just anybody.
You want to do it with a great guy. You don`t want a guy who says, oh,
hey, I`m at the library studying,when he`s really out not signing the Lilly
Ledbetter Act, or who thinks that gay people should never have beautiful,
complicated weddings of the kind of we see on Bravo or TLC all the time.

It`s super uncool to be out and about and says, did you vote, no, I
didn`t -- I wasn`t ready. My first time voting was amazing. I voted for
Barack Obama.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, the ad is facing backlash in conservative circles for
being too risque, but they`re not the target audience after all.

Finally, it`s no secret that both campaigns are pouring a lot of time
and resources into the state of Ohio. It could really be the make-or-break
state in terms of which candidate actually wins this election.

Anyone living in Ohio, by the way, knows it, too, thanks to the
onslaught of campaign ads dominating their TV screens, recently actually.

How many days would it take to watch all the presidential ads that
have aired in Ohio over the past month? Well, according to Bloomberg News
and Kantar Media, that would be -- you won`t believe this -- 80 days
straight 24/7. We`re talking nonstop 80 days. Presidential ads have aired
over 58,000 times in Ohio over the past month. How do they stand it?

Up next: Democrats are well-positioned to keep control of the U.S.
Senate. We are going to look at how they`re doing it. You`re watching
HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

JULIA BOORSTIN, CNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Julia Boorstin with your CNBC
"Market Wrap."

The Dow adds three, the S&P falls one, and the Nasdaq is up one point.
The economy grew at a 2 percent annual rate in the third quarter, thanks to
rising consumer spending. It`s the last read on the growth until after the
election.

Consumer sentiment rose to a five-year high, as Americans grew more
optimistic about the economy and their finances.

And on the earnings front, Merck shares ended slightly lower after
reporting results that beat estimates.

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

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

Nearly as important as the race for president are the races that will
determine control of the United States. Right now, Democrats control the
Senate, effectively, 53-47.

And Jennifer Duffy of "The Cook Political Report" puts the chances of
Republicans gaining the seats they need to take control at 40 to 45
percent, a number that`s diminished actually over the year.

Let`s take a look at the maps. These are Democratic seats that could
go Republican, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, which is a near certain GOP
pickup, Wisconsin, Virginia, and Connecticut. And these are the Republican
seats that could go Democratic, Nevada -- that`s pronounced Nevada --
Arizona, Indiana, and Massachusetts.

And then there`s Maine, where independent candidate Angus King is
expected to win and become effectively a Democrat in the Senate.

Well, we will zero in on three of those states tonight, and they`re
crucial, with former South Dakota Senator Larry Pressler, a Republican who
is now supporting President Obama in this race, and Los Angeles Mayor
Antonio Villaraigosa, who is the Obama 2012 national co-chair.

Gentlemen, thank you for asking...

First of all, Massachusetts, the marquee Senate race in the country,
where all the money is going, currently, Democratic challenger Elizabeth
Warren is actually leading the very -- well, once popular Senator Scott
Brown, up about 3.5 points, according to The Huffington Post polling
average. This is a hard-fought race with both candidates appealing to the
women`s vote.

Let`s look at parts of their recent ads, first from Elizabeth Warren.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All you have to do is look at his voting record.

NARRATOR: He had one chance to confirm a Supreme Court justice to
uphold Roe vs. Wade. He voted no.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m very disappointed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, the Brown campaign hit back with an ad featuring his
own wife. Here is it, Gail Huff, his wife. Let`s listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GAIL HUFF, WIFE SENATOR SCOTT BROWN: Hi. I`m Gail Huff.

I want to talk to you about those untrue ads attacking my husband,
Scott Brown. It`s sad that Elizabeth Warren and her supporters are
avoiding the issues like jobs and the economy. I want to set the record
straight. Scott Brown is pro-choice.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: The question is, does he vote for pro-choice judges who
decide this thing?

ANTONIO VILLARAIGOSA (D), MAYOR OF LOS ANGELES: That`s the question.
And you notice she didn`t speak to that in that commercial.

MATTHEWS: No.

What`s moving up there, the mayor? You`re a mayor. You know the
power of a mayor.

VILLARAIGOSA: Well, Mayor Menino has a great get-out-the-vote
operation and he`s got a lot of credibility in Boston. And he`s certainly
working hard on her behalf. And -- and it`s going to be a very close
election, but I expect that she`s going to win, Elizabeth Warren is going
to prevail.

Senator Pressler, it`s interesting, because you like to be a moderate,
you tend to be a middle-of-the-roader, especially since you`re now backing
President Obama.

But, you know, Scott Brown may be one the last of the middle-of-the-
roaders left, by necessity, because if he tried to go hard right in
Massachusetts, he wouldn`t be there.

