updated 10/30/2015 9:50:33 AM ET 2015-10-30T13:50:33

Show: HARDBALL
Date: October 29, 2015
Guest: Susan Page, J.C. Watts, John Stanton, Mollie Hemingway, Ken Vogel,
April Ryan, Ken Vogel, Mollie Hemingway, Gloria Steinem

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: The morning after.

Let`s play HARDBALL.

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

And to paraphrase an old campaign commercial, it`s the morning after
in America. Everyone`s aware of what happened last night. There`ll be no
going back on it, no denying it. The Republicans` sure thing of Jeb Bush
is now the GOP`s lost cause.

The winners last night were the two guys who mapped out their attacks
and then delivered, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. And could it be that the
Republicans are finally coming down to the brutal awareness that it`s going
to take one powerful, compelling, original campaign to knock Hillary
Clinton out of the 2016 driver`s seat, that only by running someone
younger, more hopeful, more inspiring, more tomorrow can they defeat the
person all now see as the Democratic nominee?

Well, one thing for sure, we saw a changing of the guard last night,
and it all happened in a matter of a few short minutes. This was perhaps
the most consequential exchange of last night`s debate. Jeb Bush tried to
take Marco Rubio on over his voting record, his absentee record in the
Senate. Rubio was clearly ready for the shot. Let`s watch the action.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEB BUSH (R-FL), FMR. GOV., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: But Marco, when
you signed up for this, this was a six-year term, and you should be showing
up to work. I mean, literally, the Senate -- what is it, like, a French
work week, you get, like, three days where you have to show up?

(LAUGHTER)

BUSH: You can campaign, or just resign and let someone else take the
job.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know how many
votes John McCain missed when he was carrying out that furious comeback
that you`re now modeling under?

BUSH: He wasn`t my...

(CROSSTALK)

RUBIO: Jeb, I don`t remember -- well, let me tell you, I don`t
remember you ever complaining about John McCain`s vote record. The only
reason why you`re doing it now is because we`re running for the same
position, and someone has convinced you that attacking me is going to help
you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Wow. Well, one Bush donor told Politico, "Going after
Rubio that way was just a mistake. No one cares about missed votes in the
Senate. Was cares about that. The media cares about that. The losing
candidates care about that. Jeb Bush sounded like he was losing, and Mario
made him pay."

Well, Bush appeared on Fox this afternoon and defended his attack on
Rubio.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: I was cut off to be able to complete the -- complete the
thought. I`m a doer, and I think we need a doer as president of the United
States, someone who has a proven record. We`ve had seven years with a
divider-in-chief who is spectacular as a candidate, great speaker, he`s a,
you know, very -- very good politician, but he`s divided the country. The
point is that pursuing your own ambitions at the expense of service of
others is -- is wrong. It`s the wrong way to go.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why did you feel compelled to demonize Marco
Rubio? What are you trying to achieve.

BUSH: Oh, no, no. Jenna (ph), I`m not -- I`m not demonizing Marco
Rubio to point out he has the worst attendance record in the United States
Senate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: No, that`s not (INAUDIBLE)

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: Anyway, Howard Fineman is global editorial director for the
HuffingtonPost. Susan Page, Washington bureau chief for "USA Today." I
saw your picture on the cover this morning. And Eugene Robinson is a
columnist with the -- let`s go from Howard over across.

Howard, I don`t know how -- the poor guy looked like he did attack the
guy. Now he says the morning after, I didn`t really -- I didn`t demonize
him, I just said he had the worst attendance record in the country. Boy,
he looked like he was out of -- out of where he wanted to be. (INAUDIBLE)

HOWARD FINEMAN, HUFFINGTON POST GLOBAL EDITORIAL DIR., MSNBC POLITICAL
ANALYST: Chris, having covered the Bushes in general and Jeb in particular
for many years, that was kind of painful to watch. It was as though the
corner man had dressed him up in white tie and tails and shoved him out
into the middle of the ring to take on a boxer. And he got -- he got
counter-punched by Marco Rubio, and I think it threw Jeb off for most of
the rest of the night.

Now, is this something that the whole country is riveted to? Not
necessarily. But insiders, donors, people who understand the political
game, people who understand tactics and shrewdness and how to really win
cringed at that. It showed somehow everything about the Jeb campaign that
people have been criticizing from the inside -- not prepared, not serious,
not tough, kind of out of step, out of character. It was a mess for Jeb,
and Marco Rubio`s the beneficiary.

MATTHEWS: Susan?

SUSAN PAGE, "USA TODAY": Yes, I agree with what Howard said, and
would say that, also, Republicans have some alternatives. Marco Rubio
looked, you know, crisp and fresh and young and eager and determined, and
so did Ted Cruz. And even John Kasich had some energy and a message to
convey.

And for Jeb Bush, this was the third disappointing debate in a row,
and at some point, your money does not save you from your weaknesses as a
candidate.

MATTHEWS: Gene, I didn`t think he fit the costume last night. I
agree with Howard completely. The guy came on there, going to take down
the other guy -- well, mean it! Her didn`t mean it!

EUGENE ROBINSON, "WASHINGTON POST," MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, if
you`re going to go after him, go after him. He did it in a sort of, Look
here, old man...

(LAUGHTER)

ROBINSON: ... sort of way.

