October 31, 2012
Guests: James Peterson, Bill Vlasic, Steve Rattner
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in
"Let Me Start" with this. We`ve heard the story, how in the winter of
World War I, the two sides, German and English, climbed out of their
trenches and sang Christmas carols together. Well, today an echo of that
spirit rose over the Jersey shore, two politicians of different parties
figuring out how to do their jobs together.
Say what you will, Debbie Downers of the world, there comes a time
when the grown-ups have got to do their jobs. So they put away their toys,
their Big Birds and their bayonets, and do the business they got elected
I love politics, and today is one of the reasons. It`s not all stupid
ads on TV. It`s not all handlers and BS artists. Some days, it`s just a
job, and some days like today, it`s the most important job we`ve got.
Joining me to talk about this, this remarkable political moment today
that unfolded on the Jersey shore, former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell
and David Corn, Washington bureau chief for "Mother Jones" and the author
of "47 Percent." Both are MSNBC political analysts.
Governor Rendell, I know you`re an Ocean City guy, 34th Street.
You`ve been down to Yesterday`s (ph) and Friendly`s and all those places.
You`re well known in that community. I don`t know what it meant to you,
but my brother Jim filled me in today. The boardwalk is gone down there on
34th Street, where Grace Kelly`s family lived, all that historic stuff down
there just gone, from Bob`s (INAUDIBLE) College Grill`s is gone -- all the
way down to the south. Everything`s flooded. It`s amazing how much
But luckily, as I think -- I think it was wonderful the way your
former colleague, actually, Governor Christie said today, not much loss of
life. This is really about stuff that he said can be replaced.
ED RENDELL (D), FMR. PENNSYLVANIA GOVERNOR: Right. And he`s right.
It can be replaced, if we understand that government has a role in our
lives, government`s important in our lives, and government has to be the
key factor in helping that effort, that recovery effort.
MATTHEWS: Well, let`s talk about that effort. Let me go right now to
David Corn, who`s joining me. It seems to me that FEMA -- you know, I was
part of that, working on that with the Carter administration -- there was a
judgment made way back when in the `70s that government needed to be
united. There needed to be one focus by one man or woman -- this guy
Fugate`s got to be good. If it`s bad the whole thing doesn`t work. You
need, like, a baseball team, you need a manager. You need somebody to call
DAVID CORN, "MOTHER JONES," MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: And we see with
more extreme weather happening in the last few years, it`s more necessary
to have a national, federalized approach, particularly in the planning and
in the research, and tracking storms. That can`t be done by 50 different
I thought the president today was very smart when he spoke up in New
Jersey with Governor Christie. He thanked the congressional delegation for
voting for FEMA funds, something that, of course, you know, Mitt Romney...
MATTHEWS: Well, anybody (INAUDIBLE) here`s where it happens. The
president this afternoon toured that devastation down in Jersey with
Governor Chris Christie. Afterwards, they had some kind words for each
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Pleased to report that he has
sprung into action immediately to help get us those things while we were in
the car riding together. So I want to thank him for that.
He has worked incredibly closely with me since before the storm hit.
I think this is our sixth conversation since the weekend. And it`s been a
great working relationship to make sure that we`re doing the jobs that
people elected us to do.
And I cannot thank the president enough for his personal concern and
compassion for our state and for the people of our state. And I heard it
on the phone conversations with him and I was able to witness it today
It`s my honor to introduce to all of you the president of the United
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have to say that
Governor Christie throughout this process has been responsive. He`s been
aggressive in making sure that the state got out in front of this
incredible storm. And I think the people of New Jersey recognize that he
has put his heart and soul into making sure that the people of New Jersey
bounce back even stronger than before.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Let me get to this, Governor Rendell. You`re a pro, and I
think you can tell people right now in a couple of minutes how different it
is being a professional politician from being your average, passionate
political person, who roots for one side against the other but doesn`t
understand what it`s like to work day to day with somebody from the other
political party and finding common ground.
You`ve done it when you worked with W when he was president. Explain
how that works, where you put aside the partisanship and you work together.
RENDELL: Well, you have to. And particularly in emergency management
because the whole system, Chris, is set up like a pyramid. FEMA`s at the
top. FEMA goes to the state emergency management agency, and the state
then fans out to the different counties. And cooperation is essential.
And look, your opening was exactly right. There are some times when
we have to do our jobs, and that means putting our people first, putting
politics way on the back burner. And I commend Governor Christie for doing
that, and I think the president`s done a good job at that as well.
But that cooperation is essential. It`s also smart because Governor
Christie is a smart guy, no question about it. He`s done the right thing
here, but it`s also the smart thing because the more he cooperates with the
president, the more likely it is that he`ll get the things that are
necessary to begin the rebuilding process in New Jersey, short-term and
MATTHEWS: Let`s talk about Jersey because you`re very familiar with
it. You know, you and I are about the same age. We grew up watching that
beach disappear over the years. Then they rebuilt the whole beach again.
Down there where you have your house, where you go in the summer, you`ve
got big dunes, actually, with stuff growing on them, which I never knew in
the old -- it`s like Cape Cod down there.