LARRY PRESSLER (R), FORMER U.S. SENATOR: Yes.

Well, I`m sort of cheering for him, because I like moderates in the
Senate. I know in the days when you were a staffer to Tip O`Neill, we had
a lot of moderates, moderate Republicans.

MATTHEWS: Like you.

PRESSLER: Yes. And...

MATTHEWS: You see what happened to you, though.

(LAUGHTER)

PRESSLER: Yes. That`s right. We kind of disappeared, but I do hope
that that`s a resurgence of moderate Republicanism.

But, at a distance, I hope we elect moderate Democrats and Republicans
more.

MATTHEWS: Let`s take a look at this race.

VILLARAIGOSA: We certainly need bipartisan in the Senate and in the
House.

MATTHEWS: Let`s take a look at Virginia, which is right across the
river here, a critical state of course in the presidential race. We`re
wondering how that is going to go.

Well, right now, Democrat Tim Kaine, the former governor, leads
Republican George Allen by a slim margin. But Pollster.com polling average
has Kaine ahead by about four points. And this ad from the Allen campaign
attempts to tie Kaine to President Obama. Let`s listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TIM KAINE (D), VIRGINIA SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I`m doing what
the president wants me to do.

NARRATOR: So Tim Kaine became President Obama`s national party
chairman, abandoning Virginia while governor, putting the president`s
harmful agenda first.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: And this Tim Kaine ad focuses on the women`s vote, not
surprisingly. Let`s listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NARRATOR: This is Virginia. George Allen would restrict her
choices. He`d take away her constitutional rights by reversing Roe v.
Wade.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: There you have it again. I want to go on you on this
because you`re going to campaign down there.

LARRY PRESSLER (R-SD), FORMER U.S. SENATOR: It`s very hard for me to
make a judgment on this. Sabato says if Virginia could have nominated a
moderate Republican, that`s what Virginia wants to vote for, someone like
Davis (ph). But it seems both parties have nominated somebody far to the
left and far to the right is the way it looks to me at a distance and I
can`t call it.

MATTHEWS: You think Tim Kaine is on the far right?

MAYOR ANTONIO VILLARAIGOSA (D), LOS ANGELES: Tim Kaine is a moderate
and that`s he`s up two or three points and he`s going to stay up. And I
think he`s going to stay up. He`s actually crossing over with some Romney
voters as well. I think he was a moderate as a governor and I think he`ll
be a moderate as a senator as well, and I do agree that that`s what
Virginia is looking for.

MATTHEWS: I do give credit for George Allen just as a person coming
back after his big mistake making that ethnic slur he should have never
made. He paid for it, he lost his career. It looked like around then he
came back.

Anyway, Wisconsin, here`s a great race here -- another key state in
both the presidential race and the Senate power struggle. Right now,
Democrat Tammy Baldwin leads Republican, the former very popular governor
one time, Tommy Thompson by nearly four points. According to Pollster.com
average, the ad wars in the race have been called some of the nastiest in
this cycle.

First up, part of a Thompson ad. Let`s listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TOMMY THOMPSON (R-WI), U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE: I`m Tommy Thompson and
I approve this message.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tammy Baldwin had the opportunity to vote to
honor the victims of 9/11 and she voted against it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Yes, Baldwin did vote against the bill, but as her
campaign noted, that was because it paid tribute to the Patriot Act which
she opposed, something she was against. The Baldwin campaign hit back
quickly with an ad of their own. Let`s listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. TAMMY BALDWIN (D-WI), U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE: I`m Tammy Baldwin
and I approve this message.

NARRATOR: Tommy Thompson`s ad is a disgrace.

The truth: time and again, Tammy Baldwin has supported honoring
victims of 9/11.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: You know --

VILLARAIGOSA: Does anybody really believe that any candidate is
against the victims of September 11th? That`s why that ad doesn`t work.

MATTHEWS: You think that doesn`t pass the smell test.

VILLARAIGOSA: It doesn`t pass anybody`s smell test.

PRESSLER: Upper Midwest elects more liberal Democrats because -- but
they elect Republicans as governors and their state legislatures because
they look to the federal government as a source of wealth and liberal
Democrats have an edge in like North Dakota, Montana, and Wisconsin as they
have.

My colleague, Senator McGovern, who has just passed away, my other
colleague, Senator Daschle, but throughout the Upper Midwest, that`s where
the leadership -- when there`s a tight race in the Upper Midwest, they`ll
usually at the end of the day go with the liberal Democrat because it`s the
only source of new wealth that they can draw into the state.

But with their own money in the state legislature and with their
governor, they elect Republican legislatures and governors.