(LAUGHTER)

ROBINSON: And Rubio was not just ready. I mean, he came -- he came
after him with both barrels, and just kind of shut him -- just like with
the back of his hand. It was -- it was a pretty stunning moment, I think,
even for the casual viewer. You saw the body language. You heard the
tones of voice. And you just said, Jeb Bush -- you know, you can also put
a fork in that campaign at this point.

MATTHEWS: You did a very good Edward Everett Horton there, by the
way, Gene!

(LAUGHTER)

FINEMAN: Pulitzer Prize-winning.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: Well, Bush faced multiple questions today that his campaign
was on life support. Let`s watch that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: All across this country, we`re the one that has the best
organization. And I`m going to work hard to be able to earn people`s
support. I knew this was going to be a long journey, but to suggest that
the campaign is terminal -- come on. That`s pretty funny.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you make of the headlines that say your
campaign is on life support?

BUSH: It`s not on life support. We have the most money. We have the
greatest organization. We`re doing fine.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you say to your loyalists who hear that
you botched it last night and they`re starting to walk away? How do you...

BUSH: They`re not walking away. They`re not walking away. This just
-- (INAUDIBLE) there`s eight more debates. There`s ample time to do
exactly what candidates do. End is not near -- memo to file.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: What`d he say, Howard? I mean, "memo to file" -- I mean,
ample time -- I`ve never heard a politician use the word "ample"...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: It`s one of those really tough Anglo-Saxon terms, "ample
time." Excuse me. Go ahead.

FINEMAN: Yes. Well, here`s -- here`s the -- here`s the problem.
He`s -- in his own defense of his candidacy, he`s not explaining why his
candidacy and his presidency would be indispensable for the country.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

FINEMAN: What he`s saying is, I got money...

MATTHEWS: I got organization.

FINEMAN: ... I got organization. That doesn`t mean anything to
anybody. That doesn`t even mean anything to the insiders anymore because
they`re all discounting him.

What he needs to say, if he`s serious, is that, I have a plan, I have
a vision, I have the strength, I know how to be president, and I can turn
this country around. It`s imperative that I win, and here`s how I`m going
to do it.

He doesn`t have -- he just doesn`t hear the music of it somehow. And
it`s pretty amazing in a family that has managed to be so successful at
this game for very long time.

(CROSSTALK)

FINEMAN: I think the nature of the game has changed, Chris,
enormously. People like Rubio and Cruz and Trump and Carson understand it
in a way that I think Jeb just doesn`t get it.

MATTHEWS: Susan, why did he go into this race not knowing that it was
going to be this kind an arena, an arena in which sound bites and toughness
and ability to exploit the moment is the key, not organization and not
money, really, because this isn`t even a paid campaign reality -- I mean,
nobody`s running ads. It`s not about that. It`s about how good are you in
this free media arena, in which Trump is very good, ironically, or
strangely, I have to tell you, Dr. Carson`s extremely good, maybe the best,
and the guys who`ve been around forever don`t look too smart.

PAGE: Well, you know, that`s true. One thing, it`s been decade since
Jeb Bush had run for office. That`s a long time. A lot of things have
changed.

Secondly, I think all of us discounted the force that Donald Trump,
that Ben Carson, outsider candidates have.

But the third thing I`d say is that candidates do come back when we
think they`re down and out. John McCain did. John Kerry did. Ronald
Reagan did in 1980 after he lost the Iowa caucuses.

So while this was a -- I think this was a terrible night for Jeb Bush,
I think this better be the point where he starts to comes back. It is
possible that he`ll do so, so we shouldn`t count him out, I think,
entirely.

MATTHEWS: Not entirely.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: Not entirely. OK. The count is 9, Gene.

(LAUGHTER)

ROBINSON: Yes, I think -- I think it`s fairly late in the count
because this time, you`ve got this mosh pit of candidates, right? And
you`ve got the special circumstance in which the outsiders are leading, and
there is really every incentive for the establishment types to begin
coalescing around a candidate who can take on Donald Trump and Ben Carson,
if they hope to defeat them, because they don`t seem like they`re going to
go away.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

ROBINSON: They`re getting at this as it goes belong. And...

MATTHEWS: Well, let`s watch that...

ROBINSON: ... and they will get better yet. And so, you know, in
that sense, there isn`t necessarily ample time just to kind of
lackadaisically say, Oh, you know, one of these days, I`ll come back.

MATTHEWS: Well, it was the first debate where Donald Trump, you
mentioned, wasn`t the center of attention. In fact, he largely stayed out
of the fray with the other candidates. Instead, he called out the debate
moderators for their questions.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: People say, Oh, how are you
going to get Mexico to pay? A politician -- other than the people on this
stage -- I don`t want to insult -- a politician cannot get them to pay. I
can.

Super-PACs are a disaster. They`re a scam. They cause dishonesty.
And you better get rid of them because they are causing a lot of bad
decisions to be made by some very good people. And I`m not blaming these
folks -- oh, I guess I could. If anything comes out of this whole thing
with some of these nasty and ridiculous question, I will tell you you
better get rid of the super-PACs. Let`s be honest.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is this a comic book version of a presidential
campaign?