My brother just talked to me on the phone a couple hours ago. He
tells me that a lot of that`s just gone now. And the boardwalk down where
you live is gone now. And Atlantic City, a big part of that is gone now.
Federal money -- how do you do a cost-benefit and go in there and say,
This is of value to the American economy to rebuild that part of the
country that`s right there on the water`s edge?
RENDELL: Well, the interesting thing is -- and Chris, you`re right,
my house in Ocean City had 10 inches -- 10 feet of water in the basement.
Fortunately, it didn`t go under the house.
But the shoreline, a lot of it`s gone. And that means a comprehensive
effort. We`ve got to find sand. And interestingly, as we dredge eastern
ports to get them ready for the big liners that are coming in from the
Panama Canal, that frees up a lot of sand that can be used in rebuilding
But that`s going to take an effort between the Army Corps of Engineers
and the states, and that`s federal/state, again. So the recovery process
depends on federal/state cooperation.
And I think we`re going to see it. I think New Jersey -- the governor
is intent on bringing New Jersey back. Mayor Bloomberg, who always does
the right thing, is intent on bringing New York back. I think you`re going
to see a great local/state/federal effort to rebuild what`s been shattered.
It`s what Americans do best when we put partisanship aside.
MATTHEWS: And there`s also a difference among the states, David. You
know, the Civil War sort of united the country as a country. But all the
time, everybody -- Oh, I just care about Utah, I just care about Virginia
or something. I don`t think people still think like that. I think there`s
a lot of interest in what happened in New York on 9/11, tremendous national
interest in that.
CORN: Well, what...
MATTHEWS: And in this case.
CORN: What the governor just said cuts against the core philosophy,
in some ways, of the Tea Party and the far right in the Republican Party,
which is you either...
MATTHEWS: So the war`s on for you today. You`re not in the -- you`re
not in the trenches singing Christmas carols right now, are you.
CORN: No, no, because what I think -- I think, as we look ahead, we
have to be realistic here. And while you and I and the governor believe in
these communal values that unite us and that will guide us as we move
MATTHEWS: And federal values.
CORN: ... federal values -- you know, he was talking about a
federal/state partnership. There are some -- and I think Paul Ryan`s in
this camp, I`m not sure Mitt Romney is...
MATTHEWS: Well, Romney said we ought to defund FEMA, period.
CORN: You privatize, you let states do this, and you let people take
care of it on their own.
MATTHEWS: Look at that boat out there!
CORN: I think we see a real difference, and we`re going to be
fighting over these federal recovery issues, I think, for some time to come
because as the governor described it, it is a massive job...
MATTHEWS: Well, let`s talk about the Army...
CORN: ... rebuilding the coastline.
MATTHEWS: ... Corps of Engineers. Let me -- here`s some more
pictures from this afternoon. With Governor Christie looking on, the
president promised to cut through bureaucracy for states and local
Take a look at how he handled this. This -- I wish he`d been doing a
lot more of this before. Look at how he handles this sort of meat-and-
potatoes government work and the way he describes it here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: What I can promise you is that the federal government will be
working as closely as possible with the state and local officials, and we
will not quit until this is done. And the directive that I`ve given and
I`ve said this yesterday, but I will repeat -- and I think Craig and others
who are working with me right now know I mean it -- we are not going to
tolerate red tape. We`re not going to tolerate bureaucracy.
And you know, I`ve instituted a 15-minute rule, essentially, on my
team. You return everybody`s phone calls in 15 minutes, whether it`s the
mayor`s, the governor`s, county officials. If they need something, we
figure out a way to say yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: You know, Governor, that is what a lot of people think of
as government. You know, they think of the DMV. They think of where
they`ve been that day and having somebody giving them a hard time,
somebody`s got attitude -- or as in Philly, atty-tood -- about them, coming
into work. And they go, Oh, don`t get in my way. Excuse me, I`m the
citizen. I`m paying for this thing here!
I think that -- that was meat-and-potatoes politics, I thought, from
the president -- 15-minute rule on answering the phone -- because you know,
as a pol, there`s been a critique of this president over the last four
years about not being so quick to respond to other pols when they call.
You know that.
RENDELL: Yes. And he did the right thing. And by the way,
emergencies require different and new and sometimes emergency actions, and
the president`s right to activate that.
I want to say one thing about what you said about the national feeling
here. When Katrina happened, I got a call the day after from Haley
Barbour, the Republican governor from Mississippi, who of course, is a
friend of mine. And he said, I need Guardsmen. Can you send me Guardsmen?
Pennsylvania had, you know, no nickel in that dime. We`re thousands -
- hundreds of miles away from the Gulf, but we have 20,000 Guardsmen. And
I activated 2,100 and sent them down to Mississippi and to Louisiana.
And the interesting thing, Chris, is, I got tons of letters from
citizens of those states thanking me, but I also got letters from my own
Guardsmen, who said it was the best thing they`ve done since they`ve been
in the National Guard, to help Americans from another area of the country
who were suffering.
And that`s the spirit that takes over, and it`s, as you said, what
makes us a special place.
