November 2, 2012
Guests: Sherrod Brown, David Catanese, Claire McCaskill, Frank Pallone, Cynthia Tucker
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: How close?
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.
"Let Me Start" with this. President Obama`s got a spring in his step
this Friday before the election, propelled by a good week on the job and
171,000 new jobs in this morning`s report. He`s out there in Ohio fighting
the good fight.
I only make predictions when people make me make them, but the
trajectory, the momentum, now seems pro-Obama. Pennsylvania will hold.
Ohio looks good but close. And all the battlegrounds look winnable for the
president. The huge question is turnout, that and rational self-interest.
The young who believe in science, women who believe in protecting
their rights, Latinos who can see a brighter future with a supportive
president all need to get out, show up and vote. There`s no reward for a
failure. In a free society, a democratic society, it`s simply a failure,
deeply personal. You blew it if you don`t vote.
Let`s see where it stands right now. I`m joined by "Mother Jones"
Washington bureau chief David Corn and Joy Reid with TheGrio.com.
Do you think I`m a little strong there? It`s what I...
JOY REID, THEGRIO.COM, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: No!
MATTHEWS: I don`t want to talk to anybody after this election if they
haven`t bothered to vote!
Anyway, with four days to go, President Obama and Mitt Romney made
their closing arguments today at multiple stops in Ohio and Wisconsin.
Take a look at some of the sights and sounds from this day of campaigning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In this campaign, he`s
tried as hard as he can to repackage -- to repackage these same policies
and offer them up as change.
MITT ROMNEY (R-MA), FMR. GOV., PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Do you want more
of the same or do you want real change?
OBAMA: Giving more power back to the biggest banks -- that`s not
ROMNEY: And we bring real change!
OBAMA: Another $5 trillion tax cut that favors the wealthy -- that`s
ROMNEY: President Obama has tried to convince folks that these last
four years have been a success.
OBAMA: By the way, when you try to change the facts just because
they`re inconvenient to your campaign, that`s definitely not change..
ROMNEY: Wants to take all the ideas from the first term -- you know,
the stimulus, the borrowing, "Obama care," all the rest -- and then go back
and do it all over again!
OBAMA: You may be frustrated sometimes at the pace of change, but you
know what I believe!
ROMNEY: We`re four days away from a fresh start, four days away from
the first day of a new beginning!
OBAMA: You know that I`ll fight for you and your families every
single day as hard as I know how. You know that!
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: We got Joy (ph).
REID: I was going to answer (ph) that.
MATTHEWS: Joy Reid, our new friend, and my old friend, David Corn.
Thank you both for joining us.
You know, I just love the fact that everybody knows the stakes are
enormous. It`s how people react over the weekend. These signals aren`t
just where they`re at, they`re being radiated on the nightly news, on this
And let me ask you -- aren`t you impressed by Romney, who`s often very
stiff and overdressed...
MATTHEWS: ... he never unbuttons his tie or whatever...
MATTHEWS: ... shirt -- loosens his tie -- more dressed up than ever.
Obama wearing the grandfather cardigan or whatever he`s got on -- I love
that kind of sweater, my wife hates it.
DAVID CORN, "MOTHER JONES," MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: FDR!
REID: No, I mean, Romney looks like he`s going to a board meeting. I
don`t get it. And he sounds -- he doesn`t exactly sound like a guy giving
a rousing rally. He sounds like somebody who`s, you know, in a
MATTHEWS: So what`s with the president of the United States with that
costume on today? That`s so interesting.
REID: He`s doing "cool Obama." He needs the young vote.
MATTHEWS: Is that what that is?
REID: I guess he`s being casual Obama because you know what? I think
right now, I`d rather be Barack Obama than Mitt Romney, if you look at the
polls. His campaign feels pretty good about Where they are, and so he`s
sort of enjoying this...
MATTHEWS: I get up this morning, I started clocking in around 8:00
this morning. I started clocking minute to minute to minute to get the
jobless number. Then I go -- I did say this before, and I said if it`s
underrated, it`s OK for Obama. If it`s up a tick, it`s OK. But I didn`t
think the good news would be 171,000 new jobs, which is way above the
125,000 predicted. And now we have three months of 170,000-plus each.
CORN: You notice...
MATTHEWS: So it is starting to go up substantially.
CORN: And if you compare it to what happened when -- you know, when -
- four years ago, I think they lost 400,000 jobs or so this month -- it is
change for the better. I notice...
MATTHEWS: I`d say!
CORN: I notice today there was a lot less arguing about these jobs
numbers than there have been the last...
MATTHEWS: Oh, you spoke too soon!
MATTHEWS: Someone who wasn`t pleased with the jobs report was Mitt
Romney. Here he is with a statement. The candidate said, quote -- this is
a statement, not out loud...
MATTHEWS: ... "Today`s increase in the unemployment rate is a sad
remainder that the economy is at a virtual standstill."
MATTHEWS: Creating 171,000 jobs a month.
MATTHEWS: ... not the strongest knock.
REID: Ronald Reagan proved that it`s about trajectory, the trajectory
of the jobs numbers. Do people feel like the economy is getting better?
Number one. Do they see overall in the macroeconomy things look better and
in their personal lives?
If you look in states that matter, places like Ohio, where the economy
has gotten substantially better and they can pinpoint why -- they can point
to that auto bailout. If you`re in Michigan, if you`re in Ohio, you can
point to a reason why, and that reason why has got Barack Obama`s name on
CORN: I mean, if you listen to the little clips we played at the
beginning of this, it did sound as if Barack Obama feels energized and Mitt
MATTHEWS: Well, that`s obvious. That`s apparent.
CORN: He was going through the motions. And I think...