TRUMP: No, it`s not a comic book. And it`s not a very nicely asked
question, the way you say that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The leading Republican candidate, when you look at
the average of national polls right now, is Donald Trump. When you look at
him, do you see someone with the moral authority to unite the county?

MIKE HUCKABEE (R-AR), FMR. GOV., PRES. CANDIDATE: I love Donald
Trump...

(LAUGHTER)

HUCKABEE: He is a good man. I`m wearing a Trump tie tonight.

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: By the way, such a nasty -- such a nasty question, but thank
you, Governor.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Howard, the beauty of Trump is that -- (INAUDIBLE) pay for
that comment, but the beauty of Trump is he doesn`t he look like he`s
angry. It`s like this is a game. It`s a contest, like "American Idol" or
anything else, "The Apprentice." And I`m out here on the stage, and the
game is to make you guys the bad guys. I`m not going to do that. And I`m
not going to be personal about it. We`ll meet in the hallway, we`ll kid,
but on the -- tonight, for the purposes of the 15 million people that are
watching tonight, you`re going to be the villain. And he did it.

FINEMAN: Yes. Yes, he did it, and I think he has gained a certain
sense of surety and -- and awareness of the room, so to speak, about the
dynamics of these debates, Trump has, because I think he was certain, once
he heard the tone and the take of the moderators in the debate, that
everybody else was going to jump all over CNBC, and they did.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

FINEMAN: And they did it more harshly, and they were sort of the bad
cops. Donald Trump was the worldly wise guy with the ties and the who was
going to gently put down John Harwood. He was going to let other people do
it nastily and also benefit from people like Mike Huckabee wearing a Trump
tie.

In that type of thing, I think Trump has actually done pretty well.
Some of the polls showed afterwards that, you know, for the average viewer,
he did quite well. I didn`t think he did great, but he did well enough for
his own purposes -- for his own purposes.

MATTHEWS: Yes. Let me go -- let me go to Susan and the weird aspect
of television. Ninety percent of the time, when you`re up there, somebody
else is talking. You know, I know it`s tough being on television with two
other people and me talking. I know it`s frustrating. Who wants to sit
and listen to us, especially if you`re one of us.

But here is Trump, and I thought he did finally understand that to the
theater here is 90 percent of the time, you stand there like you`re in the
Hall of the Presidents down in Disney World. You just -- you have to put
up with it, or else you will get frustrated and look like the bad guy.

Last night, he seemed to play the long game on that. He understood
this is 90 percent silence. Your thoughts.

PAGE: You know, I think Donald Trump is rally -- he`s clearly a smart
guy, whatever you think about his politics or the prospect he could be the
nominee. And he`s changed as a candidate. You know, he is a different
candidate in this third debate than he was in the first two, and he is more
attuned to the way the debates work. He was more comfortable not being the
constant center of attention. You know, he came on strong right at the
very end. Remember that was kind of a problem in that second debate that
went on for so long.

So he is -- you know, it seems to me that he is learning as a
candidate, growing as a candidate, and is going to be harder to get rid of
him than anybody -- any of the establishment people ever thought.

MATTHEWS: What`s the bet of all three? You start with -- let me go
to Gene and then the other two. Do you think he`s going to stay through
the scrum, stay through the fighting through the winter and early spring?
Will he stay in second place, third place, come in first here or there?
Will he fight this out and take the heat that goes with that?

ROBINSON: Oh, sure. I think he`s going to the stick around for quite
some time. I think he believes he can do well. Even if he doesn`t win
Iowa, if Carson wins Iowa, I think he believes he can win New Hampshire.

And then, I guess, we`ll see, you know? I mean, if he loses a string
of all the early primaries, then -- then I doubt Trump would want to --
would necessarily want to continue if he doesn`t think he`s going to win
the nomination.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

ROBINSON: I think he still believes he`s going to win the nomination,
and so he`s going to continue. Now, Ben Carson has different ideas about
that, and he, too, is -- has grown some as a candidate and will probably
grow more, so...

MATTHEWS: Yes, I think -- guys, I think -- Susan, last word here. I
think we`re looking at maybe a convention. I just think these guys are not
going to quit. This is one hell of a way to spend your life right now. If
you`re in the middle of this, you`re in the most exciting game in the
country, in the world maybe. It is fun. Win one, lose one, win two, like
baseball. The odds -- you know, you win two out of three, you`re a hugely
successful team. If you win half the teams (sic), you`re in contention,
Howard. You`re a baseball guy.

FINEMAN: Yes. Yes.

MATTHEWS: Why not stay in this and play it like a long -- a long
season? That`s what I`d do.

FINEMAN: All right, now specifically with reference to Trump, I think
he thinks he`s got a shot to be the establishment candidate. That sounds
bizarre.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

FINEMAN: There are basically two -- two tracks here. There`s the
establishment, which is Bush and Rubio and a couple of others. Then
there`s the outsiders and the Tea Party, the evangelicals, et cetera.

Trump may end up being a kind of establishment candidate if neither
Bush nor Rubio or Christie catches on. Trump still thinks he`s got a lot
of different ways to run this, and I don`t see him disappearing any time
soon.

MATTHEWS: Thank you so much, Howard Fineman, Susan Page and Eugene
Robinson.