MATTHEWS: Well, that`s why people like you and they like Haley
Barbour. Thank you, Governor Rendell, and thank you, David Corn. You
never get to be a governor, you don`t know what that`s like.
MATTHEWS: And for the latest on the devastation on the Jersey shore,
we turn to NBC`s Ron Allen, who`s in Point Pleasant. Ron, I was feeling
for you the other night. You were in the dark. You were on that phone. I
thought the Hindenburg had crashed again in New Jersey. What a report you
gave us. You should have that recording for your memoirs, I`m telling you.
Tell us what it looks like today.
RON ALLEN, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, thanks, Chris. Yes, it was quite
a night here, and now the devastation. The other thing is, I think it`s
going to get tougher for a lot of people before it gets better in the short
run. We`ve already heard reports of gas lines forming, people trying to
get fuel for their cars. It`s getting colder here at night, and of course,
a lot of people without power won`t have heat, although the number of
outages has dropped below -- well, it was 2.4 million, now it`s about
500,000 have gotten power back.
And one woman I was talking to said that the only place that`s open
around here is a 7-Eleven and a pizza parlor, and wherever you drive, there
are roadblocks, there are road closures, and there`s a lot of traffic. So
there`s a lot of inconvenience and there`s going to be a lot of hardship
probably in the short term before it gets better.
The other thing I wanted to show you -- you were talking about the
beach earlier. Let me show you what the beach looks like here now. Pan
over in this direction. There used to be a sand dune here that was about,
oh, 12 feet tall, about 30 yards deep. And that was the protective barrier
for this part of the town. That where we were reporting from a couple of
nights ago. And that`s the situation all up and down the shore.
And as you see now, it`s completely gone. And all that sand is in the
town. The streets are covered with maybe two feet of sand several blocks
The other thing is that the ocean today is about -- it`s breaking
about 40 or 50 yards from where I`m standing now, much different from the
other night, of course, when it`s topping here.
So this is what`s normal here. That`s why so many people here now I
think are having a lot of difficulty getting their head around what
happened because it just doesn`t seem to be the kind of place where storms
could get so out of control, get so ferocious and do so much damage so
quickly, in a matter of hours because the ocean was literally rushing down
the street to the city. And as I said the other night, the water was waist
deep at times and it was moving very fast. So now you also have a lot of
The other thing that`s happening is that this part of the -- this part
of the state, state, there`s a lot of inland waterways, rivers. There`s a
bay on the other side. And all those -- all that water came together.
That`s what caused the flooding. And now that water`s not going anywhere,
and that`s why there`s going to be a lot of misery and suffering here for a
long time to come.
MATTHEWS: OK, thank you so much for the daytime report now. It`s
great having you in both times of day. Ron Allen in Point Pleasant beach
on the Jersey shore.
Coming up: Spin game. From the Republicans, Romney`s expanding the
map, he says, advertising now on TV in Michigan and in Pennsylvania and
forcing team Obama, the other side, to play defense. From the Democrats,
Romney can`t find the votes in the battleground states, so he`s throwing
wild passes where he can`t win. The new polls out today suggest the
Democrats are right, this is a distraction, not a reality.
Also, that Romney Jeep advertisement we told you about yesterday was
so dishonest, so misleading that Chrysler and GM executives themselves are
pushing back. People expect politicians to trim the truth a bit, but it`s
possible that Mitt Romney has just crossed a line that not even the most
uninformed voters will accept, that Jeep is moving to China.
And look who`s back, Joe Isuzu, speaking of dishonesty, this time
campaigning, kinda, for Mitt Romney.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m Joe Isuzu. Guys, vote for Mitt Romney and
you`ll get a free binder full of women! You have my word on it!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, in case you missed that, it`s a spoof, sort of, and
it`s in the "Sideshow." Joe Isuzu is back.
Finally, "Let Me Finish" with the best way to fight people who play
racial politics -- get out there and vote.
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: We`ve got new national polls on the presidential race.
Let`s check the HARDBALL "Scoreboard."
First, the new "Washington Post"/ABC poll shows Mitt Romney with a 1-
point lead now, 49-48. A new "New York Times"/CBS poll has the president
up 1, 48 to 47. And a new NPR poll has Romney up 48 to 47, again 1 point.
But the NPR poll also finds that President Obama has a 4-point lead in
the 12 battleground states, 50 to 46, where it matters.
We`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID AXELROD, OBAMA CAMPAIGN SENIOR ADVISER: I will come on "MORNING
JOE" and I will shave off my mustache of 40 years if we lose any of those
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. That was, of course, David
Axelrod, famous for his mustache -- he`s with the Obama campaign --
sounding very bullish, I should say, on their chances, Obama`s chances of
carrying Michigan, Minnesota, and of course, Pennsylvania.
Well, these three states haven`t been given much time or attention by
the media or by the money spenders until lately. And that`s because the
Romney camp and their cohorts in the super-PAC world announced they`re now
going to start advertising there. They`re pouring in over 4 million bucks
in Pennsylvania, $2 million in Michigan and about a million in Minnesota.
