updated 9/1/2015 9:08:21 AM ET 2015-09-01T13:08:21

Show: HARDBALL
Date: August 31, 2015
Guest: Robert Costa, Liz Mair, Jeanne Cummings, Michelle Bernard, Paul
Singer

STEVE KORNACKI, GUEST HOST: The front-runners stumble and the
outsiders surge.

Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Steve Kornacki, in for Chris Matthews.

Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush slip, Donald Trump and Ben Carson
dominate and Bernie Sanders is still on the rise. That`s what a couple of
surprising new polls out of Iowa show, and they might as well sum up the
state of play in the 2016 race as we approach the end of summer.

On the Democratic side, the new Bloomberg/"Des Moines Register" poll
shows Hillary Clinton remaining at the top, but her lead has slipped
dramatically. Bernie Sanders is now trailing her by just 7 points. This
is a huge shift from earlier this summer, when Clinton had the support of
half of the Democrats in Iowa and a 26-point lead back then over the
senator from Vermont.

If the Democratic race is uncertain right now, though, on the
Republican side, polls show the contest has been upended by Donald Trump.
The latest poll out of Iowa from Monmouth University shows Trump tied with
Dr. Ben Carson. Carly Fiorina, Ted Cruz, Scott Walker, Jeb Bush trail
them.

There were similar results from the latest Bloomberg/"Des Moines
Register" poll on the Republican side. It found Trump in first, Carson
right behind him in a close second. Trump now leads in almost every recent
national poll, as well as in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, all
those key early states.

But who`s keeping track of all that?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: How about Florida? I have
a governor -- we have a low-energy governor and we have a senator, and
we`re leading big in Florida.

There`s this poll that comes out, I think it was in South Carolina,
where we`re way up. And Lindsey Graham is at 4 and he`s the senator. I`m
at 30. So I wrote him a note -- Congratulations, I`m only beating you in
your home state by 26 points.

To me, that statement was more important than actually literally
killing everybody in the poll. We were much, much higher than more than
double everybody. You saw that Quinnipiac just came out, and that was an
amazing poll.

It`s unbelievable! I`m the only one that wins these polls, and I get
negative publicity! It`s the most -- no, it`s incredible, the press, ay-
yi-yi.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: Joined now by "Washington Post" national political reporter
Robert Costa, "Washington Post" columnist Eugene Robinson and Republican
strategist Liz Mair.

Robert Costa, let me start with you. And we can have plenty of time
to get into everything we just had Donald Trump saying there and the latest
on Trump, but I want to start right now on Jeb Bush because I`m almost
stunned by the poll numbers I saw today out of Iowa with Jeb Bush.

It`s not just that Donald Trump is leading and it`s not just that he`s
down at 5 percent in one of those polls right there, it`s that when they
asked about a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Jeb Bush -- they asked
Republicans -- and he was 19 points underwater. It`s telling me it`s not
just that they`re infatuated with Donald Trump, these Republicans do not
like Jeb Bush. What is going on there?

ROBERT COSTA, "WASHINGTON POST": Well, Trump is having a day in, day
out assault on Governor Bush. It`s been relentless all summer, and Bush is
now starting to respond, trying to counter, but he`s countering Trump as a
conservative, saying Trump is a liberal, he`s a former Democrat.

We`re not so sure as reporters that these charges are sticking. We
don`t see voters really active (ph) about it, but Bush is under pressure
from donors and people close to his campaign to show some kind of fight as
Trump continues to battle on.

KORNACKI: Well, so Liz Mair, what`s the -- strategically here, this
is not the first time we`ve seen a poll showing Jeb Bush struggling in
Iowa. It`s the lead-off caucus state. We`ve known it`s going to be tough
for him.

When you start getting to this level, 5 percent, 51 percent of
Republicans saying they`ve got an unfavorable view of the guy, is this time
strategically for the Bush campaign to say, You know what? Let`s just get
out of Iowa.

LIZ MAIR, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I would say that it`s a little too
early to make that determination. I mean, these things tend to go in
waves, and what you want is to be surging really as you`re sort of heading
into about mid to late December, bearing in mind when the caucus is
actually going to take place. So what`s happening right now is
interesting, but it`s not necessarily completely determinative or relevant.

I do think, based on where Jeb Bush is on a number of issues, there is
an argument to be made that he shouldn`t really put all of his eggs into
the Iowa basket, right, because this is a state that is known for taking a
slightly different stance to what he does on core issues, including
immigration. He is seen to be a little bit more moderate on social issues.
A lot of Iowans aren`t. He has not been as pro-ethanol as certain other
candidates have.

And so perhaps him working on the assumption that he really needs to
carry that state and doing everything that he can to carry that state is
not necessarily the right strategy.

But you know, with that being said, from what I can tell, looking at
the Bush campaign and looking at what the super-PAC is doing, I don`t think
that they really are putting all of their eggs into that Iowa basket.

I think the person who has been and where this is arguably worse news
is actually Scott Walker, where Iowa has been treated as being extremely
critical for him and where he is flagging a bit.

KORNACKI: Yes, and walker another one, elected official, experienced
getting elected to office, he`s getting flattened in Iowa now.

