updated 11/6/2014 12:10:41 PM ET 2014-11-06T17:10:41

HARDBALL
November 5, 2014

Guest: John Brabender, Kweisi Mfume, Mike Paul, Joe Conason

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Which Republicans won last night, the doers or
the destroyers?

Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews up in New York still.

The Republican wave last night was even nastier than some of the worst
projections out there. One Senate race in Alaska is still to be called and
another in Louisiana is heading for a run-off, but ultimately, it could
reach to a nine-seat pick-up for Republicans, and with it majority control,
strong majority control, of the United States Senate.

But the big question is whether the victory won in campaigns run
against the president will be used to punish him or to deal with him,
whether they`re trying to destroy the Obama legacy or to build a better
future for the country.

We`re already hearing a familiar voice out there demanding
destruction. Here`s Rush Limbaugh on the mandate he said conservatives
gave the Republicans last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: It is the biggest and perhaps
the most important mandate a political party has had in the recent era!
And it is very simple what that mandate is. It is to stop Barack Obama.
It is to stop the Democrat party! There is no other reason why Republicans
were elected yesterday. Republicans were not elected to govern.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: That man has no good reason to exist.

Anyway, joining me right now is Howard Fineman, editorial director of
the HuffingtonPost, and Eugene Robinson, columnist for "The Washington
Post." Both are, of course, MSNBC political analysts.

Howard, it seems to me that Rush Limbaugh is playing to an audience on
radio. Fair enough. Many of us do it in this business. You know, you
talk to the people who listen to you. He`s not talking to a majority of
Americans or a working majority of Republicans. He`s simply talking to
those who are riding in their cars between 12:00 and 3:00 Eastern time, who
are really kind of ready to be angry. And they turn him on to be angry,
but not to run a country.

HOWARD FINEMAN, HUFFINGTON POST MEDIA GROUP, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:
Exactly.

MATTHEWS: He`s not a guidance book, an operator`s manual, on
democracy, that guy.

FINEMAN: No, I think that as far as he went, Rush Limbaugh is right.
A lot of the Republicans who came out to vote did vote in that way and for
that reason. But even a lot of the Republicans voted because they`re
unhappy at the fact that Washington and our political system is the main
thing holding the country back. We still have the entrepreneurial spirit.
The economy is improving. The thing that`s broken is our government.

And I think even Republicans wanted that fixed, and that`s what Mitch
McConnell and John Boehner and the other Republican leaders have to decide.
Do they pave the way for themselves into the future and help America by
doing deals, or do they not?

You know, if this were a parliamentary democracy, Chris, the
government would have fallen, OK? The Democrats would be out. The
Republicans would be in. But it`s both the genius and the curse of the
founders that the winners and the losers have to work with each other. And
that could be...

MATTHEWS: It`s called the veto!

FINEMAN: But it could be a very good thing. And I think it`s
incumbent upon the Republicans to try to make it that way if they want to
win the presidency in 2016, because so far, their message has been nothing
but no.

MATTHEWS: That`s your voice, and I support it. Here`s Mitch
McConnell`s goal. He has to deal with -- work on deals with the president
to actually get things done. And one obstacle is likely to be his
colleague, if you want to use that term for Ted Cruz. Listen to Cruz last
night sounding like Limbaugh.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Now is the time to go after and do
everything humanly possible to repeal "Obama care"!

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

CRUZ: Now is the time to stand up and say, Follow the Constitution,
honor the rule of law and protect the Bill of Rights! The era of Obama
lawlessness is over!

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Gene, what do you make of this character, Ted Cruz?
Because he says things like lawlessness, abuse of power, references to
felonious conduct by an administration, but he never points to what it is.
He just says it!

EUGENE ROBINSON, "WASHINGTON POST," MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, no,
he just says it, and that`s his style. You know, you think maybe he`s
running for president? Do you think maybe he`s speaking to an audience out
there that eats this stuff up? But you know, he`s like Rush Limbaugh with
a portfolio, basically, and so...

MATTHEWS: But you don`t believe -- let me ask you, do you believe
that there`s a majority of Americans or even a strong minority that would
want that man in the Oval, in Lincoln`s chair? That guy? That force?

ROBINSON: No, I don`t. I don`t believe that. I believe he`s a smart
and cunning politician, and he`s smarter than some of the stuff he says.
He says some of it for a reason, but I don`t think he`s got what it takes
to become president of the United States.

MATTHEWS: Gene, name...

ROBINSON: You notice, though, he did say, you know, We`ll do
everything humanly possible to repeal "Obama care." What`s not humanly
possible is repealing "Obama care," right, because of the veto. So it`s
just words. It`s just hot air.

MATTHEWS: Well, let`s make -- you`ve been writing for so many years
and following politics. Let me ask you this. Name -- I`ll let Howard have
the same question. When has demagoguery turned out to be a great career
plan? I mean, it`s a good starter. It gets you noise for a couple of
years. But Huey Long got gunned down on the state capitol steps. I guess
that doesn`t always happen to demagogues. Usually people, whether it`s
Father Coughlin or whoever it is, or Joe McCarthy, they stop listening to
you or you`re a drunk or whatever else. But they never end up as heroes,
the demagogues in our history, do they?

ROBINSON: I think not. And so where does this go for Ted Cruz? I`m
not quite sure. It certainly doesn`t go to any sort of career in the
Senate because he`s in the process of alienating all his fellow senators,
and therefore, you`re not going to have any influence inside the body. He
has a lot more influence over the House, but even that will probably wane
if the House leadership, as I expect, asserts itself a bit more, and if the
sort of Tea Party faction, as I suspect, has wearied of government
shutdowns to a certain extent. Not all of them, but some of them do see
what it produced the last time, and it wasn`t good for them.