Much more on the debate throughout the hour. And coming up, a new era
begins in Washington as Paul Ryan is sworn in as speaker of the House. And
now the real work begins. Will he be able to work across the aisle with
Democrats and keep the redhots on his right flank in line?

Plus, fact checking last night`s debate. Well, the candidates tried
to turn the tables on the moderators, but much of what they had to say
wasn`t true.

And the Republicans focus on Hillary Clinton. It`s clear they think
she`s going to be the Democratic nominee. Secretary Clinton is playing up
her gender, by the way, out on the campaign trail. We`ll talk about that
with feminist icon Gloria Steinem.

Finally, the HARDBALL roundtable will tell me something I don`t know.

And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Who got the most talk in in last night`s debate? Well,
according to NPR, that was Carly Fiorina with over 10-and-a-half minutes.
Marco Rubio was a close second. At the bottom of the pack was Rand Paul
with just 6 minutes and 15 seconds. And Jeb Bush was second to last. He
clocked in at 6 minutes and 39 seconds.

And we`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Therefore, the
honorable Paul D. Ryan of the state of Wisconsin, having received the
majority of the votes cast, is duly elected as speaker of the House.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Speaker, the Mr. Speaker-elect, Paul D. Ryan
of the state of Wisconsin!

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER-ELECT: Thank you. Thank you very
much. Thank you, Nancy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. That was the scene earlier today
from the well of the U.S. House of Representatives, where Speaker John
Boehner handed the reins over to Wisconsin`s Paul Ryan who became the 54th
speaker of the House and the youngest to hold the job in more than 150
years.

Well, here`s Boehner on the House floor.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOEHNER: I`m especially grateful to all my constituents and the
volunteers over the years. That includes a student at Miami University in
Oxford, Ohio, in 1990 who was putting up campaign signs for me. His name
was Paul Ryan.

(LAUGHTER)

BOEHNER: I don`t think he could pronounce my name back in 1990. He
was putting yard signs up for me. But, as Cincinnatus understood, there`s a
difference between being asked to do something and being called to do
something.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, Paul Ryan told the Congress today that it`s time for
a fresh start.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: It`s not until you hold
this gavel, stand in this spot, look out and see all 435 members of this
House, as if all America is sitting right in front of you, it`s not until
then that you feel it, the weight of responsibility, the gravity of the
moment.

The House is broken. We`re not solving problems. We`re adding to
them. And I am not interested in laying blame. We are not settling
scores. We are wiping the slate clean.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: I`m joined right now by former Congressman J.C. Watts, a
Republican from Oklahoma. And John Stanton is Washington bureau chief of
BuzzFeed.

John Stanton, am I the only guy that think he looks like Joseph
Gordon-Levitt?

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: I swear, they could interchange either other.

But let`s go to the serious stuff about this. What`s different
between this and all the stuff that`s gone on before, the logjamming, the
roadblocking, the filibustering, the stopping, the desire to sort of wreak
havoc and get nothing accomplished, certainly nothing progressive?

JOHN STANTON, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, BUZZFEED: Well, I think
there`s two things that are happening here.

One is that John Boehner, before he left, kind of cleared the decks a
little bit for Paul Ryan, and making it impossible for -- getting the debt
deal done, so that debt ceiling doesn`t hit them hard, basically making it
much more difficult for them to shut down government, although that does
remain a possibility.

And that takes a lot of the pressure off of him. It eliminates a lot
of the predictable cliffs that he`s going to have to face over the next two
years. But the other thing is that, frankly, that while Paul Ryan and John
Boehner are very similar -- they`re both Catholic Republicans from the
Midwest and they`re conservative -- they believe in most of the same things
-- the difference is, is that while Boehner was known as an
institutionalist and known as sort of part of Washington for two decades,
Paul Ryan is young and he is well-liked by the base.

Even though some on the hard right may not trust him, most
conservatives really, really like him. And I think that`s going to serve
him well in the next at least year or so.

MATTHEWS: J.C., what do you make of this? You have been there. You
have served in the House. You know how rickety it can be and also how
aggressive and dynamic it can be when there`s one party really running the
show and they know where they`re going.

J.C. WATTS, FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN: You know, Chris, I`m really
happy for Paul. It`s a special day for him and his family and the state of
Wisconsin.

And, obviously, any speaker is going to have their challenges, and
Paul has his. And I agree with John that former Speaker Boehner, or former
Speaker Boehner, did him a big favor in getting that debt ceiling and
getting a two-year budget.

I think it`s going to give him a little more runway to do some things.
It`s going to not jam him up. He cleared the slate, if you will. And Paul
knows -- he knows the budget issues. He was Ways and Means chairman. He
was Budget chairman.

I think that`s going to be a very good deal in trying to get things
done and move things along, if you will, through the House. So, he
definitely is I think right for the time. I like his youth. I like the
fact that he`s a John Kemp disciple. He -- Paul understands that, I`m not
looking to penalize those who have made it, but I don`t want leave behind
those who are trying to make it.

And so I hope that he will govern the way that he has advocated over
the last 20 years. And if he does, the country is going to be in good
hands.

MATTHEWS: Yes, John, I don`t think the speaker calls the shot
anymore.

I think the red hots and the people in the -- sort of the excitement
corner of the Republican Party, the 50 people in the Freedom Caucus, they
are more worried about the guy in the next -- in the last row at the next
meeting who is going to yell at them and say, you sold us out.