Well, on "MORNING JOE" today, Steve Schmidt, the former senior
strategist for John McCain`s campaign -- he said that Trump`s attacks on
Jeb Bush are having an effect.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEVE SCHMIDT, FMR. MCCAIN STRATEGIST: And look, Jeb Bush was a very
successful governor. He`s a thoughtful man. He was a good conservative
governor. But every day, Donald Trump is emasculating Jeb Bush. And
Republican primary voters are not going to default to the establishment
candidate who`s being weakened by these attacks that go unresponded to.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: And Trump continued his attacks on Bush over the weekend,
too.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: If you want a nice person, honestly, you should vote for Jeb.
The country`s going to go to hell, but we won`t talk about -- I`m much more
militaristic than Bush, even the brother, but you got to know where to use
and it when.

QUESTION: Why is Jeb Bush a frequent target of yours and what do you
think about...

TRUMP: Well, I would say Jeb Bush is a frequent target because when
this whole thing started, I thought he was going to be the primary
competition, but he`s drifted very much to the middle of the pack, and he`s
rapidly disappearing. So we`re going to have to start looking at somebody
else.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: And today, Trump put out a video on Instagram going after
Bush`s past language on immigration in a very incendiary way.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEB BUSH (R-FL), FMR. GOV., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes, they broke
the law, but it`s not a felony. It`s kind of a -- it`s a -- it`s a -- it`s
a -- it`s an act of love.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: Eugene Robinson, that word that Steve Schmidt used, I think
it sums it up perfectly, "emasculating." Donald Trump -- every time he
launches into one of these attacks, it`s almost like, you know, an emperor
has no clothes moment. He`s pointing out things that are there, but no
other respectable Republican voice is going to say. And I can just see the
heads nodding, the Republican heads nodding when Trump starts going after
Jeb like that.

EUGENE ROBINSON, "WASHINGTON POST," MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: No,
absolutely. He keeps calling him a low-energy person, low-energy governor,
and which he believes, and I think he`s right, really gets under Jeb Bush`s
skin. And so in that sense, he`s trying to provoke, but he`s also trying
to reinforce this impression that he`s creating that Jeb Bush is -- just
doesn`t have the gusto to be president. That ad brings to my mind Willie
Horton, actually, harking back perhaps to another Bush.

KORNACKI: And Robert Costa, you know, I start to think about Jeb Bush
and whether this is -- this may just be, in my mind, the wrong year, the
wrong cycle for somebody with his resume, somebody with his name.

I look at this Iowa poll, I add them up, you add Trump, you add,
Carson, you add Fiorina in this newest Iowa polls, that takes you to 56
percent of the vote combined for people who`ve never held office before.

It starts to raise the question very simply, is this the wrong year
for a former two-term governor of Florida with the name of two presidents
to be running for the Republican nomination?

COSTA: Look, does Trump -- and Carson and all the outsiders -- do
they comprise a huge part of the Republican coalition? Yes, they do, but
they`re not the entire party. It is still early. Bush people are
confident, especially with this $100 million sitting out there in the
super-PAC, that they can revive the campaign.

The question is for the establishment. If it`s not Bush, if Bush is
so damaged by Trump, does that open up room for Governor Kasich, for
Senator Rubio to be almost a Bush alternative for the GOP establishment, to
try to have some kind of person who can go against Trump mano a mano?

KORNACKI: I want to get to these Democratic numbers, too, because a
lot of headlines here -- Gene Robinson, let`s start with this, Clinton 37,
Sanders 20. They put Biden into this one. Biden picks up 14 in Iowa.

I mean, look, we saw in 2008 the Hillary collapse began in Iowa. She
came in third place there, sets up now if she were to lose Iowa to, say,
Bernie Sanders, the next state up is New Hampshire. Sanders is next door.
Suddenly, she`s looking at 0 and 2.

ROBINSON: Well, you know, that would be certainly bad for her. I
mean, the caveat is that this poll does put in Joe Biden. If you look,
Bernie Sanders has gone up 6 points since the last poll, which is good for
Bernie Sanders. But the rest of what`s come out of Hillary Clinton`s total
has gone to Joe Biden, hypothetically. And Joe Biden thus far and perhaps
for all time is not running for president. So if you took his votes, I
think most of them would probably go back to Hillary Clinton.

KORNACKI: What do you think, Liz? I mean, look at this as a
Republican. I know you guys love to see -- the more chaos on the
Democratic side, the better for you guys. We`ll get to something Dick
Cheney said about that a little bit later.

But I am curious. When you look at these numbers as a political
strategist, do you look where Hillary Clinton is right now? She`s running
against somebody -- right now is just Bernie Sanders. He`s not actually a
registered Democrat. He`s a self-described socialist. How worried,
realistically, should she be at this point?

MAIR: I think she should be extremely worried, but not just in view
of these numbers. If you actually look at a number of other data and other
indicators, I mean, she has some really serious problems that go well
beyond the actual hard numbers in Iowa that you`re seeing, things to do
with voter sentiment regarding her untrustworthiness, the sense that she`s
dishonest, that she is deceptive, she cannot be trusted.