MATTHEWS: OK, let`s go -- let`s go to the facts here we got on the
table there. I love the atmospherics, and that`s why I wanted to start
Let`s go to this peaking question. Dick Nixon, Richard Nixon -- and
he was a smart politician, as they go, and he used to believe -- he didn`t
want to run all out. He never said, Run all out. You`re exhausted by
MATTHEWS: Then the other candidate can peak. He said, You got to
peak at the right time. He almost got Kennedy. He almost caught him. In
fact, he was about three days late. If he had three more days, he might
have caught him.
MATTHEWS: Humphrey almost caught Nixon in `68.
MATTHEWS: These elections go through rhythms. Joy, you know...
REID: Well, if you think about it, Mitt Romney peaked exactly where
John Kerry peaked in 2004...
MATTHEWS: A week out.
REID: ... and that`s in the first debate.
REID: They both had a great first debate, got a great bounce out of
that debate, and then it dissipated. The air came out of the balloon.
MATTHEWS: Slowly dissipated.
REID: Slowly over the course of the campaign and they never could get
that wind back. I think this is...
CORN: I`m not sure that Obama is, you know, peaking at the best
moment, but he`s -- the campaign, particularly in Ohio, seems to have
reached a plateau, this small...
MATTHEWS: Why do you come with this Debbie Downer...
CORN: No, no!
CORN: Let me finish!
MATTHEWS: Are you Irish?
CORN: No, I`m Jewish. It`s close!
MATTHEWS: Dim scenario I`m getting from you.
CORN: But no, I`m saying, in Iowa -- if you look in Ohio, it has
narrowed in the last couple of weeks, but it`s hit this sort of 4 percent
mark, and it hasn`t changed...
MATTHEWS: OK, let`s go to...
CORN: ... very steady but small...
MATTHEWS: OK, let`s go by what Obamney (SIC) thinks -- not Obamney,
Romney thinks. I think these guys know more than we know. Here`s Romney
with Eric Fehrnstrom and all that genius group around him.
CORN: Oh, yes.
MATTHEWS: If he thinks he`s winning, why is he throwing these
mudballs, like, This guy is hanging around with Chavez?
MATTHEWS: Why he throwing mudballs about Jeeps going to China when
it`s not true?
MATTHEWS: Why does he go -- why is he heading to Pennsylvania? Now,
I just checked with Neil Oxman (ph), one of the top consultants...
CORN: Yes. Yes.
MATTHEWS: ... maybe the top consultant in Pennsylvania, today. He
says 4 points to 6 points.
REID: Right. And why...
MATTHEWS: And he says they`d only lose in the weirdest election...
REID: Why are they going to Minnesota? Why are they going to...
MATTHEWS: So he`s suggesting that he`s desperate.
CORN: Well, I think it is. It`s a -- they have had -- their
strategy, their overarching strategy from the beginning has been kitchen
sink. We`ll be everything at all times, we`ll keep throwing things at the
wall, and we`re going to hope that because the economy is not good, people
will vote for Mitt Romney, even though they don`t like him.
CORN: So now at the end of the game, when they`re actually looking at
CORN: ... and they see they just can`t close that gap in Ohio, no
matter what they`ve done -- and I think last week might have even hurt them
REID: Might have?
CORN: They`re just going wherever they can now.
MATTHEWS: ... older reference to the NBA. When you`re behind by 7 or
MATTHEWS: ... you start fouling.
REID: You start fouling...
MATTHEWS: And the reason you foul, you got to get the ball back.
MATTHEWS: Even though you know the other guy gets the foul shot...
MATTHEWS: -and nobody likes the looks of it.
REID: Well, that`s partly because...
CORN: It almost never works.
REID: They built their entire game plan, the Romney campaign, on that
over 8 percent unemployment. Once they lost that -- and that was really
what Mitt Romney was running on -- once you lose that argument, they didn`t
have anyplace else to go. So they went to Welfare reform. They went to
all these other sort of extraneous things...
MATTHEWS: Lying about the work requirement.
REID: ... right -- where they`re basically, like, Let`s just get our
voters angry. Let`s just get them angry. Let`s just get them
uncomfortable. Let`s just prick sort of the worst parts in their nature
and get them to come out because they hate the guy. But the problem is,
not enough Americans hate Barack Obama...
MATTHEWS: Well, I`ll tell you...
MATTHEWS: What I`m impressed by is Obama bringing in the cavalry. He
brought in, first of all, number one, I`ll mention in a minute, but
bringing in Colin Powell. I bumped into him about a month ago, said, Are
you going to endorse or not? And he wouldn`t tell me.
MATTHEWS: ... just at the right time. And then he got Bloomberg
REID: Yes. And by the way...
MATTHEWS: ... apparently because the vice president grabbed him. And
now the biggest endorsement you can get, the best surrogate on this
MATTHEWS: It`s Bill Clinton.
MATTHEWS: ... former president has been all over the country for
Obama. He`s apparently lost his voice, he`s working so hard. Here he was
in Florida today. Let`s take a look. Five stops down there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What President
Obama is saying, look at me, I`m always willing to work with Republicans.
I work with Governor Christie in New Jersey on Sandy. I tried to work with
them on the budget. I tried to work with them on health care. And what
they say is, We`ll work with the Democrats if you put us in charge.
CLINTON: Now, that`s the message, and -- you just have to decide
whether you think that`s a good message.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: There`s Bill out where he likes to be, getting all the
attention, but it`s great.
REID: I will tell you there`s no better surrogate for anybody than
Bill Clinton. He`s very popular in Florida.
But I`ll tell you what else. Bloomberg -- let`s go back to him for a
second. He might as well also be the mayor of Broward County. There are
so many New Yorkers who are dual residents, who are in Florida and New
York. Maybe that New York...