MATTHEWS: Well, how about that fight on the side, the intramural
fight between Mitch McConnell, who said today, when he was asked by a
reporter -- a sharp question, by the way -- he said no shutdowns, no
defaulting on the national debt, no Ted Cruz stuff.

FINEMAN: Well, I think...

MATTHEWS: And he shoved it right in his face.

FINEMAN: Well, I think that statement by Mitch McConnell, who is at
his -- at the height of his prospective power, OK? He`s just been made the
majority leader, in effect. It`s -- he`s at the top, and one of the very
first things he said was no government shutdowns, no messing around with
the debt ceiling. That was aimed directly at Ted Cruz.

And ironically, Mitch McConnell, who spent a lot of the recent years
using the tactics of anger and the position of "no" to get where he is
now...

MATTHEWS: Right.

FINEMAN: ... now is in the position of actually having to try to run
something. And I know him well, Chris. You know, I`ve covered him
since...

MATTHEWS: I know you have.

FINEMAN: ... I was in Kentucky. I think he`s capable of it, and I
think he will make it his mission to isolate Ted Cruz. Ted Cruz will be
glad to be isolated initially, but that`s not ultimately the route to the
presidency because the presidency is always based on the idea of hopeful
change. It`s not based -- presidents don`t get elected -- correct me if
I`m wrong here. They don`t get elected just on the basis of anger. That`s
not enough.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

FINEMAN: You have to have a plan. You have to have a sense of
uplift. And you don`t get that from Ted Cruz, who was posing in front of
that -- to me, the whole story of Ted Cruz is that flag behind him.

MATTHEWS: Secession.

FINEMAN: That was the world`s largest Texas flag.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: I know!

FINEMAN: OK. What does that tell you? What does that tell you?

MATTHEWS: He`s running to be -- anyway...

(CROSSTALK)

FINEMAN: You know, the king of Texas.

MATTHEWS: Well, here`s Mitch McConnell, who has to deal with him. He
also said today the fact that there will be a divided government doesn`t
mean things aren`t going to get done, or have to not get done. Let`s watch
him here. This is positive for a Republican who could have said something
much worse than this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: Earlier today, I got a
call from the president, also from Senator Reid and the speaker, and Ted
Cruz, too, which I thought you`d be interested in, all of whom, I think,
have the view that we ought to see what areas of agreement there are and
see if we can make some progress for the country. I always like to remind
people that divided government`s not unusual in this country. When the
American people choose divided government, I don`t think it means they
don`t want us to do anything.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Anyway, Senator McConnell was also very clear about one
thing. Let`s watch this. I think we just mentioned this. Here he is in
his words.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCCONNELL: Let me make it clear. There will be no government
shutdowns and no default on the national debt.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Meanwhile, the president of the United States also
expressed confidence that he would be able to find common ground with the
Republicans. Let`s watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I`m eager to work with
the new Congress to make the next two years as productive as possible.
Congress will pass some bills I cannot sign. I`m pretty sure I`ll take
some actions that some in Congress will not like. That`s natural. That`s
how our democracy works. But we can surely find ways to work together on
issues where there`s broad agreement among the American people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: You know, Gene, I`m worried here because both he and
McConnell talked about common ground. And I`ll get to this later in the
show. Hey, look, common ground`s pretty rare. That`s why we have two
political parties. They like to fight, and if there`s common ground, like,
Well, today is Wednesday -- there are certain things we agree on, but we
don`t really consider them really important to argue about.

So the things that we argue about are the things we disagree on. Why
don`t they talk about compromise and deal-making? I`ll give you minimum
wage over a period of three years, you give me a lower corporate tax rate.
They`re not talking about trading and negotiating and being politicians,
they`re talking about, Well, let`s see if we can date here, if we both like
Bruce Springsteen.

(INAUDIBLE) it seems like it`s childish to say common ground. There`s
no common ground! The Democrats are not for lower corporate tax rates, but
they might go for them if you tied them together with a minimum wage hike,
you know?

ROBINSON: Well...

MATTHEWS: That`s called a deal.

ROBINSON: Yes, I know what you mean, and I think there is implicit,
however, in what Mitch McConnell said, the idea of deal-making.
"Compromise" is kind of a dirty word in American politics these days...

MATTHEWS: Well, why?

ROBINSON: ... and so you don`t utter it. But potentially, you do it
if you can figure out a deal that works and that both sides can sell to
their constituencies. And so, for example, you can find common ground on
the fact that, Gee, we need some improvements in the infrastructure in this
country. There`s no common ground on how to pay for that...

MATTHEWS: Yes.

ROBINSON: ... but there are deals that could be made on how to pay
for that, and they can be present as common ground.

MATTHEWS: Why doesn`t the president just play it dirty and go, Mitch,
where would you like that highway built in Louisville?

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: I mean -- and just -- I mean, serious -- Kennedy used to do
this. The conservatives in the Congress in those days were Republican --
were Democrats, as Gene knows. They were Southern Democrats controlling
the purse strings. He`d say, Look, will you at least spend money on space?
I`ll put it in Houston. Why don`t you please spend money on defense? You
guys love defense down South. Anything they want to spend money on,
Kennedy knew would be good for the economy.

FINEMAN: Well, I think -- I think two things about the president.
First of all, he doesn`t think in that way. He thinks...

MATTHEWS: He doesn`t think like a politician.