What happens when these trainer -- these trainer wheels go off the
little bike he is riding now? Because the trainer wheels, as you pointed
out there, J.C., it`s going to give him two years. But, eventually, the
guys -- and pretty soon, in fact, by Christmas, the right wing is going to
be saying, we don`t like those trainer wheels, we don`t like the fact we
can`t knock the government down, we don`t like that we can`t filibuster, we
can`t stop things.

They don`t like it. So, what are they going to do when they can`t
like it and they`re just sitting there telling their people back at home,
yes, you elected us to stop things, yes, you elected us to stop the
spending, yes, yes, yes, we gave this guy a two-year ride? How are they
going to explain that at home?

STANTON: Well, that`s a good question.

And I think we will see the first sort of test I think towards
Christmas when they get into the spending bills. And I think they set a
ceiling on spending, but the last time they set a ceiling on spending,
Republican leadership assumed that meant that they were going to be able to
do what they wanted to do with it and that turned out not to be the case
and they got into a huge fight with conservatives and had themselves a
fiscal crisis again.

That will be first test of it. But I do think that even the most
conservative members of the House and most conservative people on the
outside have gotten a little bit fatigued by this, and they may be willing
to give him some slack in the next couple of months.

And the other thing I think that`s going to help him out a lot is
that, with the 2016 race starting to heat up and the primaries getting
ready to start, a lot of that energy and focus is going to be turned
towards that. And the House is going to be not the only political game in
town for conservatives. And so he may be able to use that to his
advantage.

MATTHEWS: Yes, but all the time these members of the House, these
guys whose names we don`t know, J.C. -- and you were well known from the
time you went in there. But most of these guys, until we saw Jordan in
action the other day in that hearing, we didn`t know who they were.

But now they`re going to be watching the success of Cruz. They`re
going to be watching the success of Rubio, who doesn`t even show up for
work. And they`re going to be saying, my God, the way to get ahead in this
business is to trash the place. If you want to be president some day,
these guys who are watching, they`re saying, the Cruz way, stop everything,
jam everything up, cause trouble, be a demagogue, if you will, or else just
don`t show up and start running for president.

There`s certainly no role modeling going on in this presidential
campaign for these young -- these right-wingers.

WATTS: You know, Chris, we do not seem to have had a plan over the
last six, eight years of what we wanted to be when we grow up.

If you recall, when I was elected to Congress in `94, sworn in, in
`95, we had the Contract With America. John Kasich was the budget
chairman. Newt was the speaker. We put ourselves on a path to balance the
budget in 10 years. We did it in six years.

MATTHEWS: Right.

WATTS: And that was a 10-year plan. And if you got a plan, it helps
everybody kind of mobilize around the goal, the mission, the purpose.

And we have kind of been -- I think both parties have kind of drifted
over the last six to eight years to where nobody seems to be working toward
one common goal.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: God, you guys were like Queen Victoria back then. You had
an absolute -- a world plan. And you did have a plan to get -- and you had
an exercise to get it done.

I agree with that. I never thought of it that way, but, my God, to
think about Newt Gingrich as the grand old man and to have a firm
leadership and a vision to execute, but you did balance the budget. You do
did that.

WATTS: But, also, Newt -- but, also, Chris, if you recall, they were
trying to throw Newt out, in spite of the fact that we had a plan.

But, nevertheless, if you have got something -- Bob Livingston held
the line on spending. Kasich gave us the blueprint. Newt and the other
members, they enforced it. And we reached our plan in six years, as
opposed to 10. And we even paid down the debt.

(CROSSTALK)

STANTON: You all agreed on that plan. That was the difference,
right? But Boehner had plans, and his conservatives don`t agree to his
plans. So, that`s the big difference right now, I think, between the
two...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: OK. We can sit around on Miami Beach like the old guys and
talk about how great it was back in the 1990s.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you, J.C. Watts. I know you mean it.

And thank you, John Stanton.

Up next, the HARDBALL roundtable is here to break down the attacks by
Republican candidates last night. Which of them were true and which were
not true? A lot weren`t true, it turns out. Even though they may have won
the moment, they may not have been the truth.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

When you`re running for the highest office in the land, you got to get
your facts straight. And last night`s wild and crazy Republican debate was
viewed by, by the way, 14 million people, and some of the candidates`
statement last night have fact-checkers scratching their heads today.

They spotted a few whoppers, and so did we.

Let`s take a look at tonight`s HARDBALL roundtable. April Ryan is the
White House correspondent with American Urban Radio Networks. Ken Vogel is
the chief investigative reporter with Politico. And Mollie Hemingway is
the senior editor at "The Federalist."

Donald Trump got into a heated exchange with moderator Becky Quick on
the issue of immigration, specifically so-called H-1B visas for skilled
workers. Let`s watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BECKY QUICK, MODERATOR: You have been very critical of Mark
Zuckerberg of Facebook, who has wanted to increase the number of these H-
1Bs.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I was not at all critical
of him.

QUICK: Where did I read this and come up with this, that you were...

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: Probably, I don`t know -- you people write the stuff. I don`t
know where you...