MATTHEWS: You mean they still read "The New York Post" because they
think it`s liberal?
REID: They still read "The New York Post." And I`ll tell you what.
Florida`s got 22 percent independents, people like that who still listen to
Bloomberg, who still listen to Clinton. And that FEMA thing I think is
also going to hurt Romney.
MATTHEWS: Is he as powerful as Dorothy Schipp (ph) used to be? When
she would declare the victor, it was over, right?
CORN: Yes, yes, yes. And listen, Florida may be too far a bridge for
Barack Obama, but by putting Bill Clinton down there, and all the things
you mentioned, it means that the Romney campaign still has to pay attention
to it and they have to fight for it.
MATTHEWS: OK, let`s talk about you brought up here a moment ago.
Let`s look at the "Washington Post" editorial today because it gets to the
question of fouling, of breaking the rules and going -- basically, saying
things that even the totally independent people say is dishonest.
Here it is, quote, "Washington Post` -- "Through all the flip-flops,
there`s been one consistency in the campaign of Republican presidential
nominee Mitt Romney, a contempt for the electorate. How else to explain
his refusal to disclose essential information, how other than an assumption
that voters are too dim to remember what Mr. Romney as said across the
years and months, to account for his breathtaking ideological shifts?
Within limits, all candidates say and do what they have to say and do to
win. Mr. Romney, by contrast, seems to be betting that voters have no
memories, poor arithmetic skills, and a general inability to look behind
There you have your "Wizard of Oz" reference.
REID: A contempt, really, for those voters that -- he`s counting on
those same sort of 47 percent. It`s almost like he`s in "Men in Black" and
he thinks he`s got one of those flashy things where he can just say
something and then completely reverse himself and count on not being called
And I got to tell you also, between fouling and I think that the way
that Mitt Romney has run -- in a lot of ways, if this is the way you can
win a presidency, if he can win this way, I think it says horrible things
about our politics.
MATTHEWS: Well, it does say -- using the word lie. If you`re willing
to completely fool your base...
REID: Your own base.
MATTHEWS: You might do it in -- you might fool everybody.
CORN: He`s lying to the base. He`s lying to the middle. I think one
of the essential questions that will be answered on Tuesday -- I hope it`s
settled on Tuesday -- is does BS work? Can you put out these Jeep ads when
you have the head of Chrysler, the head of GM, you have every newspaper in
-- not every, most newspapers in Ohio on the front page calling you out,
and you just still stick to it come hell or high water?
Neil Newhouse (ph), the pollster for Mitt Romney, put it best in
August when he said, We will not be dictated to by fact checkers. That`s
the type of campaign they`ve run.
CORN: And we`re going to find out on Tuesday...
MATTHEWS: OK, let me...
CORN: ... if this can work.
MATTHEWS: Let me -- let me put another stake in this guy`s heart, OK?
And this is bipartisan, nonpartisan. Jimmy Carter`s problem in the
presidency -- and I worked for him -- came down to this. In the primaries,
he ran as an outsider, as a relatively conservative candidate against four
or five liberals, and won.
MATTHEWS: Then when he got the nomination, he became Eleanor
MATTHEWS: He became a classic liberal -- a Mondale, you know, a
Humphrey. And when he got into office, nobody in the White House knew who
MATTHEWS: He had certain people who thought he was a liberal, certain
people thought he was a conservative. Nobody knew where he stood, and he
never quite got it together.
REID: You`re right. Michele Bachmann (INAUDIBLE)
MATTHEWS: And that`s what happens when you do the two-faced number...
MATTHEWS: ... in sequence.
Anyway, here`s some breaking news from New York. WNBC reports that
the New York Marathon scheduled for Sunday has been canceled. This is a
big decision by Bloomberg. Mayor Bloomberg repeatedly insisted it would be
held despite intense criticism that it would pull police and other
resources away from the recovery effort after Hurricane Sandy.
By the way, the big problem, I believe, was Staten Island.
MATTHEWS: ... big trouble. This was going to be the starting point.
They didn`t want all those people coming out there from all around...
MATTHEWS: ... at the moment they`re trying to deal with a real
problem, like water.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you, David Corn. Thank you, Joy Reid.
Coming up: All eyes are on Ohio. Both candidates are focusing most of
their attention these final days on the Buckeye State. Senator Sherrod
Brown is also fighting to hold his seat out there. We`re going to talk to
him, the senator from Ohio, about the situation in Ohio.
And control of the United States Senate is on the line -- we all know
that -- this Tuesday. And Missouri -- Missouri`s Senator Claire McCaskill
is in one of the most closely watched races. Her opponent is, of course,
Todd Akin. Can she keep the man who separates out "legitimate rape" out of
the Senate? We`ll ask her a little later.
Also, the president`s response to the devastation caused by Sandy
earned him praise from Governor Chris Christie and other East Coast
leaders, including Mayor Bloomberg, who endorsed him yesterday. A recent
poll, by the way, shows that 78 percent of Americans, 4 in 5, also think he
did a good or excellent job dealing with the storm. Well, could the storm
be the pivotal moment, the black swan in the race?
And "Let Me Finish" tonight with the bottom line on this election eve.
And I ask this to everybody, fair question. Is Obama a good president?
Think about it.
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: We`ve got some new polls as we enter the final week of the
campaign. Let`s check the HARDBALL "Scoreboard."
In Ohio, a brand-new CNN poll shows President Obama with a 3-point
lead over Mitt Romney, but he`s at the all-important 50 percent marker, so
it`s 50-47. That`s good for Obama.