Well, the Obama campaign has said they`re going to match all that, go to
the airwaves to match up with that.
What we`re watching is two sides probably both spinning their case.
Republicans say they`re seizing new opportunities. In other words, they`re
going to win swing states, but also win these. Democrats say the Romney
camp knows they`ve lost steam in that seven-battleground-state area, and
they`ve got to go looking for some other where -- some other chance to move
Right now, let`s bring in Erin McPike now and James Peterson. Erin
McPike, of course, is with -- Erin McPike is with RealClearPolitics and
James Peterson is a Lehigh professor and Grio contributor.
Let me start with Erin, who`s been out there in Ohio. Give me a
sense, is that state pretty much Obama territory now?
ERIN MCPIKE, REALCLEARPOLITICS.COM: We think that it is. And all of
the national -- or excuse me, the Ohio public polls show that, yes,
President Obama is leading. He lost a little bit of ground, but he`s made
that back up again.
But one thing I would point out, Chris, is that the Obama campaign is
seeing very different internal polling than the Romney campaign is seeing.
Republicans told me earlier this week that last week, their polls showed
Mitt Romney up 4 to 5 points in Ohio.
By Monday, Mitt Romney was leading President Obama in these Ohio
Republican internal polls by just 1 point. So they`ve seen his numbers go
The Obama campaign tells me that he`s consistently led two to four
points in their internal polling. So, you might say that it`s spin, but
these two campaigns are seeing very different data. And that`s why they`re
arguing these cases that -- that they are.
MATTHEWS: Do you trust these people?
MATTHEWS: You know -- no, Erin, do you trust these people that are
giving you these numbers? I mean, are they just giving you numbers, or do
you really believe them? I mean, which of these people are the most
MCPIKE: I do. I mean...
MATTHEWS: ... when it comes to numbers when you match them up against
MCPIKE: Well, one of the things that the Romney campaign was
suggesting just about an hour ago on a conference call that they had, the
Romney pollster, Neil Newhouse, was saying that he doesn`t buy some of
these national polls because he was just pointing out the Quinnipiac/"New
York Times" poll, and said that was weighted more heavily toward registered
voters than likely voters, and thought that it sort of overshowed a little
bit of enthusiasm for Democrats.
And I keep hearing this over and over again from Republicans, Chris,
and that is, they don`t believe that Obama voters will turn out as much as
the Obama campaign expects. These sides do believe very different things.
Sure, they`re spinning some, but they do believe different things.
Let me go to -- let me go to James Patterson on this. Let me go to
this -- Peterson -- let me go to this whole question.
JAMES PETERSON, LEHIGH UNIVERSITY: rMD-BO_ Yes.
MATTHEWS: And I may agree with the Republicans to this extent, in
terms of tactics. Everybody`s been talking about these swing states as if
the tail can wag the dog. Somehow, if you win the swing states, you affect
the whole rest of the country in doing so, when in fact that`s the residue.
That`s the result of the whole -- the way the country goes. It ends up
being close in certain states.
But if you spend all your advertising money and all your grassroots,
all your social media, and you focus it all on Ohio, that doesn`t help you
win in Pennsylvania. It doesn`t help you in Minnesota or Michigan. So,
I`m wondering whether they got the thing wrong, possibly, the Obama people,
by putting all their faith in winning those seven states or most of them.
What do you think?
PETERSON: Oh. Well, I think that because of the Electoral College,
elections -- presidential elections have to focus on swing states and have
to focus on these emerging purple states, because, as it turns out, they do
-- the elections sometimes do hinge on them.
This election does seem to hinge on these particular swing states.
The reason why the polling is so confusing, Chris, is because sometimes
national polls don`t take into effect the fact that we have an Electoral
College, don`t take into effect that some of these swing states will be
singularly determinative in terms of the presidential election. And so
that`s why we`re getting all this conflict around.
That`s why the internal polls for each campaign might be different
from what some of those external polls are. But the external polls are
pretty clear on Ohio in terms of the president`s lead. It`s been pretty
substantial so far.
PETERSON: And it`s also been pretty clear for quite some time that
Pennsylvania, although it is a truly purple state, is leaning towards Obama
at this point in time.
MATTHEWS: Well, let`s take a look at those three states everybody
will agree are in hot pursuit right now. Let`s take a look at them.
Now that -- look at the three of the states. There`s Ohio. Let`s
keep going. Keep going. Polls from Quinnipiac -- no, I can`t see these
numbers here. "The New York Times" and CBS -- over Mitt Romney in Ohio by
five point. In Virginia, the president has a two-point lead, 49-47.
MATTHEWS: Florida is the closest. President Obama is up one point
over Romney, 48-47.
So there you see it, Erin. These states -- they all show Obama up.
I`m wondering, is that a consistent mood? Obviously, the Romney people
don`t buy that.
And, look, we are seeing a little bit of a swing back toward President
Obama. One thing I will say about the storm, about Sandy, is that
President Obama is going to be continuing to get positive national media
coverage this week. And that could help independents swing back his
The thing I will tell you about being on the ground here in Ohio,
Chris, is that Mitt Romney is getting pounded by the local press in
northern Ohio for that Chrysler ad that he`s been running, and it hasn`t
come off the air yet. It hasn`t come off radio yet either.