And I think that in many respects, you know, it is gratifying as a
Republican to see this chaos going on. The trouble, I think, also is that
in some respects, while it would be fun to run against a self-described
socialist, you know, I think if Joe Biden is to get into this race, if he
sees the sign of Hillary Clinton`s weakness as an indicator that he needs
to get in, that`s actually something that, as a Republican, is somewhat
troubling to me because I think that the party can beat Hillary Clinton. I
don`t know if we can beat Joe Biden.

KORNACKI: Last week, "The New York Times" interviewed more than 75
Democratic leaders who said they were increasingly frustrated with Hillary
Clinton`s inability to get beyond the scandal surrounding her e-mail.

The article even quoted Clinton backer former Pennsylvania governor Ed
Randall saying, quote, "They`ve handled the e-mail issue poorly, maybe
atrociously, certainly horribly. The campaign has been incredibly tone
deaf, not seeing this as a more serious issue. She should have turned over
the e-mail server at the start because they should have known they`d be
forced to give it up. But at this point, there`s nothing they can do to
kill the issue. They`re left just playing defense."

You know, Robert Costa, I look at this two different ways. I look at
the declining numbers for Hillary Clinton in Iowa and I see, obviously,
that should be a warning sign for any candidate. At the same time, you
look a little closer in those numbers, and you do find the Democrats, when
you push them and say, Are you comfortable with Hillary Clinton being your
candidate, do you have a favorable view of her -- still off-the-charts
numbers there for her.

So it is tough for me to try to figure out how serious the problems
are for her at this point.

COSTA: Exactly. And if you look at the history of Senator Sanders`s
career, when he was running in Vermont, never has run a negative ad,
doesn`t run negative campaigns.

He and his strategist (INAUDIBLE) they`re not angling right now to
shift from Sanders`s summer of festivals and big crowds to start running a
negative campaign against Clinton. If Vice President Biden gets in the
race, his people aren`t saying he`s going go negative against Clinton.

So who`s going to actually take Secretary Clinton on? Until that
happens, she remains the favorite.

KORNACKI: Yes, well...

(CROSSTALK)

KORNACKI: We`ll get into that question...

(CROSSTALK)

KORNACKI: I`m sorry. Go ahead.

MAIR: I was just going to say I think the simple answer to that
question is that Hillary Clinton takes out Hillary Clinton. That`s
basically the way the campaign is functioning right now, is that they are
on course for that.

KORNACKI: Yes, well, we`ll get into that later, what it would
actually take if Joe Biden got in this race, because I got the theory if he
gets the race, he has got to go negative against Hillary Clinton. I don`t
know if he wants to do that. That`s one of the key questions there.

Anyway, thank you, Robert Costa, Eugene Robinson, Liz Mair.
Appreciate all the time tonight.

And coming up -- the rise of Donald Trump is making the rest of the
Republican field say the wildest things, like Chris Christie, who wants to
track illegal immigrants like FedEx packages and Scott Walker, who`s
talking about building a wall between the United States and Canada.

How damaging is this kind of anti-immigration talk going to be for
Republicans come 2016?

Plus, Hillary Clinton`s once immense lead in Iowa, as we were just
talking about, now down to single digits. Now she`s getting more
aggressive about winning over wavering Democrats and tamping down talk of
alternative candidates.

Plus, President Obama is in Alaska, where he`s changing the name of
the country`s tallest mountain, formerly known as Mount McKinley, back to
its original name. And that`s got Republicans, especially those from Ohio,
seeing red.

And finally, why are so many voters these days feeling like this?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want you to get up right now and go to the
window, open it, and stick your head out and yell, I`m as mad as hell, and
I`m not going to take this anymore!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: We`re going to find out what`s behind America`s Howard
Beale moment.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: A judge could rule as soon as tomorrow on whether to uphold
the NFL`s four-game suspension against Tom Brady. That "deflate-gate"
decision is now left to Judge Richard Berman after he announced today that
talks had stalled between the Brady camp and lawyers for NFL commissioner
Roger Goodell.

Now, if the suspension is upheld, the New England Patriots quarterback
would not be able to play in the first four games of the regular season,
which is slated to begin on September 10th.

Be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We let people
come to this country with visas, and the minute they come in, we lost track
of them. We can`t -- so here`s what I`m going to do as president. I`m
going to ask Fred Smith, the founder of FedEx, Come work for the government
for three months, just come for three months to Immigration and Customs
Enforcement and show these people!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Well, that was New Jersey
governor Chris Christie at a town hall in New Hampshire on Saturday
suggesting that immigrants should be tracked like FedEx packages. Christie
said FedEx could teach the government a thing or two about how to solve the
immigration problem in this country.

Here`s more on Christie`s immigration policy proposal.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTIE: So we`ll go to FedEx, right, and we`ll package it up and
we`ll drop that package at FedEx, and you go on line, and at any moment,
FedEx can tell you where that package is. It`s on the truck. It`s at the
station. It`s on the airplane. It`s back in another station. It`s back
on the track. It`s at our doorstep.

We need to have a system that tracks you from the moment you come in,
and then when your time is up, whether it`s three months or six months or
nine months or twelve months, however long your visa is, then we go get you
and tap you on the shoulder and say, Excuse me, thanks for coming, time to
go.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: All right, Howard Fineman is global editorial director of
the HuffingtonPost and MSNBC political analyst. Jeanne Cummings is the
political editor of "The Wall Street Journal" and Raul Reyes is a
contributor to NBCNews.com.