FINEMAN: He thinks in ideological -- he thinks in intellectual
constructs. He doesn`t think in horse trading because horse trading is
not, frankly, intellectual. It`s, like, OK, I`ll give you this if you give
me that. It has nothing to do with the consistency of ideas. That`s
number one.

Number two, on a personal level -- and I know him reasonably well --
he doesn`t like -- he doesn`t love the meat and drink of politics.

MATTHEWS: What do you make of the thing that...

FINEMAN: He just doesn`t like it.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Both of you guys, we`re going to finish with this, it was
astounding, and I thought this was true and somebody said it today. One of
McConnell`s people said today to the press -- it got into the press
conference today with the president and the White House press corps -- that
those two gentlemen have only been in a room together alone once or twice
in six years. And along comes the president saying, I`m inviting this
Friday, this coming Friday, all the leadership of the House in both
parties, all the leadership of the Senate in both parties and putting them
all room (ph) together.

Nothing is going to happen in that room because everybody will be
ratting everybody out!

FINEMAN: Right.

MATTHEWS: There`s no private conversation. He is (ph) almost like
one of those Jefferson Hotel meetings he sets up. Nobody`s going to do
anything in that formal setting!

FINEMAN: Well, I think it`s partly because neither the president nor
his advisers necessarily trust him in the room alone with Mitch McConnell
because they`re afraid Mitch McConnell will take him to the cleaners.

MATTHEWS: Really?

FINEMAN: Yes.

MATTHEWS: Really?

FINEMAN: Well, because the president is not -- at least he hasn`t
shown so far to be the kind of guy who can deal one to one in a winning
horse-trading way with these people.

MATTHEWS: You`re trying to trick him into doing it, aren`t you!

FINEMAN: No!

MATTHEWS: Right now, you`re trying to say...

FINEMAN: No, all I can...

MATTHEWS: ... They won`t let you do this, Mr. President!

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: They won`t let you go in and horse trade!

ROBINSON: That`s what he`s trying to do!

MATTHEWS: So you go show them!

FINEMAN: All I can tell you, in Kentucky, the only thing they care
about...

MATTHEWS: Is horse trading!

FINEMAN: No, is what kind of bourbon they`re going to drink when they
meet.

MATTHEWS: I know (INAUDIBLE) that`s just BS.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: In other words, beer summits. No more beer summits!
Anyway, thank -- hey, Gene, thank you very much for being on tonight again.
Howard Fineman, Gene Robinson.

ROBINSON: Thanks, Chris.

MATTHEWS: Coming up: After last night, it looks like the Democrats
failed by running run away from the president. They tried (ph) to run away
-- what was that boxer -- Joe Louis said, You can run -- they can run, but
they can`t hide. That could have been said of the Democrats this year.
They didn`t stick together and support the president, and it backfired big-
time, don`t you think? As Benjamin Franklin said once, We must indeed all
hang together, or most assuredly, we shall all hang separately. He knew
how to talk.

Finally, if the president wants to get the Senate immigration reform
bill through the House, I say he needs to sell how tough the bill is. It`s
not a giveaway. It`s a tough bill. That`s why it`s a bipartisan bill.
Mr. President, listen to me. You got to sell this thing with teeth, and
people are going to buy it.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: We`ve got results now on some of the races we couldn`t call
last night. First to Colorado, where Democrat John Hickenlooper is the
apparent winner. Hickenlooper defeated Republican Bob Beauprez on a night,
well, where fellow Colorado Democrat Mark Udall lost his Senate seat --
split decision out there.

In Connecticut, NBC News has projected incumbent Democrat Dannel
Malloy is the winner over Republican Tom Foley. I like Malloy. I can say
that now. That race was a rematch of the governor`s race four years ago.
The governor`s race in Alaska has yet to be called even now. NBC News is
still characterizing that race -- do you believe this? -- too early to call
on the following night.

Overall, that means Republican will control 31 governors` seats in the
United States. Democrats have just 17, with Alaska still outstanding. In
Vermont, to be determined by the Democratic state legislature.

On the Senate side, we`re still looking for winners in two states. As
I said at the beginning of the show, up in Alaska, the race between
incumbent Democrat Mark Begich and Republican challenger Dan Sullivan still
not called by NBC News.

And in Louisiana, none of the candidates have met the 50 percent
threshold required, so there`s going to be a run-off between Senator Mary
Landrieu, who almost always survives, and Republican Bill Cassidy. That`s
going to be held December 6th. It`s coming up a little later.

And we`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, FOX CONTRIBUTOR: Of course this is a referendum
on Obama.

MITT ROMNEY (R-MA), FMR. GOV., FMR. PRES. CANDIDATE: And they`re also
tired of the agenda of President Obama. They`re passing judgment on the
Obama administration. And they`re going to expect something to happen.

KARL ROVE, FMR. BUSH SR. ADVISER, FOX CONTRIBUTOR: He, however,
turned her into an Obama clone.

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: And I think it`s a repudiation,
basically, of the president`s policies...

REINCE PRIEBUS, RNC CHAIRMAN: This was all about a direct rejection
of the Obama agenda.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. That was, of course, the
inimitable Reince Priebus, head of the Republican Party.

Anyway, Republicans are taking a victory lap like that of sticking it
to the president. They think it worked. It was a bad night for the
president`s party, of course, last night. Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat
from West Virginia, summed it up like this. He called it -- well, he said,
This is a real ass-whupping.

Anyway, in a failed attempt to save the Senate, Democrats turned
President Obama into a pariah, let`s face it. They cut him off from the
ticket in every big race. The result was not successful, disastrous, in
fact. The coalition that turned out to support the president in 2008, in
2012, single women, African-Americans, Latinos and young voters, all stayed
home because the president wasn`t out there campaigning for the people.