(LAUGHTER)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

QUICK: You had talked a little bit about Marco Rubio. I think you
called him Mark Zuckerberg`s personal senator because he was in favor of
the H-1B.

TRUMP: I never said that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, Trump did say that. And later in the debate, Quick
let him know it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUICK: I found where I read that before. It was from the
DonaldJTrump.com Web site.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: This is from Trump`s issues page on his favorite subject of
immigration -- quote -- "Mark Zuckerberg`s personal senator, Marco Rubio,
has a bill to triple H-1B visas that would decimate women and minorities."

Let me go to Ken Vogel on that.

It does seem like it doesn`t do much good to be right if you`re right
10, 15 minutes later, because he gets the applause line. And that`s part
of the TV drama, the reality TV that Trump is good at. It doesn`t have to
do with facts. It has to do with impression.

KENNETH VOGEL, POLITICO: That`s right, Chris.

And in many ways, it`s sort of emblematic of his whole campaign, that
he got the cheap applause line with something that later turned out to be
not so right. They called him out. It would have been better if they
called him out at the time. Nonetheless, they did fact-check him.

And it`s particularly glaring, I think, because this is really the
sole issue, the one that he has focused on the most. And it`s one of the
few that he actually has a plan out on, immigration. So, the fact that
he`s quoted his own plan saying this and he doesn`t recognize the quote
really raises questions about how much he`s involved in the policy side of
his campaign, if at all.

MATTHEWS: Yes. I think also the people that support a candidate
don`t mind his buffaloing of a reporter along the way, just pushing them to
the side of the road.

Anyway, Ted Cruz won roaring applause by going after the moderators
for their line of questioning. He also accused the media of fawning over
Democrats in their debate.

Well, let`s watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The questions that have
been asked so far in this debate illustrate why the American people don`t
trust the media.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

CRUZ: And Carl -- Carl, I`m not finished yet.

The contrast with the Democratic debate, where every fawning question
from the media was, "Which of you is more handsome and wise?"

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, of course, that`s a joke. If you watched the
Democratic debate, Hillary Clinton faced an onslaught of questions, tough
ones, on everything from her e-mails to her honesty and her Iraq War vote.

Here`s just a sampling.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON COOPER, MODERATOR: Secretary Clinton, I want to start with
you. Plenty of politicians evolve on issues, but even some Democrats
believe you change your positions based on political expediency.

Will you say anything to get elected?

Secretary Clinton, you are going to be testifying before Congress next
week about your e-mails. For the last eight months, you haven`t been able
to put this issue behind you. You dismissed it; you joked about it; you
called it a mistake. What does that say about your ability to handle far
more challenging crises as president?

Secretary Clinton, Secretary Clinton, with all due respect, it`s a
little hard -- I mean, isn`t it a little bit hard to call this just a
partisan issue? There`s an FBI investigation, and President Obama himself
just two days ago said this is a legitimate issue.

DANA BASH, MODERATOR: You say Secretary Clinton should be
disqualified from the presidency because she voted in favor of using force
in Iraq.

Secretary Clinton, he`s questioning your judgment.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: April Ryan, you know, I think everybody watching right now
knows the difference between opinion journalism and straight-fact
reporting.

APRIL RYAN, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORKS: Yes.

MATTHEWS: I mean, everybody. You pick up the newspaper, you go to
the opinion page, you go to the op-ed page, you turn on the radio, you
listen to opinion. You know the difference between Sean Hannity and
Shepard Smith. Everybody does. Everybody with an I.Q. knows the
difference.

To go after -- "The New York Times" is not nice to Hillary Clinton.
Maureen Dowd is not Hillary Clinton`s best friend. The idea that the so-
called media in New York is somehow carrying on some campaign for Hillary
Clinton is an absurdity. And people who believe it either don`t pay
attention or just are not simply being honest people to themselves about
it. Your thoughts. That`s my view.

RYAN: Well, I think you`re right. I think you`re absolutely right.

I think Hillary Clinton is being held to a higher standard, and she`s
been in this process for quite a while. So the media feels comfortable in
going after her harder than we would with the regular person, a Donald
Trump or a Ben Carson or maybe even a Marco Rubio.

She has been around the presidency, the executive branch, the
legislative branch. She`s been around it quite a while. And I believe
that Anderson Cooper had the best -- this is my personal opinion -- he had
the best debate because he asked the tough questions.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

RYAN: And I do believe that the FOX debate for the Republicans was
the second best debate there has been, with the fact that the reporters
were asking the pointed questions.

So I believe that Hillary Clinton is held to a higher standard, and I
don`t think she`s getting a pass.

MATTHEWS: And Bret Baier is very good.

RYAN: Yes.

MATTHEWS: Anyway, Dr. Ben Carson had some strong words for CNBC
moderator Carl Quintanilla when the subject turned to Carson`s ties to a
nutritional supplement company that got into trouble with the law.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARL QUINTANILLA, MODERATOR: This is a company called Mannatech, a
maker of nutritional supplements, with which you had a 10-year
relationship. They offered claims that they could cure autism, cancer.
They paid $7 million to settle a deceptive marketing lawsuit in Texas, and
yet you`re involvement continued. Why?