Well, Raul, let me start with you on this. I`m trying to figure out
how this would work. He`s basically saying, Let`s take people who come
into this country and let`s tag them logistically. I have no idea how
that`s going to happen.

But what I am thinking about here is back to 2012, back to Mitt Romney
on that debate stage in the Republican primaries. He`s trying to get
through the primary. He knows he has to get to the right on immigration.
And that`s when he says "self-deportation," and haunts him all the way to
November.

Is that the same basic thing that`s driving Chris Christie to say
something like this?

RAUL REYES, NBCNEWS.COM CONTRIBUTOR: It`s the same basic thing, but I
would say in this instance, here we are in the summer of Trump -- I would
say that what`s going on right now is worse. And I would say that it`s
more kin to what we saw back in 1994 with Prop 187 in California, which
basically turned California Democratic, or when in 2012, with Arizona`s
"papers please" law that mobilized Latinos across the nation against these
restrictive state laws.

What Chris Christie is proposing -- the nicest thing you can say about
it is that it`s impractical. The worst thing you can say about it is that
it`s inhumane. But the thing is that is very troubling and disturbing to
so many Latinos is just the language that he`s using here of "packages."
You know, we`ve already had discussions of "anchor babies." This is the
Trump effect, where he`s importing extreme fringe rhetoric, and now it`s --
this is mainstream language in the Republican Party.

So it`s going to be a big problem going forward. And when you start
out with -- when you look at the Latino electorate, we`re only talking
about 30 percent who identify as conservative or independent to begin with.
That window is not just closing, but it`s slammed shut by this type of --
this type of rhetoric.

KORNACKI: Well, Christie defended himself and his proposal yesterday
on "FOX News Sunday."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "FOX NEWS SUNDAY")

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My point was, was
that this is once again a situation where the private sector laps up in the
government with the use of technology.

Let`s use the same type of technology to make sure that 40 percent of
the 11 million people here illegally don`t overstay their visas. If FedEx
can do it, why can`t we use the same technology...

(CROSSTALK)

CHRIS WALLACE, HOST, "FOX NEWS SUNDAY": So, how are you going to be
able to tell if somebody over -- they don`t have a number on their -- a
label on their wrist.

CHRISTIE: Well, we can do it and we should bring in the folks from
FedEx to use the technology to be able to do it. And I don`t mean people
are packages, so let`s not be ridiculous.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: Well, Howard Fineman, look, I remember Chris Christie from
his New Jersey days from a couple years ago. He had a very different take
on immigration, a very different tone on immigration.

So clearly he`s trying to get to the right and he`s trying to jump out
and actually get some traction in this primary. But let me take this
question with you from a different angle. How much room is there? When
you see a guy like Chris Christie doing this, how much room exists right
now in this Republican Party today for somebody to take a different tone on
immigration?

Jeb Bush, you see starts to try to go there a little bit and Kasich
tries to go there a little bit. How much room really is there in the
Republican Party?

HOWARD FINEMAN, NBC CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I would say
that, as Chris Christie is proving, there is not a lot of room in the Trump
part of the discussion, because Trump dominates it.

And you have got formerly reasonable or semi-reasonable governors such
as Chris Christie sounding like fools proposing what he`s proposing. It`s
as if these governors are trying to get specific with ideas like walls or
FedEx or whatever, when Donald Trump has all the emotional purchase on it.

So I think there is some room in an anti-Trump approach on
immigration. Who has the record or the guts to do it? I`m not entirely
sure. But, right now, Chris Christie and Scott Walker and Jeb Bush are
fumbling around and fumbling away whatever advantage they might have if
they were gutsy enough to take on Donald Trump.

KORNACKI: Yes, one thing I am noticing here, at least in New
Hampshire, John Kasich, who is probably, I don`t know if the most to the
left is the way to describe on immigration, but he`s moving up in New
Hampshire. Interesting, because New Hampshire...

(CROSSTALK)

FINEMAN: That`s right, partly for that reason.

KORNACKI: Yes. That will be a must-win for Jeb Bush`s too.

But another Republican presidential hopeful, Scott Walker, suggested
this weekend that we should consider building a wall not only on our
southern border, but on our northern border as well, between the U.S. and
Canada.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUESTION: You want to build a wall north of the border too?

GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R-WI), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Some people have
asked us about that in New Hampshire. They raised some very legitimate
concerns, including some law enforcement folks that brought that up to me
at one of our town hall meetings about a week-and-a-half ago. So, that is
a legitimate issue for this to look at.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: And one of Walker`s GOP rivals laughed that off, calling it
dumb and ridiculous.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: That`s a pretty dumb
idea.

(LAUGHTER)

PAUL: So there have been a lot of dumb ideas put out. one, that the
Mexicans will pay for a wall, was probably the dumbest of dumb ideas, but
putting a wall up between us and Canada is sort of a ridiculous notion.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

KORNACKI: Well, Jeanne Cummings, I think this is maybe a window into
the problem that Scott Walker has been having in this race. He`s the guy
who supposedly made sense to conservatives on paper, but he is -- we played
it in the A block there with Donald Trump, Donald Trump saying Bush is low
energy and Scott Walker is low energy. He tries to make up for it with
something like this, and he ends up making his situation worse.