Today, President Obama acknowledged that a huge chunk of the
electorate simply sat on the bench.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: So to everyone who voted, I want you to know that I hear you.
To the two thirds of voters who chose not to participate in the process
yesterday, I hear you, too. All of us have to give more Americans a reason
to feel like the ground is stable beneath their feet, that the future is
secure, that there`s a path for young people to succeed, and that folks
here in Washington are concerned about them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: That was well stated, I thought. President Obama is now
fighting for his relevancy, and Democrats are pointing fingers at each
other, of course. Did running away from President Obama backfire big time
for the D`s. At this point, it sure looks that way.

As Benjamin Franklin told the Continental Congress just before signing
the Declaration of Independence in 1776, "We must indeed all hang together
or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately."

And, by the way, he meant that literally. If they had lost the battle
for American independence, they would have been hanged.

Anyway, John Brabender is a Republican strategist. And Kweisi Mfume
was a Republican congressman from Maryland for a long time. He also served
in a leadership position as president of the NAACP.

Congressman Mfume, let me ask you that basic question. What would
have been better, what happened or if the president had been out there
carrying the banner for the party and rallying his electorate, the
presidential electorate, to the polls?

KWEISI MFUME (D), FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN: Well, I think, clearly, it
would have been better if he had been out energizing his base as only he
can.

It`s interesting. I don`t know how you can vote with somebody for
five years and then run away from them all of a sudden and say you had
nothing to do with it and vote for me, I will set you free.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

MFUME: It was a strange sort of approach. And so what should have
been a good competitive election turned out to be the shoot-out at the O.K.
Corral. There was no one left standing.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Yes. Well, it`s interesting. They all had -- what all the
Republicans had in their little toolkit was the voting record of these
guys. That`s what they couldn`t hide from. They were with Obama, as you
point out, Congressman.

MFUME: Yes. Yes.

Well, I just think the Democrats -- you`re either going to be a
Democrat or you`re not. And if you`re going to be a Democrat, you ought to
find a way to connect with people on the things that matter most to them,
because, otherwise, someone else will define you.

And so for this entire election, it was -- the president was defined,
the party was defined by the other side. And without the party standing up
and defining itself and the president, we became as a party at least what
others said we were. And so that was a turnoff to a lot of people, which
kept a lot of folks at home. But you cannot sit back and not energize your
base and expect that they`re just going to come out and vote.

MATTHEWS: John Brabender, do you think there will ever be a candidate
for higher office who refuses to say whether they voted for the leader of
the party or not? I mean, nobody got beat worse than Alison Grimes.
Nobody.

(CROSSTALK)

JOHN BRABENDER, FORMER SENIOR SANTORUM CAMPAIGN ADVISER: Well, I`m
waiting for them to start going down the entire voting logs and asked where
they voted for auditor general or attorney general and everything.

You know, first of all, that was probably the most fumbled answer of
the entire campaign. But I`ll tell you what. I do think people are
misreading this election a little bit. I don`t agree with everybody saying
that this was sort of a total repudiation of the Obama policies, if you
will.

I think what this was is a repudiation of the gridlock and the
problems, the dysfunctional nature of Washington.

MATTHEWS: I hope you`re right.

BRABENDER: And they`re calling in the backup quarterback and saying,
Obama couldn`t get it done. Let`s give the ball to the Republicans, see if
they can fix this.

So, I do get a little worried that we`re out there as the backup
quarterback giving a victory dance in the end zone before we have taken a
snap. I think the way Mitch McConnell handled himself today was actually
the right way.

MATTHEWS: And McCoy only got one week as quarterback anyway before
RG3 was back anyway.

Let me ask you about this question. Do you think the rest of your
party, the Republicans, got the message the same way did you, which is you
better go out there and do a better job of legislating and making the
government work than the last six years?

BRABENDER: No, I think it is actually probably broken. I think there
will be part of the party that says, we have been handed a mandate. Let`s
go do everything we have ever wanted to do. Everybody is behind us.

And I think that that is misreading it. I think that really my advice
would be to the party, let`s find some common ground. Let`s find something
like lowering taxes on manufacturers for every job they bring back from
overseas, so that we have a tax cut, but it is related to a blue-collar job
potentially. Make the Democrats supporters for that and get some
credibility with the American people that we are going to get this country
moving again.

MATTHEWS: Let`s take a look at some of the Democrats that are hanging
separately from -- actually cutting President Obama their ticket, like in
the big city days where you would take the guy and say don`t vote for him.
Here they are in action.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why are you reluctant to give an answer on whether
or not you voted for President Obama?

ALISON LUNDERGAN GRIMES (D), KENTUCKY SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: Bill,
there is no reluctancy. This is a matter of principle.

SEN. MARK UDALL (D), COLORADO: Congressman, let me tell you, the
White House, when they look down front lawn, the last person they want to
see coming is me.

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

UDALL: Whole set of policies where they have been wrong.

QUESTION: Ms. Nunn, did you vote for President Obama in 2008 and
2012?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Would you leave her alone?

SEN. MARK PRYOR (D), ARKANSAS: You know, he has been a drag. I`m
just going to be honest about that.

SEN. MARK BEGICH (D), ALASKA: I want to convince him and show him
that some of his policies are not the rate direction. So, I need him
campaigning for me. I need him to change some of his policies.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There`s as much distance between you and the
president now as between here and Alaska, I want to say, after that answer.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Wow.

Well, those people you saw there were Alison Grimes, of course, Mark
Udall out in Colorado, Michelle Nunn of course in Georgia, and Mark Pryor
in Arkansas.