In New Hampshire, a new poll from New England College finds President
Obama with a 6-point lead. That`s solid -- 50-44. In Wisconsin, a new
poll from St. Norbert College has the president up 9, 52-43. Wow. That`s
And here`s a poll from that hot Senate race in Indiana. I love this
one. Joe Donnelly of Notre Dame has an 11-point lead over Republican
Richard Mourdock, with the Libertarian candidate at 6 percent. That`s
according to a new Howey-Depauw poll out today. It`s big news for the
Democrats, of course.
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. We`ve gotten to the point in
this campaign where you count hours, not days. And in this remaining
precious time, you can tell where Barack Obama and Mitt Romney think this
race will be won or lost. Just take a look at their travel schedules
through election day.
For the president -- Colorado, Iowa, Wisconsin, Ohio, New Hampshire,
Virginia and Florida, of course. For Governor Romney -- those same seven
states, plus his newly contested addition. He`s going to Pennsylvania.
But zero in on today and you can see what matters most, Ohio, Ohio,
Ohio, as the late Tim Russert would say. Three stops there for the
president and two for Mitt Romney, who began his morning in Wisconsin,
another key Rust Belt battleground.
Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown knows a thing or two about Buckeye State
politics. He`s running for reelection there. And Joan Walsh is Salon`s
editor-at-large and an MSNBC political analyst.
Senator Brown, sir...
SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D), OHIO: Yes, sir?
MATTHEWS: ... you know that state. I think you look like Ohio. I
think you are Ohio.
MATTHEWS: You`re the labor guy. You`re a blue collar kind. You look
like a senator from out there. You remind me of the late Pete Williams of
New Jersey, but you never had his problems.
But this is the question. Why are you having a tough race? I don`t
get this guy running against you, this kid. What is -- what is -- is it
all this money being pumped in there? Or what`s made this even
interesting, not to you, it`s nervous for you. But why is it even
interesting to watch?
BROWN: Well, it`s $31 million. They spent more money against me than
any Senate race in the country by far. They don`t have to disclose it, but
we figure -- it`s about $2 million a week now. We figure it`s oil company
money and Wall Street money and...
MATTHEWS: Is this the -- is this Americans for Prosperity, the Koch
BROWN: Well, it`s all different groups. It`s not -- it`s not a
super-PAC, it`s something called 501(c)(4) (INAUDIBLE) but it`s not
disclosed money. It`s directed by Karl Rove. I mean, he`s directing the
choir, and this group comes in...
MATTHEWS: Oh, Crossroads GPS! Crossroads GPS. I know it well.
BROWN: Yes. It`s 45,000 ads so far. There are eight groups right
now in the state together running -- I mean, eight individual groups
running ads. And you know, the only way you fight that is grass roots.
And we`ve got a great grass roots operation. At Sherrodbrown.com,
people can join us. We`ve got lots of people that have done everything
from small contributions to knocking on doors and doing phone banks. And
that`s how you beat this kind of money. I mean, it`s the only way a
progressive populist Democrat in a state as tough as Ohio wins, is you
fight back that way.
MATTHEWS: Let me bring in Joan here. Joan, you`re in the blogosphere
very well, and everybody knows you and trusts you. And you watch it. I
mean, there`s some people (INAUDIBLE) fringe. But there`s some things I
keep worrying about. Ohio is one I worry about.
I wonder about the secretary of state out there. I wonder about the
stumble we had last time with Diebold that people kept questioning,
including the -- I`m talking about 2004, when there was real questions
about the count out in Ohio. And what do you see? What do you see as a
possible -- we`ve got 650 Obama lawyers in Cuyahoga County being on the
lookout for any kind of monkey business out there. What are you hearing?
WALSH: Well, I think that the Obama has...
MATTHEWS: In terms of trouble.
WALSH: There may be trouble. You know, I think that we`re all
worried about voter suppression. We`re somewhat worried about Diebold.
We`re really worried about getting the ground game out, but the ground game
is excellent, Chris.
And I feel optimistic. I don`t -- it`s not a slam dunk, but you`re
right. Senator Brown`s race should not be close. He`s amazing, he`s
excellent, but they have thrown a lot of money at it and they got very
cocky after John Kasich won the governorship.
But the optimistic and positive thing I want to say is, a year ago, a
year-and-a-half ago, the Obama administration, the White House, the
campaign was looking for a way to win back the White House without Ohio.
They were very concerned about Ohio. They were looking at the Sun Belt as
being better than the Rust Belt.
And now the Rust Belt is coming through for the president.
MATTHEWS: I agree.
WALSH: And it really is white working-class voters who are doing much
better for the president, much more behind the president than they are in
most other places in the country.
And I think Senator Brown can talk to that.
MATTHEWS: Let`s go back to Senator Brown.
WALSH: When you do something for these voters, they trust you and
they support you.
MATTHEWS: Let`s go back to Senator Brown.
I forgot that the intellectuals around the president about a year ago
were talking about, oh, we`re going to run a new Democratic Party pattern
out there. And I said, why are you guys doing that?
MATTHEWS: You have got to dance with the one that brung you. The
Democratic Party is based on working-class people from the industrial Rust
Belt, if you will, the part of the country that built this country.
Your thoughts about that, Senator Brown. How does it affect the race
there, the fact they`re back fighting it out for Ohio, not thinking these
other things out in the country?
Joan`s comments were exactly right, as yours were, Chris, except it`s
not the Rust Belt. It`s the tech belt now, and there are a lot of great
things going on. But we -- our unemployment rate right before the auto --
right around the time of the auto rescue, before it really kind of took
hold in the Recovery Act, the unemployment rate in this state was 10.6
percent. Now it`s 7 percent, not good enough, still too many unemployed
people that want jobs.