MATTHEWS: Has anybody said it`s an honest ad? Erin, has anybody said
it`s an honest ad that you know of in the objective media? Anybody said
it`s an honest ad?
MCPIKE: Certainly not the media in northern Ohio, not the Toledo
papers, the Akron papers, the Cleveland papers.
They are all pounding Mitt Romney for that. And here`s the thing,
Chris. Northern Ohio, especially Cleveland and Toledo, will go very
heavily for President Obama. Cincinnati, where I am sitting right now,
will go heavily for Mitt Romney.
What we need to watch on election night is Columbus, where Franklin
County is, because we have been seeing the Romney campaign very heavily in
Central Ohio in and around Columbus. We are going to see President Obama
go there on Friday. That`s the area that could make up the difference come
James Peterson, last thought here. There is a pattern now of real
dishonesty on the part of the Romney campaign ads. They`re out there
saying that Romney`s been accused of outlawing birth control,
contraception. Nobody`s ever accused him of that. They have said that
he`s not supporting the right of women to have it covered in their health
Why are they putting out these desperate ads, like Jeeps going to
China and women are under attack for buying birth control pills? It`s an
absurdity. Who would be so uninformed as to believe these ads?
PETERSON: Well, Chris, that`s a different question. There are such a
thing as uninformed voters, and that`s fine, that`s part of our process.
But you know this is the silly season. You know this, Chris. You
have studied many more elections than I have. This is the silly season.
And that`s why you get that kind of desperation. It`s kind of strange,
though, because I`m not sure if they`re making the appeal to the right
demographics in the states they need to make these certain appeals to.
MATTHEWS: Yes. OK.
PETERSON: It seems strange they have the stroller ad here in P.A.,
and doubly strange for them to have that fake sort of Chrysler ad in the
very state where people have benefited most from the president`s auto
So, it just seems strategically like there`s a few mismatches here.
MATTHEWS: Yes, I think that women have enough reason to vote against
Romney, without adding up reasons that he says they have against him.
PETERSON: They do. There`s been too much playing around with -- with
the politics of women`s health issues and rape and all this other stuff.
That`s alienating a lot of suburban white women voters and a lot of black -
- and a lot of women voters across the board, actually.
MATTHEWS: OK. Thank you so much, James Peterson of the Great Lehigh
University, the engineers.
And, Erin McPike, thank you from RealClearPolitics.
Up next: Joe Isuzu is back, campaigning for Mitt Romney, sort of.
You don`t want him too much on your side.
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL. Now to the "Sideshow."
First: the return of Miguel Bloombito.
MATTHEWS: New York`s Mayor Michael Bloomberg took center and front
several times this week to keep New Yorkers informed about Hurricane Sandy
and its aftermath.
As he`s done in the past, Bloomberg, quite admirably, I think,
addressed Spanish-speaking New Yorkers directly. The problem? Well, some
think Bloomberg`s linguistic skills are lacking. You take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (I), MAYOR OF NEW YORK: (SPEAKING SPANISH)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Wow. Anyway, room for improvement maybe.
Well, those recent press conferences sparked the resurgence of the El
Bloombito Twitter feed, which spoofs the experience of listening to the
mayor speaking exercise en Espanol.
Take this about to evacuate before the storm hit -- quote -- "If tu
need to vamos anywhere use un cab de gypsy or un glider de hang."
Anyway, you get the drift
Next: Remember pitch man Joe Isuzu and those commercials where it
seemed like he would say anything to get you to buy an Isuzu?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: The Isuzu pup, so incredible, a Supreme Court
justice is here to verify our claim. Each Isuzu pickup is built tough, so
you can drive it forever, and so inexpensive, you can buy one with your
And now with generous factory incentives, buy one and you will get one
free. You have our word on it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, believe it or not, Joe Isuzu is making a comeback in
the form of pitching Mitt Romney and some more of his questionable campaign
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If I`m president, I will
create 12 million new jobs in this country. There`s nothing better for
getting us to a balanced budget than having more people working, earning
more money, paying more taxes.
The revenue I get is by more people working, getting higher pay,
paying more taxes. That`s how we get growth and how we balance the budget.
The reason I`m in this race is there are people that are really
hurting today in this country. I will not, under any circumstances, raise
taxes on middle-income families. I will lower taxes on middle-income
We didn`t cut Medicare. Of course, we don`t have Medicare, but we
didn`t cut Medicare. We care for those that have difficulties. Those that
are elderly and have problems and challenges, those that are disabled, we
care for them.
I`m not familiar precisely with exactly what I said, but I stand by
what I said, whatever it was.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: That was brilliant.
Anyway, those ads were created and brought to us by humorous Martin
Lewis. The actor, by the way, David Leisure, who was Joe Isuzu, was happy
to be part of the project. And you can see that.