And they all lost last night, except for Mark Begich, who is still
fighting against the wave as we continue to count the vote up in Alaska.
But it doesn`t look so great for him.

Back to Kweisi Mfume.

Congressman, it seems to me that the president now has the opportunity
to do something. What would you do if you were him? Would you try to --
would you do this immigration thing on your own? Or would you try to get a
bill? How hard would you threaten them before you went to the E.O. route
as an alternative?

MFUME: Well, I think what you have got to do is realize what you have
and what you don`t have.

And what you do have is the ability to trade, to make deals, to figure
out what the other side wants, what you want, and how you can reach
compromise. And a consensus, that`s the way you govern; you govern by
consensus. And whether it was Lyndon Baines Johnson or Kennedy or Tip
O`Neill, we were all taught you give or take.

MATTHEWS: Right.

MFUME: Now, if you can`t horse-trade, you`re in the wrong business
because you`re not going to get much done.

And those people who are not horse-traders end up being defeated. So,
I think the president needs to realize that both sides want something. How
you do that in a way that your pockets don`t get picked and how you do it
in a way that you can claim victory?

And I think that starts with sitting down with Mitch McConnell. And
as was said earlier, it really means closing the door, one on one, and
saying, what can I do?

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: So well-said. Close the door, lose the mikes, and lose the
staff and get in each other`s confidence and try to find those zones where
one guy really wants something and he can give you something else and the
other guy really wants something and he can give you something else. That
is what trading is.

It is not looking for kumbaya and hey, you know, we really did agree
on the big stuff. They don`t really agree on the big stuff.

MFUME: They don`t.

MATTHEWS: Kweisi Mfume, thank you.

John Brabender, always helpful here.

BRABENDER: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: Up next, it takes a lot of guts to get out there and run
for office. I always say that. What do you say when you lose? Well, that
says a lot too. Sometimes, the real truth of a person`s character come
through in their concession speech. A lot of them last night, you didn`t
see. You`re going to see them coming up next, some really good ones.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Back to -- back to HARDBALL.

Politics of course can be a zero sum game. There`s no prize for
second place, no cigar. And that makes the final task for losing
candidates the most daunting of them all.

While it is never easy to accept defeat, the way a candidate
acknowledges his or her defeat reveals a lot about the person, the
character behind the politicians.

Let now take a look back at some of last night`s concession speeches.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GRIMES: While tonight didn`t bring us the result that we had hoped
for, this journey, the fight for you, it was worth it.

SEN. MARK PRYOR (D), ARKANSAS: I must confess that I have some
sadness tonight. I will miss waking up every day to go to work for the
people of Arkansas. But as one chapter of my life closes, another chapter
begins.

SEN. MARK UDALL (D), COLORADO: I thought about Abe Lincoln, you know,
his famous story about the boy that stubbed his toe, and he said it hurts
too much to laugh, but he was too big to cry.

SCOTT BROWN (R), FORMER U.S. SENATOR: From the very outset of this
campaign, I decided to run a race that we all could be proud of. That has
always been may standard. I want to walk away with no regrets. And that`s
what I`m doing.

SEN. KAY HAGAN (D), NORTH CAROLINA: This campaign has ended, but our
work to improve the lives of North Carolinians and to build an economy that
works for everyone isn`t over.

BRUCE BRALEY (D), IOWA SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: There are a lot of
disappointed people tonight, including me.

But we are lucky to live in a country where we have the freedom to be
disappointed in the outcome of an election, because people come here from
all over the world because they don`t even get to vote.

MICHELLE NUNN (D), GEORGIA SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: At our best, we not
only accept the electoral results, but we practice the art of bridge-
building and reconciliation. And so I offer David my strongest possible
support.

GREG ORMAN (I), KANSAS SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: And while Senator
Roberts won tonight, we didn`t lose. We not only ran against Senator
Roberts. We ran against the whole Washington establishment.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

CHARLIE CRIST (I), FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: Losing is not fun, but
what is most important is that we come together as a state. This was a
tough election. And I understand that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Up next, big night for the Republicans. Now the question
is, how are they going to work with President Obama? The roundtable is
coming here next.

And even though he was not on the ballot, one of the winners last
night was the big guy from Jersey, Chris Christie. Get ready for 2016.
He`s certainly ready.

And you`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PAGE HOPKINS, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Page Hopkins. And here`s
what`s happening.

Authorities say the Philadelphia woman whose abduction was caught on
surveillance video has been found alive. Carlesha Freeland Gaither was
kidnapped Sunday. A suspect is in custody.

New York health officials say the number of people being actively
monitored for Ebola symptoms has tripled to more than 300. Most of them
recently arrived from Ebola-affected countries. Meanwhile, later figures
show the pace of new cases slowly in Liberia, but rising in Sierra Leone.
More than 13,000 people are sick -- and now we`re going to you back to
HARDBALL.

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

Of course, it was a Republican wave. We accepted that word around
2:00 in the morning, but it was true, and a rough night for Obamacare and
Democrats. In press conferences today, the new Republican leader, Mitch
McConnell, and president talked -- these are press conferences, of course.
It was not a good start -- talked about getting to work together if they
ever meet.

Senators Ted Cruz and Rand Paul have other ideas. These guys are not
good for greatness. Here they are. Let`s listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Now is the time to go after and do
everything humanly possible to repeal Obamacare.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

CRUZ: Now is the time to stand up and say, follow the Constitution,
honor the rule of law and protect the Bill of Rights.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

CRUZ: The era of Obama lawlessness is over.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: That`s the definition of a demagogue. Put -- in the
dictionary, put that face, or Joe McCarthy, because they look alike. Put
them in the dictionary next to each other.