But you can see the auto rescue. You can see what`s happening with
the president`s emphasis on trade enforcement, on community colleges, on
small business. And this state`s coming back. And we`re seeing huge
numbers of jobs being -- growth in manufacturing, 500,000 new manufacturing
jobs in this country over the last two years. We hadn`t seen that in 10
years. So, there`s the right emphasis and direction.
MATTHEWS: Why do you think Romney, who has a brain, bet against the
auto industry? Why do you think he did he -- he told them basically forget
about it? Why did he say go bankrupt? Why would he do that? What`s the
politics of that? Is that just ideology, playing to the hard right?
BROWN: I would never try to ascribe any motives or judgment with Mitt
Romney, because his position changes so frequently.
BROWN: But I think that`s the right question.
And part of the answer to that is how desperate this Toledo Jeep ad
BROWN: ... when it`s clear the auto rescue has worked here.
Everybody believes it worked.
People forget it was a hard political call three years ago. It wasn`t
a hard call in terms of substance, but a hard political call for Congress
and the president, but we did the right thing.
It was several things. It was bipartisan back then, with Senator
Voinovich and President Bush and President Obama. It was a partnership
between the federal government and local communities and businesses. And
we always kept a focus on how do you get manufacturing jobs back and focus
on the middle class?
And that`s why it`s been a success. That`s why it`s working
politically. And that`s, frankly, why Governor Romney is so desperate in
Ohio right now.
MATTHEWS: Yes. Well, one thing I have learned in this campaign is
that my Jeep came from Toledo.
MATTHEWS: I never knew where it came from. But now I have to thank
the people of Toledo tonight for making my Jeep. I love it. Anyway, I
haven`t had a single problem with it.
Anyway, thank you, Sherrod Brown.
BROWN: Thank you, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Thank you, Joan Walsh.
BROWN: Thank you, Joan.
MATTHEWS: Up next: President Obama won the endorsement of New York
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and, today, Mitt Romney won the endorsement of
another 1 percenter, albeit a fictional one.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, I can`t wait to see what that is. I didn`t even
read that part yet.
And this Sunday, by the way, join me for a special edition of HARDBALL
at 7:00 Eastern. And, by the way, we have got special guests on Sunday,
just us. Vice President Joe Biden is going to join us on HARDBALL Sunday
night at 5:00 and 7:00.
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN")
DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, "LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN": I saw a
campaign ad today. I -- you tell me what this means.
NARRATOR: America is facing problems of historic problems, and your
vote could mean the difference between prosperity and ruin. But who will
you choose. Will you vote for the elite multimillionaire Harvard-educated
lawyer who overhauled the health care system, or the elite multimillionaire
Harvard-educated lawyer who overhauled the health care system?
NARRATOR: Choose wisely, America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Back to HARDBALL.
First, a plug from Mitt Romney from "the Simpsons"? Not quite.
Here is Mr. Burns, the fictional and highly unpopular owner of
Springfield`s nuclear plant, in pre-election panic mode.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE SIMPSONS")
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: I have to say that, despite those unimaginably
horrible good job numbers, we`re feeling pretty confident. There`s only
one thing that might deny us the presidency that is the God-given property
of the Republican Party.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: The 47 percent tape?
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Nope.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: The empty chair?
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Nope.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Cayman Islands?
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Not a problem.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Swiss bank accounts, $10,000 bet, I like to fire
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: No.
It`s a shaggy dog story about an actual shaggy dog. Apparently, while
on vacation, old Mitt strapped his mutt to the roof of his car for a brief
650-mile jaunt. So, tonight, we will explain what truly happened.
Now, Seamus, what did you think about strapped to the roof of your
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: What`s that? You liked being tied to the roof of
the car? Because it allowed you to see more of this great land of ours and
its wonderful natural resources, ripe for drilling and mining and
(END VIDEO CLIP)
That`s one way to commemorate the lowlights of the campaign by Romney.
Also, it`s officially crunch time for get-out-the-vote initiatives.
Here`s actor Steve Carell`s final pitch to encourage his fans to head to
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVE CARELL, ACTOR: Why are you taking such an attitude with me?
Why are you yelling at me? I don`t think you should be yelled at to vote.
You should want to vote.
Well, I actually have billions of young fans, not millions. And why
do I think they should all vote? Without putting too fine a point on it,
it is a responsibility.
Click here. Click here. Click here. Click here. No, wait, click
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Wow. Well, got to love that deadpan delivery, but his
point is a serious one, obviously.
Finally, total blackout. Last month, I told you that a few days
before the election, George W. Bush would give the keynote speech at an
alternative investment conference down in the Cayman Islands, you know, one
of those offshore tax havens where Mitt Romney has invested millions of
Well, not exactly ideal timing for the campaign of Romney anyway. The
event went on as planned yesterday, but don`t expect any kind of review of
W.`s speech. According to NBC News -- quote -- "The keynote speech by the
former president was totally closed to all journalists and conference
organizers were banned from discussing any aspect of it, even in general
An events spokesman said the restrictions were imposed by the former
president`s own staff.
Well, there you have it. Any advice the former president had for
investing money in offshore tax havens was reserved, as it should be, I
suppose, for the people who paid $4,000 to attend the conference.
By the way, "The Miami Herald" posted the AP`s account of W.`s speech
on their Web site. There`s no mention of Mitt Romney in the piece, but
check out the similar stories bar next to the piece, topics like "Mitt
Romney`s Tax Return Fails to Quiet Critics" and "Mitt Romney and the 47
I guess it could have been worse.
Up next, we will delve into some of the hottest Senate races around
the country. And Senator Claire McCaskill will be here with her closing
arguments against, well, Todd Akin.