Up next: Mitt Romney`s grossly dishonest Jeep ad is so misleading
that, as I said, Chrysler and GM executives themselves are pushing back
hard against Romney`s trickery here. And it may be a bridge too far for
Romney. Sometimes, you go too far. And that`s ahead.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
HAMPTON PEARSON, CNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Hampton Pearson with your
CNBC "Market Wrap."
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg reopened the New York Stock Exchange
today, after an historic two-day shutdown because of Hurricane Sandy. The
stock exchange ran on backup generators without a problem. By the closing
bell, the Dow and the Nasdaq were each down 11 points. The S&P 500 was up
just a fraction. And Facebook shares dropped nearly 4 percent today on
this first day Facebook employees can sell their stock in the company.
That`s it from CNBC, first in business worldwide -- now back to
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: GM is back.
Chrysler is the fastest-growing automaker in the world. And what`s
happened? What`s Ryan and Romney`s response? Desperation. Desperation.
In the last hours of this campaign -- I just came from Ohio. In the
last hours of this campaign, if you can believe it, they`re running the
most scurrilous ad in Ohio. And I mean this. I want you to listen, one of
the most fragrantly dishonest ads I can ever remember in my political
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
That was, of course, Vice President Biden referring to the
advertisement we talked about in yesterday`s show in which the Romney
campaign leaves the distinct impression, I would say, the false impression
that General Motors and Chrysler will send American jobs overseas to China.
Here`s part of the Romney ad.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NARRATOR: Obama took GM and Chrysler into bankruptcy and sold
Chrysler to Italians, who are going to build Jeeps in China. Mitt Romney
will fight for every American job.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, this is not the first time a Romney ad has spread a
falsehood. Think of the ads that misled on Romney`s position on
contraception, and the erroneous ad that said that President Obama ended
the work requirement for welfare.
By the way, that ad is still running. But this time, he messed with
the wrong group, the auto industry himself. A General Motors spokesman
condemned the ad of Romney, saying -- quote -- "We have clearly entered
some parallel universe during these last few days. No amount of campaign
politics at its cynical worst will diminish our record of creating jobs in
the United States and repatriating profits back to this country."
And the CEO of Chrysler sent an e-mail to all of its employees that
said: "Chrysler Group`s production plans for the Jeep brand have become the
focus of public debate. I feel obliged to unambiguously restate our
position. Jeep production will not be moved from the United States to
China. It`s inaccurate to suggest anything different."
Steve Rattner was formerly the Obama administration`s auto adviser.
he was the leader auto adviser, sometimes called the czar. Bill Vlasic is
Detroit bureau chief for "The New York Times" and author of "Once Upon a
Car: The Fall and Resurrection of America`s Big Three Automakers, GM, Ford
Let me start with Bill.
Bill, your thoughts about this -- I mean, I read the commercial. I
see how cleverly it`s written and how it could literally true, but how it
delivers a message that Obama basically brought down the Big Three, brought
down two of them at least, Chrysler and Jeep, and that he`s moving jobs out
of Detroit and out of the United States.
I think both those claims are false. What is your view, in fact,
objective reporting on that?
BILL VLASIC, DETROIT BUREAU CHIEF, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Well, it`s
very unusual for General Motors and Chrysler, first off, to respond to a
Both companies were bailed out and have turned their fortunes around
since -- since their bankruptcies. And I think they both took a vow of
silence during this political campaign and to try and stay as far away from
the partisan politics at possible.
But, as one GM executive told me, this ad crossed a line. It was, as
they said, too outrageous and misleading for them not to respond to. The
fact is, General Motors has been building vehicles in China for many years.
It`s one of the largest carmakers in China.
But no automakers sell cars made in the United States into China
because of import duties and the costs associated with that. On the
Chrysler side, it`s troubling that they would attack Jeep, which has sort
of been the cornerstone of Chrysler`s comeback, and Toledo, Ohio, and
Detroit, Michigan, where they are adding jobs, shifts in the plants, and
making more Jeeps than ever before and can`t keep them in stock long
So, to suggest that they need to go elsewhere to build their Jeeps is
false. And the fact of the matter is, in the global auto industry today,
particularly in China, the mantra is: build them where you sell them.
So this idea that somehow American jobs are at risk because of
Chinese production, really doesn`t add up.
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Let me go to Steve Rattner. I think for the
people in the distant following this, the big decision that Obama had to
make, and you had to make as one of his officers was what? What was the
key philosophical or governmental choice that had to be made on your watch,
to save the American auto industry, and the way to save it?
STEVE RATTNER, FORMER OBAMA CAR CZAR: Of course there was a broad
question of whether government should intervene at all in the private
sector and the industrial sector, which even those of us who are Democrats,
are very loathe to see happen. Once we crossed that threshold, the really
tough decision the president had to make was whether to save Chrysler or
Chrysler was the number three company. It was only operating in
North America. It didn`t have a single car on the "Consumer Reports" most
Many of the president`s advisers felt that the government should not
be in the business of saving losing companies and I agreed with that view,
or sympathized with it, anyway.
And the reason the president came down the other way was because we
had available to us this partnership with Fiat. And specifically, the CEO
of Fiat, Sergio Marchionne, who we thought was a world class, and the fit
between the two companies was fabulous, and we thought that he could turn
around Chrysler, and he has done all of those things.