MATTHEWS: Is that the old northern European social Democratic thing
that kicks in there, too, the Swedes and the Norwegians?

PRESSLER: North Dakota it will kick in.

VILLARAIGOSA: No one thought Tommy Thompson was going to lose that
race. Tammy Baldwin is up. I`m going to be there this weekend. I can
tell you that she`s got a great shot to be elected --

MATTHEWS: She`s openly gay. I never knew that. That`s a part of
the race I guess. What do you think of that?

VILLARAIGOSA: It`s great.

MATTHEWS: It`s astounding.

VILLARAIGOSA: I think a big reason why the Democrats are going to
keep the Senate.

MATTHEWS: I think that`s an amazing race just to see how people are
open to tolerance and diversity. Anyway, I think the Senate races are
amazing. If the Republicans pick up three seats and they win the
presidency, they got the power to do reconciliation which is a clean sweep
of anything they want to do. That`s something Democrats and Republicans
ought to think about.

If they get in, just three more votes in the Senate, they get
reconciliation because they can use the vice president`s tie-breaking vote
and do basically anything they want on cutting taxes, cutting spending, on
programs, killing Obamacare.

Thank you, Senator Pressler.

And thank you, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, my friend.

Up next, there`s a new e-book on TV`s coverage of presidential
elections through the years with video going back to 1948. And we`ve got
some of the highlight. This is going to be great for political people to
see how elections were called or miscalled, including one miscall by our
own team here.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: We`ve got a great new batch of battleground state polls.
Let`s check the HARDBALL scoreboard.

Here it is in Ohio, a new poll from Purple Strategies. It has
President Obama leading Mitt Romney but just by two, 46-44. Also from
Ohio, a new CNN poll has the president up by four, it`s Obama 50 percent,
Romney, 46 percent,

In Colorado, the Purple poll shows President Obama leading by one --
what does that mean -- 47 to 46.

Next to Virginia, where the purple poll puts the race dead even at
47-all.

And finally, in New Hampshire, which will matter, a New England
College poll shows the president leading there by three -- watch New
Hampshire on election night -- 49-46.

We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Six minutes after 9:00, New York time. Kenneth
Bernhard (ph) reporting from NBC television election headquarters. Studio
8H, largest in the world, packed with men and machines set to bring you the
most complete election coverage ever devised.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Wow. We`re back, of course. That was a clip of NBC`s
coverage of the election night back in 1952, 60 years ago, just four years
after the first election that was ever televised on TV.

And the first year the programming took hold as a major American
event. Of course, Americans still huddle around their TV sets on the first
Tuesday after the first Monday in November. And though the technology has
changed, the story has stayed the same -- a country on the edge of its
seat, watching the results come in, waiting for the anchor to say who the
winner is.

Steve Battaglio writes about in his new e-book "Election Night: A
Television History, 1948-2012". And in the enhanced edition, you watch
some of the election night coverage from year`s past. By the way, it`s the
best reason ever to have an e-book.

Steve is business editor of "TV Guide" magazine. And he joins us.

Steve, congratulations on finally justifying one of these high tech
books, because it probably is one time I agree as better than the paper
book because you get to watch this great stuff and it`s about TV and you
get to watch it on TV, right?

STEPHEN BATTAGLIO, AUTHOR, "ELECTION NIGHT": You can really immerse
yourself in every presidential cycle. The clips are from the NBC archives
and show coverage of the election night and you can see the important
moments that led up to those nights. And you need a Nook or an iBook from
Apple in order to experience the video.

But you can also just read about it and see a lot of the pictures
that we dug up and political memorabilia that are just in the Kindle
version. So, you can enjoy it both ways. But if you want enjoy it, you`ve
got to have a Nook or an iBook.

MATTHEWS: Let`s do what we call on television now for you.

BATTAGLIO: Or an iPad.

MATTHEWS: Anyway, California -- we have California went Republican
in 1960. NBC`s David Brinkley called it for John F. Kennedy as coverage
continued into the morning. And with that, NBC declared Kennedy the next
president. Let`s watch how they got it right by getting it wrong.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At 7:19 a.m. Eastern Time, Senator Kennedy was
elected president of the United States. NBC victory desk has just given
California to Kennedy and that gives him the election. That`s Red Monarch
(ph) sticking up the V.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, there they are, Steve. In fact, they were right
overall but wrong about the state.

BATTAGLIO: Well, NBC called the election for Kennedy hours before
anybody else and he had been running way ahead in the electoral vote count
all night. But what happened was, it was 7:00 and managers at NBC --
somebody, nobody knows quite who -- but they wanted to get the "Today"
show on the air, so they can get the "Today" show commercials on.