And coming up tonight at 8:00 Eastern here on MSNBC, "Coming
Together," a benefit telethon to aid victims of Hurricane Sandy, featuring
the great Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
JULIA BOORSTIN, CNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Julia Boorstin with your CNBC
Stocks slide despite upbeat economic data. The Dow sinks 139 points,
the S&P drops 13, and the Nasdaq falls by 38 points. As you heard, 171,000
jobs were created last month. That was more than economists expected, but
the unemployment rate ticked up to 7.9 percent.
Factory orders jumped nearly 5 percent in September. That`s the
biggest increase since March of 2011. And Starbucks was a big gainer,
rising 9 percent following an upbeat profit forecast.
That`s it from CNBC, first in business worldwide -- now back to
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
The fight for control of the U.S. Senate could be just as significant
as the fight for president. And right now, it looks advantage Democrats.
The latest analysis of the state of play from Jennifer Duffy of "Cook
Political Report" is: "It appears more likely than not that Democrats will
hold their majority, though perhaps by only the slimmest of margins."
Well, there you have it. And the marquee catch-up this cycle is of
course most definitely the Massachusetts Senate race between incumbent
Republican Scott Brown and Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren. And
right now, the RealClearPolitics poll average has Warren up by 4.5.
Well, Politico`s Dave Catanese is up there in Boston covering the
We want to start with that race right now.
Dave, thanks for joining us from Politico.
DAVID CATANESE, POLITICO: Absolutely.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about that race.
It seems like something happened a couple weeks ago. Was it Mayor
Menino`s endorsement and putting all the troops into Boston out? But
that`s only 8 percent of the electorate. What got her on top of this race,
CATANESE: I think it`s women voters that were in Brown`s camp, still
sort of flirting with him this summer in polls, moving towards Warren.
And I have talked to some pollsters and some voters on the ground
today and that`s all you hear about, on the airwaves, in the messaging.
It`s all designed to court women voters, some of them declaring themselves
independents, although Democrats have a big registration advantage up here,
But I really think, if you look inside these polls, that`s what`s
given Warren the lead. Brown still beats her among independents overall,
but he`s losing female voters.
CATANESE: She has closed -- she has widened the gender gap.
MATTHEWS: And you`re going to have a big turnout. It`s not like
going to be like of 2010, when he won that first time.
MATTHEWS: Here are the closing ads, by the way, from Warren and
First up, Warren`s. Let`s listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: For all the
families still struggling, all the people who deserve a decent job, and the
women who deserve equal pay, for our kids crushed by student debt and our
parents worried about Medicare, know this. My fight is for you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, here is a part of Scott Brown`s ad -- it`s called
"People Over Party" -- that includes a shot of Brown with President Obama.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. SCOTT BROWN (R), MASSACHUSETTS: Let me tell you, things would be
a lot better if in country if more people in Washington were willing to
think for themselves and work with each other for the good of America.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, I wouldn`t have thought he would be a flash in the
pan politically, but if he loses, I don`t know what`s up for him in the
Let me ask you about the other race. Let`s go down the East Coast
here. Connecticut, I thought Murphy had a real challenge on his hands from
McMahon, but he seems to be up now.
CATANESE: Yes, absolutely.
CATANESE: Right, right.
It looks like he`s solidified a small lead there. Look, Linda McMahon
lost in the best Republican year ever in Connecticut. So, while she had
tons of resources, Republicans loved that she was able to spend a ton of
money, put it on the air, it just seems like Connecticut is not being sold,
so it looked like Murphy is going back, and that`s going to be a safe
Democratic hold there.
We live in Washington here. The Virginia Senate race is neck-and-
neck. The RealClearPolitics average in that race has Kaine up, the former
governor, up by a point. But the most recent Quinnipiac poll taken October
23-28 had Kaine leading by four.
Which direction is that one headed?
CATANESE: I think this is heading towards Kaine, but again a lot of
this is dependent on the presidential wins there.
Politico projected that this will end up in the Democratic column at
the end of the day. But, man, this is close. You`re talking about margins
of error and especially in Northern Virginia. That`s going to be --
obviously, that`s a more diverse part of the state. That`s where Kaine
needs people to come out, but I think that Kaine has been a better
candidate. And George Allen had to loan himself half-a-million dollars
just this week. That`s shows you he`s running out of...
MATTHEWS: Did you see -- did you see how close Allen was trying to
grab himself close to -- to Romney?
MATTHEWS: It was practically like he was trying to mate with him,
trying to hold so close to him, whereas it wasn`t clear that Romney wanted
to be all close to him. It was very interesting to watch that little non-
mating game going on the other night, and that backs up with you -- what
you -- let`s go to Ohio.
We just had Sherrod Brown on. We got -- his numbers, by the way, they
got a lead over Josh Mandel, the very young opponent of five points. I
think that should be so much higher. What`s going on out there?
CATANESE: Again, I think you have some presidential headwinds there.
You have so much money. Sherrod Brown has told you I think numerous
times he`s had more outside money spent against him than any other
CATANESE: So that has taken its toll.
But Josh Mandel has had some missteps. There`s some perception that
he`s a little too young, not really ready for prime time in all instances.
CATANESE: And that`s what`s given Brown an edge there. I think Brown
ends up winning that race.
MATTHEWS: I thought he was perfect for that state, Sherrod Brown.
Anyway, thank you, David Catanese -- Dave Catanese from Politico up in
CATANESE: Sure. Thanks a lot.
MATTHEWS: In Missouri -- or Missouri -- incumbent Democratic Senator
Claire McCaskill leads her opponent, Todd Akin, by five points now based on
poll averages. The campaign just dropped a devastating ad.