So, I think all of us who are involved with this could not be more
delighted about the partnership with Fiat, as opposed to being critical of
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you, Bill, as you cover this, to explain the
geography of the American auto production center. It`s in Detroit.
How much of it -- what states really are involved in it, besides
Ohio, we`ve heard a lot about. Where is the sort of the leviathan, if you
will, of the American industry? Where does it spread to? Where do we
build our cars?
VLASIC: Well, it`s the national industry. The big three automakers,
G.M., Ford, and Chrysler still have the bulk of their American production
in the Midwest. Ohio, Michigan, some in Illinois. But it`s in Kansas
City, in Texas. There used to be plants in Georgia and Missouri.
As we all know, the industry has shrunk quite a bit in recent years,
part of the problem, which General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler has added too
many plants and too few buyers. So, the industry has gone through a
tremendous restructuring. But it is a national industry, and, of course,
the Japanese automakers and the German automakers are concentrated on the
southern states -- Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama.
MATTHEWS: And they build their cars here to sell here, right? They
build their cars here, mainly, right?
VLASIC: Every major automaker, if they`re successful, tries to build
as many cars as they can in the market in which they`re selling them. And
that`s no different, if it`s the U.S. or Europe, or China, for that matter.
And China has the additional qualifications of -- the Chinese
government requires any automaker that`s making cars there, to have a
partner in China, and pretty much, discourages imports into China, by
slapping large tariffs and duties on cars. So, they sell Jeeps in any
volume need to be made there.
MATTHEWS: Thank you. That settles it, because the issue now is
whether Jeeps are building Jeeps in America, for Americans, they clearly
are. The company has made that clear, the Chrysler Company which makes
Jeeps said they`re making all their cars here. That the ad run by Romney
Here`s the Romney ad defending the auto ad. They`re defending it,
which had been denounced by auto company leaders.
"The New York Times" reports, quote, "The Romney campaign has
insisted that its ad merely states the truth. Quote, `Jeeps are not
currently made in China and soon will be, creating jobs there instead of at
home. It would be better if they expanded production in the United States,
instead of expanding in China,` said Stuart Stevens, the senior adviser to
Well, a G.M. spokesman responded to this saying, quote, "That is
absolutely bereft of any fundamental understanding of the global automotive
industry. All global manufacturers, whether General Motors, Ford,
Chrysler, or VW, build historically in the markets in which we sell."
Steve Rattner, last, just to nail this down, it seems to me, the
reality is, beyond all the nonsense and the ads put out by Romney to get
votes, is that we build Jeeps in this country for people to buy them in
this country, as I have done, and we build Jeeps in China for Chinese
people to buy, and that`s the way it`s been, it`s the way it will be,
according to all future plans.
RATTNER: Yes. And I think both you and bill and what you have just
read from the G.M. spokesman have made that very clear. Cars are being
made close to people who buy them. Now, as it happens, we do actually
export Jeeps a reasonable of Jeeps at the moment, because it is such an
iconic brand and of such demand worldwide.
And what Sergio Marchionne committed was that Jeep Wranglers, that
particular Jeep product, will only be made in Toledo for the foreseeable
future. And any Jeep Wranglers that are bought around the world, and as I
said, it is an iconic brand, will be exported from the U.S.
But we do want these companies to make cars close to where their
customers are. We want Chrysler to be profitable. We want General Motors
to be profitable. And these are all good things, not bad things, from the
standpoint of the American taxpayer and the American citizens.
MATTHEWS: And I own a Wrangler, my daughter owns a Wrangler.
They`re great cars.
Anyway, thank you very much, Bill Vlasic of "The New York Times", and
Steve Rattner, who was the car czar.
Up next, much more on the aftermath of hurricane Sandy and the
devastation it caused along the Eastern Seaboard. There are some more
This is -- that`s Hoboken, I think. This is HARDBALL, the place for
MATTHEWS: We`ve got some new "New York Times"/CBS/Quinnipiac poll
numbers in three key Senate races. Let`s check the HARDBALL scoreboard.
We start in Virginia, where Democrat Tim Kaine is leading Republican
George Allen by just four. Kaine, 50, Allen, 46.
In Ohio, Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown has a nine-point lead over
Republican challenger Josh Mandel. Brown is up 51 to 42.
And catch this in Florida, Democratic Senator Bill Nelson keeps
coming back. He`s got a big lead over Republican Connie Mack. It`s Nelson
52, Mack, 39. By the way, that`s a Mack, he`s son of Connie Mack. And
that`s a 13-point lead for the Democrat.
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: We`re back.
One of the areas hit hardest by hurricane Sandy is Hoboken, New
Jersey, home of Frank Sinatra. It`s just across the river there. You can
see it from -- of course, the Hudson, from downtown Manhattan. It`s a
commuter community and one square mile below sea level.
It`s flooded now with a combination of rainwater, sewage, fuel, and
live wires. Of course, there`s still some live electric wires. With us
right now from Hoboken is Katy Tur.