Mike, have you ever seen that before? "Seven Days in May"? It looked
like a military coup there with the big flag of Texas there. What was he,
seceding? The guy is not interested in anything happening.

Mike Paul, thank you for joining us.

Glad to be here.

And Joe Conason, of course, editor -- I will do it all -- formerly
editor of NationalMemo.com, Joy Reid, my colleague here. She`s with "THE
REID REPORT," which I some time am allowed to do. And Mike Paul, as I
said, former aide to New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.

MIKE PAUL, FORMER AIDE TO RUDY GIULIANI: Yes, sir.

MATTHEWS: He wasn`t a demagogue.

PAUL: No, not my definition.

MATTHEWS: What is this? Give me some words. OK.

PAUL: Well...

MATTHEWS: Let`s talk about the party. There`s two messages came out
today. One were the guys who at least talked about getting together at
some point, the president and Mitch McConnell.

Then you have Rand Paul, who is Ayn Rand incarnate, some kind of weird
kind of objectivist thing he`s doing. He wants to be president. Ted Cruz
wants to be president -- let me say this right -- in the worst way.

(LAUGHTER)

PAUL: Yes. Well...

MATTHEWS: Who is going to win this battle for the next couple months?
We`re going to know pretty soon. Will anything get done between now and
Christmas?

(CROSSTALK)

JOE CONASON, NATIONALMEMO.COM: Oh, I think there have been signs that
Cruz will win because he will go the furthest out. And the base loves
that. And everybody knows that. That`s -- I know people tell you Ted Cruz
is the front-runner for their nomination right now. I mean, it`s not...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Do you want that?

CONASON: Do I want that?

MATTHEWS: For hatred reasons?

(LAUGHTER)

CONASON: I want what`s best for the Republican Party.

MATTHEWS: Who most wants the president on the Republican side to do
immigration by executive order, just go do it on his own?

JOY REID, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Oh, Ted Cruz, because...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Tell why.

(CROSSTALK)

REID: He wants to then go out there and float impeachment to the
base.

And, look, the reality is for Ted Cruz, there is a little thing call
Joni Ernst now on the table, with a potential Republican star arrival who
is every bit as archconservative, but hides it a whole lot better than he
does, coming into the Senate. He`s not going to want to let his star power
dim in comparison to her.

The last thing he wants is for her to become the big star in the
Senate. He wants the attention. He wants that spotlight on him. And he
wants the base to be with him. The base will immediately start to hate
Mitch McConnell if he starts compromising with the president. There is no
political incentive for him to do it unless it`s for his own legacy.

Ted Cruz is going to stand in the way of that every day, I think.

MATTHEWS: OK. Say what you said off break. What about his voice?
How you would you describe Ted Cruz`s voice?

REID: It is tinny.

MATTHEWS: Tinny.

(CROSSTALK)

REID: It`s tinny.

MATTHEWS: He looks like Joe McCarthy. And he has a tinny voice.

This isn`t about good looks and attractiveness. I think part of the
Republican thing is to be a bit unnerving, to be a bit irritating.

CONASON: Scary, yes.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Scary. Don`t be charming and well-turned-out, like Joni
Ernst.

(CROSSTALK)

PAUL: One of the things that we`re talking about here is the division
within the party. And we`re really not hearing enough about the division
within the Republican Party.

We`re constantly hearing about some of the bickering that is happening
within the Democratic Party. The party -- I said it right here on your
show a few years ago. The party is changing. The older portion of the
party is very different than the younger portion of the party. We have the
Tea Party still there.

There`s a lot of division. There`s a lot of change that just
happened. And the question now is, are we going to listen to that change
within that party? We`ve struggled with that. We don`t have the diversity.
But yes, there`s a few that have come in, but there`s still, I have to
speak honestly, a lot of problems within the party and the party needs to
address that change.

MATTHEWS: I want to ask you a question, because you`re Republican.
What is it in the Republican hard wing? Right wing side that says no to
any immigration, because if you don`t have a bill, you can`t have
enforcement.

So, what do they think they want -- status quo is what they want?
They seem to want this and I don`t know why they like the status quo with
people pouring into the country illegally all the time. Why do they like
that rather than making it more organize? The system?

PAUL: I think it`s more simple than that. I think if we`re going to
talk about the real issue, it is about fear, it`s about race, and it`s
about constantly playing that card when it is convenient at times, and
that`s what`s gotten the party over --

MATTHEWS: But why are they against a bill that`s got teeth in it?
It`s a real bill, that Senate bill. That`s what I can`t understand about
your party. It`s the best deal they`re going to get. It`s got real
enforcement.

PAUL: Well, we have an opportunity now with a new Congress to see if
there`s going to be some change. I`m hoping that there will be more of
that change. A lot of people are naysayers --

JOY REID, REID REPORT: I don`t see how that can happen. I don`t see
how it can happen.

JOE CONASON, NATIONAL MEMO: The best deal they`re going to get is the
one that helps them win elections. They don`t care about getting the --

MATTHEWS: In the long run?

CONASON: In the long run -- well, the long run up to 2016. I mean,
in other words, once if they had all three branches of government, I think
we know they would go and do things they like to do.

MATTHEWS: Do you see the contradiction here? They would rather have
a continued unorganized border situation, which is half passed, we deport
people, (INAUDIBLE) crazy stuff, but is not it a fact, you come across to
get a job, and that`s what people do. It`s not evil. Most of us will do
the same thing.

PAUL: Absolutely not.

MATTHEWS: No matter how high wall was, we`ll get here.