So, they said, you guys have got to call this thing. So California
was very close, about a 100,000 vote difference. But when the absentee
ballots came in and they counted, Nixon won that state. It didn`t affect
the outcome of the election but it was the wrong call for the state.

MATTHEWS: Nixon carried it by 33,000.

Anyway, Florida, Florida, Florida -- Tim Russert made the mantra
famous, of course. Here he is with Tim Brokaw in the year 2000 navigating
a notoriously murky election night. Let`s watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TOM BROKAW, NBC NEWS: Five hundred and sixty-five votes.

TIM RUSSERT, NBC NEWS: And there are some votes --

BROKAW: That`s not even a wide spot on the road.

RUSSERT: And there are some votes that have not been counted.

BROKAW: And there are still some votes to be counted because we`re
at 99 (INAUDIBLE). Broward and Palm Beach are the incoming votes. What if
this goes the other way?

RUSSERT: It`s only 3:17. We`re here. Cameras are hot.

(LAUGHTER)

BROKAW: That`s entirely possible. We`ve got -- Tim gets his board
out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Isn`t it funny, Steve, that at the very time in night when
you had to be the most acute in your thinking, you got just a little punchy
out there. I mean, 3:00 in the morning, these guys have been broadcasting
for about nine hours at this point.

BATTAGLIO: Well, it wasn`t just that, they just didn`t know what was
going on.

MATTHEWS: Right.

BATTAGLIO: All of the networks share -- they pool the information
that`s gathered across the country for the vote. They are all getting the
same data. They hire their own people to make a judgment on whether
there`s a call or not, and they all got the same bad information.

So, there was a lot of confusion o the ground and I should point out
from this point -- from that point forward, the networks have been
extremely cautious about calling these races. I don`t think you`ll see a
mistake like that again.

Four years later when once George Bush got up to 269 electoral votes
after he was awarded by Ohio by a couple of networks, they stopped. They
did not call the race because there was a possibility that John Kerry might
challenge it. So, caution has prevailed ever since.

MATTHEWS: Let`s look at the electoral map where there`s red states
and blue states back when NBC created it. Here`s David Brokaw and David
Brinkley using it in the 1980 election when Ronald Reagan swept, colored
most of the country physically to blue, the Republicans designated color at
that time was dominant. Let`s listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BROKAW: We`re going to call another state for Ronald Reagan. Not
surprisingly, it`s a big one. It`s his homes state, California, 45
electoral votes. Ronald Reagan picks up his home state of California.
He`s never lost a race there.

And we fill in that big chunk of the map once again with blue, now
solid blue practically, all the way from the Mississippi River westerly,
leaving only Oregon, Washington and Arkansas, as you can see.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s getting to look like a suburban swimming
pool over there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Steve, I love that stuff. Tell me about something I did
not know until I got your book today. Why did Democrats get stuck with
blue? Blue is a pretty good color. Back, having lived through the Cold
War, I wouldn`t want to be the red state if you were a Democrat.

BATTAGLIO: That could have been one reason why it had changed. The
electoral map was created at NBC in 1976 by John Chancellor, an executive
named Gordon Manning. They wanted to do something that`s sort of live
enough coverage, make it more visual and not just about the numbers.

MATTHEWS: Right.

BATTAGLIO: When they picked the colors, they wanted to go by the
rosettes that the British parties used. So they went red for the
Democrats, making it sync up with the Labour Party and blue for the Tories
for Republicans.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

BATTAGLIO: When the other networks basically imitated the map and
did maps of their own, they changed it.

MATTHEWS: OK.

BATTAGLIO: So you were seeing a new consistency across the networks.
It was finally made consistent in 1996 -- red for Republicans, blue for
Democrats.

MATTHEWS: OK. Got to go. Steve Battaglio, you know it`s
television. Great book. "Election Night," it`s called "Election Night: A
Television History, 1948-2012." I don`t think you cannot buy this if
you`re a true junkie like me.

We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this. This campaign is
starting to smell. With the Republicans having the big mo as they claimed,
you have to wonder why they`re out there dropping the stink bombs, all of
them.

Why is Sununu, the biggest of all Romney surrogates, pushing this
garbage about the president? Why is Palin out there with this shucking and
jiving stuff of hers? Why is Trump out there offering his big bet to see
the president`s student records? Could it all be that the ancient appeal
that thrive, the ancient appeal, when the rest isn`t quite working enough
to get people to vote along racial lines?

Romney did this himself when he said Romney was going after the
welfare vote because -- by the way, which he called Barack Obama`s
political base. Nice work, guys. Real American of you.

And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.

"POLITICS NATION" with Al Sharpton starts right now.

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

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