JEANNE CUMMINGS, "THE WALL STREET JOURNAL": He has so many self-
inflected wounds, it`s just difficult to count them.

You know, he is a governor with a lot less experience than some of
these other candidates. There are ways to -- his campaign today has to
take back what he said. This is the third or fourth time in just a matter
of weeks in which he had said something, the campaign had to go back in and
try to fix it.

So, over and over again, he`s hurt himself. And we all have seen the
reports that some of his backers are very concerned about the condition of
his campaign right now. On paper, he was brilliant, but, in practice --
you know, running for president isn`t easy and he`s finding himself
slipping into these traps.

When you talk about immigration, Steve, I will just note that, in
addition to Kasich, the other one whose so far has, you know, been pretty
careful is Marco Rubio. And so he has been avoiding the fights with Trump.
He never says anything bad about Trump. He doesn`t want to bring it on and
he has a record on immigration that he`s run from and fuzzed up a little
bit.

But it would be very hard for one of his Republican opponents, for
even Hillary Clinton to paint him, him as being anti-immigrant. So he`s
the one who has got a path on the issue that is more center-right.

KORNACKI: Yes. No, it`s one of the reasons why he could be such a
big general election threat.

And let me fast-forward to the general election and try to look at how
this rhetoric we`re seeing right now could affect the Republican chances in
2016.

Howard Fineman, look at the numbers on this thing. In 2012, Mitt
Romney basically got 30 percent of the Latino vote. He got 206 electoral
votes. He missed out in Florida. He missed out in Ohio. He missed out in
Colorado.

When you look at that share that Romney got in 2012, realistically,
what is a Republican running in 2016 -- the country will be even more
diverse then -- what do they need to be getting among Latinos to actually
win?

FINEMAN: Well, they have to get at least 35, 36, 37 percent.

And don`t forget that the Republican Party itself did a post-election
analysis of this after 2012 and said the number one -- well, the two main
requirements, appeal to millennials and appeal to Hispanics. And we can
talk about the millennials some other time, but in terms of Hispanics, this
so far has been a disaster. This has been everything that the Republicans
don`t want.

And all of these sound bites and all of these attacks and all of the
things about, you know, the wall in the north that sounds like something
out of "Game of Thrones," and, you know, the FedEx packages of people and
so forth, all of this is going to be a disaster for the Republicans. At
least, it certainly looks that way right now.

REYES: Steve, one of the latest polls from Latino Decisions, which is
pretty much the gold standard for polling in the Hispanic community, they
put the threshold that the GOP will have to reach for 2016 between 42 and
47 percent, which is basically a higher share than ever.

So that just shows in very stark relief how dangerous the position the
party is in right now going forward and how much trouble they`re going to
have surmounting this whole summer of Trump.

KORNACKI: Yes, I mean, 42 to 47, that`s a very high target. I tell
you, if Scott Walker keeps this up, too, we might have to start polling the
Canadian-American vote and see what the threshold is on that.

FINEMAN: Jon Snow. Remember Jon Snow.

(LAUGHTER)

KORNACKI: Never thought I would have to talk about that one in 2016.

Anyway, thank you to Howard Fineman, Jeanne Cummings, and Raul Reyes.
Appreciate you all being here.

REYES: Thank you.

FINEMAN: Thank you.

KORNACKI: Up next, we`re going to go live to Alaska, where President
Obama has renamed the tallest mountain in America, Mount McKinley, amid,
what else, a voice full of Republican opposition.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

President Obama arrived in Anchorage, Alaska, today for a three-day
visit to highlight how climate change is affecting the state and region.
On Wednesday, he will be the first sitting U.S. president to visit the
Alaskan Arctic.

And before he left, he renamed the country`s highest peak from Mount
McKinley to the traditional native Alaska name of Denali. And that drew
the ire of House Speaker John Boehner, who took the move as a dis to our
25th president, William McKinley.

Boehner tweeted his displeasure, saying: "There is a Reason president
McKinley has served atop the highest peak in North America for more than
100 years and that`s because it`s testament to his great legacy. I`m
deeply disappointed in this decision."

McKinley of course was from Boehner`s home state of Ohio. Also, cur
Ohio Governor and 2016 presidential candidate John Kasich adding his
condemnation, tweeting -- quote -- "POTUS once again oversteps his bounds."

Asked about it today, Kasich said he doesn`t want the name changed.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Keep it Mount
McKinley, you know? I just think it ought to stay that and I don`t know
what they are doing on this. In Ohio, we felt that it was appropriate. A
guy saw that mountain when he was one of the first up there and named it
after the president. No reason to change it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: Well, this week`s presidential trip comes at a time when
government statistics show the land and sea of Alaska are threatened by
claimant change.

Alaska has warmed twice as fast as the rest of the country. Its sea
ice is rapidly receding and glaciers are shrinking. Thawing permafrost is
leading to more wildfires and rising ocean temperatures are altering
fishing in the state.

Joining me now is NBC News senior White House correspondent Chris
Jansing. She is in Anchorage for the president`s visit.