Katy, thank you for joining us. You`ve been standing on that street
now for a while, look out for those live wires. Let me -- tell us what the
situation is in terms of the flooding because we can see it all around you.
KATY TUR, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: The flooding is still pretty bad.
It`s receded in parts of the city, because they have these industrial
things, pumps and vacuum trucks going right now. The water has actually
receded quite a bit since we`ve been here. It`s gone down a couple inches.
But it`s still pretty flooded across this area. You have to remember
-- even though you`re only seeing it up to my shins here, there`s water in
basements all across this city. The water table is really high. So in
order to get all of that out, they are going to be pumping for two days.
There`s -- excuse me -- 500 million gallons of water that they need
to get out of the city, 500 million gallons, Chris, in one square mile.
The mayor of the city, Dawn Zimmer, says that it will take two days to do
that. They`ve been pumping all day today. So, hopefully, by the end of
the day tomorrow, they`ll almost be there.
Also in terms of power, we are getting questions from people about
when will power come on here. They`ve been without power since Monday
night and everyone wants to think that once this water is gone, that maybe
they`ll have lights, they`ll be able to charge their cell phones, their
refrigerators will work, their lives will start getting back to normal.
Unfortunately, PSE&G, the electric company around here, told the
mayor that it could take seven to 10 days. They are hoping it isn`t that
long but they want everyone to prepare for it.
The National Guard was here. They have been here all day. They were
rescuing the elderly and the sick and people who needed to get out of their
homes because of emergencies, who needed immediate care. They have been
doing that all day long.
If people did not need to leave their houses and there are a number
of people here who are staying in their homes, the National Guard is
bringing in supply. They are bringing in food. They are bringing in
water. Generators, if they can find them, and anything to get someone who
has to stay inside without power for a week`s time.
That being said, they still need a lot of help. The mayor just had a
news briefing out here which actually turned into a town hall of sorts.
About 100 people from all across the city came and watched to see what was
She said they need generators, they need boats, they need batteries,
they need water, they need food, they need supplies, they need the town`s
people to come and help where they can. They also need volunteers.
You are getting a lot of people in this town volunteering their time
to help out, which is such a good thing to see when there are disasters
like this, Chris. The other big concern here other than the water and not
having power and the fact that it`s flooded and there`s damage, what`s
actually in this water.
You mentioned as you were throwing to me, that there`s sewage,
there`s heating oil, there`s debris, there`s waste. There`s all sorts of
junk within this water that is just not safe.
If you pan down, I don`t know how easy it is to see because the
lights have been going down, but there`s a sheen all over this water.
That`s heating oil and that`s gasoline, and that is not safe to walk in and
we`ve seen a number of people all day long leaving their houses because
they`ve been stuck inside for 2 1/2 days to go get supplies.
Unfortunately, they don`t have waders or boots and some of them are
trying to do makeshift trash bags around their ankles but others are just
leaving barefoot and that`s the last thing you want to do in this water
because you can get sick from it.
So, the mayor is trying to tell people not to do that. She`s not
being so successful because people need to get out. They need to get their
supplies -- Chris.
MATTHEWS: Katy, you know, you sound like -- it reminds me of
completely, although the weather is different, of New Orleans, where you
had that same muck in the water and the reporting here is amazing. I
didn`t know that Hoboken was below sea level.
A good part of the city is actually year round below the level of the
TUR: That`s what`s amazing about Hoboken. Every time it rains, this
place floods. Every time there`s a large downpour, it floods.
I used to work at WNBC local, we were here every spring when it got
to be really rainy out here and it flooded. This is not like anything that
they have seen, though. This is much worse.
MATTHEWS: Yes, it looks like it.
TUR: And the idea that it`s going to take two days to get out is
actually quite remarkable.
MATTHEWS: Great reporting by NBC`s Katy Tur in Hoboken, New Jersey.
When we return, let me finish with something serious, too, the best
way to fight against ugly, racial politics. We`re going to tell you how to
do it. It basically comes down to one word: get out there and vote
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this. I`m hoping that this
focus on the weather and what we face together will remove some of the
manmade poison out of this election. You know, the Donald Trump stuff, the
Sununu nastiness, the ethnic card that gets played under the table.
I think it`s vital that none of that gets in the way next week for
the same reason that none of that all bad stuff is having anything to do
with what we`re doing things this week. Together -- all of us in this
together, working together, worrying together, facing it together,
especially in New Jersey where my family spent so many summers growing up.
As people go to vote, know of one great antidote to the bad words
spoke in this election season, the efforts to suppress voting in states
like Pennsylvania, for example. And that anecdote is to get out there and
vote yourself, vote like your life depends on it, get your kids and
relatives and good friends to vote, like their lives depend on it, no
excuses, no reasons, no screw-ups, no distractions, nothing can get in your
There are two choices in this election. Vote for Obama, you don`t
get Romney. Vote for Romney, you don`t get Obama. All the rest, all of
the distractions and Mickey Mousing comes down to this -- will you, you,
the person you are in your soul be counted? If not, I just don`t know a
good thing to say to you. This one counts for history.
And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
"POLITICS NATION" with Al Sharpton starts right now.
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