So, if you want to get the system, stop having illegal hiring of cheap
labor.

REID: But, Chris, the issue has been - look, Republicans, it wasn`t
the Tea Party that did it. It was Eric Cantor, Joe McCarthy, the so-called
"Young Guns", on the day one of the president`s term, when he was planning
his inauguration --

MATTHEW: Kevin McCarthy.

REID: Kevin McCarthy, sorry. I think that was Freudian thing that
just happened there.

But they plotted total wall of obstruction against anything the
president wanted to do. It wasn`t the Tea Party that did that. That was
the regular order of the Republican Party. And they`ve been richly
rewarded. The electorate looked at a government unfunctional and rewarded
them in he have midterm, because in midterm, it`s only their base that`s
voting.

CONASON: What Joy said before, illuminated the split in the
Republican Party. There are you a few people who will at least talk to the
president to pass legislation.

MATTHEWS: Lindsey Graham.

CONASON: Then the other people who simply -- would like to impeach
him.

MATTHEWS: Is that what Ted Cruz -- does he want the president to
reach out there, use his parole power, whatever the legal term is. To pay
for basically, a lot of people came in illegally, the kids (INAUDIBLE)
Fourteenth Amendment.

Does he really want to it get that rocky, that frightening in this
country, where you have a left rallying to the president for being gutsy
and a right which is outraged by the president, so nothing gets done for
two years?

PAUL: Honestly, that`s where we are right now. If we`re going to be
honest about it, it`s not where we`re going to be in the future. That`s
where we are right now.

MATTHEWS: Well, but didn`t Mitch McConnell sound better than that
tonight?

PAUL: Well, I think -- if we`re talking about from yesterday to
today, yes, we`ve heard a lot of good rhetoric. Are they going to be able
to walk the talk? Both parties, there`s been gridlock on both parties.

MATTHEWS: I`m with you. I don`t think it has been a great getting
together.

When I heard today from a guy had a worked for McConnell, they`ve only
been alone once or twice in six years. That means they don`t want to talk.

REID: Because McConnell was a part -- look, McConnell played along.
McConnell told his caucus, we`re going to do one thing. We`re going to say
no. We`re going to say no every day, until we -- even to the point of
shutting down government, ruining our credit rating as a country, for the
first time allowing us to lose our AAA rating, because it would make the
president look bad.

MATTHEWS: You heard it today.

(CROSSTALK)

REID: That`s what he said today because it`s good politics.

MATTHEWS: You don`t think he`s sticking it to the face of Ted Cruz
with that line?

REID: Oh, no, I don`t think he likes Ted Cruz at all, because he
doesn`t want to be challenged.

MATTHEWS: Can you say something good about a Republican? Just for a
second. I think McConnell had a moment today.

REID: You know, I`ll say a good thing. I think Eisenhower was a hell
of a president.

MATTHEWS: OK. Thank you.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: A little rock.

REID: Amen.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: The roundtable is staying with us.

And when we come back, proof that words do matter. We`ll look at one
of the worst sets of words in this campaign. Words matter. You`re going
to see it.

And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Today, Governor Chris Christie appeared on five morning TV
shows, taking inevitable questions about the 2016 race and his plans for
that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MATT LAUER, NBC NEWS: Four years ago, you said famously, "I don`t
feel ready in my heart to be president." Four years later, do you feel
ready in your heart?

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: I`ll have to figure that out.

LAUER: When do you think you might do that?

CHRISTIE: You know, the next number of months. I think, you know,
Mary Pat and I have to start o talk about it in earnest and make a
decision.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: There`s a guy with a healthy ego. Let`s talk -- the 2016
campaign has begun.

HARDBALL back after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Back with the roundtable with Joe, Joy and Mike.

We saw some unexpected and bizarre moments in this campaign that
became story. In fact, in Kentucky, Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan
Grimes wouldn`t even say who she voted for, whether she voted for the
leader of her party or not. Here is that, maybe the last time we`ll show
it. But here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why are you reluctant to give an answer to whether
or not you voted for President Obama?

ALISON LUNDERGAN GRIMES (D), KENTUCKY SECRETARY OF STATE: Bill,
there`s no reluctancy. This is a matter of principle. Our constitution
grants here in Kentucky the constitutional right for privacy at the ballot
box, for a secret ballot.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, in Iowa, Democrat Bruce Braley was caught on video
attacking Iowa senior senator, Chuck Grassley, for being a farmer. What a
terrible thing to say about somebody in Iowa -- you`re a farmer.

Anyway, here he is doing that. It killed him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. BRUCE BRALEY (D), IOWA: You might have a farmer from Iowa who
never went to law school, never practiced law, serving as the next chair of
the Senate Judiciary Committee.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, that`s populist.

Another snafu in Iowa came when retiring Democratic Senator Tom Harkin
went after Republican Joni Ernst`s looks -- never do that! -- suggesting
that her success was because she was, quote, "really attractive and she
sounds nice." It didn`t stop there.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TOM HARKIN (D), IOWA: I don`t care if she`s good looking as
Taylor Swift or as nice as Mr. Rogers, but if she votes like Michele
Bachmann, she`s wrong for the state of Iowa.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Hillary Clinton told crowds in Massachusetts that
corporations and businesses don`t create jobs.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Don`t let anyone tell you
that, you know, it`s corporations and businesses that create jobs. You
know that old theory trickle-down economics. That has been tried, that has
failed. It has failed rather spectacularly.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: We`ve all been there, that`s the cold sweat time. When the
audience isn`t quite -- even your liberal audience. Let me go to you,
Mike.

PAUL: There were a lot of Democrats there.