So, well, Chris, let me start with this controversy over the name. I
didn`t know this. I get it, by the way. John Boehner is from Ohio, and
Kasich is from Ohio. This is their guy, McKinley, and they want to see him
honored in some way. But I didn`t know this until today. McKinley never
went to Alaska and the mountain was named after him before he was even
president. So, what do Alaskans say? What do they think about this?

CHRIS JANSING, NBC NEWS SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, he
never set foot in Alaska.

Now, what they say is that this is what it`s always been here. By the
way, I asked a tribal chief whose native language it`s in, because we all
say Denali, right? He says it`s Denali. You say Denali, I say Denali.

Anyway, whatever you call it, the point is that this is what the
native Alaskans called it. And when I spoke to native Alaskans today,
including a tribal chief, he said to me, this is really about our cultural
identity. This is about American imperialism of a certain time, them
coming in and deciding that they`re going to change a name. In this case,
it was actually a gold prospector who liked the fact that then candidate
William McKinley was for the gold standard and named it Mount McKinley and
it stuck.

So this is really settling what has been a dispute that started in
1975 between the Alaska congressional delegation and of course the
politically powerful Ohio delegation. Today -- actually, last night, the
president settled it and it is now officially changing its name, Steve.

KORNACKI: Yes, a 40-year political fight in Washington, that`s
actually short, I guess, to be settled that quickly.

Chris Jansing, though, thank you for the time from Anchorage, Alaska,
tonight. Appreciate it.

JANSING: Sure.

KORNACKI: And up next, Hillary Clinton tries to shut down talk of an
alternative Democratic nominee, this as Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden are
rising in a new Iowa poll.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

RICHARD LUI, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Hi. I`m Richard Lui in the MSNBC
newsroom.

A jury convicted the white supremacist who admitted gunning down at
three centers in Kansas last year. That panel begins work on sentencing
tomorrow.

The man accused of fatally shooting a Texas sheriff`s deputy was
charged with capital murder. Deputy Darren Goforth was killed on Friday
night. President Obama called the victim`s widow with his condolences.

And in Austria, refugees from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan rushed to
board trains bound for Germany. Many migrants view Germany as more
welcoming than other E.U. countries. Chancellor Angela Merkel called on
nations to do more to ease that crisis -- take you now back to HARDBALL.

KORNACKI: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

While Vice President Joe Biden decides whether to enter the Democratic
primaries, Hillary Clinton is ramping up her campaign in a show of strength
that many say is intended to keep Biden out of the race.

Last week, Clinton interrupted her scheduled two-week vacation in the
Hamptons to roll out an endorsement from former Governor Tom Vilsack in
Iowa. Clinton campaign officials have also begun to talk about their
delegate advantage, telling Bloomberg News that they have already secured
more than 440 superdelegates. That`s about 20 percent of the number of
delegates she would need to secure the nomination next year.

Then, at a DNC meeting on Friday, Clinton spoke about the superiority
of her field organization and how it will help the party.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`m not taking a
single primary voter or caucus-goer for granted. I`m building an
organization in all 50 states and territories, with hundreds of thousands
of volunteers who will help Democrats win races up and down the ticket.

It`s time to rebuild our party from the ground up. And if you make me
the nominee, that`s exactly what I will do.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

CLINTON: So, I hope you will join me, because we`re building
something that will last long after next November.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: So, all told, it appears the Clinton operation is showing
their muscle. The question is, why now? As Politico noted this week, the
workmanlike stretch is meant to convince Democratic power brokers and big-
money donors that they don`t need to place side bets on the vice president
and it suggests to Biden himself that there is no role for him here, there
is no race to save.

It also comes as Biden today received some words of encouragement from
an unlikely source, former Vice President Dick Cheney.

Here was Cheney rabble-rousing on CNN this morning.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, CNN)

DICK CHENEY, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I would love
to see Joe get in the race.

QUESTION: Because?

(LAUGHTER)

CHENEY: Go for it, Joe. He`s tried twice before. He obviously is
interested. I think there is a lot of support for him in the Democratic
Party. I think it would stir things up. They are short candidates on
their side.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC GUEST HOST: All right. I`m joined by the round
table, MSNBC political analyst is David Corn is the Washington bureau chief
for "Mother Jones", Michelle Bernard is the president for the Bernard
Center for Women, Politics and Public Policy, and Paul Singer is Washington
correspondent for "USA Today".

Well, David, let me start with you.

So, look, the game here, we know what`s going on. Joe Biden is
calling around. He`s asking Democrats, is there room for me? The Clinton
campaign wants those Democrats saying back to him, no, sorry, she`s got the
numbers, she`s going to win, and there is something in it for us anyway.

Is that the message -- after what the Clintons have done here in the
last week -- is that the message Democrats are going to deliver to Joe
Biden?

DAVID CORN, MOTHER JONES: Well, it`s the message that the Hillary
campaign is trying to deliver, I am here, and I`m strong and it`s a big
fight.

Now, there are a lot of Democratic donors out there who still haven`t
committed to Hillary. A lot of people who are bundlers for Barack Obama.
You know, there is -- we`ve heard some unease amongst Democratic Party
establishment stalwarts about Hillary Clinton with or without the e-mail
controversy.