BEN CARSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, that`s easy to answer.
I didn`t have an involvement with them. That is total propaganda, and this
is what happens in our society, total propaganda.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, "The National Review," which is not part of any left-
wing propaganda campaign, had some harsh words for Dr. Carson on this.
They said his response was a blatant lie.

The fact-checkers at PolitiFact rated Carson`s claim as false. "The
Wall Street Journal" reported that Carson spoke to the company`s sales
associates in a 2004 speech and that he was paid $42,000 to speak at
company gatherings. There`s also material online where Carson sounds like
a pitch man for the company.

Let`s watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARSON: The wonderful thing about a company like Mannatech is that
they recognize that when God made us, he gave us the right fuel.
Basically, what the company is doing is trying to find a way to restore
natural diet as a medicine.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Mollie, was that a pitch or what? I don`t know. It
sounded like a pitch. I don`t know that knew the music was playing that
dulcet tones or not, but he certainly was pitching. Your thoughts?

MOLLIE HEMINGWAY, "THE FEDERALIST": This really does speak to the
problems that the moderators had with through lack of preparedness for the
debate.

They should have armed to the teeth with that "National Review"
reporting that had already been done to a great extent by Jim Geraghty.
They should have known where they got the quote from Donald Trump, on his
Web site. And they should have known it right away so they could push
back.

So this really speaks to the problems that we had in the debate. But
also I think it speaks to their inability to understand what questions are
of interest of voters. People don`t like or dislike Ben Carson based on
stuff like Mannatech. It`s interesting, but I think a lot more people are
interested in -- this is one of the front-runners of the campaign.

We would like to hear about his plans to repeal Obamacare. We want to
hear about education policy. Those are much more is substantive questions
that would have been a better use of time for these moderators.

MATTHEWS: Well, didn`t a lot of these sort of toss off tough
questions so they could their speeches last night?

I think Cruz had at last one thrown at him and he said, I don`t really
like that question, Ken. I have another thing. I want to give my jeremiad
right now against the media.

I`m not so sure you`re right. I think you`re right, Mollie. I think
we have to get to the heart of the questions about the election, but
sometimes you go for what you think is about relevant about character or
about honesty and the ability to simply admit what you have been doing.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: If you have been pitching for a product, why wouldn`t you
admit it? Isn`t it important to know whether a person can give an honest
answer to a question?

HEMINGWAY: It is. And it`s important. It`s speaks to governance,
but the moderators need to be better prepared to actually explain why it`s
of significance.

MATTHEWS: Anyway, the roundtable is sticking with us.

Up next, these reporters will tell me something I don`t know.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWSBREAK)

MATTHEWS: We`re back with the HARDBALL round table: April, Ken and
Mollie.

April, tell me something I don`t know.

APRIL RYAN, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORK: Well, this week -- well,
next week, actually, the House is going to deal with the issue of funding
for the transportation act, the Highway Transportation Funding Act of 2015,
and we understand that there could be a possibility that the funding will
only be for three years instead of six years. Well, states are going to
have problems with that, because their projects are six years instead of
three years.

And then the secretary of transportation says I keep screaming, we
need to fix this problem. We have crumbling infrastructure, and he says he
feels like Chicken Little saying the sky the falling. He literally said
that to me.

MATTHEWS: Well, just get out on the roads and you know he`s right.

Ken?

RYAN: Yes.

KEN VOGEL, POLITICO: Chris, I understand my sources tell me that some
of Hillary Clinton`s close allies are urging her to go and aggressively
pick a fight with the Koch brothers. The Kochs are going to spend nearly
feel like inevitably there will be a fight between her and the Koch
brothers but they feel like it would be advantage her if she were to go out
and pick it with them because they believe that it would energize liberal
activists who are maybe not so hot on Hillary Clinton but who see the Kochs
as major boogey man and sort of representative of all that`s wrong in
politics today.

She has already interestingly gone out and expressed support for the
Export/Import Banks, which is something that the Kochs vehemently oppose.
So, I think we`re going to eventually see this fight possibly sooner rather
than later.

MATTHEWS: Thank you. We can see that this year. Is it going to
happen or it won`t? My best kind of predictions, because I could be wrong.
You also could be right and then you look really good, Ken.

Mollie, yours?

MOLLIE HEMINGWAY, THE FEDERALIST: Yes, there`s a significant level of
unrest after last night`s debate. They`re upset that party leadership
allowed candidates to once again be in a situation with a hostile and
biased media. In this case, adding to that the ineptness. And some
campaigns are talking about actually coming up with their own debate
structure, going and finding their own venues. And the NFL just streamed
an actual football game over Yahoo and had millions of viewers.

So, even if it`s unlikely that it will happen, I think you`re going to
see a serious lack of tolerance for another debate that is this level of
hostile.

MATTHEWS: Wow, when you ask them what their weaknesses are. Well,
that`s a HARDBALL.

Anyway, thank you. We`re going to have Reince Priebus out there
throwing those fastballs out there and those curves at those unlikely
suspects, we`ll see.

Anyway, my roundtable continues. The HARDBALL round table. Thank you
so much, April, Ken and Mollie.

Up next, the great Gloria Steinem joins us.

And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Donald Trump and Ben Carson are neck and neck in a new poll
of Pennsylvania Republicans. Trump has 23 percent support in a new
Franklin & Marshall poll. Carson is right behind him at 22. Marco Rubio
at 13, Kasich at 6, Cruz down at 4.