MATTHEWS: You want to talk on that?

This is more interesting, this gender thing. I have learned, most
guys my age, it took a while to learn it, don`t talk looks when it comes to
women. You can say words like -- vague words like, she`s really well-
turned out or attractive person. But anything that sounds like sex, you`re
dead meat.

REID: Well, especially when you`re making a cultural reference that
you don`t even -- I mean, probably a 20-something staffer fed him the line
about Taylor Swift.

MATTHEWS: He doesn`t know who she is probably.

REID: Yes, and he threw that in there, and it`s not just very smart.

Braley thing, obviously, that`s your state, you understand, he didn`t
seem to understand his own state.

But I have to tell you, the one I find the most annoying had to be
Alison Lundergan Grimes, right? I don`t do political communications, but
the answer to that is I`m a Democrat. He`s the Democratic president. Of
course, I voted for the Democrat, I didn`t vote for Mitt Romney. Mitt
Romney said the 47 percent line, Mitt Romney was for the 1 percent. I
voted for the guy who was for the people. Very simple answer, that was her
--

MATTHEWS: Do you know if she did vote for Obama?

REID: I don`t know, but just answer the question. I don`t know, but
it was a non-answer.

MATTHEWS: When are we going to know? When is she going to tell us?

PAUL: Over the next two years when she`s going to get beat up by a
president who wanted her to give the write answer.

MATTHEWS: Unless she --

(CROSSTALK)

CONASON: What Joy said is always the right answer. The conviction
politician, Chris, you get out there and you say what you really thing.
People like that. Even if they don`t agree with you.

They love Reagan. Most people do not agree with Reagan on issues of
policy, I`m sure you know that. They liked him because he stood up and
said, this is what I believe. What about it? I mean, people don`t respect
the other at all.

MATTHEWS: I give her a little credit, but I think there`s another
reason. Kathleen Parker, who is a conservative columnist, wrote, she
thought it was not just being coy or anything, or avoiding being connected
with the president. She called it lie avoidance. She didn`t want to say
something that wasn`t true because she may have told someone how she voted.

You never know. She`s a very loyal Clinton person. Very loyal, I
don`t know that she voted for Obama.

CONASON: I think you`re right that she probably was for Hillary in
the primary, but so what? That wouldn`t have hurt her. She could have
said that.

MATTHEWS: Anyway, your point is well-taken, she lost by 15 points,
she wouldn`t have lost by 17, if she said where she had voted and she would
have one friend in the White House, at least.

REID: She didn`t carry women. So her problems were much deeper.

MATTHEWS: Will the big guy from Jersey doing any better than Rudy?
There seems to be a problem with the Republican Party, with East Coast
ethnic people with interesting last names. Will he do better? Yes or no?

PAUL: I think he will.

MATTHEWS: OK, thank you, Joe Conason, Joey Reid and Mike Paul.

We just got the word, Chris Christie will do better than Rudy Giuliani
who didn`t get anywhere.

Anyway, when we return, let me finish with how the president needs to
sell a tough immigration reform bill if he wants to get it through the
House. And there is a route to getting it done.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Let`s finish tonight with this: listening to Mitch
McConnell and President Obama at their separate press conferences today, we
were hearing from two different worlds. It`s a concern that they`ve only
been together alone one or two times in the last six years. It`s an even
greater concern I think that even when they`re apart, there`s little
evidence they agree to look around and see the same world.

It`s worse than that. Listening to them both, I got the feeling
they`re looking for common ground. Well, that is where they say they might
be able to reach an agreement.

Well, that is a very primitive notion. It`s saying the only time they
can reach agreement is when they agree. Well, that`s not negotiation.
That sounds more like dating.

Look, we know the two political parties disagree on just about
everything -- everything we argue about certainly, and that`s why they`re
different political parties. The basis of governing in a divided
government is not finding common ground, which is hard -- very hard to find
and not that important, it`s compromise. I give you something. You give
me something that I want. It`s a matter of bargaining, of trading, of
being politicians.

Mitch McConnell warned the president today not to do an executive
order giving legal status to millions of people in this country illegally.
He did so because the people who voted for McConnell and the rest of his
party don`t like illegal immigration. They want it stopped, not
encouraged.

The president speaking today never mentioned the country`s anger of
illegal immigration. He spoke only about giving legal status to people who
don`t have it. That`s not dealing with illegal immigration. It`s not
stopping the flow tomorrow or the next day of illegal immigrants. It`s
providing relief to illegal immigrants, the results of past failures to
pass and enforce immigration law.

So, we have two ships passing in the night -- the party that wants to
stop illegal immigration and the other party, the president, that doesn`t
even want to talk about stopping illegal immigration.

The answer is not to find common ground again. It`s to find a deal.
The president wants to help people here illegally. The Republicans want to
stop more millions from coming here illegally.

And there`s your compromise. Kill the magnet of illegal jobs that`s
drawing the illegal immigration. Meanwhile, give a real pathway to
legality for the millions here. And guess what? That very compromise is
contained in the Senate immigration bill with a dozen Republican senators
aboard. That bill has passed the Senate.

The president needs to sit down at the table and convince Republicans
that the only way they`re going to get an enforceable immigration law is
they agree to the other half of the compromise, a route to legality for the
millions of immigrants living in this country, many of whom are very law
abiding citizens for many years.

It`s time for these two ships passing in the night to come together
and deal. That`s what politics is for, what good politicians are good at.
The Republicans want the immigration monkey off their back, this Democratic
president needs to deliver to the people in the Latino community who voted
for him and are counting on him. A bill is better than a short-term
executive order any day of the week.

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

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.

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