And so, there seems to be a little opening, maybe a medium-sized
opening for Joe Biden. And so, it`s just natural that the Hillary Clinton
campaign would come around and make that space as small as possible and try
to show Joe Biden there is a big hurdle to overcome if you get in this
race. It`s a smart move politically for them and when she speaks to the
DNC, she`s talking to people who care about ground games and maybe who care
about super delegates. But I got to say, you know, talking about super
delegates this far out is a little absurd and those pledges may not mean
anything if six months from now if the super delegates like somebody
better.

KORNACKI: That`s right. Hillary Clinton herself could tell you that
because back in `08, they were always reminding the press, by the way,
these Obama super delegates are not necessarily bound.

Well, Paul, let me ask you, though, from the Biden standpoint. He`s
calling around to all these Democrats. We know what the Clintons want the
Democrats to be telling Joe Biden. What does Joe Biden need to hear. How
much encouragement does he need? Would it take in real terms to get Joe
Biden sometime in the next month to stop flirting with this thing and to
say, yes, I`m in?

PAUL SINGER, USA TODAY: I think it would take a lot. I mean, I think
people would have to say we are really concerned Hillary Clinton`s campaign
is evaporating, something maybe in her testimony in front of Benghazi
committee blows up, something like that that makes it look like this is a
firestorm.

At the moment when you have is Hillary Clinton with a series of bad
news events coming out and, you know, lower poll numbers each time. She`s
trying to change the dynamic to say, I`ve got some good news to talk about.
Let`s say something positive about my campaign.

I don`t think at the moment, you`re going to have sort of everything
the house is on fire conversations that Biden would really need to hear I
think before he gets in.

KORNACKI: Well, here is an unidentified former advisor to President
Obama told "Politico" about Joe Biden`s dealings toward Hillary Clinton.
Quote, "He really likes her personally but there is an under current of
resentment. I think there`s always been an element of and Biden is by no
means the only one that felt this, why does she feel entitled to run and I
can`t?"

I imagine that`s playing a big part in his deliberations right now.
Well, Michelle, that sounds right to me, because -- I mean, we`re sort of
in an unprecedented situation when you think about it. A sitting two-term
vice president who is basically been told by his party, by most of the big
names in his party for the last couple of years -- sorry, there is not room
for you in the race. Where was somebody else?

So, I can understand how that would stir plenty of resentment in him.
I guess, though, for Joe Biden, the flip side of that is, he is a sitting
two-term vice president, this is a guy who has a bit of a legacy on the
line right here. He risks humiliation potentially if he gets in the race
and he loses badly.

MICHELLE BERNARD, BERNARD CENTER: Well, I think that that`s
absolutely going to be at the top of his mind, but on the other hand, you
know, let`s face it, anyone who has the ego, male or female to run for
president is not a shrinking violet. He`s done it twice before as Vice
President Cheney stated earlier this morning on another network, and I
don`t know that you can get that close to the presidency and give it up.

A lot of the reporting we`ve seen talks about the fact that the vice
president allegedly has felt resentful that Hillary Clinton was the face of
President Obama`s foreign policy even though he feels that he`s had so much
foreign policy experience, and I think that the electorate is telling
people like Beau Biden and others that the Democrats are hungry for
somebody else. I think Bernie Sanders` numbers are showing that the
electorate is hungry for somebody else.

And quite frankly, I think that talking about super delegates so early
in time, the risk for that for Hillary Clinton is that it says to the
electorate that is already angry with politics as usual that she expects us
to be a coronation and people like competition and they want to be able to
know that their vote is going to count.

CORN: You know, Steve, one short point here, Biden did run in 2008.
He didn`t fare very well. He didn`t make it to the end of the race.

BERNARD: And he`s vice president.

CORN: He`s vice president. But Hillary was the one in it in the end.
She also ran in `88, and didn`t get too far out of the box.

So, I mean, it`s not as if he has a tremendous background that would
say, yes, you`re the next guy to run for the party --

KORNACKI: All right. Let`s go with one word answers here. It`s
Columbus Day weekend, is Joe Biden in the race or not? David Corn?

CORN: Gosh, I would have to bet no, but I think it`s 50/50 at this
point.

KORNACKI: All right. But you`re leaning no.

Michelle?

BERNARD: Not Columbus Day weekend. I think it`s too soon, but his
likability numbers are high and I do think he`s still going to get into the
race.

KORNACKI: And, Paul?

SINGER: I think no. I think the pain of losing his son among other
things he has other agenda items on his heart at the moment and running for
president isn`t one of them.

KORNACKI: I`m with you. My gut tells me he wants to do this badly,
but he`s going to look and it`s awfully hard to get to yes with some of the
stuff he`s up against to. But maybe I`ll be proven wrong. It would be a
lot more interesting if I am.

Roundtable is staying with us. Up next: why 2016 might just be
considered the mad as hell election.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: So, you`re still surprised Donald Trump is atop of the
polls for the 2016 nomination? Well, let`s take a look back in the history
books.

Thanks to "The Washington Post" Fix Blog, back on August 31st in 2011,
Rick Perry was first in polls for the Republican nomination. Four years
before that this day back in 2007, it was Hillary Clinton who was leading
the Democratic race and it was Rudy Giuliani who was on top of Republican
polls. Rudy would stay in the top spot for 129 days longer. And all the
way back in 2003, well, it was Joe Lieberman, who was the Democratic
frontrunner, with a ten-point lead over the rest of the field.