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton is ahead by more than 30
points. It`s Hillary Clinton 52, Bernie Sanders just at 18 percent. I
think it is a Clinton state.

And we`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I may not be the
youngest candidate in this race. But I will be the youngest woman
president in the history of the United States.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, that was a good line.

Back to HARDBALL.

That was Hillary Clinton at her announcement rally in June this year
where she wowed her supporters with the promise of becoming the first woman
to occupy the White House.

Clinton who recently told the "Des Moines Register" that being a woman
was an extra burden back in 2008 is embracing her gender as more of an
asset on the campaign trail this time around and most recently when she`s
(AUDIO GAP).

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: Now, I`ve been told to stop shouting about guns. Actually,
I haven`t been shouting. But sometimes when a woman talks some people
think it`s shouting.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

But I won`t be silenced and I hope you won`t be teeth.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: With her new book titled "My Life on the Road," renowned
American feminist and author Gloria Steinem writes of the talks about the
anger that motivated her to support Hillary Clinton back in 2008.

Quote, "I was angry because it was OK for two generations of Bush sons
to inherit power from a political patriarchy but not OK for one Clinton
wife to claim experience and inherit power from a husband whose full
political partner she had been for 20 years. I was angry about the human
talent that was lost just because it was born into a female body and the
mediocrity that was rewarded because it was born into a male one."

I`m joined now by the founder of "Ms." Magazine, author and columnist
Gloria Steinem.

Ms. Steinem, thank you for joining us tonight.

And give us a sense -- you`re an observer as well as anyone in the
country of what`s going on with the presidential campaign. Give us a sense
of your view of how Hillary Clinton has run as a woman or however you`ve
seen it.

GLORIA STEINEM, FOUNDER, MS. MAGAZINE: I think clearly the point is
not only that she`s a woman but that she represents the majority views and
interests of women. And actually, if you look at the public opinion polls,
the majority views of men too.

So, given that fact, which is the most important thing, then the
experience of walking around as a female human being in this country for a
lifetime does give you knowledge and sensitivities that you perhaps
wouldn`t otherwise have. And also, if you have a democracy, it`s kind of
suspicious if the leaders look nothing like the country.

MATTHEWS: Well, there are more women voters than male voters. Is
that the point? I mean, that clearly is something that`s often missed when
they say let`s talk to the special interest groups, let`s talk to women,
for example, and you go, wait a minute, they`re most of the voters.

STEINEM: That`s true. But it depends who it is. I mean, Sarah Palin
had more male voters than female voters. So, because she was representing
a different set of issues.

So, it`s not just one thing, obviously. But it is an enormous added
value and it tells us really that we have a democracy, that we`re choosing
from everybody here, not just one group.

MATTHEWS: Well, let me ask you about women Republicans because the
pattern of polling we`ve shown, the NBC/"Wall Street Journal" poll, it
isn`t much different between men and women. That`s probably what you`re
talking about. Does it astound you that women support Trump on the
Republican side?

STEINEM: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: Analyze. Give me a diagnosis at least.

Why do they like that kind of a guy? He`s a Jackie Gleason type, many
would say. And you know, he talks about babes, talks about good-looking
women and that`s his entire method of judgment. And he continues along
that line.

STEINEM: But we`ve been -- you know, we`ve all been raised in this
culture, which is very genderized. Sometimes I think the world is divided
into two kinds of people, those who divide the world into two and those who
don`t.

So, we -- women too are the product of this culture. And some women
too have been trained to look by their families, by the culture, to a man
for leadership and for a superior attitude and so on. And Trump certainly
supplies that.

MATTHEWS: He certainly follows the model. Anyway, last night the
Democratic front-runner was again the biggest target of Republican attacks,
not only from the only woman on the debate stage, Carly Fiorina. Here she
is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARLY FIORINA (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It is the height of
hypocrisy for Mrs. Clinton to talk about being the first woman president
when every single policy she espouses and every single policy of President
Obama has been demonstrably bad for women.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Isn`t it amazing how you can say anything you want in this
country? I mean --

STEINEM: That is so wrong. I mean, just completely factually wrong.
It`s embarrassingly wrong. I don`t know. What can you say?

MATTHEWS: Well, let me ask you about Hillary Clinton. I think you
support her, I`m guessing, and I just want you to tell me about her
campaign. Last time her campaign, this time her reaction to that, her way
of dealing with it. She is a politician. You`ve got to deal with the
world you`re in.

How do you look at the way she`s handled this? Because she`s doing
it, it seems to me pluperfect at least the last couple weeks.

STEINEM: Yes, no. I think it`s much better now because she isn`t
trying to be in denial of the fact that she was a woman or to be tougher on
foreign policy because she thinks she has to compensate. She`s being her
own authentic self, which is the single most important thing to do in the
political world.

And also, we have her record as secretary of state in which she has
been the only one and is currently the only national leader we have who is
understanding that in the world at large, violence against females has
become so deep and profound and so -- in such excess that for the first
time that we know of now, there are fewer females on planet earth than
males.

MATTHEWS: Gloria Steinem, thank you for coming on tonight. Gloria`s
book is called "My Life on the Road".

HARDBALL`s back after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: 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.
END

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