Let`s watch the latest McCaskill ad. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, POLITICAL AD)
AD NARRATOR: Is Todd Akin fit to serve in the Senate? Mitt Romney
doesn`t think so.
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: What he said was
indefensible, was wrong. It was offensive and he should step out of the
AD NARRATOR: And he`s not alone.
TV ANCHOR: Todd Akin is not at that convention, told by his own
party to stay home.
AD NARRATOR: Even Republican senators from Missouri called Todd Akin
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Frankly, he would not be welcomed by
Republicans in the United States Senate.
ROMNEY: It was offensive and he should step out of the race.
SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL (D), MISSOURI: I`m Claire McCaskill and I
approve this message.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Was that you playing the piano in that one, Senator?
MATTHEWS: That was a pretty devastating ad. You`ve got all the
Republicans who had basically ran scared from the guy. Are they all still
scared of him or have they regrouped since that ad -- since those pictures
MCCASKILL: Well, some of them have kind of lukewarm endorsed him,
but here, the biggest news in Missouri this week is that the national
Republicans have snuck in the back door after trying to reassure women all
over America that they understood why everyone was offended at Todd Akin`s
MCCASKILL: They have now piled in, you know, yesterday, I think they
dropped a million and a half dollars on TV for Todd Akin in the closing
days of this campaign. So, we`re having to work hard but that`s the only
speed I know, and it`s -- you know, there`s some head winds in Missouri
this time, Chris, but we have really -- have a strong ground game.
We need everybody to come out and vote. It`s very important that
people stay engaged and we hope that people go on our Web site and help us
with some virtual phone banking or maybe 5 bucks over the weekend so we can
get all of our -- we had to add to our media this week just because of all
the money that snuck in in the last 48 hours.
MATTHEWS: Well, this question might help. I will put it to you
pretty strongly. Anybody that would accuse someone of rape which carried a
life sentence would believe that they were raped and they would have the
personal experience of having been raped.
Who is he talking about when he suggests this category of women who
accuse someone of rape, which is -- used to be a capital crime but it`s
close to it -- who are these women that he`s talking about? Where does he
get that thing about legitimate as opposed to these other cases? Who are
these people -- where does he get this memory bank from of women who have
charged men with rape? Where does this happen?
MCCASKILL: Chris, I spent many years as a courtroom prosecutor and
prosecuted hundreds of rape cases around worked with many of the rape
victims on a very personal basis, and I don`t think people realize what
women go through when they seek justice in this area. I think what
Congressman Akin was trying to do was in his mind justify his beliefs, and
that is that somehow a rape victim should not be allowed to access
And in order to justify that belief, I think he`s trying to, you
know, hold on to some mythical power that a woman has to not get pregnant
if she has been raped. And clearly that`s wrong, and that`s why so many
Republicans have distanced themselves from Todd Akin.
It`s not just what he said, Chris, it`s what he believes on a number
of subjects. This is somebody who wants to abolish the minimum wage, who
believes that employers, that the boss, has the freedom to discriminate
against people based on their gender. This is somebody who is on the
fringe. He is going to be part of that -- you know, he`s very close with
Michelle -- I make the joke he makes Michele Bachmann look like a hippie.
MATTHEWS: Well, that`s a hell of a push. Thank you for coming on,
Senator McCaskill. Good luck in your race.
We`ve had you on our show so many years. We love having you on.
Thank you. I hope to have you on next year. Anyway, thank you.
MCCASKILL: Thank you. Thanks, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Up next, President Obama has garnered praise and
endorsements following his handling of hurricane Sandy. Could it win him
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: One thing is for sure -- both campaigns for president
aren`t ending on a high note by any means. Kantar Media looked back at the
last week of campaign ads and the Obama campaign commercials have been 85
percent negative now. You think that sounds bad until you look at what the
Romney campaign has done in the last week.
The Romney ads have been 99 percent negative, 99 percent. And most
of the 1 percent of positive ads were some lingering ads in Spanish. So
all the English language stuff is totally, utterly awful.
Anyway, we`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No matter how bad the
storm is, no matter how tough times are, we`re all in this together. We
rise or fall as one nation and as one people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: We`re back.
That was, of course, President Obama today on the campaign trail in
Ohio reflecting on the damage hurricane Sandy wreaked on the East Coast,
still wreaking damage.
President Obama`s response to the storm has been seen as
overwhelmingly positive. Newspaper editorial boards have been praising the
president, supporting his view of the role of government, a central issue
in this campaign of course.
From "The New York Times," quote, "A big storm requires big
government." "USA Today," quote, "Sandy clarifies federal government`s
role." "The Seattle Times", praise for Barack Obama, Chris Christie`s
bipartisan approach to hurricane Sandy." And in "The Orlando Sentinel",
"Hurricane Sandy proves case for Obama."
Well, with me now is U.S. Congressman Frank Pallone, a Democrat from
New Jersey. His district stretches along Jersey`s coast, in Monmouth
County down to Asbury Park. And Cynthia Tucker is a visiting professor at
the University of Georgia and a syndicated columnist.
Cynthia, hold on for a minute. I want to talk to the congressman
about your district. We`re going to show some pictures now, but you
describe it verbally.
What is the condition of the Jersey coast where you represent?
REP. FRANK PALLONE (D), NEW JERSEY: It`s really catastrophic, Chris.
I mean, I spent the last few days going to the days going to the various
sections and you see houses completely destroyed, washed away. Businesses
destroyed, the boardwalks, the beach clubs. And so many people displaced.
I mean, today, you know, I was mainly concerned in trying to get food
and water and shelter for people because it`s getting colder out. So this
is really catastrophic. I`ve never seen anything like it.