We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: And we`re back with the roundtable, David, Michelle and
Paul.

A new Quinnipiac University poll out today reveals that Americans are
not happy with the direction this country is heading. The poll found a
wide majority, that`s a total of 71 percent of voters across the country,
are dissatisfied with how things are going in America today.

And when you look at the responses among Republicans, that number
spikes all the way up to 90 percent among Democratic voters. The number
sits at 48 percent.

With so many identifying themselves as angry and distrustful of
government, the results appear to resemble the kind of sentiment famously
expressed by Howard Beale, the iconic character from the 1967 movie
"Network."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HOWARD BEALE, NETWORK: I want you to get up right now and go to the
window, open it, and stick your head out and yell, I`m as mad as hell and
I`m not going to take this anymore!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: Well, Michelle, that`s the Rosetta stone number, I think,
as we try to figure out this race, 90 percent -- 90 percent -- not happy
with how things are right now. You start seeing these polls not just with
Trump out there but Ben Carson, with Carly Fiorina, I mean, that`s voters,
to me, who are not looking for specific views on issue "A" or issue "B."
They`re throwing up their hand saying I want something totally different.

BERNARD: Absolutely.

People have given up and I mean, the list of reasons for the anger can
go on and on and on particularly within the Republican Party. You have
those who believe that Barack Obama should never have been elected. You
have those who are upset about the, quote/unquote, "browning" of the
country and the big immigration debate. You have those who are angry about
gay marriage becoming legal on a state by state basis and you still have
people who are angry over, you know, abortion and the entire debate over
pro life versus pro choice and it goes on and on and on.

So, I think within the Republican Party, I`ve even seen studies or
polls that say that some people said they just want Donald Trump to be
voted in as president because he`s such a laughingstock that we will be
forced to start politics all over again, you know, in the United States and
start from scratch.

So, there`s a lot of resentment on the Democratic side, I should state
quickly, from people who are angry about Democratic, those running for
president who don`t want to say the words black lives matter, to those who
are angry, you know, the shooting deaths of unarmed black men, the shooting
deaths of police officers across the country, the education system, climate
change. I mean, we have a caldron of reasons to be angry on both the right
and the left.

KORNACKI: Yes. You know, Paul, what Michelle is saying is
interesting. I think of the Trump slogan on all those hats he`s selling
for 20 bucks or whatever it is, make America great again. It`s a call back
to Ronald Reagan. It`s a call back to a different era.

I think he speaks directly to the kind of voter she is describing
looking at all the changes taking place around them and they`re feeling
very uneasy and here is a guy basically saying, I`ll give you a bridge to
the past.

SINGER: And, you know, it`s easy to sympathize with people who are
angry and upset and afraid at what`s going on in the world. I mean,
they`re beheading our people on television. They`re beheading our people
on television. How could you not see that and think, what has happened to
us? I want to go back to another time.

BERNARD: I have no sympathy for people who take the side of Trump
that it`s not just him saying, make America great again. This whole aspect
of saying, you know, the, quote/unquote, "silent majority", and harkening
back to the days of Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon, and let`s take our
country back.

Well, who are you taking it back from?

CORN: I think this is all swirling, Steve, on a foundation of
uncertainty. I don`t know if you can swirl on a foundation but maybe you
can, you know, especially since the crash of 2008. People look around,
though the economy is doing better and the Dow is going through the roof
despite the recent problems, there`s still tremendous economic insecurity,
wages are still not going up, economic insecurity is prevalent for a lot of
people across the country.

And they look as Paul noted around the world and they see these
intractable problems with ISIS. We spent $2 trillion there, eight years,
lost 5,000 American G.I.s and soldiers and we still have to deal with ISIS
now.

And this is the world we live in. There are no easy answers, no great
solutions that are going to change this quickly.

So, when Trump comes around and starts talking about, you know, we`re
going to make America great again, or Ben Carson who has a kinder and
gentler version of this, he says it`s time to heal America and revive
America, they go with these sort of hallmark or angry man routines and the
details don`t matter. They want someone who is venting their frustration,
their anger, their fright, whatever it might be.

KORNACKI: And that`s a huge problem, Paul, too, for the Republican
Party, because you see that 90 percent number, that`s Republicans who are
saying they`re not just mad about what Barack Obama has done to this
country, they don`t think their party has done anything to stop him.

SINGER: That`s right. I mean, there really is a growing movement
within the Republican Party that is turning on itself, where you see a real
combat between the establishment and the grassroots, the kind of pitchfork
wing of the party.

Some of that in the Democratic Party as well. You`ll see that
happening to Hillary Clinton now, the Bernie Sanders wing is really picking
up its arms as well. But, yes, definitely, the Republicans are dealing
with right now a battle within as well as a battle without.

CORN: The interesting contrast, Steve --

KORNACKI: We are really out of time here, went over this one, David.
But we`ll get up to it next time, I promise you.

Thank you, though, to our roundtable for tonight, David Corn, Michelle
Bernard, Paul Singer, I appreciate you being here.

HARDBALL back right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: That`s HARDBALL for now.

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.


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