MATTHEWS: Well, what -- how do you grade the efforts of the governor
up there, you guys in Congress, have you all been able to do this together?
I know it`s going to get worse because these things tend to get worse. I
mean, when people are out of electricity for five days, it`s worse than
PALLONE: Well, I think the fact that everyone is working together,
both the president and the governor and others is very important. I mean,
obviously we want this to be bipartisan and it has been.
We`re trying to get FEMA in there. I spent most of the day trying to
get FEMA in to the various towns and setting up headquarters and going door
to door to help people. But we`ve been getting total cooperation from the
White House and from Governor Christie.
MATTHEWS: Let me bring in Cynthia -- hold on Congressman, let me
bring in Cynthia Tucker here.
This whole question here -- let me look at some of these numbers here
-- 78 percent think the president handled it pretty well. And then you got
this picture, I want to show you this picture of the president with this
woman at the airport. Let`s look at this one. I think people are going to
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: We`re going to help you get it all together. All right? I
promise. I promise. You`re going to be OK. Everybody`s safe. That`s the
most important thing and then we`re going to get this whole thing set up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: You know, Cynthia, one thing that I liked about this, and
this isn`t politics, when the president said the other night, I`ll return
your call in 15 minutes. That has been a critique of this White House,
that it has been a bit isolated, a bit in a bubble.
You know what I`m talking about -- hard for politicians to get to
CYNTHIA TUCKER, UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA: Yes. But this was a crisis,
Chris. What you`ve heard mostly from politicians is that the president
isn`t a schmoozer. He`s not a back slapper.
And I think that`s probably true but I haven`t heard anybody say that
the president isn`t available at the important moments and I think it was
critically important that the president said to the governors, to Mayor
Bloomberg, you can have my number at the White House because they were in a
better position to tell the president what was going on on the ground.
He was also, of course, hearing from FEMA. But sometimes it`s just
good for Christie, for a Bloomberg, for Andrew Cuomo, governor of New York,
to know that they can call the president to vent if they need to.
So I don`t think it`s any great surprise that in a crisis, the
president was immediately available in his role as commander in chief.
MATTHEWS: You know, I want to get into politics now with Congressman
Pallone. You saw the president how he didn`t respond very well in the
first debate. He didn`t seem to respond very well. This thing he
responded to incredibly well.
You think this is going to suggest a better second term if he gets
one -- I`m being blunt here in terms of reaction time, focus, connection,
schmoozing a little bit. That`s part of politics.
PALLONE: Well, I think that this is -- as Cynthia said, you know,
this is a crisis and I think the president has been totally up to this
crisis. I mean, we set -- they set up -- FEMA set up a headquarters in
Trenton today where they had about 100 people and now 700 people being sent
out to the various communities to help and this is a direct result, I
think, of President Obama` statement that we`re going to be there and we`re
going to be there quickly.
MATTHEWS: Are people going to be able to vote this Tuesday in
PALLONE: Well, we`re going to do whatever we can. I have to tell
you, it is a concern because most of my town does not have power, which
means that the voting places at this point don`t have electricity. So
we`re working with the White House and with the state and also with our
county clerk to try to make sure that every voting place is available.
We`re talking about bringing in generators. That may be necessary
because of the fact that we don`t have electric in most of these towns. So
I`m hoping that the electric -- the power is up. If it`s not, we`re going
to bring in generators and, you know, we`re going to do whatever we can to
make sure that people can vote and they get the word about where they vote.
MATTHEWS: Cynthia, last thought about what you`re watching here. We
have a picture of the president hugging this woman in Jersey, you`ve got
Senator Menendez behind him and Governor Chris Christie is behind him
there. He`s hanging with this woman.
I have to tell you, I`m affected by this. I think this is what
people in politics should be doing more often than they do, connecting.
TUCKER: Absolutely most people would be. You know, the president
may not be a schmoozer, but he is a real man who relates to the problems of
ordinary people. And it shows up very much in his contact with that woman.
These are people, in some cases, who have lost everything. They don`t have
houses. You know, they don`t have furniture or clothes.
She is the straw. And the president connects with her very, very
easily. And I think that people across the country seeing that footage
will remember that and understand that this is a president who can connect
with ordinary Americans.
MATTHEWS: Well, thank you very much. U.S. Congressman Frank
Pallone. Thanks for joining us. It`s a tough time, but thanks so much for
coming on HARDBALL.
And Cynthia Tucker, thank you as always. By the way, politics as
author (INAUDIBLE) once said, is always a learning profession. I think the
press has learned a lot from this thing. We all have.
And tonight at 8:00 Eastern, join MSNBC for a special telethon, of
course, for the victims of the hurricane Sandy, featuring the Boss, Bruce
Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi.
And when we return, let me finish with what this election boils down.
It`s a simple question.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this: the good president.
Isn`t that a question? Is he a good president? If he is, keep him there.
If he`s not, look elsewhere.
Are you personally proud that Barack Obama is our president? Does he
measure up to the history books?
This guy who pulls back from the abyss in 2009, ended our reliance on
the emergency room for people`s health care, ended an unpopular and unwise
war in Iraq, found and killed the bad guy who led the attack of 2001, cut
the jobless rate from over 10 percent where W had sent it skyrocketing, and
doubled the stock market and your 401(k)s -- is he a good president?
This man who brought us through clean four years of scandal-free
government, whose family made us smile to see them in the White House.
Well, you`ve got the weekend to think about it, will then go out
after you thought about it and vote like your country depends on it,
because it does.
And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
Join me Sunday night at 5:00 and 7:00 for a special edition of
HARDBALL with our special guest, Vice President Joe Biden.
"POLITICS NATION" with Al Sharpton starts right now.
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